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“Straight thet away. Cain’t tell yore north from yore south these odd skies.” Karis pointed again, though away from herself this time, drawing a line off towards the horizon that… wasn’t far off from the trees they were supposed to be using as their marker. Well, it was closer than it wasn’t, with so much wide open space to choose from.

She was used to her companions—speaking generously—having no eye for detail. That Dreefus might have managed, except that he was forever stepping on the tracks she was trying to trace, and she’d long since handed him over to Ol’ Bill to alleviate her frustration. She’d never had much maternal instinct. A lame duck was more likely to garner her sympathy. And then she’d happily make a meal of it. “Ahm seein’ big feet an’ long strides, so isn’t them goats. S’bigger’n ‘em. Cain’t tell much else these old tracks, ceptin’ it’s two footed. Best be getting’ our’n feet for’ard then fore youse two freeze ‘em balls off. C’mon Cat.”

With that observation on their complaints out of the way, Karis turned her attention back to following the trail. Sticking to one side of it, she set off breaking her own trail rather than ruin the tracks more, with the dog following behind her, nose turning into the wind. Unlike the other two, she didn’t have much trouble leaving the fires behind. She’d grown up where winters were fierce and summers were short, and while she didn’t enjoy the cold, she’d rather it and understanding her surroundings than being warm and ignorant and in danger. Of course, there was always the chance it was so cold and dark nothing lived here, but then where’d those trees come from? And she’d heard of even more desolate worlds from a few other trackers sharing notes. If those had trouble on them, why not this one?

Anyway, they had a critter to track and a small bit of world to explore. And it was cold. No way she’d stand around chatting any longer than necessary.

Watching them head out, short, vigourous woman in the lead, Bartrum’s heavy frame obscuring more than half of her from his view, Rundall considered the possibilities of them finding anything. Given the weather and the area, it seemed about half again as likely that they’d find nothing, but following tracks ought to lead somewhere, and if it wasn’t to a frozen stiff making its own snowdrift, then it would be to clues about the world they’d found. He’d already racked his brain trying to remember which worlds he’d heard of that came with ice and snow like this, but honestly… Those weren’t much to go on. Plenty of worlds had winter, or poles, or mountains. And they hadn’t even been around long enough to know for sure this wasn’t just night time. So, yes, he wanted to find the creature that had slipped through the portal. According to Church doctrine, mixing worlds in too carefree a manner had consequences. Of course, they were doing it too, but everything they did was regulated. Regimented. Under their jurisdiction. Made them rich off trade, he knew.

But ensuring there wasn’t any trouble caused by a new portal was only half their mission. He didn’t think many of the others had been around new portals before, but it at least explained why he’d been saddled with poor Dreefus. Rules were, when any Hunting squad found a portal, they had to make a report. And it ought to be worth reading. Rundall never liked doing things half-assed. Sure, he could’ve turned straight around and handed off responsibility, but he liked having answers to questions. Pity, then, that he mostly couldn’t find them for himself. Karis was the best tracker he’d met yet, and Bartrum could keep her safe no questions asked. Werric was for extra security and another set of eyes. But if he could have, he’d have been the third one taking the rear.

When he was younger, Rundall had been an advocate of leading by example. After all, if the nearest authority was willing to do the job, then the men couldn’t complain. They still would, that went without saying, but they’d be less inclined to resentment. In the army, all their grumbling would have been a deplorable breach in discipline. But he wasn’t in the army anymore. Wasn’t so young. Wasn’t so eager. And he wasn’t always capable of leading from the front either. Be a liability, if he got in on any action these days. And he’d only slow everyone down if he went on scouting missions. Still, he was perfectly capable of fetching his own meals. So, when he saw two of the men coming towards him with more than their own share, he couldn’t help frowning.

The people under him were a ragtag lot, from all walks of life. Most Hunters were. But they all had one thing in common: they’d needed the Church as much as the Church needed them. Few of them were in it for the merit of doing good work. Few cared to put in more effort than was demanded of them. Serving their leader wasn’t on the list of necessary actions. So, he eyed the plate with reasonable suspicion when the first fellow held it out, and didn’t immediately take it. “What’s’it yehr askin’ fer then, Pinter? Ain’t switchin’ ye’s out ‘fore the warm side ‘til time’s up, that’s what this is.”

