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Deadmeat5150
Nov 21, 2005

OLD MAN YELLS AT CLAN


Romcom is fine. We like romcom.

Just dont 50 Shades it and Im sure it will go well.

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Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Deadmeat5150 posted:

Just dont 50 Shades it and Im sure it will go well.

Kill me in my sleep if this happens. Make it quick. Or just run me over with a bus. Whatever.

Xarbala
Feb 13, 2011

Rolling Thunder: War to the Knife, Knife to the Hilt

Why? , that's why.

You Can't Steal My Dom Jeans

malbogio
Jan 19, 2015


Xarbala posted:

Okay, Ignacio was pulling double duty at the time, that explains why some stuff slipped through the cracks.

Ice Phisherman posted:

"So there was another Shepherd that came through about two weeks ago," said Tina, coolly.

"Is that so?" asked Roy.

"It is," she said. "Shepherd Ignacio if I recall correctly. Talked a lot, looked at one of our injured and from what I hear, he sure did cluck his tongue a lot and did little else. Meanwhile, a few years ago, three people from Iron Hill: A man, a woman and a little girl, decided to homestead on one of the old farms around here after asking the clan. The husband died two years ago. He was judged properly by your predecessor, who is sorely missed. The woman and little girl died three weeks ago of cholera. When he left town, he did so in the opposite direction of their homestead despite insisting he would go there. Meanwhile, midwife Cecilia is still tending to the horse trader's son. He was the one who was clucked at. He's been having a hard time breathing ever since he got kicked by that big bastard of a horse. I think it's an Appaloosa. So Mr. Whitaker, what shall you be doing today?"

Roy pursed his lips and Tina waited for his answer. Negligence wasn't uncommon in Shepherds. Older ones tended to use the younger ones to do grunt work. The fact that Shepherd Ignacio was seen and did nothing bothered Roy, but he wasn't at all surprised.

The only two examples of good Shepherds we've seen (Roy & Mo) were exiled. Lazy & corrupt Shepherds seem to be the norm. You say Iggy let "some stuff slip through the cracks" but we've yet to find evidence that he performed his duty in this county at all.

malbogio fucked around with this message at May 18, 2018 around 01:18

JesterOfAmerica
Sep 11, 2015


Xarbala posted:

Sure, let's follow Brianna's Love Trouble, its what the Horse Maiden would've wanted. And she would also want some popcorn.

For Roy, maybe follow on the Loneliness Trouble since I think Shepherd's Guild trouble is going to happen no matter what

Sure why not!

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


Plan Xarbala.

I think that Brianna is going to be so focused on resisting the physical attraction that she's not even going to notice that his little but heartfelt gestures have been causing a more genuine infatuation until they're back on the road, she finds herself still resisting, and then thinks, "Wait, didn't that 'blessing' end several days ago at this point?" That's when the proper trouble truly begins.

And Roy's going to be walking the razor's edge. He's too hungry for socialization to turn away from the attention he's going to be getting. But, at the same time, indulging would earn enemies and disgrace women. He's pretty clueless too, so this tight rope act will be clumsily navigated only with some behind-the-scenes help from Brianna, like with how she's already advised the town's women to start drinking.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

jagadaishio posted:

like with how she's already advised the town's women to start drinking.

I love how this is the soundest of plans for my story.

Xarbala
Feb 13, 2011

Rolling Thunder: War to the Knife, Knife to the Hilt

Why? , that's why.

Ice Phisherman posted:

I love how this is the soundest of plans for my story.

Alcohol means power, but don't be too greedy for it!

malbogio posted:

The only two examples of good Shepherds we've seen (Roy & Mo) were exiled. Lazy & corrupt Shepherds seem to be the norm. You say Iggy let "some stuff slip through the cracks" but we've yet to find evidence that he performed his duty in this county at all.

We've seen a single town, story's just getting started.

I do like that while the thread is inclined to throw the guy under the bus more maliciously, in the text Roy himself only did it by accident since he's too drat honest. I'd like to meet Ignacio first to see if he needs to eat some Steel Fist or not. And I'm not leaving the option off the table either.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Brianna

The smooth, stone tub steamed lightly as Brianna lit candles. Not for ambiance or to fill the room with good smells, though the room did smell good. Like desert flowers and sweet fruit. No, it was so she could see. After the first candle was lit with her lighter she used each fat, red candle to light another and then more. The atmosphere was relaxing, which was a big part of what this temple was for. Walking the Wheel was stressful and time to unwind was rare and precious. She rolled up a sleeve and took off the sheathed knife that was strapped there and laid at the lip of the stone tub within arm's reach. After that she found the firm cube in the corner of her pocket, its texture slightly gritty from the light dusting of sugar. She placed the gumdrop next to the knife and looked critically at both of them, not sure which one was more dangerous. Lastly, she placed the still mostly full bottle of Tequila Carmine next to the knife and the gumdrop. It was easily the most dangerous of the three. No contest.

