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Messages - Koa Red-eye

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1
Skygge / Re: Spring Leaves, City Lights
« on: October 16, 2021, 06:07:00 AM »

"Who would challenge you?" Koa asked in earnest. "You would need wisdom for your words," he cautioned, "but I think a queen is in even a better position than a priestess to say what is needed." Koa could not know any of it for sure. His life was mostly run by an old Priest and an older Widow. Neither cared much for what or how they said anything to him.

Or maybe he was leading her completely astray with his assumptions.

He let the matter go with a little shrug, dismissing her worries about age as well. "As we all start old." He could not imagine the leaders back home being young, their youth had been so long before his time. Besides, even children had their own sort of wisdom.

Koa thought he might have blushed at being called clever. He never had been before. His thumb dug harder at the unshaven patch beneath his chin. She was smiling at him, as if he were clever indeed, and that the end of a storm was a good thing. Quiet and intense. Even he could recognize himself in that.  Sucking his teeth, he nodded.

Leaning forward slightly, Koa looked what would be a shirt over. He thought, if he opened his barriers and pried a little, squinting his eyes and looking just so, he could see, or sense, a little of her craft work being done to it. "That is clever." Koa was very hardly clever, but making comforting pieces of queen to take with you was much.

Back away again, he looked askance at her, confusion and surprise drifting across his face. "You are most welcome, lady." Who would come upon her and be any else? Who could? Or was this a dismissal? Koa had never played attendant before and did not know the subtleties. He was much used to being summoned and dismissed clearly. And abruptly.

He did have tasks to complete, though he had forgotten what ones. His gaze searched the people around them again. Had whoever she'd been waiting for arrived? He was still concerned about the lack of brothers. "Should I go now?" he asked her plainly.


2
Lys / Re: Traveling Too
« on: September 18, 2021, 06:10:25 AM »

Of course it did. Koa's shoulders gave that fact away, shedding the worry of it like water. Like so many things in life, it must be learned. So many stages of infancy, no matter how old a person got. But this was one kernel of knowledge he would not chase across the plate. He would leave the webs of Raej to people such as this lady.

"It makes sense." Places beyond their borders didn't have that same feel. Sometimes Koa mistook it for homesickness, but upon further examination it wasn't an urge to be home, but... something missing. Like the weather. Or the feel of a well worn pair of boots. Nothing tangible, nothing with a name. Just something missing.

Their time together was winding away. Koa could feel it. Could see it too, in the way her gaze was drawn to away. It made him smile quietly to himself. Such was the nature of bears. They were neither mating or feasting, and so it was time to be on. To be gone from each other. There was no malice or ill feeling. Just nature.

"Not too soggy." He answered, thinking backward. He helped her set her cart to rights again. Making sure that everything was in place. Hauling his own mule by the bridle, Koa convinced her to pull their wagon out of the way. Down the road again in the direction they were going. Transports separating them, he remembered, a nose in the palm of his hand as he shared.

"Oh of them was in mourning. I forget which. Bad accident." He cautioned. Death made people funny.


3
Lys / Re: Traveling Too
« on: August 28, 2021, 06:16:36 AM »

Koa's hand cut the air, flat palm turned one way and then the other. "Bears require a lot of room." And were generally solitary. He found company even harder to keep when he shed skin for fur. Too many pockets and you risked overrunning a whole territory. But were larger, farther flung groups any safer?

He had to believe they were, since they had not been found out yet.

Removing questing lips from his sleeve, Koa nodded faint understanding. "I cannot sense them at all. Or, recognize that I am feeling them." He knew they were there, and had heard discussion on what they did; but otherwise the webs were like air for Koa. Invisible and not often thought of despite being ever present. And possibly just as necessary.

He wanted to question her on how that was determine. The who of the repair, but he kept the question to himself. A secret bonded them, but they were still only just acquainted. He had been taught manners thoroughly, whether they had thought him paying attention or not.

