sonder
[ AW ] humble beginnings

Male 2 Highlander Commonwealth Fellmonger
Jacobite

9

posts
60.00

renown





posted 07-05-2021, 03:13 PM - Word count:
#1
Autumn morning. Sunlight dripped like honey from the juniper shrubs. The world glittered with frost, and fog purled over the moors. It was too early for the imperial city watch to be bored and nosy; too late for thieves in the night. The perfect time to call upon the young Highland tanner of Inverness, erstwhile apprentice to Cethen’s foster father - now long dead.

“This is it, then? This is all you've to sell?” The young tanner asked in Gaelic, sounding distressed as he reviewed the samples of wool and pickled pelts Cethen had brought with him. Cethen shrugged. “Enough for us... None for the crown.” The tanner sighed. “Winter is coming, you know.” A plea for sympathy softened his voice. Cethen snorted dismissively and turned to leave. They'd already concluded negotiations, but the tanner continued: “D’you not fear what a shortage could do? Or that someone might seize these from them I’ve sold ’em to?” Cethen paused and checked over his shoulder, the skin on the bridge of his nose pinched. “Let them,” he said coldly. “They’ll regret it.” “You’re not the only one selling skins, friend...” But the swarthy wolf left without replying.

Back on the street, it seemed to him the morning had taken on a sickly pallor and the breeze felt colder and wetter than before. He took a deep breath of it, willing it to cool him to his marrow; but he still felt something burning under his lungs. A sort of rash but impotent rage. For being reduced to these pathetic acts of rebellion: of withholding goods and stockpiling everything else in the wilderness. Selling just enough so his people had the bare minimum to meet their winter needs. But it wasn’t enough to make the economy bleed. Barely enough even to sting. He wished to use his teeth.

Ahead, there seemed to be a couple of soldiers patrolling the road. Cethen glared, haughty and wrapped in his own thoughts. He strode confidently toward an ill-conceived confrontation, when - beside him - a peddler pulled a thin, balding hide from his wares. It exposed, among other odds and ends, a single slim, unassuming, moth-eaten book. Cethen stopped in his tracks, riveted; and the fire in his heart was suddenly ardent for a different reason.

forgive me if i'm not using npcs correctly!

Male 1 Outlander Commonwealth Shepherd
Undecided

12

posts
25.00

renown





posted 07-11-2021, 03:10 PM - Word count:
#2
He does not know exactly how he came to be here. He is wandering aimlessly through the lands perhaps he has stumbled out of the forest. It was bound to happen eventually-- the fae could not keep him forever, maybe. And now he has stumbled into actual civilization, where he stands out even more among those that could not truly be considered his 'peers'. It was the peddler that did it-- not on purpose.

His almost eerie wandering was bought to a sudden halt and a short stop as he bonked directly into the peddlers' person, tripping clumsily over the odds and ends and even the book, causing it to tumble free of the hide and to come to an open rest on the ground in front of him. He, too, stumbled and landed in the dirt, though the peddler as seemingly far steadier on his feet and took absolutely zero time to begin to chastise the yearling for his clumsiness and inattention. And as his voice reached a fever pitch, the foggy-eyed youth found himself shrinking farther and farther back.

He smelled of the woodlands--moss and grasses and flowers and greenery, a hint of teak. His paws were still pink--had he given them time to heal or was he driven by some other force that demanded he continue onward?-- but he was clearly not of the crown, nor of its opponents. He simply....was.
He barely got out the words, his jaws unhinging as if they had been rusted shut and a squeak of his voice fell out in a tumble--just as the one he'd taken.
"No p-please.." He isn't sure what's being told to him--threatened? He trembles now, trying his utmost to gather his limbs beneath him though he seems unsure on his feet, uncertain of how his own body works and so the actions appear just as disjointed as he feels. Tears threaten to spill down his cheeks and he tries to desperately gather the book to place it back in the hide-- and yet he is snapped at for even TRYING to touch such a treasure. He doesn't know what it is, what he does, and he yelps as teeth graze across his nose and he curls in on himself, trying to hide behind the one who is NOT threatening him--that being Cethen.
"I-I'm sorry.. I'm s-sorry, please I'll f-f-fix it, I'll fix it!"

This clearly is not the place for him.

Male 2 Highlander Commonwealth Fellmonger
Jacobite

9

posts
60.00

renown





posted 07-12-2021, 12:33 AM - Word count:
#3
It was a sudden interruption. Cethen scowled and reeled backwards, a foul insult poised on the tip of his tongue. But the peddler was faster. He snapped, his voice clanging down the street, berating the clumsy pup for being an idiot. Most of it was a lot of hot air. But the yearling shrank away with tears in his eyes, which emboldened the peddler to keep abusing him. He even went far as to rap the poor lad over the nose. Cethen watched on, his scowl receding into steady, thoughtful staring.

