Washed Up

Description:

Tane

    Rose to Purple Dusk
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: dergon

    Hunter/Gatherer
    Tigrelan Kaeleer
    3 Posts    111 marks
Washed Up
« on: July 04, 2019, 01:59:36 PM »

Too much water. It poured from the sky and rose from the earth. Banks were overflowed, the soil so moist it was liquid rather than mud. Tane lead them up. Directions given by his coven leader, but the path was his to find. And find it he did. Water up to his hips as they waded across what had once been a hunting path.

Water ran down their bodies as they climbed up the far side. Twisted roots becoming ladders as even the trees tried to escape the rising water. Bare chested, they rose from the flood lands that had once been hunting grounds and harvest fields. Up to the steps of the city where the seneschals waited to open the doors for them.

Tane was the last to go in. This once he lead from behind. A quiet word for each of his men as they went inside for the first time in a long time. Coaching them on their temperament or behavior. Soothing words to help them keep the peace and find a wholeness they lacked outside within. And women. Women too. Head down to hide his grin, Tane ducked past the seneschal and inside. Inside where the rain no longer coated his mane to his shoulders.

Ears and tail flicking water free, Tane squinted into the dimness. Inside was darker than out, even with the absence of rain clouds and tree cover. Even with the lights attached to the walls. "Go quietly." He reminded them all. Tribe joining the milling press of males. All of them as eager as his own. Flashing teeth in warning and welcome. Tane already at an advantage thanks to his height and caste.

Ears and nose guiding him more than his eyes. Down to a corridor that sloped away before up. Small mouse hidden there. He knew this one. Shoulders and back blocking out the room, Tane leaned in. "Did you bring your paints?" He asked, pulling his lips over his teeth as he chuckled.

Runa

  • Inactive Character
  • witch
  • The Renewer
    Tigrelan Kaeleer
    3 Posts    185 marks
Re: Washed Up
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2019, 12:41:57 AM »
Bed rolls. Dozens upon dozens in tidy piles. Stacked knee high in various corners of the public squares. Easily accessible without drawing attention. None enjoyed being there rather than in a woman’s bed. The illusion of privacy was provided by paper screens that could be arranged into false rooms when necessary. Baskets of clean clothes, bars of soaps, towels and other toiletries were set out too. Simple but lengthy preparations for the arrival of the coalitions.

Soft, clean linens folded into bundles. Blankets and clothes that Runa had helped to stitch by hand. As usual she was in the middle of the work. Sweeping, stacking blankets, finding empty places that could house their visitors until the ground was dry again. Anything to be useful. Loyalty rewarded with good pay and kind words from those that outranked her- which was nearly everyone in the city. Runa was happy to simply have a place among them, even if that place was barely above the ground. Small apartment threatened by the rising tide of water. Work done so diligently and without fuss that it had grown to seem insignificant to most.

But it also gave her a small advantage. Unlike the nervous women that crowded the staircases and leaned over the banisters, she was not a stranger to these men. Their bodies were her canvases. Fear a small lump at the bottom of her spine that only grew when it needed to. Senses sharp so that she knew when to bow and when to bend and when to run away. There was not much use for the knowledge, since none asked her advice on dealing with the men. And none of the men looked to her when there were worthy women at stake. But she knew them, and she watched so that she would know them better later. When they went back to their place on the ground, where she became rare and special and appreciated once more.

Long waves of hair pulled back into double braids that bounced against her back she slipped out of the crowd that gathered. Shoulder to the cool stone walls she eyed the lines of bodies that pressed in. Coalitions posturing at one another, recognizing brothers and cousins and old enemies. An interesting swell of emotions as they looked up at the women who looked down. Nothing to separate them anymore, yet they did not mingle. By the night they would, she knew. Many of the women had gone an entire year without a bed partner. They never judged one another the wildness of a first winter night.

Tail creeping up her front Runa peeked around it’s fluff. Looking up and up at the impossibly tall warlord prince that joined her in the shadows. Confused as to why he would wish to but incapable of asking in case it were obvious. Or offensive. Or that there was no reason at all. Lashes dark over her bright irises she blinked at him in anxious puzzlement. Trying to decide if his laughter made the words less a tease or more. Ears laying flat on her head she decided that taking him seriously was the safest course of action. ”They can be fetched, my prince. I cannot carry anything in my cabinet but they are nearby, in my room, you need only tell me what colors to bring.”

