Black Morass sakoku
Pledged

Akashingo
238 Posts
Ooc — anon
Offline
#1
All Welcome 
a fork in the morass
brunch hours, thin clouds


as satsu crossed from han to wasteland she took little notice of it. she watched the open sky and one solitary, thinning cloud. she wondered as she went, if it would dissipate and be gone before the noontime.
the land softened. she only noticed for the smell of it, not the sinking of her steps; the mud was not altogether unpleasant to her.
as she came to a stagnant puddle, she found that it smelled strongly like steeped tea—medicinal in nature. the kind she would prepare for visitors to the han, except it was out of season, and too strong.
when she looked up again she had missed the cloud's dissolution. around her hung a mist, which very well may have been its thready remains.
Loner

323 Posts
Ooc — Teo
Offline
#2
Oy! Cheers! I hope you don't mind me leaping in here to steal your open post. Think it could come up to a more current date?

Frogs belched loudly from the mass of gooey dark liquid. The trees there were overgrown. Their branches stretched downward, spiraling with leaves and vines that touched the dank puddles at their bases.

Crowfeather lingered near the edge of the fork in his path.

The honey color of his eyes followed the separate trails that cut directly through the swampy woodland and to grasses unknown.

It had been a few days since Crowfeather had scented anyone from Vein’s pack. This brought him a modicum of relief. Still, he did not wish to test his luck by remaining too close to their hunting grounds.

The scent of Vein’s pack stunned him for a moment.

When Crowfeather glanced upward, it was to see a stranger. The smell that was carried on her pelt was the very same as Vein’s, as the two brutes who had accosted him, and the same as the alpha. Crowfeather twitched his whiskers with regret but did not move.
Pledged

Akashingo
238 Posts
Ooc — anon
Offline
#3
that is fine with me!

the stranger appears as if summoned by the mist. she sees him with a passage of her gaze across the thinning of the world; does a double-take as her attention drifts away, seeking out the sharp cut of his slender profile.
immediately satsu's heart aches. it isn't someone she knows but at the same time, she cannot help but think of her family - of tsujiya specifically. the two look much alike.
satsu gasps softly. she quickly averts her eyes, not wanting to invite the haunting of ghosts.
Loner

323 Posts
Ooc — Teo
Offline
#4
A woman’s gasp sounded softly in the murk.

Crowfeather could think only that it had come from the mysterious female. She did not speak to him, but he didn’t pretend not to see the way she averted her eyes and focused elsewhere.

Did she know? Was it possible that she could sense his gifts?

Hm… hello, the dark figure greeted her. The young wolf had an awkward voice, not yet filled with confidence or brazen know-how.

Crowfeather was in an unfamiliar world with wolves who varied nearly as much as the terrain did. If he had any more sense, he would have turned into the shadows and hurried away. He waited instead to see if she would greet him back, or if she would reveal herself as a ghost.
Pledged

Akashingo
238 Posts
Ooc — anon
Offline
#5
the last time a seishin had come to her, she had grieved her brothers.
that one had spoken and satsu had been receptive to it; aching with such a deep, profound hurt that she hoped to find solace by any means necessary.
this time the voice was soft and sweet — even shy. the woman did not know why the ghost was drawn to her and tried to ignore it.
as a means to do just that, she began to hum a little tune to herself and focused on the strongly smelling water of the morass, picking at the soggy soup of plant matter.
Loner

323 Posts
Ooc — Teo
Offline
#6
Perhaps she did not see him. 

The she wolf had hummed softly, a tune that was unknown to him. She did not meet his gaze, nor glance upon where he stood. If he did not know any better, he might have believed she was ignoring him. 

Crowfeather slumped. His dark frame sagged tiredly and his large ears fell to his cap. The woman had lost his gaze, averted to the muck at his paws. 

A frog belched loudly from nearby.
Pledged

Akashingo
238 Posts
Ooc — anon
Offline
#7
there were no more voices.
satsu thought the presence remained, but she was too unnerved to look around. she did not want to invite the scrutiny of spirits or earn herself a curse.

perhaps it was the tainted water that caused her such paranoia. she pulled some larger pieces of debris from the mud: a length of orange arbutus, a patch of soggy green-brown litter that looked almost like a wide-based raspberry leaf, and then a stick that took some pulling to pry free of the mud.

the sucking sound gave way when out it popped, dripping and browned but otherwise oddly clean. the surface was pock-marked. it only took a few seconds before satsu dropped it in horror — it was not a stick at all but a long bone with a rounded end, meant for a socket.

repulsed, she rears back and hastens to her feet again, tripping over the arbutus branch beside herself.
Loner

323 Posts
Ooc — Teo
Offline
#8
The woman continued mulling about in the mud. Crowfeather shuffled awkwardly on his paws. His gaze darted from the slick frog that had appeared on his left and the she wolf who seemed to have found something in the grime. 