Knife, gumdrop, tequila. Each one was a bad decision waiting to happen. She weighed her options in the flickering candlelight which was hard because she was almost as intoxicated as when the Horse Maiden left her hours ago. Her alcohol tolerance wasn't that great on account of her duties which often kept her from drinking and her petite body which kept said drinking light on the rare occasions that she indulged.

With a grimace she reached for the knife, hesitated, fingers inches away before she finally picked it up. She carefully placed it out of reach in a dark corner. Out of sight, out of mind. With a sigh, she began to peel off her clothing. She was dirty, sweaty and smelled like a horse. She needed this bath. With caution born of experience, she pulled her long, dark hair out of the way of the flickering candles. It was long enough that when she sank into the hot water she was able to hold most of it in front of her. She dunked her head, sniffed herself and gagged slightly. Then she went about the mundane task of washing her body and brushing the tangles out of her hair before washing that as well.

This took some time, but not as much as she hoped. She was clean now and the water was still hot. That meant she was alone with her thoughts, a bottle of tequila and a single gumdrop. Both the bottle and the gumdrop were bad ideas, but as she ran out of tasks to keep her mind occupied the bad feelings stirred inside of her. Her exhaustion hit her first. Walking the Wheel was a demanding task, practically never ending, and made all the harder for Maureen's absence. Thoughts of Maureen turned her mind to thoughts of guilt and betrayal. How she'd fled from her friend. Her mind kept flying back to Maureen's shamed face. It was the last look her friend of thirty years had given her and despite trying, she couldn't recall her friend looking any other way. Intellectually she'd know her to laugh, scowl, smile wryly, look stern, everything really. All her memory could conjure of her friend's face was shame.

"It's all for you," whispered Brianna's memory of her friend. "Get going. Make this mean something."

"I don't know how, Mo," whispered Brianna, brokenly.

Perhaps another person could have shed tears for their dead friend. Brianna just felt hollow in some places and ached dully in others. The pain was too fresh for her to properly feel it. She was too used to staying together to fall apart. Too numb to properly break down. Anselmo's remembrance had been excruciating, but at least she'd felt something for a little while. Even anger would be welcome. Her eyes drifted to the tequila and the gumdrop. They wouldn't be the right feelings and would open her up to all sorts of problems, but at least she could feel something. It didn't have to be positive.

Something.

Anything.

The women's liquor coursed through her veins and she could feel its power. The more that one consumed the most suggestible someone was. A woman who could hold her liquor would seem oh so reasonable to men. A man would bend to a woman's will if she drank her share and could keep composed. On top of that she could resist their natural charms, and as it turned out tonight, supernatural charms. Another tip of that bottle and she'd become suggestible. Everything would seem like a good idea if spoken by a man until she sobered up. Even if it was a dumb idea. Especially if it was a dumb idea. Then there was the gumdrop. His smell had been amazing and she knew that was the Horse Maiden's doing. She was surprised at how little knowing a thing actually mattered in the face of experiencing a thing. Simply put, he smelled like sex. Not like he'd just had it, but like he was made from the stuff. His hand had been sweaty when he'd given her that gumdrop. His simple act of kindness had made her feel something for a moment and after eating it she'd barely clung to her self control long enough to down more liquor which ironically gave her more control. And as she reflected on her situation, she didn't really want to be in control.

"I'm just so tired," she whispered.

Unable to fall apart or properly grieve, she stood up out of the bathtub, dried herself off, dressed in some fresh clothing and wrapped her wet hair in a dark red cloth. She knew what she wanted to do, but she was still hesitating. The look she gave the liquor and candy wasn't hungry. It was ravenous. Lustful even. Not a lust for Roy, or a man, or anything really other than just to feel something. She could come out of this badly if she'd misjudged Roy. but that was later. She could feel something now. That promise of feeling was what spurred her to action. Her mouth tingled as the sweet gumdrop and especially Roy's lingering sweat that dusted the candy along with the powdered sugar filled her senses. It wasn't feeling, but it was sensation and that was something. Then she put the bottle to her lips, tipped it back and drank until everything seemed like a good idea.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at May 18, 2018 around 20:25

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

Delfina flicked the reigns and her paint horse did a clever little maneuver where it stepped to the side and therefor closer to Mrs. Walton.

Thereís something about horse training and breeding thatís very agreeable to me; I love horse racing stories and the like. Maybe itís the inner Mongolian in me.

Ice Phisherman posted:

"Shepherd Roy, have you ever been married?" she asked, quickly.

Yep, checks out, if only the circumstances where different. I understand the yarn about Ďsimple country girl finding better prospects in a city boyí.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Roy groaned with pleasure and despite the protection offered by the tequila, that noise made her stomach do flip flops.

Oh. Oh no.

Ice Phisherman posted:

"Gifts, right? That's how this works?" he asked.

Oh no no no.

Ice Phisherman posted:

"Just down the wrong pipe!" she said, hoarsely. "I'm fine! Bath! Now! Going! Bye!"

No no no no no no no no no.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Brianna received no response. She didn't expect one, but that didn't matter. She knew exactly who was to blame for this.