This one she knew by name. A rarity when there were so many. With his bright hair, brighter eyes, and imposing figure he was hard to forget. The quiet of his temperament making the act of renewal a pleasant one. Tane he was called. A leader of men that lived in a jolly band of young men. Each painted by her hand when their stripes needed renewing. None within her purview to pick from the crowd- except for Tane himself. She recalled the shape of his stripes intimately. The way they dipped into hard muscle and across warm planes of skin in ways that made her hide blushing cheeks while  she worked. Promises of a good life etched over him in pretty shades that complimented his complexion.

Tane

    Rose to Purple Dusk
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: dergon

    Hunter/Gatherer
    Tigrelan Kaeleer
    3 Posts    111 marks
Re: Washed Up
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2019, 08:17:00 AM »

"Nothing at all? Ears twitching, Tane tilted his head down and to the side. One ear flat and the other pointed toward the crowded room. "Does it have a hole in it?" He teased, casting a gentle probe along her barriers, nostrils wide as he inhaled to make sure she hadn't come near the men while vulnerable. Not all of them were smart. And less were kind.

Against his Purple Dusk he found a buffer of disinterest. The room too busy looking up to look sideways. It made him smile. Shifting his stance, Tane leaned his shoulder against the wall, body creating an effective barrier as a fight broke out in a corner. He grinned at her, curious fingers touching the end of one of her braids. Runa, he thought, was her name. He had heard the seneschals use it, but they had never been properly introduced, for all she'd painted dreams on his flesh.

"I never know the colors until you paint them." Dreams from women he'd never met. Tane wondered how it worked sometimes. Laying outside at night with his head pillowed in his arms. Above him the stars and below those the lights of city. How did they know when he could not name them himself? Could they see down when he could not see up? Or did Runa go up and tell what she saw when down?

Tane did not know. But he did know that Runa was small and beautiful. Spotted skin and warm cheeks. She stirred something fierce in his heart that made him want to wrap the hallway in shields and snarl all the rest of the males away. But he was afraid to frighten her, brave as she was facing him. "Is your room very far?" He asked only half innocently. Ears perking forward until she had all of his attention.

Would she take him there? Was it allowed? He did not need renewing. His stripes were still mostly fresh. Talking of more things he did not know. But Tane didn't need to know. He'd long ago accepted ignorance.

Runa

  • Inactive Character
  • witch
  • The Renewer
    Tigrelan Kaeleer
    3 Posts    185 marks
Re: Washed Up
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2019, 10:17:39 PM »
Grip tightened around her tail Runa kept a softly measured gaze on Prince Tane. Too composed to wring the furry column she held. Too nervous to look him in the eyes. A few strands of hair stuck to her lip when she lowered her tail to playfully whisper. ”I wish!” Tail tip swishing in her hands she clutched it to her chest as if it were a tether to safety. ”A hole would at least let me get things in there to begin with.” She joked gently. No displays of cleverness or wit. Just simple amusement at the banter. Oblivious to the question beneath the question until his probe stroked along her barrier. Giving up the first without reluctance she shook her head as she realized his concern. Explanation given in a quick burst once her tongue had flicked the hairs free from her bottom lip. ”I’ve never had a psychic cabinet. Nothing in, so nothing out.”

Which she supposed was another unspoken advantage in her life.  Never inconvenienced by suddenly having to carry her supplies around. No more preparation or planning, disappointment or frustration when her moontime rared its ugly head. For Runa that happened less frequently than it did for the other women in the coven. When it did, however, it was always marked by several painful days in bed. That would not be a worry for many weeks.

Shoulders drawing in she watched a languid smile soften his face. It held there as he reached over to handle the loose ends of her carefully woven braid. Body blocking her view of a fight. The sound of skin smacking skin and Jewels clashing roused her instincts. Making herself small Runa wedged tighter in the corner Tine and the wall created. Voice low so that she could hear over it. Ears turned to the commotion in case there were tempers that needed patting down. For the time being it sounded like a simple squabble. Egos bounding against one another in the confined space. She tried to keep her attention on the male at hand. Distraction could be offensive to some, Warlord Princes the most likely to find it so.