He'd made a roster, set a schedule, and didn’t care if they were cold. So was he. If they’d had more trackers, he’d have put more of them to use going off in different directions. As it was, he could understand being a bit frustrated with waiting around in the cold, but he wanted the extra force in case any natives noticed them. Or something tried getting through the portal.
After tucking his boot back in his belt—it was the right one, with no foot to cover—Rundall sighed and lowered himself into the chair he’d brought. It was his one luxury, apart from the whiskey he occasionally shared with his men, and he appreciated the measly comfort of its fabric seat. Now Dreefus was finished causing a fuss, he could get back to scowling at the crutches he couldn’t entirely trust anymore. Not with ice and snow everywhere. He was eyeing the smooth ends, toying with the notion of nails and spikes and mostly not actually thinking it was a good idea. Split the wood, more likely, but it was still tempting.

“Haaa, should haves, could haves.” He’d always known he should have ordered some studded caps or something for traction. Wasn’t as though he’d never seen a winter before. Just never got around to doing it. Blacksmiths were expensive, even for loyal hunters with the Church’s backing. Discounts only got you so far, and honestly… the pay wasn’t much to write home about. Didn’t have to be, most of the hunters took up the job because they didn’t belong anywhere else. Some more so than others…

His eyes lifted from his crutches to fall on the bear beside him with roughly the same idle disappointment and resignation. They’d gotten used to each other, over the years, enough so that Rundall no longer considered the effort of paperwork worth getting rid of the man. Oh, he still had complaints, but he was more amused by the slow show of respect than troubled by it. Still, he couldn’t help sighing as he reached into his bag to pull out his best substitute for studded boots: stuffed leather and caltrops. Tying the makeshift pieces around the ends of his crutches, he couldn’t help wondering why it was he felt easier with this gruff wreck than that poor, harmless kid sitting over by the other fire and looking even more miserable now he had to eat the hard tack he’d been handed for dinner.

“Doan laik this empty space. Karis did th’sweep, but ain’t fer sure there’s nothing. Tahk ‘er an’ Werric an’ one’a th’dogs. Go wide ‘round and look int’that track she found. Then get yehr bearin’s with distance on that dead lotta trees there… Ain’t sure it’s so close s’it looks.” Rundall gave the orders without much need for small talk, and he didn’t feel the least bit sorry about sending any of them off into the cold away from the fires, either. They needed to learn more about this world, look for signs it was lived in or even more dangerous than the dark and cold of long winter threatened. And though Karis hadn’t found anything untoward, she hadn’t been as thorough as she could be. Though, apparently it hadn’t been hard to find the trail of the beast that must have come through the portal. Given as it didn’t continue on the other side. But, some time ago, apparently. He’d have called the tracks divots himself, and not thought anything of them they’d been blown over so well, but that’s why Karis was the tracker, not him.
I have no source, but I could have sworn ferrets have played a trickster fae role... Somewhere. Maybe I was dreaming.
Hopeful assumptions have proved less than adequate compared with the actual feast that had been gathered; Wai was feeling heavy as she made her ponderous way down the tree. It was not rare to have a feast; they were the standard of celebration. Everyone felt better with a full belly. The size, however, and sheer amount of variety told her both that this village was doing particularly well for itself, and that Iln was a well-loved member of the community. Whether his family was connected to the organization of food or he was good friends with the hunters, they’d clearly put in extra effort.

And Wai’d reaped the benefits. She was glad he had so much support, pleased to see such strong proof that everyone was happy for him, while she was happy for herself and her lucky arrival. She’d tucked in immediately, along with everyone else, as soon as the last dish bearer had joined the circle. It wasn’t every day she got to eat cultivated mushrooms—a specialty in these parts—or taste the mixture of salty sharpness that was fat grubs and tiny ants popping between her teeth. Every village had their own variety of insects to pick from, though there were several constants: like the pudgy he’im larvae that could be found under almost any bark. Ants, too, were not uncommon, though she’d discovered that even the same species could change its flavor depending on where she found them. Hard-shelled beetles and spiders with soft flesh and unappetizing discouragement expertly taken apart so that she couldn’t find even a hint of the noxious spray or unpleasant barbs to mar the flavor. Then, of course, there’d been the fermented meats, some lizard and orn mixed with their own spices and the sweet sour thickness remained on her tongue even now.