Ice you scruffy looking nerf herder!!! You subverted my suggestion and smirked the whole time while you were doing it too!!


Looks like I missed the vote.

For what itís worth, I would have gone with

Roy: Loneliness. Between Delfina and Brianna, heís being fed more affection that heís had in years; the leak is about to become a flood.

Brianna: No to Love Trouble!!! This is a test by Little Pony Horse Maiden, and Briannaís gone funk it!!!

Ice Phisherman posted:

I realize belatedly that my Western fantasy godgame is getting a splash of what I can only assume to be romcom, because I have no control over my life. I'll try to make it entertaining.

Itís a little too entertaining; stop making me feel things!! Get back to honor duels and metallurgy!

Xarbala posted:

You Can't Steal My Dom Jeans

Iím not writing lyrics for that.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Knife, gumdrop, tequila.

What was she going to do with that knife?

Ice Phisherman posted:

It wasn't feeling, but it was sensation and that was something. Then she put the bottle to her lips, tipped it back and drank until everything seemed like a good idea.

Oh Brianna, sweety, no. Youíre not some adolescent farm girl going to her first barn dance, donít do this, youíll just hate yourself in the morning.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

CourValant posted:

Thereís something about horse training and breeding thatís very agreeable to me; I love horse racing stories and the like. Maybe itís the inner Mongolian in me.

My dad is huge into horses. Playing ponies was his summer job in college. I spent a ton of my young life at race tracks.

quote:

Yep, checks out, if only the circumstances where different. I understand the yarn about Ďsimple country girl finding better prospects in a city boyí.

Yep. Still taboo, but she's under the influence of the blessing. She's holding up admirably though. Delfina is a pretty tough cookie so far.

quote:

Ice you scruffy looking nerf herder!!! You subverted my suggestion and smirked the whole time while you were doing it too!!

I disagree. The trouble was love. Heartbreak is part of love. She loved Maureen and can't properly grieve for her because her pain is too grievous to fully wrap her head and heart around yet.

There are tons of different kinds of love. In English, love is not really a descriptive enough word. You can love a parent and love a spouse and love your dog, but those are all different types of love. When drilling down on it I tend to go with Greek: Agape, Eros, Phillia and Storge.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_words_for_love

So when you say love, the English for it is imprecise and that gives me wiggle room. So she's a young immortal who loves and receives love. She isn't numb to life and people. So she experiences love. All love. Not just romantic. All of it. That includes being on the godly side of agape. She experience love as god or goddess, because she has their memories and so she gets a sort of second hand experience at being worshiped. It's bizarre for a human to experience and I imagine it would make her extremely uncomfortable.

Speaking as a writer, if I gave everyone exactly what they wanted all of the time, the story would get boring on a long enough timeline. I get the votes, I look at the constraints and those constraints help me write. I'm not going full Wishmaster evil genie where I twist everything, but now and again I'm going to surprise you. The more rope I'm given, the more I'll play around with it.

quote:

What was she going to do with that knife?

I wanted it to be there and vaguely threatening, but honestly I'm not sure either. I feel like Brianna wouldn't be sure too, but I may just strip it out.

quote:

Oh Brianna, sweety, no. Youíre not some adolescent farm girl going to her first barn dance, donít do this, youíll just hate yourself in the morning.

Speaking from experience, there are times where one can hate themselves now and just the same in the morning. Coping, even in unhealthy ways, means not hating yourself now and hating yourself more in the morning. It's tempting even though it's a bad strategy in the long run. However, when you're hurting now, you just want to stop hurting. In your mind there is no long run. There is only the now. A parade of moments where you exist in the now and now always hurts. There's a strong urge to fall apart and not be in control when everything hurts right now. This is extremely common among people who have high stress jobs for instance. Not the pain, but the urge to just let go of all cares and worries, at least for a time.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at May 18, 2018 around 21:24

Epsilon Moonshade
Nov 21, 2016

Not an excellent host.


CourValant posted:

There’s something about horse training and breeding that’s very agreeable to me; I love horse racing stories and the like. Maybe it’s the inner Mongolian in me.

Ice Phisherman posted:

My dad is huge into horses. Playing ponies was his summer job in college. I spent a ton of my young life at race tracks.

Heh. I grew up in a horse racing family - my grandfather trained, my great uncle trained (and is in the history books - if you're into thoroughbred racing, you know of him,) my dad and uncles work/worked on farms in various capacities. Horse buddies!

Ice Phisherman posted:

I wanted it to be there and vaguely threatening, but honestly I'm not sure either. I feel like Brianna wouldn't be sure too, but I may just strip it out.

I honestly took it as her being into self-harm for one reason or another. Maybe the whole "wanting to feel something," especially if she isn't into the thing (and I'm glad it didn't go in that direction - because I totally thought it was.)

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Epsilon Moonshade posted:

I honestly took it as her being into self-harm for one reason or another. Maybe the whole "wanting to feel something," especially if she isn't into the thing (and I'm glad it didn't go in that direction - because I totally thought it was.)

