Wolf RPG

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stone steps led her north to a plain. the heat of midday singed the very air. she was not deterred by it, seeking shelter beneath a lonely cypress gripping the stone wall.
fresh water invites her close. as she drinks she closes her eyes, unwilling to look at herself even for a moment.
a habit born of grief.

the hum of hidden cicadas lulls satsu in to a state of mu. it does not last, for as she tries to savor it she tastes the old hurt.

copper in the water—
father !

she gasps and opens her eyes, sputtering, losing the stillness within.
the endless churn of scarred faces and babies. kynareth's stories resonated with pharaoh, but he was beginning to grow bored again. this time it was different; he had no dearth of pleasures among the saints, and the tall hierarchy presented a blessed challenge to climb.
today he ranged out, in search of things to hear and to learn.
but more than that, his flesh ached for the physical; ramesses was spoiled and hedonistic.
he moved swiftly away from the strath and into territories for which he had no name. he recalled few of them, only that cedar-dust clung to him when he came to the rushing waters.
but he was not here. a strongly built figure he did not immediately recognize as feminine was present. pharaoh crossed grandly to the lake's edge and drank, sparing her a look with sly lapis eyes.
shame — so much of it she was disoriented by it; weakened enough for a brisk wind to push her aside. the slightest sway of her hips concluded with a stomp of one foot, a clawing at the bank.

coughing, vertigo. a mild panic that she refused outright.

the calm came again as she sucked in breath, seeing glimpses of herself in the silvershard water.
raising her eyes, satsu watched the water as it rippled. serpentine bodies sluiced further out. her belly groaned — but she was focused now on the more terrestrial presence that lingered nearby.
sakki
kyn-dono ?
now ramesses truly looked at the figure, and she upon him. but pharaoh did not feel familiarity in the frostmourne eyes of the stranger. yet beneath them he straightened, for here he was not underling nor specialist nor scribe-aspirant.
he was only himself.
the man said nothing, only settled himself upon his haunches elegantly. in ramesses, a gold-tipped streak of unearned confidence; that he would not be attacked; that he would not be harmed; that Amun would protect him. and it showed in the brazen tilt of his ears toward her, the haughty mien of his build.
this one stalks along the water's edge with equal pride to the tiger. it is not the daimyo, though.
satsu feels his attention hotly. if she were not so shaken already she would have met that gaze, glared, as she had with kyn-dono;
in thinking of the volatile man satsu recognizes why he is on her mind. his scent clings to this new creature.
she wonders to herself if he is as uncivilized.
she did not speak. he shifted, uncomfortable in the silence around the pleasant water. "are you hunting?" ramesses did not give the woman a title. she was a stranger, and would not be welcome near the strath with so many helpless young ones.
yet he found himself intrigued all the same.
the studying of her various features continued.
he speaks;
his bearing is like that of a jungle cat. appraising. proud. satsu cannot help but see her brother morohe behind the gleam in the stranger's eyes.

hunting?

no, she says, not thinking; she stares at herself in the water now, watching the surface distort.

though, i suppose i should try.

peasants did the hunting. satsu did not know where to start. if they could do it, so should she be able — right?
ramesses glinted coolly. she did not speak like a fellahin, a servant. but she was had not his lordliness. a spy, perhaps. or only a wanderer who put more into caution than trade. pharaoh enjoyed the winnowing, the search. he unfurled himself like a pale banner and gestured toward their backdrop of leaves.
"are you a stranger here?" he entreated, a lazy grin spreading across his features as he tested her with a wave of his plume, wondering if the woman might rise to attend him.
another way to know what sort of stranger she was.
she had once found joy in watching the families gather in the lowlands. from afar it had never been clear what they did, only that they congregated by water, upon field, or came and went across the han where they were welcome.
a memory persisted. a boy barely grown in to his furs carrying a shining silver body in his teeth; his father or brother beside him, with double.

what? awareness; she forgets herself in the moment and hears the question too late. bowing swiftly in a shallow manner. yes, distracted.
the woman was fading in interest for him in terms of conversation. but ramesses was a man with many tastes, though he would consider himself so base as kynareth. he chose instead to look upon her with a new sort of interest. she was not feminine in the ways to which he was accustomed, but she was no man.
succinct, spare perhaps. and too much in the small hint of her eyes he had only received to make her vapid. pharaoh was still.
her bow placated him with a swift and savage sting of desire.
"you are a fighter." a statement. he knew nothing of this wolf.
he assumed aloud, hoping she would turn his opinion into true fact.
you are a fighter. so said the man.

no, countered satsu, sharply, a dribble of water from her chin. her face grows warm.
my brothers were. i danced.

these were memories satsu would keep to herself as much as possible. happier days.

she sighs. spares him a shy look as her eyes avert, her thoughts too heavy now.
ramesses came alive, intrigued. it showed in the pleasant pale lines of his royal-bred body. she looked away from him, but he was a cat with a mouse-tail caught beneath his claws. "dancing is its own battle," pharaoh pronounced, for there was only one sort of step he knew this to mean.
"i once had a sister. she lives, but she is no longer my sister."
she supposed that was true.

dancing was as close to her brothers as she could be. perhaps now that they were gone she could assume the mantle of their birthright and lend her dancer's precision to war with the world; she had a vendetta, it would have suited her to see it through.

but she mourned, and as she was taught, the righteous path would burn her spirit. she could not take it and further damn her father's line.

the man spoke again. he held a loss of his own, though it paled in comparison. satsu's sharp features pinched as she frowned, unsure of what was expected of her here; she did not know this man and found his announcement peculiar.
—she is no longer my sister.
she... wronged you? an easy presumption to make, while satsu decided what to make of him.
pharaoh's teeth glinted once in a grim humourlessness. "a coup. she took the captain of our father's guard to her fetid bed, and took from me my crown. i was exiled." and poor, addled, dead fool seti, having set it all into motion! women did not take the uraeus. they could not be godheads.
nostrils flared, but he reined himself back, a lithe chariot upon a cliffside.
"but she is a fool. her sons will not be recognized. they are bastards."
ramesses straightened, sweeping a sulking blue gaze over the other. "trust no creature."
odd. it sounded much akin to what transpired with her father. not out-done by a rival within the family but without; cut down in a justified duel, and then came the slaughter of her brothers.
satsu does not know what to say.
the man is emotional, more-so than she is used to, and so she focuses on the water. lapping at it thoughtfully.
trust no creature. he warns.
does that include you?
"yes."
brow smoothed beneath a true grin; he flicked his lapis eyes with bare interest over her, and then he turned away, refusing to be stopped by a word as he set a saunter for the strath and something else to find diverting.
yes
so proud, this man. his answer was chilling.

as he moved, satsu tensed. she had no way of knowing if he meant to harm her or not; but he moved on, shifting in to a lope as he lost interest in her finaly.

she calmed in the ensuing stillness; then, seeing movement along the silver edge of the water, reached and snapped her teeth.
this time it was not water that came away with her. iridescent scales writhed against the blackness of her gums. she withdrew with her singular fish — not a grand catch in any regard.

as she settled to picking it apart, her mind buzzed.