She’d washed it all down with a heady mouthful of behsa, and its potency was the primary reason for her cautious descent, rather than the weight of a full meal. Though she did have to pause briefly to grit her teeth against an escaping yawn. It wasn’t a dizziness so much as a carefree exhilaration that overwhelmed good sense. Made it far easier to set a foot wrong or grab empty air. No one ever had more than a mouthful if they were planning on moving at all afterwards. The best way to enjoy behsa was setting up a hammock and indulging in a jar between sleeps, but she didn’t have the luxury. So, she’d simply tucked away some of the truffles and hard fruits in her belt pouch to eat later and left after a quick congratulations to Iln once she’d finished eating her fill.

Chances were good some would still be partaking when she woke up later, whether they were those who’d missed the ceremony, or those simply enjoying an extended break from whatever they’d been doing, Wai never had the energy to keep up that much good cheer. For now, she could only climb slowly to the lower branches twined beneath the floating village hall to where the home nests hung on long, strong vines carefully braided together and constantly tested for wear and tear. From above, they looked less like fanciful water droplets and more like shadowy blobs, but familiar enough. Her destination was the cluster of three hanging somewhat separate from the rest, reserved for Runners. When she reached them, she plucked the farthest rope first, feeling the vibrations fade and waiting a while before supposing no one was using it. Or they were sleeping very soundly…

Eyeing the distance she’d have to climb down and back up if that was the case, Wai sighed and finally just snuffed out a short breath through her nose. She could always sleep on the floor. And with that encouraging notion to buoy her along, she leaned idly down, catching onto the first loop braided into the long line and then going down hand over hand in a faster descent than her mother would ever have allowed. The wide loops made it easy, the swaying her movement caused, and the open space beneath her made it rather more foolhardy than could be entirely blamed on the behsa, and she landed with a hollow thwump on the rounded roof of the nest. Hanging on with a little smile and tense thrill curling her tail as it bounced and jolted into harsh rocking underneath her feet. Nests weren’t toys, her mother had often admonished, but with no one watching, she hadn’t been able to resist a little fun.

While she regained her breath and waited for the nest to stop swinging so she could climb inside, Wai stared up at the spirals above her head, they were turning slowly, or, she was, rather, though it felt like it should have been harder to tell. She could see the dark spot of the village hall overhead, set between the branches, its silhouette comfortingly protective and spinning too. That made her snort again. Halls did not spin. They were very firmly anchored. But the illusion was strangely alluring all the same. Like it was floating on its own. And with the haloing glow of the feastgoers reflecting off the eaves, it did seem oddly surreal. Pretty, but hardly going to help her sleep. She shook her head at herself and slipped, with more usual care, down the side of the nest and through the hanging moss covering the entrance.

As she’d expected, there was no one else within, so the dark was suddenly more absolute. She was the only light illuminating a simple space. The glow of her skin shadowing the interior in faded blue softness. There was little enough to see, the only personal touch was the weaving method, marking differences between here and there, rather than who was living in it. Only the smooth creak and give of the vines beneath her feet gave it a lived in quality, the hanging hammock clearly well weathered, supporting edges polished by passing hands and bodies so that they reflected the light that little bit more brightly.

Wai moved more by memory than sight, pulling off her belt pouch to hang it on a double pronged wooden hook, her huewri was left to hang from the other side. And then she tumbled gracelessly into the hammock, humming satisfaction to be off her feet and out of the light, tucked away in the quiet and rocked to sleep. For a while, she stared up at the ceiling, enjoying the absence of defined shapes and solidity of empty space rather than being able to see the thin dome above her. She didn’t even notice when her eyes slipped shut. The view never changed…
I think I can safely say that my go to genre is fantasy. High, medium, low. With or without magic. Tolkienesque or new-made, completely out there world. Modern supernatural and historical genres fit in with this pretty nicely, and I can easily expand to romance or adventure or whatever the heck people want, but I'm rarely satisfied if there isn't at least some smidgeon of not quite Earth tucked in between the layers.

I don't necessarily think that it's because I don't want to write about the things in this world, given as I'll often appropriate something useful to stick into a different world, and there's so many interesting aspects of Earth I couldn't possibly write them off as not worth considering, but I love world building too much to have nothing to do with all my extra ideas.

But something I do enjoy about the less out there stories are that rather than concerning myself with world description, I can focus very readily on character development. Not to say that one eclipses the other, but when I don't have as much work to do on the one side, then of course I'll be dividing my focus less. So, I guess I could also stick slice of life in there, though when I actually look up the genre, it tends to confuse me. But yeah, fantasy with slice of life moments is probably my favourite.
Hmmm, if I had to pick only one, an admittedly difficult endeavour, I think there'd be a lot of seconds, but the stand out character I would almost always want to play (at least if he fit the rp) but might hesitate to bring out, is Lucas.

