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[P]  The Garden of Temptation

Offline Salamander May 11 2020, 1:34 AM
#1
  • Rogue
  • Age: 28
  • Gender: Non-binary
  • Race: Eximius
  • Rank: Quartermaster
  • Total Posts: 42
  • Played by: Sbicy
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Salamander climbs from the dingy and splashes into the water, helping to drag it ashore. It's cold, but the warm winds from the ocean carry in to the cove, circulating around and keeping the water a decent temperature despite the early spring. The waves are calm and quiet, but a murmur in favor of a roar. The seagulls swoop and cry above them, others sitting in flocks along the beach as they rest from a recent meal.

Imprints of their passage form into the wet sand, hauling the dingy from the shallows and onto land. They are soaked from the waist down when they step from the water, tail flicking wildly to free itself of unwanted moisture. Pulling their long, black hair free of its tie, they pinch it between their fangs as they sweep it back up into a low ponytail. Clawed hands rest on their hips, head tilting back to suck in a long, hearty breath of hot, salty air. The sun feels good on their scales, and un-moving earth is ever reliable and solid beneath their feet.

"I love the Dealbreaker, but there is nothing like taking a break on a deserted beach." They speak out loud, not really caring who would choose to respond--if anyone did at all. As they speak, Salamander's eyes scope the dense treeline. The jungle foliage is overlapping on itself, clamoring for a spot in the sunlight. Their eyes cannot see through the wall of plant life, but their nose is strong. A hunter variant, albeit a terribly mutated one, their senses are attuned to the stench of wolven ichor. Human skin or not, they knew a dire when they saw one, and it never fails to get their blood moving through their veins. Part of them hopes that one will come across them, perhaps one young and curious, naive of the dangers. Unfortunately, they doubt that the captain will be forgiving of unnecessary hunting, especially for sport.

Speaking of which, they turn to find him among the other rowboats coming ashore, waiting patiently after scouting for immediate threats. Their tail draws a messy pattern idly in the sand behind them, fangs born in a grin as Everett marches to shore as soaked as the rest of them.

"So, Cap' what's the policy on finding dire out here? Look and don't touch?" The lilt in their voice is teasing, hip cocked and eyes aglow with mischief. However, it would be foolish not to think there was something hidden in the innocence of the question, an instinctual drive to hunt down the thing they were created for. It never quite left the blood, that urge to kill. By all standards, Salamander was a rather upstanding citizen with how well they reigned it in.

In their personal opinion, at least.
Offline Everett May 29 2020, 9:43 PM
#2
  • Rogue
  • Age: 32
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
  • Rank:
  • Total Posts: 36
  • Played by: Isilzheha
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It had taken far too long to sort affairs along A'took weeks prior, and even longer still for them to get their bearings on which direction they needed to go first. Moving praxi when Svalbard and Cöryza tended to patrol these waters on the east became a hassle, though the logos had since been replaced with some of their own and Emil had been hard at work rewriting everything they needed to offload them. The Dealbreaker would turn back into the merchant ship it had once been before Everett got his hands on her, able to take them places they otherwise would be barred from. For now, though, they had to leave her behind for repairs after an unexpected storm and some unfortunate turns of the tide that breached some of the defensive plating underneath.

The Unclaim of Kho’gate became as welcome of a place as any for the crew of rogues, down at the southern portions of a peninsula jutting out with sloping beaches separating them from the densely packed jungles. Further north Everett knew the dire would roam, among whoever else they allowed within their tribal settlements, but with any luck they would stay unmolested for their brief stay here. A good deal of the crew remained on the ship, mostly the carpenters, and the rest took to the dinghies. They packed them up, Everett kicking back until it came time to pull them in. He didn’t feel the need to fill the travel with unnecessary commentary this time, even if that sentiment didn’t extend to Emil and Ishmer who griped back and forth to one another. Kaleva remained silent as ever, a few of the deckhands engaging in playful games until they scrambled to make themselves useful.

Everett swung off to the side, legs splashing into the water to wade forward, hauling the dingy with them to leave them beached. He’d foregone a coat this time when the temperature rose, muggy as ever with the passing of the storm that left the waters calmed as if nothing had ever happened. ‘I love the Dealbreaker, but there is nothing like taking a break on a deserted beach,’ he caught Sal saying, voice drifting amidst the others and Emil was quick to catch up. ‘Not deserted anymore, now is it?’ he challenged with a grin flashing teeth, the artificer passing the horned exi by to climb up towards the grass. Everett stretched himself out, his back quite enjoying the pull of the muscles once scrunched up, and he fit an arm inside the wide dip of his shirt as if it were a sling.

So, Cap' what's the policy on finding dire out here? Look and don't touch?