I've had friends who were cutters and I hadn't thought about that. No way am I going to enable that behavior or validate it in any way.

As for sex and sexuality in the story? I'll take a moment to talk about for a second. It's been a while since I've talked about how I write.

As a writer I know that sex sells. Writing about sex was my bread and butter for years. It was where I lived. Even more than romance which came later. I am very good at it. At the same time, it's not something I want to do anymore. Selling sex is cheap. I saw the allure of what selling sex did to authors like Laurel K. Hamilton where it took good to okay work and turned it into what is basically a jaunt through literotica. Now that's fine, but her books now revolve explicitly around sex instead of story or characters. Selling sex is a grease trap for authors. Worse still because so few of them are good at it. Though I have this sneaking suspicion that some are bad at writing it on purpose so their publishers ask them to never do it again.

I've read exactly one sex scene in a non-erotic non-romance book before that impressed me. That was Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronivich (go read his stuff it's good). That book was sexually charged, but the series itself (Rivers of London) was largely not with some few exceptions. I've also seen a ton of authors absolutely fail at sex scenes. Jim Butcher of the Dresden Files comes to mind, though I enjoy his work otherwise. The sex scene between Harry Dresden and Susan Rodriguez was painful and cringe-worthy for me to read.

If people are interested in a more adult story that's totally cool. I legitimately enjoy writing romantic and intimate stories because I'm very good at it. Some character rubbing one out on screen to titillate people? Hard no. I don't want to do that anymore. We're on the internet. Sex is everywhere. I don't really have anything new to say for an erotic romp. Interesting yes. I can say, with no hubris, that I have mastered that aspect of writing. I could always learn more, but not much more. It's not some great accomplishment though. There's really only so many ways to write about flesh slapping flesh and I have thoroughly explored and left that particular genre due to just how finite and formulaic it is. I'm more interested in writing about feelings, intimacy and genuine care which for as much sex is in fiction, well portrayed feelings and relationships are often depressingly absent outside of the romance genre. And within it they usually bend to genre in ways that conform to the biases of their audience, normally women, and the genre in particular. There's very little that's new there either. Much more than erotica, but romance is still erotica adjacent. It lights up the same parts of the brain as regular old visial pornography.

Plus yeah, it just makes some people uncomfortable. It doesn't make me uncomfortable, but very little makes me uncomfortable. It's one of the reasons why outside context (provided by you fine folks) is so important is because I legitimately don't know where the line for most people is sometimes. I have an extremely high threshold for...Well...Extreme situations in fiction and in real life. So I tend to think a lot about said situations and ask for guidance if I'm not sure, because otherwise I forget and screw up or I over-correct. Both of which can be jarring.

Anyway, in short, no sex on screen. It's cheap. It's boring. It's widely available and I have nothing new to say. Not going to happen in my stories save for extremely rare circumstances in which I'm trying to evoke some other reaction than titillation and even then I probably won't. Though if people want to do erotic fanfics someday, go right ahead. That's how I'll know that I've made it as an author.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at May 18, 2018 around 23:40

Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

KAVODEL! KAVODEL!


Ice Phisherman posted:

I've had friends who were cutters and I hadn't thought about that. Yeah, no way am I going to enable that behavior.

Maybe she was going to shave for her (un) eventful evening or haircut.
I didn't get the cutter vibe so I went to hair cuts in my mind.

Epsilon Moonshade
Nov 21, 2016

Not an excellent host.


Ice Phisherman posted:

I've had friends who were cutters and I hadn't thought about that. No way am I going to enable that behavior or validate it in any way.

Friends who have self-harmed is exactly what brought it to my mind. I'd humbly suggest finding an alternate prop there, or at least stating a specific use for it.

It doesn't make me uncomfortable per se, but it does seem out of place in the "bad decisions" list. Also, she forgot to pick it up when she dressed.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

My dad is huge into horses. Playing ponies was his summer job in college. I spent a ton of my young life at race tracks.

Epsilon Moonshade posted:

Heh. I grew up in a horse racing family - my grandfather trained, my great uncle trained (and is in the history books - if you're into thoroughbred racing, you know of him,) my dad and uncles work/worked on farms in various capacities. Horse buddies!

Horse Buddies!!!

I didn't fully appreciate how large the horse community was in Southern OC until watching dressage during the summer Olympics one year, and the commentators mentioned that there was a training center around these parts, somewhere.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Yep. Still taboo, but she's under the influence of the blessing. She's holding up admirably though. Delfina is a pretty tough cookie so far.

Yeah, I really like Delfina; we should have her a Shepherd's Deputy, or something.

Ice Phisherman posted:

I disagree. The trouble was love. Heartbreak is part of love. She loved Maureen and can't properly grieve for her because her pain is too grievous to fully wrap her head and heart around yet.

I get it buddy; for what its worth my comment was made in the spirit of playful contrariness; its honestly wonderful how you wove all of our comments and suggestions together into a meaningful narrative. Its almost like you planned it that way, in following Big Sister Little Pony Horse Maiden's plan.