”Oh. You can choose, most of the time. It’s rare the colors are handed down with the webs.” A finger made it’s way to his shoulder, tail still held so that both absently traced a thin line of near gold. Runa bobbed her head at him apologetically, ”I just copied the colors that were already there because I thought they were the ones you liked.” They looked quite nice. If he had not picked them, then the renewer before must have. There were stories about renewers that chose the colors for their canvases instead of asking what the person preferred. Artists choice, was the general consensus. Runa thought that it was best to let them choose, though. People were more likely to love their stripes if they were in their favorite shades. ”I’m very sorry. You can choose this time.”

Why he wanted a renewal off schedule she didn’t question. Once a year was typical. They had just waded here in the flood waters. Perhaps her last batch had not lasted as long as expected? Their ears swiveled towards one another at the same moment. His deceptively casual expression met by one of surprise. ”No it’s not. I would be only be gone a few minutes.” The lower your rank, the lower you lived to the ground. Runa could not get lower without moving into a den of men. Did he want her to go, or to take him there? Chewing her lip she looked down the hallway. Empty that far into the heart of the plaza. A hundred questions in her mind, and a hundred answers for each. All supplied by her busy thoughts as she turned until her back was to the wall. Shoulders hunched so she could peer over the round of one at him. ”We can both go. If you like.” The company would be welcome. Conversation less a struggle with the growing commotion too. A few daring men stirring up the sharp tongues of the coven as they mounted the steps.

”Or there’s a meal laid out on the floor above us. If you want to eat while I gather my things.”

Tane

    Rose to Purple Dusk
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: dergon

    Hunter/Gatherer
    Tigrelan Kaeleer
    3 Posts    111 marks
Re: Washed Up
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2019, 07:10:18 AM »

Tane watched her. Free to do so because Runa would not look directly at him. With no eyes to hold his still, they wandered. Across her face, down her hair. Attention drawn to the way she held her tail. To the strands of red caught on her lips. To her lips, especially. His smile spreading as she so easily gave up her barrier to his probe. Her joke was sweet too.

But not so sweet as the way she licked the hair from her lip. Tongue making his heart beat hard in his stomach. "I suppose you don't need one, living so close to your things." Tane carried necessities in his. Things he would not need if he lived in a house, or even returned to one every night. But he and his men lived wild and on foot. No stone or wood to keep them close to a place. Just ties of duty to their coven.

The way she made herself small upset him. Shoulder tight, Tane made himself bigger. A strong barrier between her and the temper at his back. Leaving off her hair, he stroked her shoulder and arm, welcoming her against the safety of his body. "You are safe, little mouse." Tane would gut them if they came too near. Never allowing them close enough to cause her harm. Conversation directed to distract her from the violence and keep all her attention to himself.

About himself. Hand squeezing her shoulder, thumb making idle circles on it as she explained. Voice soft and sweet like clear, deep water. She and her tail brushed a stripe at his shoulder. A badge of courage, he'd been told. A long line of it dreamt for his life. "I do like them." Tane promised. His stripes were his pride. No falsehood, nothing unworthy, in the dreams they had had of him. All of them were dreams he found it easy to live up to. He knew it was not so for some.

"Any color I like?" Tane wanted to wear the red of her hair. And the deep gold of her freckles. His hand left her shoulder to trail fingers down her back. He wanted to wear Runa. Flush to his heart and draped over his loins. Runa did not understand, which only made him smile more, rather than grow frustrated. Tane watched her think about it. Chewing the idea of leaving him waiting as she chewed her lip. Let his hand fall away when she pulled back, growing even smaller as she tucked her shoulders into herself before offering an invitation.

Tane hesitated. He wanted to go. Some place with a door and not so many eyes. But she looked very small and he was not sure if she looked very sure. The noise behind them grew louder. This time the voices of the women adding to those of the men. Cat calls and cajoling from both sides. Tane turned one ear to the noise and crept closer to Runa, who was trying to put him off with food. "I'd rather go with you." He told her plainly.

Maybe he was too big. Tane relaxed his shoulders and breathed out. Made himself smaller. His fingers walked across the air looking for hers. Calloused and scarred tips thick and heavily whorled as they tripped down her fingers and into her palm. Tane squeezed gently. "I am not hungry." Not for food. He knew it would be good food. A feast compared to spit rabbit and stone baked vegetables.

But Tane wanted Runa to paint herself on his body. To leave his scent behind in her room and on her person so everyone would know he had chosen this one. This one was his. And being the sweet mouse she was, Runa lead him deeper into the thick walls, and up to her bedroom. Just a short flight of stairs separating her for the men. But none would pass her doorway without knowing that he had been there and might return. Hand rubbing his psychic scent into the wall beside it.