The pop of bone releasing from its sunken scabbard carried Crowfeather's back to her. He did not look away when the stranger recoiled at her own discovery. The dark boy gaped at her. 

He had seen this in a dream months before. The bone, the murky morass, the sound of frogs. It had been silly. He had paid it no mind. 

Are you alright? Crowfeather called, a bit louder than before.
Pledged

Akashingo
238 Posts
Ooc — anon
Offline
#9
a foul taste had seeped across her tongue.
nearby the spirit seemed to roam and draw closer, taking on a more pointed form. it was like communing with her own shadow; they were of similar size, her and the dark shape.
like before, this spirit was kind. in her fretting satsu forgot about the warnings of her parents and looked quickly to where they lurked, catching their bright eyes with her blue.
it-- i thought it-- it was another stick. i think something is dead, there.
oh; was it him? had satsu disturbed the spirit's resting place? she paled at the thought.
Loner

323 Posts
Ooc — Teo
Offline
#10
The dark wolf took some small comfort in her nervous response. It made him feel as though he was not alone. While she carried the scent of the pack Crowfeather had grown familiar with, she did not behave like the duo who had attacked him. She did not even behave the way Kynareth or Vein had. 

In a p- place like this, he looked at the surrounding trees with an unsatisfied frown, it's no wonder there are bones beneath our paws. 

Crowfeather may have seemed perfectly aloof for those few seconds, but at the mention of what bodies rested underneath the murky water and dirt of the morass, he had grown considerably spooked. A shudder ruffled the dark hair of his fur coat. The seer exhaled softly. He needed to release some of the tension he felt. 

What do you need sticks for?
Pledged

Akashingo
238 Posts
Ooc — anon
Offline
#11
satsu swallows the taste as best she can. the limb is barely visible where she has dropped it. the brackish water does well to hide it, with the more bulbous end tapering deep in to the dark water.
the spirit asks a question and satsu is glad to have something else to focus on.

dochujin. her voice is soft, and she sighs over the pile of debris that has been gathered.

i hoped to make dochujin. they are shapes built of sticks and rocks, and things like that. however, satsu only knew a few of the shapes; she had stolen the lessons from her brothers as often as she could, sneaking around to listen to their tutor.

they are like... waypoints, on a journey.
Loner

323 Posts
Ooc — Teo
Offline
#12
The word that was offered to him was a mystery. She spoke it confidently enough that he believed she knew what she was talking about. The dark wolf was grateful when she carried on to explain that they were waypoints to guide. 

It was a nice sentiment. 

Where do they lead? Crowfeather asked her, tilting his head curiously. He was not certain that he understood the meaning of the dochujin. He had imagined that they were a means of guiding the lost. The dark wolf only wished to know where it was that they lead to. How did she know where to place them?
Pledged

Akashingo
238 Posts
Ooc — anon
Offline
#13
where, indeed.

well, when i learned them... they were for the movement of warriors. she thought of the elder who had tutored her brothers in this, what pieces she had collected from those lessons watched from the shadows. now though, there was no reason for satsu to build them; no armies to direct (except perhaps the saints), no roaming bushi to warn from danger.
there were only the spirits of her brothers, sisters, and father.
i thought... oh, this is silly. her cheeks turn ruddy, flooded with warmth.
maybe if i could make the right symbols, i could call my loved ones back to me. but... that is foolish. they are.. they are gone. a subtle shake of her head.
Loner

323 Posts
Ooc — Teo
Offline
#14
The woman spoke with an answer that provided more detail regarding why the dochujin would be useful. Crowfeather listened with twitching whiskers. She said that they were to be used for warriors. At this, the dark seer imagined a band of burly fanged fighters, guided through the unknown by tokens of love. 

When she spoke of her loved ones, Crowfeather felt his chest clench tightly. He thought of his own family, of his lost brother. 