Its just that I saw your windup and the slow build to Brianna's decision point (gumdrop and all), and on the one hand, it was nicely RomCom, while on the other, I knew the dark side of the story would rear its head. It was at the same time feelings of slight dread and anticipation; take it for what its worth.

Ice Phisherman posted:

The more rope I'm given, the more I'll play around with it.

Me: My, what big words you have?

Ice: The better to make you feel with, my dear.


Ice Phisherman posted:

I wanted it to be there and vaguely threatening, but honestly I'm not sure either. I feel like Brianna wouldn't be sure too, but I may just strip it out.

Epsilon Moonshade posted:

I honestly took it as her being into self-harm for one reason or another. Maybe the whole "wanting to feel something," especially if she isn't into the thing (and I'm glad it didn't go in that direction - because I totally thought it was.)

Yeah, see, this is why I asked.

I knew you weren't going to get into self mutilation on-screen, although at the same time, all of the triggers were there, hot bath, candles, alcohol, hurt, pain, anguish, desire.

Its interesting, no? Seeing who's mind went there and who's didn't?

Ice Phisherman posted:

Speaking from experience, there are times where one can hate themselves now and just the same in the morning. Coping, even in unhealthy ways, means not hating yourself now and hating yourself more in the morning. It's tempting even though it's a bad strategy in the long run.

Again, I get it, addictive, though not necessarily addict, personality. I can't tell you how many times I finished off a bottle, knowing full well it was a bad idea and I'll hate myself in the morning.

Still did it anyways, because that drink in my veins told me it'll feel good, and it that it was a really, really good idea (at the time).

Ice Phisherman posted:

Though if people want to do erotic fanfics someday, go right ahead. That's how I'll know that I've made it as an author.



It was a dark and stormy night. Brianna had ribbons in her hair . . .

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here

Ice Phisherman posted:

The more rope I'm given, the more I'll play around with it.

Literary shibari is fine with me

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Hexenritter posted:

Literary shibari is fine with me

. . . . . . GD'it Hex, I knew I liked you for a reason.

RickVoid
Oct 21, 2010


So many things to talk about!

First off, the elephant in the room. I didn't see anything weird about a woman in this setting going to the baths with a knife strapped to her arm. In a setting like this it's just good sense. Between that and maybe some personal higene usage it wasn't odd until that moment she got weird about it and set it aside, but I assumed it would get explained eventually. Didn't see a self-harm angle, though in retrospect I can see how her "I wanna feel something, anything" attitude could go that way. I guess I just trust you to not to resort to sort of low-hanging fruit.

The multiple forms of Love is exactly what I had in mind when I voted for her "An Immortal Who Loves" trouble. Nice to see that paying off.

Oh Butcher. We're you referring to the first time they have sex (in some kids guest room, then she dresses him while she's still naked) or the second time (when she's in danger of going full vamp, so he suspends her with rope so she can't kill him and then that escalates to sex, while she's still restrained, and under the vampire sex-whammy influence and probably not in a state where one should be allowed to give consent?)

I love The Dresden Files, but Jim is the best-worst author.

Oh, and Sweeties for a Sweetie happened! Yaaaaas

Back on the previous vote, I had forgotten that whether or not we threw Iggy under the bus was up. Kinda wish we hadn't, but Roy had just had a rough afternoon because of the guy so it's in character.

For this vote, yes, Push on Bri's Love trouble, and Roy's Lonely trouble. I'd rather they not fall into bed tonight (if it happens I want it to be outside of Goddess influence) but giving Roy a chance to open up and be himself with a person that is actually interested would do him good, and I'd love to see Bri have a moment of "How much of this is Horse Mother, and how much is just him?"

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Roy

Before the bath, the tequila or gumdrop, there was the bucket. In her haste, Brianna kicked it over and slammed the door. It spun in a wide, lazy circle in the dirt before it stopped with a small, tinny sound against the stone building. Roy was baffled.

"Did I do something wrong?" he asked himself.

He thought about it while he faced the closed door, lifted his black bowler hat to scratch his head and sighed as he found his hair to be sweaty and grimy. He desperately wanted that bath. Now there was Brianna. He wasn't sure if her behavior was strange or not, at least for her, because he hadn't spent enough time around her yet. Something told him that no, he hadn't done anything wrong. Instead, which confused him more than mere rudeness, she'd just fled for some reason. It was a sad fact that Roy was so used to this from other people that he didn't take offense or think much of it. No. No offense taken at all. He placed his hat back on his head.

It was nearly fully dark now and would be in just a minute or two. The last traces of sunlight were disappearing in the west. Instead of lighting a lantern or trying to see by what little moonlight and starlight there was he had his staff. He produced what water was left from his canteen, stood his Shepherd's staff up straight and poured what little was left over it. He concentrated, drawing upon wood, water and good thoughts to deal the side of his death magic that warded off death. The normally translucent algae which lived on the staff, kept in a near death state by his magic, suddenly flared to life. It bathed him and the surrounding area in a gentle blue-white light. He smiled as that light reminded him of home. He walked over to Brianna's Conestoga wagon, which looked much smaller without the horses and made his way in to fetch ingredients for something to eat. He peaked inside and whistled.