"I had noticed that." Koa stroked his collar bone. He could not hold down an exact image of certain places and things in the cities. Or maybe it was people. It was easier to forget and forgive there than in the wilder country. He supposed wheat fields had less need of webbing. "Where are you headed now?" Their paths were at heads, but perhaps he could give her pointers on the road ahead. And she him.


4
Skygge / Re: Spring Leaves, City Lights
« on: July 10, 2021, 07:27:46 AM »

Koa's lips pursed, eyes roaming the green and the people spreading across it. Some picnicked, others lounged. A few clustered together in intense discourse. More still milled, traveling down the paths that cut along the river and across the grass. He knew there was a little footpath that meandered into a copse of trees, artfully placed.

He saw no one waiting. "It was not my intention." He apologized, unsure if she was awaiting someone he was keeping away with his very presence. Koa checked himself, like a man searching his pockets, curious if he did something without realizing. But he felt like himself, inside and out. A little unsettled by playing attendance on a queen, but otherwise him, with pockets full of maps.

Koa was torn between watching her sort her fabrics, choosing a color only to count the threads and stitches with her fingers, and imagining her running through forests in her fluffy gown. The two acts seemed so completely opposite, and her appearance at odds with being free in nature. "I would think trees are a natural thing, for queens." They were the caretakers of the land, the heart of Blood. Every male bent to service to protect more than just a witch, but a realm.

It seemed more natural to him, than all of this.

"Wisdom is a true gift." Koa's head bobbed. She should take one of these brothers with her when she went running about like a wild thing. Truly he could not picture her running at all. Caught off guard by her question, he turned inward, chewing at himself as he tried to put words into what his life was. It was not something he thought much about it. "True say, its not wherever I want, but wherever I'm needed." There was, he decided, a difference.

She liked families, he saw by her smile. Why then was she out here without her own? Koa put full blame on the males, and left the queen clean of misconduct. And maybe a little lacking in wisdom, but he did not scold. "Most people are." He had not met many idle ones. At least none of good character he would wish to recall. There was a silence after his little joke. Koa was used to the silences. His was not the gift of social graces. He spoke too slowly and thought slower still.

"It is a joke." He agreed with a duck of his head in apology. Maybe not an incorrect joke, but she did not seem to like it, so koa let it float away. "A storm?" His thumb nail stroked a bristle of hair beneath his chin. He had missed a place when shaving. Head canting, he examined the queen, who was, he thought, examining him back. Her hands idle among her fabrics. "I would imagine you could say whatever you please." A storm. Koa's hand strayed beneath his arm, fingers lightly where claws marked his skin.

"I have never sprung rain before, so you should be quite safe." He promised her, in case she worried. "Your dress too." He gestured to her sewing basket. "What are you making?" He asked, trying to take her mind away from whatever was bothering her.


5
Lys / Re: Traveling Too
« on: July 03, 2021, 06:54:12 AM »

He knew the priests would call it grace. And that the old spider would call it design. Koa could never say how he viewed these chance encounters. Happenstance that turned out important later. He let them discuss them and turn them into something divine while he simply lived them and brought back the tales of his travels.

Not that he met other bears by accident often.

Neither did she by the look of things. How big was she, he wondered idly, not really wanting to find out.

"We are a secretive people," he soothed, when she seemed more troubled by the not knowing than Koa was. He found comfort in doing what he was good at. Finding what he was sent to find. Helping children he saw the ghost of himself in. Rejected, scorned. Hoping to save others from monikers similar to his own.

Stjerne. Koa found it on the map, nestled in the farmland. "I do not imagine there are many." More suited to solitary life, were bears. But there was comfort in having your own people around you. The same as families who never spread beyond a street. People building cities so that they could live nearly on top of each other.

As much as he liked home, Koa liked the going as well.

Eyes drawn away from the boundaries of the map, Koa picked up the leaflet she laid down. Bold lettering splashing across the page to draw attention and keep it. "Interesting." He'd never been to one. His thumb trailed down the list of addresses, spread across Raej like anchor hooks in a web. "Can you sense them?" He asked, eyes tipping back up to her. He never had, the webs built into Raej's very soil.