Anyone could see this youth was soft. Well-traveled, road-sore; smelling like the forest. No Highlander though, that was for certain. The better part of Cethen wanted to intervene - but he held back. Watched it all play out. Frustrated. Bitter. Angry. It wasn’t until the youth cowered behind him, using him as a shield, that Cethen participated at all - and only then, because the peddler gave him the evil eye.

It was the promise of confrontation that did it. Cethen curled his lip, showed his teeth. “Aye right, keep ra heid pal. He said he was sorry.” Cethen met the peddler’s eyes, but the aggression in his stare was lackluster, and there was little but bland rebuke in the dull click of his tongue. “Daeye want the arm tae get involved?” More warning than a threat; Cethen resented bringing them up at all. The peddler seemed to think about it, maybe even deflated a little. Highlander or no, scrutiny by the Imperial Army would be bad for business this far north… Cethen wanted to punch something.

Gingerly, he picked up the book instead, thrilling to himself at the soft, time-worn touch of its paper and binding, at the subtle mustiness, and the creamy smell mixed with the tang of ink. He wanted more than anything to know what its silent words would say to him. To be able to interpret its fine letters. He returned it to the hide, eyes still locked on the peddler. “Ah didn't think so, so jist take it easy wae im, awright. Am gaun.” From there, Cethen stepped away from both the peddler and the yearling. He gave the former a nod and more or less ignored the latter. What did he owe him? Or any foreigner, for that matter?

Male 1 Outlander Commonwealth Shepherd
Undecided

12

posts
25.00

renown





posted 07-13-2021, 12:05 AM - Word count:
#4
He squeezed his eyes shut, expecting...well, not that. When nothing else came and the sting on his nose begins to fade, he pries his eyes open to peer up at his--perhaps unwilling--savior, whom otherwise seems to ignore his presence. He doesn't understand this social nicety, and even less-so does he understand his reasoning why. He peers back and forth between them--the deflated, but still somewhat bristly peddler, and then Cethen's receding form. He scuttles back to his feet-- uncertain, perhaps made confused by the situation-- and starts off after Cethen, not exactly wanting to stay near the other one. He hurt his nose, after all. His brows are pulled taut, not furrowed but rather pinched in an almost childish confusion and mild hopefulness at having some of his questions maybe answered.

"Where?? Where is this...? H-how do I get back to th-the forest with the sprites?" he asks, his voice a quiet and androgynous lilt that somehow sounds airy and absent. His steps are soft and quiet, as if he is just as frightened of wandering into the back of Cethen. But surely, this Nice Man™ would be able to help. He must know! He sounds like it. He frowns, pale shapes dancing across his vision and darting in and out of the corners of his eyes, and he closes his clear eye in an attempt to follow them. Spirits, they must be. That eye can only see spirits, after all. Little claws that stretch and reach for those of importance. It was how he could see the sprites, after all! So he believes. And Cethen does not appear as a black stain and thus, surely he can tell him where to go and how to get there! He purses his lips, and expression of panic suddenly crossing his features as his clear eye darts to and fro as if he would find the answer to his unasked question on the ground between them. No, perhaps not panic, but realization as he connects the dots between his murky memory and the clarity of the present.

"Um--I c-could find you a th..thing. A thing that...flaps?" He does not know what a book is, which had been made abundantly clear by not knowing what sort of treasure the peddler held. "Not..Not a bird. The thing...you w-wanted. The thing..your eyes liked. The...man had. That. I saw one. In...th-the trees." How hard he struggles to make his words clear! He means to say he saw a book in the woods, but he knows not the word for book, nor the name of the woods he so desperately wishes to go back to. His teeth clack together in a chatter as he inwardly chides himself, a soft whine being the only other sound he makes. Why is it so hard? Why does he not understand the people? Maybe he isn't trying hard enough. Maybe he has to try harder. He stretches himself out--stretch stretch stretch--as if trying to physically reach for the concept of understanding, as if it hangs in the air between him and he simply cannot grasp it.
"But I..I am...I am...misp-placed...." Lost. He is lost, apparently in more ways than one. "Please? Please help? For the...for the flappy-thing. Not me. Not me. Not me. I'm n-not...here. Please h-help?" Well, if there was a book at the end of the journey....