"Looks like you did a lot of trade today, Brianna," Roy said to himself.

Almost half of the contents of the wagon were gone. The boxes of food weren't stacked so high anymore. In their place were blankets, hides and though he couldn't see it, he could smell meat and cheese. Brianna had shown him where the food was along with the camping stove, but he thought about it. There was probably a stove inside the stone structure. Not just a simple camping stove, but a real one. He carefully sorted through the contents of the wagon and found the trail food. Again he was baffled by the total lack of preserved food that one would normally find. Instead he found fresh vegetables, a few fat sausages and that cornbread from last night. Now curious, he poked at the cornbread. He knew it should have grown at least a little stale, but it wasn't stale at all. Cautiously, he took a nibble from the end and it was just as fresh and moist as it was last night. What really baffled him was when he found the jar of heavy cream. It had been inside of an aluminum box and while it hadn't been a scorcher of a day, the aluminum should have heated and spoiled the cream, but no. He opened it, gave it a sniff and then a taste. It was still fresh and tasty.

"I don't understand any of this," complained Roy.

Then he found it. Bathed in the blue white light, a little piece of sanity. A jar of sliced peaches in a heavy sauce. This was travel food. Nice travel food, but still, travel food. The sort that would keep. Roy was used to dried beef, beans, bread so hard you could use it to drive nails, foraged vegetables and yes, preserved fruit.

"You and me are going to be pals," he said to the jar of peaches.

He found an empty box and took his haul under one arm, glowing staff in the other and stepped off the wagon. He carefully entered the stone building. It was strange. Ornaments were everywhere. Bones were arranged in artful patterns: Wind chimes for the medium sized bones and decorations on the wall for the smaller ones. Large bones stood out with individual engravings set here and there as single pieces. All of which gave him a start, but as he looked closer he knew that these were not human bones, but the bones of some sort of animal. Seconds later he saw the prominently displayed horse hides stretched on the walls and felt a little silly for his worry as he put it all together. It was still macabre, but the presence of the bone artwork wasn't so overwhelming in number that he was unnerved. Besides, as a doctor, he'd seen his fair share of bones in life.

Odd decoration aside it looked like a normal stone house. There was a small stone table with stone benches, two simple beds, a door leading to another room, a hide loosely hanging to separate one room from the other, and to his delight, a stove. Not just a camping stove, but a real alcohol stove. He approached it, spied some stone bottles and leaned his staff against the wall. He popped a bottle open, gave it a sniff and sure enough it smelled like cooking alcohol. The room was still dark and so he didn't dim his staff just yet. Instead he familiarized himself with the tiny kitchen. Pots, pans, knives, utensils, all hung up and clean along with a few dishes and cups on a shelf. He deposited his box of food near the stove on a small counter and got to work. Sausages and vegetables were cut up, a tiny bit of oil he'd scrounged from the wagon was poured to grease the pan. Then he poured some alcohol into the stove and lit it with a lighter. The blue flame burned hot and complimented the light from his staff.

Minutes later he'd lit candles off the stove, dimmed his staff and was cooking. Sausage and veggies in one pan, some peaches and cream in a pot. One sizzled and one stewed. He spied a spice rack and to his delight he found a bag of pepper which he used on the meat and vegetables. Salt came next from another bag. He was curious about the others, but he stuck to what he knew for now as none of them were labeled. He'd apply a bit of seasoning, taste a vegetable, which was currently soaking in the oil and sausage grease and then apply more to taste. Soon the stone building was filled with good smells, the alcohol ran out and with a hanging mitten he transferred the food from the stove to the table.

Before he was done with the table, Brianna emerged from the other room wearing a simple grey dress. Her lengthy hair was tied up tightly in a red cloth to dry and her normally pale skin was pink from the scrubbing. Or so Roy reasoned.

"I thought I smelled something good," said Brianna.

"I just might have made something passable," said Roy.

"Oh yeah, the food smells good too," teased Brianna.

She winked at him. Roy looked down and cleared his throat.

"Why mister Whitaker, there's a lady present and you're inside," said Brianna, theatrically. "Are you going to wear your hat?"

Roy took off his black bowler hat automatically and took it in his hands. He realized belatedly that he hadn't tipped his hat or taken it off at all today and mentally kicked himself. Despite his light brown hair being short, he was still sweaty and his hair reflected that.

"Sorry," he said, sheepishly. "I'm not used to being company."

"Don't worry. The lady will pretend she didn't notice," she said, lightly.

"Very kind of her," he said, with a small smile.

"Well I'm hungry," she said. "You hungry?"

"Famished, but I was thinking about that bath," he said. "I'm not really fit company at the moment."