People talked about them, but Koa never felt whatever it was they did. Or even noticed their presence at all.


6
Lys / Re: Traveling Too
« on: June 19, 2021, 06:43:47 AM »

Koa nodded half solemnly. He could imagine what sort of stories would spread if all stayed as he had. Most children grew up and went away, forging their own lives in the wider world. "It is sometimes crowded." He admitted. Especially when they had many rowdy children.

It helped that they were mostly self sufficient. And that their community was built of angnuk, for angnuk. When a secret was shared, in this instance, it was easier to keep. They were all at risk, and all shared the same burden that would live with them forever. The secret of a second self.

Koa still only half understood the risk of it all, but he kept the secret all the same. "Not that I am aware of." He considered, remembering. Face vacant as he searched his memories, a little puzzled crease forming between eyebrows that blended into his skin. "No such thing or place has been mentioned to me." Marking the places her fingers and eyes touched on the map, Koa left it between them, as a peace offering.

"Not so much." Koa gestured to his wagon. "I have always gone this way." He knew there were others who had used the Winds for quick searching. And some who were dark enough to guard frightened children against the buffet of the Winds, but Koa had always sat behind reins and taken the long quiet route. "Tell me?" He asked, this time he gestured to the map.

Did the others knew? Now that he did, Koa imagined they must. It made him sad that so many such places were needed. Two in Raej seemed like too many.


7
Skygge / Re: Spring Leaves, City Lights
« on: June 12, 2021, 07:09:36 AM »

Her words flowed like the river, but Koa did not feel as though they would rise over his head and wash him away. He was a stone in them, and they parted gently around him. Was this a gift of queens? To surround without overwhelming? Priestesses he was familiar with. Beating you about the shoulders with wisdom and idiom.

This was not that. Or maybe a little of that.

"I see." He smiled, unable to voice more than that. She would make him think, as priests often wished you to think. He had never heard the meeting of strangers labeled in such a manner. But her joy was too bright for him to be cast in the shadow of confusion. She laughed even. Was a it a joke? Koa could not say, so he smiled.

Not a jest. Certainly not mockery. Maybe she just viewed the world this way. So happy to make his acquaintance. Koa decided it was something more than just a queen-thing. It had to a particular to this woman thing. No other queen would greet him so, he was sure. Face ducking away at her extravagance. And he with barely an appropriate bow to pay her back with.

"You have done a most fine job." She and her dress certainly resembled each other. Head down and smile on, Koa listened. Lazy probes eeking out into the surrounding area. Eyes hard to take away from the lady would talked to him. But he sensed no danger, just passing interest and curiosity. Similar to what had brought him close. But his presence kept others away.

"A twin. How interesting." How similar were they, Koa wondered of this prince twin and his sister. A warlord brother he could more easily imagine. Though where were they? Still he did not ask. Now the focus of her attention in a manner that asked questions. "You read me very well, Lady Aendaciana. I am from a village near the border" The quiet places and large wilds suited him very well.

And his bear. "It is like having a very large family. Full, mostly, of nosy aunts and bossy uncles." It was not his description, but one he had heard applied to their community by one of the others. Koa had no memory of aunts and uncles to compare it to. The family that had birthed him mostly forgotten. Mostly on purpose. "I am here on village business. The bumpkin visiting the city." He grinned, stealing another phrase, this one he'd had hurled at him as an insult before.


8
Skygge / Re: Spring Leaves, City Lights
« on: May 21, 2021, 05:27:26 PM »

He worried he had startled her. Not for the fright he might have given, for she did not seem afraid even in the slightest. But just that she had not noticed him at all. It was vanity either, Koa quite liked being overlooked, but it meant she wasn't paying attention. Maybe it was a security present in her caste that he was not aware of. His thumb traced a seam in the hem of his coat, almost too warm for the weather.