His eyes flicked to Sal where they stood with a wide grin on their face, teeth displayed in a way that looked entirely predatory with the context of the questions. Everett scratched at the underside of his chin with an idle hum of consideration, looking every bit as contemplative as he could when he approached at a leisure pace. He knew very well the eagerness of the exi on board, at least the ones that had suffered the Projects, to hunt what they had been made to hunt. Taught to kick the puppies, as it were. Everett eyed them, squinting just a bit, as their attention roved the length of their body. “Mm, best to leave it ‘til they give reason to touch,” he returned lightly, though it wasn’t to be taken so lightly, “can’t imagine they’ll come this far. Strays, maybe, but we can handle that if it comes down to it, yeah?” He reached out and patted their chest in false reassurement, lips pressed together and Everett stepped around them.

He let out a sigh, watching the others starting to scatter with no direction. “You lot can start settin’ up some kinda camp,” he said, turning back to Sal with a hand beckoning towards them, “and we can go frolickin’.” Everett grinned at that, though they both would know it was a scout ahead to establish some sort of perimeter.
Offline Salamander Jun 7 2020, 2:00 AM
#3
  • Rogue
  • Age: 28
  • Gender: Non-binary
  • Race: Eximius
  • Rank: Quartermaster
  • Total Posts: 42
  • Played by: Sbicy
220 Mana · View All Items?
Debris litters the beach, leaves torn from the dense jungle and branches half buried in the sand. It is all that is left behind in the wake of the storm, the water of the cove calm and softly lapping at low tide. Warm sunlight brings out the bronze lining of Salamander's scales, shimmering like the back of a fish in the fold of a wave. They draw an arc on the beach with a sweep of their tail, digging grooves where plates fixed together in tight, geometric succession. Deft fingers loosen the already too-big tunic around their shoulders, pulling the ties until it hangs to show off the smoother planes of their chest.

"It's free real estate, boys." The eximius says to the passing crew, reaching out to give Emil a playful push on the shoulder as they all slosh through the waves to step on dry land for the first time in weeks.

Pupils drain to slits in the light as they scan the line of trees, picking apart the shadows for suspicious movement that they could use as an excuse to pounce. The drive to hunt these beasts that was forced into them never left, gnawing on the back of their skull with constant need. Though they consorted regularly with the former demigods, the dire were still prey deep down in the fabric of their makeup. But, just like any animal, the ability to separate instinct and action was what made men.

Sharply tugging back the urge to take off into the jungle and scent out some wolves, they instead turn their focus on to their lovely, handsome captain as he comes wading ashore. Golden eyes gleam with their approach, the tip of their boots staying just shy of the water's edge when it reaches. Hands splayed over the defined structure of their hips, they can't bat away the toothy smile that shows when they see him looking, angling their stance a bit so that their weight is focused more on one side and the other is cocked. Quite sassy.

"Boo. No fun, as per the usual." They lament sarcastically, shaking their head in disappointment. "You know it, darling." The assurance of the words rolls off into a rumbling purr at the gentle pat of his palm against their chest.

The crew astride them on the beach has already started to waffle, attentions splitting as they scatter to look at this or that. Salamander snorts at the lot, their smile taking on a hint of genuine amusement as Everett gives them direction. Hands coming together in a loud, singular clap, the red eximius practically beams in exaggerated delight.

"Ooh, I love bonding time. There's nothing that brings two people closer than setting a perimeter." With that, the taller of the two twists on their heel, wet leather squeaking as they make toward the trees at a pace easily matched by their human captain. "This place has a pretty nice reputation for pit stops, so I doubt we'll find any trouble." They comment as long legs take them past the teeth of the foliage to be swallowed by the shadows of the canopy. "Still, makes you wonder where all the wolves are on this tiny little island." Chatty as they are, their gaze is vigilant and aware, scoping the area to ensure that it was safe for them to stay the night.
Offline Everett Jun 9 2020, 7:23 PM
#4
  • Rogue
  • Age: 32
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
  • Rank:
  • Total Posts: 36
  • Played by: Isilzheha
230 Mana · View All Items?
Everett had taken his sweet time getting to shore, kicking through the water that soaked through some of the layers he wore. Not all of them, and they would be dry soon enough beneath the sun and with the ocean breeze. If he had ever cared about getting a little wet he’d definitely picked the wrong line of work. The way his crew started to aimlessly wander about once he was able to step more freely without the waves to try and drag him under Everett thought they might have chosen the wrong line of work as well. Usually direction wasn’t needed, but it was an unexpected stop and they wouldn’t be turned loose like the human usually allowed them to. Not here, anyways, even if there was vast Unclaim to separate them from the so-called demigods of the world. Everett didn’t hold any swaying opinion about the wolves or their tribal ways here, seeing as how they tended to keep to their own. So that’s what he intended on doing, or at least would attempt to while the Dealbreaker received its repairs. That should only take another few hours at worst, so Everett aimed to keep them tucked in the corner here until they could get back to it hopefully before morning.