It is not silly, the dark wolf stated to her, unable to meet her gaze. Where I am from when our loved ones die, they go to the skies and take their place as stars. They become knowledgeable of all things and guide us on to our fate. After speaking, his cheeks flushed hot and his eyes searched the muck.
Pledged

Akashingo
238 Posts
Ooc — anon
Offline
#15
more and more, satsu came to see that this was not a spirit at all, nor even a shadow clinging needlessly to her; it was only another person, young and sharp, and sweeter than the beasts she had come to know within the saints. qualities that she missed.

they were bashful together.

the stars... satsu murmured, awed by the concept, entertaining it for a moment. what would it be like to have her brothers watching over her? to see her sisters dance in the night sky each time a star fell?

to my people, death... it is the end. there is nothing left of someone after. it was grim, the finality of it. but it gave greater worth and a deeper emphasis to life as it was lived, making every moment that much more precious.

knowing this however, satsu concluded that her desire to lead them home was in itself, wrong. there was nothing to guide with her bundles of sticks. nothing but the evil spirits of meifumado — those who walked the demon's path.

she was quiet thereafter, solemn, no longer bothered as much by the leg bone bobbing nearby.
Loner

323 Posts
Ooc — Teo
Offline
#16
The dark seer thought that the beliefs that had been instilled in her seemed sad. At the same time, he could never remember fully believing in the cosmic faith of his family or the pack where he had been raised. All of their rituals and prayers, but where was the proof that spirits rose into the heavens to join their kin? 

There was a healer in my pack. She said that not all spirits wish to become stars and that those spirits help here, with his nose he gestured to the world around them. That when they have finished, when they feel whole, only then can they move beyond this life. It seemed like something intimate that he wasn't sure he should share with someone he'd only met. Crowfeather only wished to keep the she-wolf from feeling sad. 

Perhaps your sticks help guide the ones who stay behind.

It seemed possible.
Pledged

Akashingo
238 Posts
Ooc — anon
Offline
#17
there were lessons in every moment. as the dark wolf spoke, satsu remained open to the possibilities, even if they were different from what she was raised to believe. maybe because of the difference. she had been in a bubble for such a long time. it was somewhat fitting that her journey would bring her not only a new home, but new way of thinking.

the thought of her family roaming the earth as spirits, corrupted or otherwise, was chilling rather than calming. still, the girl smiled. perhaps. i would like that to be true. she drew her attention away from the dark water, mud, and bone, to look upon the boy.

your friend the healer sounds wise. you are lucky to have known such a person.

satsu did not miss the sentiment within the words, the obvious loss that he had experienced. once a part of a pack and now, not. just like herself.

if you like, i could add their name to my thoughts, so that they might find their way to you again — or, um, whomever else you may have lost. it was only fair, she thought.
Loner

323 Posts
Ooc — Teo
Offline
#18
Crowfeather thought that he would also like such beliefs to be true. He supposed that they would have no way of finding out until they had moved beyond their immediate existence. 

When the stranger said that the healer he had known sounded wise, that he was fortunate to have known someone of that caliber, Crowfeather looked back to her with pale yellow eyes and nodded softly. Her death had been one that had been completely avoidable if not for the strictness of their faith. 

Mothwing, that was her name. We can include my brother Moonshadow as well, the dark seer answered to her. Then, Crowfeather moved from his place within the shadows and selected a knobby, lengthy stick from the ground beneath a tree. He approached the she-wolf and dropped the stick down a few steps away. 

Let me help you make your dochujin.
Pledged

Akashingo
238 Posts
Ooc — anon
Offline
#19
their names were evocative and strange, but there was beauty in them. satsu pictured what they might be like: thin and small like this boy, perhaps. shades of ginger and brown for the moth, perhaps silver-dappled for the moon; she would not ask. their names would be added to the list.

his offer made her blush again. satsu had never let anyone catch her in these moments; they were private and almost holy to her, if anything could be such. she did not know enough of the markers to make things properly and would have to substitute — not that the boy would know; but she would know. it was addling.

alright, she accepted of his presence.

taking what she had been collecting, she moved alongside him to a smaller pile that looked more like common forest debris than anything of import. of these she sectioned small lengths of twig in to piles, longer and more branch-like bits she broke down, and off on its own was a third pile of small stones.

i lived here in this valley for... weeks, perhaps longer. but the people have moved on. i am set to follow in their path and then slip away from it, this she explained softly, so as not to have anyone hear but the boy. tomorrow was to be her departure with pharaoh as they sought another home together.

here, this shape.. denotes direction. smaller pieces stacked together to form a vee, pointing east.

and this, it is tree, three vees of descending size, smallest above and largest below, forming a rudimentary silhouette. this goes beside it. east of the trees, is where i will go. i hope that they will follow. the problem came next: she did not know their destination and so she did not know what shape to close the series with.
Loner

323 Posts
Ooc — Teo
Offline
#20
The dark figure was relieved when she accepted his assistance, though it was not likely he would be able to offer much to her. Crowfeather hoped she would task him with any help she might desire. 

As the woman set to work on her items, he carefully watched her. The dark wolf was mindful not to invade the space where she organized her items. Crowfeather did not wish to disturb the process that seemed of such importance. He was interested in what she said, though. 