Better to worry it than her. "Hello." He replied, mouth following hers from greeting to smile. Why would she smile at him that way? He would never complain of it, just wonder. The same way a man might marvel at how the sun rose every day. Impossibly bright. But he didn't move from his spot, feet refusing to be beckoned by a smile. They required an invitation.

An invitation he got. Smile shrinking as she admitted to having not thought. That seemed to be the way of things, especially among witch and small children. Never thinking ahead. Koa bowed politely, the corners of his eyes fluttering with amused frustration. She was not his to tuck away or scold. And scolding so rarely worked. At least not with small children. Koa had never dared scold a witch of any caste.

"The weather is especially fine." He agreed, peaceably. "I am not disturbing you?" If she wished to sit alone, Koa would simply stand near by. Or perhaps even sit, the grass here was plush enough that no blanket was needed. He smoothed his pockets, feeling paper crinkle beneath his hands. She was very friendly, but perhaps a friendly lady of such a lofty caste needed time to sit alone, away from everyone else.

Yet she did not protest his presence, speaking to him freely as if they had known each other quite a long time. Koa continued to hover at the corner of her blanket. The fine fabric a barrier his dusty boots couldn't bear to cross just yet. He nodded along with her words, which flowed like a burbling brook, almost a backdrop. "Ah-aha." He almost laughed, cheeks darkening and eyes crinkling. "No forgiveness necessary."

"I am Koa Red-Eye, lady." She was very forthcoming and upfront. She spoke an obvious truth with very little care or shame. No apology, but no mockery either, of her name. It was, certainly, more than he was used to fitting his mouth around. "Your name is lovely, I assure you." Eyes flitting from the tilt of her head to the ruffles of her dress, Koa slowly eased himself down. Perching at the corner of her blanket, legs sprawled before him.

"Do you have many brothers?" He did not continue his question beyond that. It was not his place to inquire as to their whereabouts. They were not here, which was all that mattered in the end. But no harm had come to her, and now Koa was here to see it continued so.


9
Skygge / Re: Spring Leaves, City Lights
« on: May 02, 2021, 08:13:26 AM »

They were mostly self sufficient in their hamlet. But even with the trade wagons that rolled down their pitted path with semi-regularity, there were things that were harder to come by. Things that necessitated trips into the larger cities of Raej.

And letters that required a delicate hand in delivery. Or, at least, a trustworthy hand. Koa was well suited. The most unlikely to mention his mission to a stranger, or even a friend should he make one. He carried it in his cabinet with studious silence. Barely thought of it, except to remember where it needed taking.

He lent himself to other tasks first. Collecting those harder to acquire bits and pieces. Strange things needed by the priests and priestesses. Odd ends required by the black widows.

The weather was nice. The sun was warm on his face, but the air was cool. That sort of perfect middle ground that made a man pause and tip his face skyward. It drew Koa from his work and lead him down a winding path that followed the river. Many others walked with him. Lovers, friends, quiet solitary souls such as himself. They promenaded along the river bank, or spilled across the green slopes on blankets or cushions.

One such drew more attention than the rest. It was not just Koa's, either, but nearly all the man, and many of the women. Even if they did not approach, they looked, as Koa looked. It was impossible not to. Instinct directed his eye, and tugged at his feat. Queen, that dark maleness inside him whispered. Koa had very little experience with them, but enough to recognize that feeling.

And so little of it to let his baser nature, or perhaps, his more noble nature, take him to the outskirts of her blanket. He hovered, his manner too placid to be awkward. He didn't have temper in need of soothing. His was a mostly settled soul. But he liked that feeling. That strange sort of feeling he could not name, but which could only be provided by the loftiest of castes.

"Lady." He greeted, because to stand in utter silence would be rude. But he did not stare. Eyes on the water running beyond the walkers. Staring would be all the ruder. She was unaccompanied. Koa took it as invitation to linger all the longer. As escort. Koa dipped a look from the corner of his eyes. The letter would keep for an afternoon. "How may I serve?" He offered, smoothing the corner of a blanket with the worn toe of his boot.