"Its very pretty." He told her, eyes barely leaving the women for the room. She was very pretty.

Runa

  • Inactive Character
  • witch
  • The Renewer
    Tigrelan Kaeleer
    3 Posts    185 marks
Re: Washed Up
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2019, 11:06:21 PM »
”Of course,” Runa said carefully, voice lilting into soothing tones as she let his body shield the building tension in the other room. They were his men, not the fighting ones perhaps, but they were men like him all the same. While she couldn’t explain the details she understood the shifting sort of brotherhood the men left to the ground’s toil felt for one another. Kinship made that bond stronger. The same way circles of sisterhood looped through the layers of the rising city. She did not want to offend him. Not by being afraid of the men, or by seeming to think he could not defend her from them. And since she did not know which he tried to calm she answered both at once. ”they just need an outlet for their emotions. They’ll settle soon.”

Tane already had. He was kind. Unaffected by the commotion at his back. Hands a steady caress on her shoulder. So big it cupped the whole bone in one palm while he led the conversation to safer topics. Things that Runa knew much about. It did not make her less meek, but it did let her blossom in the protective bubble of his presence. Stance relaxed. Eyes as curious as her fingers. Tracing the story of humble strength written in the lines of sweet dreams. The worry that he was less than pleased with them quieted with gentle reassurance.

That let her bloom more. ”Good. I like them too.” They were good promises. She liked the way they fit into the curves of muscle on his body too. Even if it made her nose twitch not to follow the way they drew the gaze down to the patch of red hair that trailed down his navel. Cheeks rounding she smiled. Freckles fading against the pinkness of a happy flush. ”Any color you like.” She echoed back. Eyes pulled up to find his blue ones. Searching their depths for flecks of color that might hint at what he was thinking. There were no answers there, though. Not for what lay on his mind, or for the questions that sprang into her own.

So she debated herself internally. On the wisdom of bringing a man into her room on the first night of winter. What would he assume it to mean? What did it mean if he accepted- or rejected? She was beholden to none save The Dreamer. It would please her to have him to herself a little while. No matter what his intentions might be. But, but, but she lived apart from the city in a way only the Seneschals could claim. They had one another. She had no one to miss her, not until an artists brush was in demand. No one would come looking if the warlord prince proved his caste.

Runa invited him anyway. The pressure of his fingertips on her spine making it tingle. She couldn’t tell yet if it was the sensation to run or the desire to curl into his palm. Let him stroke the bones under the skin down to her tail. Which fidgeted in her hand as she pinned it to the wall with her thinking. There was no such hesitation from Tane. His words were direct. And the temptation of food did not change his mind. So she released her tail to wind her fingers with his. Walking backwards to watch him as she showed the way from the main corridor up into an older section of the building. The purples of early dusk spilled down a staircase. Just beyond the landing above her door was unmarked. Until he marked it. Her lips curled against her teeth and heat worked up towards her softly rounded ears. Bashful now that they were alone she left the door open and stood in the center of the room.

It was colorful. She thought it was pretty, but the way he said so made her blush from the roots of her hair down into the collar of her simple dress. ”Thank you. I’m afraid it’s a little messy. I was in the hall preparing all day so I didn’t put my pack away.” Bag emptied on the bed. A large canvas satchel with cleaned brushes whose fibers were stained by rainbows of colorwork. Paint pots the size of her fist littered the bed as well as several shelves that hung crooked on the walls. It was stone, but the dampness barely reached in. Warmth coming from a large crystal in one corner. Several portraits clustered along the wall there so the heat crystal could keep them dry. They were landscapes and portraits. Interesting places she heard about while she applied stripes. Or the people who she applied the stripes too. Personal creations done for leisure rather than work. One, she realized with a deepening flush, was of Tane.

Turning her attention away in hopes he would not notice his likeness on the wall she moved to the bed. A clatter of ceramic pots made louder by nervous hands as she set them on a small desk. The empty ones turned upside down so that she would know them from the rest. All of her paints were made by hand, as were her brushes, so she would have to dig into her box of supplies later to wring the color from flowers and stones. ”You didn’t say what colors you preferred.” She remembered suddenly, peering at him over her shoulder as she reminded him too.
 

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