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He started out as a wanted character whose backstory I admittedly didn't think about as hard as I probably should have, but I've had the opportunity to bring him into play a few more times since then to the point where I like his history now and I just enjoy writing his posts. But I don't think there's a lot of rps he'd fit into, and he's probably not easy to rp against. He's not the best at holding a coherent conversation... :\ So, part of the reason I like him so much is probably the lack of opportunity to get tired of writing him, heh.
Two pet peeves I have, and I admittedly have several more, but most of them are underwhelming and have been repeated here already. I'm just making a list because complaining is fun. >.>

1) Dialogue. The first problem is minor, and has only happened a few times, mostly with one person who isn't on the Guild, that I know of. But when someone typos a word or name in dialogue... admittedly this can be annoying for the person whose character is named, but typos happen. Not checking with the writer first before having another character call the speaker out on mispronouncing something can kinda ruin the moment, slight though it may be. The second is anyone putting words in my character's mouth. Knowing the answer to a question they're asked, in general, is fine. But actively writing out what they said, especially if they don't know how my character would have spoken, just makes me fume. Briefly.

2) Giving my character personality attributes they never asked me about before sticking them in the story. Even if the character was from a wanted ad, even if we shared our ideas about them, and even if the two characters are supposed to know each other really well. If you get them right, that's lucky, if you get them wrong... One of us isn't going to be happy. I don't mind characters assuming things about other characters, or having their own perspective on my character's actions and thoughts, but literally making it a statement of self-assured fact without checking in with me pisses me off.
As the robot explained the purpose of the empty building, 02 decided it was reasonable to find it so empty then. If it wasn’t a defensible or strategic location, there was no reason not to abandon it for the more obviously armoured ships in an uncertain situation. She was absently trying to count the ones in the half of the dome that she was looking towards while listening in, but the numbers became less important the longer the robot rambled. Not because it wasn’t a good idea to know, but because it was offering them information she had not thought of. Something rather… worrying.

And amusing, that it didn’t know they were the things that had crashed through the glass. She wondered if they should apologize for that, but didn’t know whose fault it was. She didn’t feel like she should apologize for anything that might not be her fault, or in her control.

Of more concern, was the revelation that the streets hadn’t been evacuated because people were in danger. The empty windows with their lights still on hadn’t been abandoned in a rush for safety, but because all those people, maybe… everyone in this city, would become those soldiers that made her gut twist. She didn’t like that thought. And her gaze grew sharper as she eyed the ships until the robot distracted her with its handouts. Inspecting the item curiously, 02 hesitantly did as she was told, after glancing towards the other two, just to see what they thought. She had to remove the mask and headpiece first, and she didn’t like that. But being able to speak with the robots more directly seemed a good idea.

At the question turning the conversation back over to them, she tilted her head a moment and then asked the first two thoughts that came into her mind. “Is every civilian a Varden soldier?” Lifting her arm to point towards the spire, she didn’t give him a chance to begin another ramble. “What is that?”
When the robot started up, 02 had been glad, though she wasn’t sure what it was they’d done to fix it. Perhaps it had fixed itself.

She was far less pleased when it began flailing about with hard little arms and legs. One, probably accidental rap on her fingers and she pulled her hands back, taking away his support and stepping out of reach. Watching it, she did have to admit it was somewhat amusing, how it appeared to be attempting violence, given the words it was spouting. Less amusing was the volume, and she winced, quickly diverting her gaze to their surroundings to make sure it wasn’t so loud other people might hear it. They were on top of a tall building though, and with the rain… She doubted they’d have to worry, but she’d watch the ships just in case.

01 could deal with the hysterical robot. Dealing with robots seemed to be a skill of hers. Or she was simply more gregarious. Whatever the reason…

Her amber eyes remained turned outward as the conversation took up a little more calmly, gaze sweeping half the sky as she listened in. She didn’t turn around at the question addressed to them either, simply shrugged. She hadn’t had a chance to look at the items to which the cables were attached, and she doubted she’d need to know. Either the robot would, they weren’t important, or… “Will they still work with the wires cut?”
Whoop, sorry. I'll get a post out today.
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