Sal was the only one who turned back towards him for now, the others parting around them like they were a rock in the middle of a stream. He eyed them, suspicious of their urge to give in to the Hunt, but that was healthy considering how many first generation exi the man employed. If he couldn’t help them reel it in, then he was quite a useless captain making poor decisions on that front. ‘Boo. No fun, as per the usual.’ Everett got a laugh out of that one, a bit of a sudden burst of noise as boots pushed into the sand to get him further up towards the grass. Sal would always be eager and ready to handle the dire they’d been conditioned to hate some time ago. “What, ‘cause I won’t let you go about slaughterin’ a bunch of dire for no reason? We both know you’re better than that and what they made of ya,” he chided, though he also knew it ran far deeper than a personal choice. Sal was just leaning into it; owning it in their own way. So he patted them reassuringly, no words needing to be said for the context of that touch, and sent the rest of the crew into action immediately with some direction.

The horned exi clapped as Everett started to head off for the trees, long strides allowing them to catch up quicker even without the use of their exaggerated strength and speed. ‘Ooh, I love bonding time. There's nothing that brings two people closer than setting a perimeter,’ they joked, Everett grinning in response. He, too, kept his attention elsewhere even as he listened to Sal talk. The noise of the other crew members faded into the distance, nothing but the slowly quieting wilderness to surround them until they’d passed and the danger was deemed distant enough for the wildlife to continue their rhythm. This particular edge of the Unclaim was home to many washed up sods who couldn’t navigate the harsher of storms that tore across the Aegean, their ships splintered into pieces to drift to the bottom of the ocean and never be seen again. Everything was lost, and if they weren’t of wolven blood they had to take the risk of making contact if they wanted some help out of here. Alternately they could start building, which with the way some of the trees looked stripped or otherwise sat as dead stumps signified the attempts made. ‘Still, makes you wonder where all the wolves are on this tiny little island.

Everett turns towards them a bit, his head mostly, to peer at the scaled exi’s face. “It’s not such a tiny little island once you get in the thick of it. Most of them are further north, past all this mess,” he said idly, stepping around some of the debris fallen from the canopies above. It was a pleasant change from the bustle of the ship, even if the captain thoroughly enjoyed that kind of energy more often than not. “If we do find some trouble, or it finds us,” he mused aloud, a bit playfully as his shoulder pulled forward to knock against Sal, “promise to keep me safe from the big, bad wolves?
Offline Salamander Jun 22 2020, 1:19 AM
#5
  • Rogue
  • Age: 28
  • Gender: Non-binary
  • Race: Eximius
  • Rank: Quartermaster
  • Total Posts: 42
  • Played by: Sbicy
220 Mana · View All Items?
Salamander's tail cuts a trail into the wet sand, the tri-set of spikes leaving their respective grooves at varying depth. It's a tick, one reflective of a cat trapped behind a glass window, watching birds and mice and other prey skitter in and out of view in the garden. With dire so close, wild on their own island, the atmosphere triggers some basal response inside them. In a port, city, or on a ship, it was different. There was nothing that reminded them of the Hunt there, and it all became business as usual. Now, they felt as though they were a hound at the entrance to a fox's den, their instinct braying for permission to chase.

Strong as it may be, the eximius was not a slave to themselves, called back to their senses by the encouraging faith of their captain and the pat on their chest. Though the expression is teasing, they are continually mystified with his utmost confidence in his crew's ability to hold it together. To some extent, it's what made Everett a good leader. Most people just needed someone to believe in them to achieve what it is they have been denied.

"You're so sweet, captain. When you die, I'm going to have 'Everett, always your number one fan' engraved on your tombstone." The joke is accented with a pointed grin.

Trees greet them upon entry into the jungle, the air hot and thick and humid all at once. It clings to their flesh, rolling in beads from their scales as the sunlight dances in fractured patches over Everett's back. He isn't that tall, the captain, but he makes up for his lack of height in the width of his shoulders. There is a weighty strength to him, a latent power that rests within the confines of his stature. Salamander loves to find the divots of the muscles that line his spine, feel them flex and move beneath their curious touch. It's something foreign to them by now, being able to map what lie under the layers of plate and scale. Memories of their humanity are so far gone they're only phantoms now, conjured by their need to touch and be touched in return.

Blinking and meeting his gaze, their ears twitch, senses reaching out into the tangling wood for the slightest hint of wolves.

"You ever see a dire community?" It's a genuine question, "I imagine that out here it's different than how they were conducting themselves on the mainland." Boots fit well into the impressions the captain leaves, his trail left singular as he is matched step for step. "Think they do creepy rituals and shit? What do wild wolves even do for fun?" They have only begun to wonder this in recent years, when the blood of their slaughter was finally cleaned from their eyes.

A short laugh leaves their chest at Everett's bump, slipping their arms over his shoulders from behind to loosely hang about his neck.

"You know I would never let anything happen to my precious captain. If I did, the crew would cut me up and eat me for dinner. I have no doubt about that. Emil always comments on how tasty my thighs look." Reaching around, they press their lips to his scruffy cheek in a sloppy kiss.

"Have you ever killed dire?" Once jovial, their voice drops in pitch, staying draped over the shorter man as glowing, golden eyes peer at him from the corners.