Male 2 Highlander Commonwealth Fellmonger
Jacobite

9

posts
60.00

renown





posted 07-13-2021, 12:59 PM - Word count:
#5
Ah well, that was going to be a problem. The tell-tale patter of footsteps fell in behind him, quiet and mouselike. He couldn’t say it was a surprise. Nice Man™ that he was, Cethen ignored the unwelcome tagalong for the time being and simply strode along the riverside, heading out of town. He made no effort to adjust his pace to match the youth's. He even played deaf to the gentle stuttering voice; the dialect rubbed him all wrong. The questions and helplessness rubbed him wrong. Maybe the yearling would get the hint and get lost. Cethen didn’t want him. Didn’t want anything to do with him. And as more locals got up, got busy, he was reminded why.

This was his home. He was proud of it. Proud of the people here, and the history and the culture and the hard living. He was proud despite how everything turned out… And in light of that, any foreign ignorance and foreign imposition sat wrong with him. No matter how small or innocuous. No matter how innocent the intention. It reminded him his home was occupied by people who could never be proud of it, and would never respect it, and would never care - whether that applied to the stranger or not. Even in their own homes, folk of the Highlands were expected to play nice, to submit and accommodate and accept outsiders walking all over them, while being treated like stupid, irrational villains. While their sacrifices were spat upon.

“Dè tha thu ag iarraidh bho mi?” Cethen stopped abruptly at the edge of town. “What do you want from me?” He’d snapped. He gave Jupiter a better look, noted the one foggy eye, the perplexing frailty about him, the childish innocence. His mind jumped to the little people of Rionnach and his hot-temper settled down. “To take yi hame, hat it?” He felt a headache coming on, but enunciated, with less of an accent: “The ‘flappy-thing’ was a ‘book.’ This place is ‘Inverness.’ An your forest is that way.” He gestured southwest and sighed. “Ahm not going there straightaway. Ave got other work to do first. If you want me to take you, you’ll have to help along the way.” The book was pure tempting, but Cethen had to be honest with himself: it wasn't worth dropping everything for. If Jupiter was willing to accommodate him, maybe they could work something out. “Otherwise, you're better aff finding someone else to help you.”

Male 1 Outlander Commonwealth Shepherd
Undecided

12

posts
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posted 07-13-2021, 11:49 PM - Word count:
#6
His eyes practically light up as the Nice Man™ agrees to help. He does not seem to register his reluctance to do so, or his quickening annoyance. Yes, yes, this is right! He knew the Nice Man™ would help. But no, he never expects anything for free. He is not that foolish, despite his childish countenance. No, nothing is ever free. There will always be a catch, be it a pound of flesh or the color of your soul. He wonders what color the Nice Man™'s soul is. He cannot see it. He cannot see the colors of any souls here. This place is odd. Weird. New. Almost exciting, if it were no so terrifying at first.

Still, his innocent delight is a spark of true light across his androgynous features, and he nods enthusiastically. "Book. Book. A book." He repeats the phrase, questioning but pleased, testing the way the word sounds on his tongue before glancing back up towards him with a pride glistening in his mis-matched eyes. "A book is a flappy t-thing. Yes....Ivern-n-n-ness." He struggled with this word a bit more--too many syllables for his mind to wrap around. He is not stupid, no. He simply....is not made for this world. He is perhaps premature for existing here. But here he is, and so he would have to deal. "Book. Ivernnnn..nnness." he follows along behind him--at a distance, but close enough to be heard if he speaks up in his chiming voice. "I will h-help. I am..I am..I am not good...at things." He admits, perhaps holding a hint of shame. But there are things he is good at--disturbingly so. If ever he learned of the college, they may have found his proverbial green thumb very interesting. "..I am...good at..some. Some things." He wrinkles his nose as his brows furrow, trying to think of how to say it. He gestures upwards--perhaps towards the sky? "The stars...The stars, I am good at. The..earth." he pats the ground,"The spirits....Inside of it." he is not a leatherworker, nor a hunter, nor anything else. He is a shepherd, not to animals, but to emotions. To spirits.

"Thank you. Th-thank you for helping. Helping me. You are...good. Good inside." He pauses then, struggling with his next words. "I...Understand I am...I am... unwanted. I should d-d-disappear. But....You are good. To h-help. Even if you h-hate me. That is why you're good." he would do his absolute best to help, yes indeed. Even if he wasn't good at it. But surely, he would try until his little heart was fit to burst.
"What words... Did you say? Dè tha thu ag iarraidh bho mi?" Huh, he seemed to be able to pronounce THAT better than he could the common tongue that was spoken, and yet he did not seem to understand it. Perhaps it simply fits in his mind better. He needed to hear it only once to remember it. "...Is that...what I should l-learn...?"