The woman spoke of the group she belonged to, hoping to follow them only to vanish from where they would settle. Crowfeather thought this curious. He had noted the fragrance of the Saints on her pelt. She had not demonstrated herself to be anything like the other wolves from that pack. Was she a captive, he wondered with a fearful glance to her face. 

Crowfeather nodded as she explained the meaning of each totem placed. It made sense, but perhaps only to those who knew to look. He did not tell her this. 

I believe I have run into those you speak of, he said gently. Chills swept his frame. The Saints- and all of them were proud of their name. When the pale yellow in his eyes sought her features again, he wondered how she might have found herself in their mix. You do not seem like them.
Pledged

Akashingo
238 Posts
Ooc — anon
Offline
#21
she was quiet as she deliberated. unsure of what shape to place next, or if perhaps she should forego the typical glyphs and make up her own. perhaps a symbol of mourning should be added - but she paused when he spoke.

satsu did not look up from her collections. there was a subtle tension to her jaw and nothing more, as she feigned focus, listening to what he had to say.
i am not like them. the girl confirms.

then, seeking one small stone for each name of those lost, she placed these carefully around the piles of sticks and litter, as if to form a circle. for kikyo, my sister, she said as one pebble was placed. tsujiya and morohe, my brothers. one large and dark stone, the other speckled.

now she looked up, to watch crowfeather's face and motion for him to add his own additions - though he had not been given a chance to find anything, perhaps the forest would provide.
something for mothwing, and moonshadow next.
Loner

323 Posts
Ooc — Teo
Offline
#22
Crowfeather could tell that it was best not to discuss the Saints further. The woman was not like them and it did not appear that she agreed with their behavior. She was not malnourished or ravaged by marks from a fang. He could not help but wonder how she might escape them, those frightening wolves. 

The names of her siblings were said reverently. Crowfeather bowed his head and closed his eyes for a moment. He felt almost overcome by longing, hoping that the spirits of her siblings would have appeared in the muck and followed her on to their next life. It ached in his chest until she mentioned the names of Mothwing and Moonshadow. 

Moving from his place, he sniffed about the bases of the trees and before long his eyes settled on a beautiful stone that was wedged in the mud. It was dark and jagged. It looked like it had a casing on the outside, some kind of protection for the beautiful color of gem that glittered just in the crack. Crowfeather gripped it in his teeth, muck and all, and carried it back to where the woman was. This one is for Mothwing, he said. 

Turning back to the trees, Crowfeather seemed to be unable to find anything else. He wanted this to be a sign that his brother was not dead, that he was still alive somewhere. Just as he was to give up, something fluttered from overhead. A caw from a dark crow in the trees above. One dark feather floated down and landed at the paws of the seer. His heart was pounding in his ears. The crow cawed once more and took flight into the dank wood. 

Crowfeather plucked the feather from the ground and walked slowly back to the woman and her totems. He placed the birds gift down and looked at her with a mournful expression. For Moonshadow.
Pledged

Akashingo
238 Posts
Ooc — anon
Offline
#23
the boy went to find gifts to add to the rest, giving satsu a moment alone.

she watched him move for a few moments. inevitably her thoughts wandered back to her own family, her losses; it would have been nice to add something for her father as well, but she did not want to think of him. for all the love she had for the man, satsu often saw him in her dreams. she did not want to help him pass on (if that's truly what this path-marking was).

when the boy returned he gave a stone plucked from the soil. he said the name of mothwing before turning back to seek another gift. satsu took care to clean its surface and placed it next to her sister-stone. after, watching as the boy stared skyward rather than among the trees again, satsu was surprised to see him touting a sharp black shape between his teeth.

for moonshadow. he placed it at his feet, and satsu saw the weight of his loss take form upon his face. she knew that feeling well - sharing in it, silently, for a moment. the feather was placed quill-end first between the stones, so that the shaft of iridescence could serve as a compass needle.

wherever i may go, i hope they follow. she murmurs. wherever you may go, be safe. perhaps you will find them again. she pauses in case there is anything the boy wishes to say, feeling a weighted chill in the air between them.
Loner

323 Posts
Ooc — Teo
Offline
#24
The weight of loss hung on his shoulders. 

Crowfeather listened to the woman as she offered him a wishing for safe travels and peace. The dark wolf looked at her and nodded his head slowly. 

You- you too, the seer offered shakily. He wanted to tell her that he hoped she was able to escape the Saints without any danger. He wanted to say something warmer, something that might give them hope to find each other again in another dark corner of the world. All of it felt too empty. Crowfeather did hope that she had safe passage. 

The dark wolf looked one last time at the offerings and then left the morass without a second glance behind him.