10
Lys / Re: Traveling Too
« on: April 18, 2021, 06:58:26 AM »

Koa's face folded into a smile. Dark creases pitching shadows over the flash of his teeth. Head ducking, he tried not to laugh at the look on her face. Muscles straining to keep the wagon from rolling right over her. It was obvious that she did not often, or ever, meet their kind on the road.

He guessed it would be a shock. He went looking for more angnuk. She was... well, he still didn't rightly know what she was doing.

Sucking his teeth at the wobble in her voice, Koa nodded his understanding and tried to school his features. He was relaxed now, however. Not that angnuk were any less dangerous than other Blood, truly, she was more so, even if she wore only a Rose. She was likely to be twice his size and doubly ferocious.

There was just something soothing about being with one of your own. Stranger or no. "Not so silly. I hadn't considered it either." He admitted with a shrug of his hand. Koa checked the brake to make sure the wagon wasn't going to roll away into the brush. "We're on the border where it starts to get hilly."

Pulling a folded up parchment from his cabinet, Koa smoothed the map out on the footboard of the wagon. Orienting it so that she could see, he traced the mountain range and tapped the valley his hamlet was nestled in. "Lots of room to hide naughty cubs." He joked, never stopping to imagine she might be a danger to their family.


11
Lys / Re: Traveling Too
« on: January 17, 2021, 06:58:21 AM »

Her laugh was pleasant, making Koa smile, though he hadn't meant to be funny. He was so often unamusing, he did not mind being found so, even on accident. "Ha." Koa nodded. He understood this, just as he understood journey's becoming long ones, be it by purpose or mishap. "That is a good way of putting it." It made him think though. Did any of them every truly rest?

If he did not journey, he helped with the care of the land, and the children. Webs were always being wove. Prayers uttered. Truthfully, the days he spent in the wagon were probably his most restful.

Koa watched her. Thoughtful, and quietly attentive, as he dropped hints in their banter. Feeling her out as they dropped traces and shifted the wagon. Both of them strong. Stronger, maybe, than they should be. Yes. She was surely a powerful bear. And there, there was a tell tale. Her lips pinched a little at the corners, and a furtiveness came into her gaze.

"Truly." He promised her solemnly. The wagon was nearly settled now. They would have room to pass each other and continue on their separate ways. Koa was not yet ready to go, however. "We understand each other, then. See?" He smiled, manner passive and open. Did she see? Could she smell the bear inside of him? "A quiet place is most helpful, we have found. It settles all those frightening changes children go through. Or young women." It came later for them.

Larger. Fiercer. The elders spoke of that being the reason why they were so dangerous. Koa did not think it mattered why, just that they were. An unfortunate thing for those not prepared.


12
Lys / Re: Traveling Too
« on: December 12, 2020, 05:32:11 AM »

"Is it a long one?" Koa let her let and politely pretended not to notice. He had a feeling he knew why she did. Quick furtive glances when she thought he was not looking. Gaze lingering when their eyes met in conversation or mutual work. Muscles straining as they heaved the cart out of the way.

It still nagged at him, the idea of her traversing the territory with no escort. That he knew she was more than well protected by her bear did nothing to put to sleep the worry. Or the fact that he knew a dozen women of a strong and independent bent.

The wagon creaked and rocked between then, slowly shifting toward the turn out. Koa was careful not to press to hard and make the work uneven. "I live near the border in a small village." A place she would have been comfortable in. Welcome in. What was her home life like, he wondered. She did not seem the country type. "Both? I feel they are one and the same." Koa added after thinking on the answer a moment.

They were family. And they all worked together to help preserve their people. Would she understand? Did she do the same? "We are a sort of orphanage, for foundlings who need extra help." He hinted, gaze steady across the wagon as they wedged onto the side of the path.


13
Lys / Re: Traveling Too
« on: November 21, 2020, 06:40:15 AM »

The closer he got, the more Koa was sure. Even over the stink of mule that surrounded him, he could smell it. Two stubborn heads at his back, and one at his front, he wedged the curious, nipping beasts apart. His woolen cloak was left with slobber and pinch marks where they lipped and nipped at him since they couldn't each other. Koa didn't mind. His skin was tougher than they thought.