Male 2 Highlander Commonwealth Fellmonger
Jacobite

9

posts
60.00

renown





posted 07-15-2021, 01:02 PM - Word count:
#7
There was something to be said about the lad’s boundless enthusiasm. Cethen reviewed him abstractly for a moment, caught between wanting to scowl and wanting to laugh. Eventually, he settled on an exasperated sigh and shook his head, continuing his journey past the edge of town. If the lad was willing, he might as well take advantage now. He kept one ear back, listening to the youth wax on about what he was good at and what he wasn’t, but Cethen didn’t interrupt.

When he was thanked, he grunted. And when he was praised, he grimaced. It was, in his opinion, too generous; presumptuous, even. Many a highlander would’ve done the same for less (at least, before the shitshow with the crown). For his part, all he could say was Jupiter sounded childish and insecure. And he’d have cautioned the lad to reserve judgment, but Cethen decided he might as well let him make assumptions if he wanted to. He wasn't his kin. More than likely, Jupiter would change his mind one day and regret his evaluation of Cethen’s character. But Cethen didn’t really care either way.

He led them into a small sheltered dip in the landscape, where a handful of pelts had been carefully stowed and stacked, covered by rocks. “Aye, if you plan tae live here, you should learn.” Cethen was surprised how easily Jupiter had parroted his words back to him, even if he didn’t sound quite like a native yet. A promising start. “I asked what you wanted from me. Dè an t-ainm a th’ oirbh? What’s your name?” He purposefully used the more polite way to ask, and glanced at Jupiter meaningfully, pausing long enough to suggest he wanted a response. Then he went back to uncovering the pelts.

“Ye cannae be good at everything. If you were from here back in the day, mibbie you wid have been trained as a druid. If yir as good at what you say. Stars and earth and spirits and all hat.” He’d pulled off the rocks and entrusted Jupiter with two of the pelts underneath. “Carry those and cmon.” Cethen shouldered the rest and started back toward town. There weren’t many to deliver, far less than he could have given, and that was on purpose. A little part of him, in the back of his mind, once again scoffed at Jupiter’s assessment of him. No good person should want others to suffer. Yet here he was, hoping for just that - withholding supplies as winter neared their shores - and he was not sorry.


yo, you can have Jupiter show up at Cethen's thread in Aberdeen, if you want. he would've stopped there before going to the forest. I'll post a starter in the forest in a bit

Male 1 Outlander Commonwealth Shepherd
Undecided

12

posts
25.00

renown





posted 07-20-2021, 06:14 PM - Word count:
#8
He peers up at him from beneath the pelts he has been entrusted with, blinking his one seeing eye as he struggles to put together what this all means. Eventually, he comes to the conclusion that this means he should carry and help on the way 'home', and he decides that he will do exactly that. Yes, his feet hurt and his muscles ache, and he cannot entirely discern why. But maybe they would find out along the way! He knows little to nothing about politics--nor does he seem to care, though if he were informed of it all he'd probably fall under the category of Vox, assuming everybody should be free to live--and die-- of their own accord. But this is information he does not have and does not know and would likely never ask on, and so instead he manages to place a watery smile on his lips and moves to follow along behind his new, perhaps unwilling, friend.

"Dè an t-ainm a th’ oirbh..." he repeats, again this phrase seeming to come easier to him than many other things. And then the translation follows, and his smile grows a bit more honest,"I am Jupiter!" he chimes, though now he asks the same in response, testing the way it works...or sounds.
"Dè an t-ainm a th’ oirbh? W-What is your n-name?" he seems innocently pleased at the prospect of having learned a new thing--perhaps he is a sponge, willing to learn and accept some things given to him, even though he may not understand them in their entirety.



"What is a d-druid?" he asks, suddenly realizing that Nice Man™ was giving him information that he should be keeping. Still, despite his questions, he tries to remain otherwise unobtrusive as their journey continues.

Into Aberdeen~!

Male 2 Highlander Commonwealth Fellmonger
Jacobite

9

posts
60.00

renown





posted 07-21-2021, 01:37 PM - Word count:
#9
So the lad revealed the name he carried. It was odd; distinctly foreign. Then like a sponge, this Jupiter boy asked for his name in return. "Cethen, son of Artan," he answered outright, his chin up audaciously, but one ear pinned back. Some were skittish of giving their names in the Highlands. Cethen wasn't one of those; his superstitious caution only extended so far. Timidity did not suit him. And though Jupiter seemed to have moonlight in him, somehow, as the saying went, Cethen wasn't afraid.

"Ah, back in the day, they were... druids were our priests and teachers. They spoke prophecy and saw to rituals and sometimes acted as judges..." And it went like that: Cethen explaining a bit of his homeland's history with a lilt in his voice that hadn't been there prior. A hint of irritation but also a trace of pride. Let the hegemonic mainlanders deride them, but the highland's modern virtues came from ancient roots and were much beloved. So it was.

They headed south.