"And leave a lady waiting?" she asked with a smirk. "It'd be impolite to go and scrub yourself off. I daresay it'd take at least an hour. Meanwhile I can't eat this delicious looking food. I wouldn't dream of eating without you."

Roy paused, back stiff. Brianna folded her arms and smirked at him.

"I suppose we're at a bit of an impasse," he said, awkwardly.

"Yeah," said Brianna, explosively. "Guess I'll just have to stop being a lady then."

She reached out and clapped him twice on the shoulder as she chuckled. Roy was taken aback by this, but smiled despite himself.

"I'm just messing with you," she said with a laugh. "C'mon, let's eat."

They sat down together. Brianna scooped out her portion of the meat and vegetables, which were just potatoes and carrots, nothing fancy. Roy placed a larger measure onto his own plate. Brianna took a bite, pursed her lips, pointed down at her food and nodded.

"That good?" asked Roy.

Brianna kept chewing and made a thumbs-up gesture, but it slowly tilted to the side. She wiggled her thumb without turning it down and swallowed her food.

"Decent for a first attempt," she said. "Eager about the peaches though. Just going to ladle them on to the cornbread?"

"That's the idea," he said.

"Well you have good insh...Insh..." she slurred.

She screwed up her concentration and tried again.

"You have good instincts," she said, precisely.

"Been drinking more?" he asked, cautiously.

"Been drinking a lot!" she exclaimed, too loudly. "I don't get to unwind much. Go here, drop off that, trade this, wear this thing, you know. I take my fun where I can find it. Say, you don't play any music, do you?"

Roy swallowed what he'd been chewing before responding.

"Can't say that I do," he said, honestly.

Brianna made a face, then shrugged.

"Ah well. I was hoping. That really would have made my night," she said with a sigh. "Maybe it would be too much for you to cook for me and serenade me, huh?"

"I uh...I never had much time for music," said Roy. "I barely have time for my own work."

"More's the pity. How'd that go by the by?" asked Brianna. "Delfina treat you all right?"

"Yeah, she treated me just fine," said Roy with a smile. "Real nice person. Tough too. She saw some real bad stuff today and got through it better than I would have at her age."

Roy thought back to the day and his smile fled from his face. Brianna's noticed and hers disappeared too.

"Y'okay?" she asked, more seriously.

Her words were stumbling together, but she seemed concerned. Roy was about to nod, but he remembered how the locals felt about lying. He'd been holding it in all day and he found that he couldn't really hold it in any longer. The glimpse of the Fields had numbed him to it, but he was really only beginning to comprehend it now. Still, he couldn't approach it directly. So he talked around it.

"Went to the Smith homestead," he said, quietly. "Plague house. I sterilized it."

He paused and looked down at his hands. One of them real, one of them metal.

"Tracked down a hungry ghost. It had possessed someone," he said, quietly. "It's strange, but I felt so vital. I just...Yanked the ghost out of the woman with my hand."

Brianna shifted uncomfortably after he said "vital", but Roy didn't notice. He was too busy looking at his hands.

"Anyway, I treated her for sun poisoning and dehydration," he said, quietly. "When she woke up...Well...She said she didn't have any money."

"Oh," said Brianna, flatly.

The Shepherd didn't notice her eyes, sharp for a moment, peering deeply across at him in the candlelight.

"She um...Assumed things about me," he said, awkwardly, "Because of my profession. I told her I'm not like that. Still, I'm not really looking forward to having to reestablish myself. I thought I was done with that kind of hate after I got a good reputation on my old route, but now I'm here. The reputation of my guild precedes me and it is a poor one."

Brianna relaxed and sighed. She put on a small smile for him, though she was too inebriated to keep it from looking sad.

"She's not from here, right?" asked Brianna.

Roy looked up at her.

"How'd you know?" asked Roy.

Brianna shrugged slightly and pushed some of her food around on her plate.

"Mathers explained a Shepherd's reputation to me at length on more than one occasion," she said. "So I can't really do anything about the immigrants, but the clans don't feel that way. Their ways aren't your ways, but at least they won't hate you. She was good to them."

"That's nice to know," said Roy, quietly.

They both ate in silence for a time. Now done eating, Roy stared down at his empty plate and fork.

"I judged a kid today," he whispered. "Sent her to the fields. I think she was...Seven or eight. Maybe a little older."

Brianna looked at him, but didn't know what to say. In her intoxicated state and with the lighting as low as it was, she reached out to lay her hand upon his. She took the wrong one as she felt cool metal. Still, Roy smiled.

"Sorry," he said. "Delfina helped me keep it together today, because I had to keep it together for her. I'm used to judging maybe one or two people a week. I'll see a hungry ghost a handful of times a year. Today I had to judge a kid, look at the Fields, rip a hungry ghost out of a woman, send that hungry ghost to the Lake and then get all of that hate leveled at me by that woman who's been abused by a guild mate of mine. I can't say that I blame her either. If I were her I'd be suspicious. Not my worst day. I'll deal with it. But it's up there."

The silence stretched for a time and Roy licked his lips.