"As with all mules." He informed her. Donkeys were worse. He'd had one when he'd been younger. Smaller. Riding around in a little single cart so he could learn the feel of it. The mules had more sense, and height. And bit less often, thank the Darkness. "I am." Surely she fell into the message running category. The thought made Koa's lips pinch, broad hands helping her with her wagon once he'd slithered form between the mules.

Women were just as capable of other work. He should know, he'd been saved by a very capable woman himself.

"Thinking I might give up and just go home." Koa heaved from one side, careful not to lift higher or push harder than Audun. His eyes meeting hers over the tongue of the wagon. Did she recognize him for what he was? Both of them the same sort of secret beast traveling the wilds? Not everyone knew, or understood. He'd learned that in his travels.

Going out to find fledglings had made him invariably good at picking out other Angnuk. "Everyone is nervous." What need did she have to fear? Her woman body might be vulnerable but her bear would be ferocious. The females were always big and terrifying.


14
Lys / Re: Traveling Too
« on: October 24, 2020, 06:02:02 AM »

Koa was rather surprised at the eager way the mules approached the other. Their two noses hemming it its one as they exchanged breaths in huffs and whiffs. It was easier for him to watch the animals, peering down the alley between their necks to watch the exchange, than to meet the woman's eyes.

"Lady." He returned in greeting, voice almost swallowed in the space between them. Koa cleared his throat and breathed deeply. He had come across many people on the road. There was no need for him to turn into a mass of hysteria just because this instance was so sudden. The close quarters meant nothing. Truth, she had more to fear than he, being a woman unescorted in the center of a deep dark wood.

"Shoulda taken the wider road." He admitted. But this way was quicker. And quieter. The roads seemed more menacing lately. Mother of Darkness, the whole world seemed upside down and upset since whatever had happened. Whatever. People whispered about it, as if it were in the room to listen. No name for it. Just missing Winds and a sense of wrongness. A flurry of activity where he was used to little.

It made him stand out too much. A man traveling about with no real purpose.

Koa twisted in his seat, looking backward, but there was nothing to see except the path vanishing into the bend of trees. "I don't remember what was back. Let me help." He could guide her mule. His would follow. One trying to nip her own in a display of dominance. "Stop that." He warned, sliding down from his cart. All his probes and sensing tucked in. Might be rude to try reading a lady in the middle of nowhere. Koa wasn't sure.

But he thought she had that smell about her. One he didn't need to part barriers to recognize. A wild musk.

"Koa, is mine." He left the Red-eye part out. People figured that out on their own. He wedged his fingers between noses, and then his shoulders. "Make room now." Stubborn damn mules.


15
Lys / Re: Traveling Too
« on: October 21, 2020, 05:42:34 PM »

Koa frowned. Then frowned harder. Face creasing around his lips and chin. He sagged in the seat of his wagon, frustration turning to dejection. The trail had gone crooked. He couldn't tell if it was day or night with the way the light filtered through the trees. So broken up he couldn't judge which direction it was coming from.

Or which direction he was going.

"We missed the turn." He decided out loud. His mules flicked ears at him, but didn't agree one way or another. They were more focused forward, dragging him along around a bend he wasn't too sure about. The trees pressed in tight and made everything feel too small, including his skin. A branch tried to swipe his eye from his face, forcing him to duck away.

He'd already nearly lost one. He wasn't interested in losing the other. Hunching down, he pressed his elbows between his knees. The mules murmured, ears flopping forward and feet picking up. Chin tipping upward, Koa squinted. What was there? Nothing to fear by the way they acted. Excited like. "Ssst?" He asked, just as they rounded a sharp turn and came nose to nose with another wagon. Smaller and pulled by one mule.

"Oh." He said stupidly, staring.


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Spring Leaves, City Lights by Koa Red-eye
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