"Her name was Joy," said Roy. "She uh...She said my name rhymed with hers."

Roy sniffed and rubbed at his eyes. While they were covered there was a sudden, discordant clanging as Brianna tried to grasp his hand at the same time he moved it. This disturbed the dish and utensils, but Brianna was too drunk to care and Roy was too enthralled by the touch to complain. He looked down and saw Brianna's smaller, insistent hand. Her fingers wiggled and he allowed himself to be touched once more as he laid his hand in hers and she grasped his. They looked at each other, each sad in their own way for their own reasons.

"Why mister Whitaker, did the most honorable guild of Shepherds send me a good person with a tender heart?" she said, gently.

Roy shrugged a little.

"Well, I did request for a good Shepherd," said Brianna, softly. "You're going to have to shelter that tender heart of yours. One Tree County doesn't abide tenderness so well, sad to say."

A soft laugh escaped from Roy's throat. He wiped at his face with his metal hand this time and reluctantly slipped his hand away from hers.

"Sorry, I'm usually better than this," he said, voice rough. "A day of highs and lows all around. I'm not used to it."

Brianna placed a piece of cornbread on his palte and ladled a generous portion of the peaches and cream over it. It steamed in the relative gloom.

"Eat a little and get a bath while it's still warm," said Brianna, gently. "You forgot the drinks, but I can bring you some tea to your bath. Would you like that?"

"I'd like that," he said, "That's gracious of you."

"Or I can bring it in while you're bathing," she teased, wickedly.

"Yeah that'd be...Wait, is that proper?" he asked, warily.

Brianna snorted out a drunken laugh.

"It's dark. Don't worry. If I threaten to see too much I'll blow out a candle to preserve your virshue," she slurred, and then tried again. "Virtue. There. I'll warn you when I turn back into a lady. It hasn't happened yet, so until then I'll do as I please."

"Just um...Tea to take with me if you please," he said, nervously.

"It does please me to make some tea. Eat your cornbread. You'll feel better," she said, her voice full of graciousness, breath heavy with tequila.

Breaking up a longer post into two smaller posts. Next time. Sandwiches, menfolk and a party.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at May 21, 2018 around 21:17

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

"Why mister Whitaker, there's a lady present and you're inside," said Brianna, theatrically. "Are you going to wear your hat?"

Ribbons. In. Hair!!

Ice Phisherman posted:

"Ah well. I was hoping. That really would have made my night," she said with a sigh. "Maybe it would be too much for you to cook for me and serenade me, huh?"

We're getting into drunken prom date levels of come-on here.

Ice Phisherman posted:

"Why mister Whitaker, did the most honorable guild of Shepherds send me a good person with a tender heart?" she said, gently.

Didn't you write a book titled Tender is the Shepherd in your previous life?

Ice Phisherman posted:

"It's dark. Don't worry. If I threaten to see too much I'll blow out a candle to preserve your virshue," she slurred, and then tried again. "Virtue. There. I'll warn you when I turn back into a lady. It hasn't happened yet, so until then I'll do as I please."

Alright, so, I get that Roy is socially awkward, is a Good Man, and doesn't want to make any lasting mistakes in his first week on the job.

That being said, if a woman makes me an offer like this, and pretty much tells me that she's 'drunk and doesn't understand the difference between impropriety and not-impropriety', then I'm pretty sure I'm going to that special hell ala the 'Mrs. Reynolds' Saffron episode from Firefly.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.


Roy is awkward, but I think I like that Brianna is teasing him and trying to get him to come out of his shell. Originally before we went for the love trouble I was thinking of using the flirting as a way to keep Roy at a distance. However, I had to be flexible and so I abandoned that as it would run contrary to her trouble (and therefor character). Roy is an awkward person and is very much not used to not just attention from a woman, but positive attention at all. On the flip side, I've been playing Brianna as a confident older woman who is comfortable in her own skin. I've made no secret of her age and with that age comes a confidence that women generally don't develop until their thirties, forties or fifties.

So yeah, it's awkward. Because she's trying to talk to Roy and doesn't know how so she's defaulting to what's been working so far. She's still feeling him out. Also at this point she drank the tequila, ate the second gumdrop and is feeling a momentary infatuation with him while also being drunk. Brianna put herself under his control as a way of escape, and as it turns out what he wanted was someone to talk to and that bath. That's it. When I rolled everything up she succeeded and this ended up positive and her helping out Roy rather than her feeling awful and feeling bad for herself.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

When I rolled everything up she succeeded and this ended up positive and her helping out Roy rather than her feeling awful and feeling bad for herself.

Well isn't that . . . special.

I'm glad this is how it played out.

Xarbala
Feb 13, 2011

Rolling Thunder: War to the Knife, Knife to the Hilt

Why? , that's why.

I like that the result of the current route thus far seems to be Brianna just doing something nice for poor ol' Roy

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

CourValant posted:

Well isn't that . . . special.

I'm glad this is how it played out.

Yep. I'm pretty married to my method of rolling dice and seeing how it colors the narrative. It's worked for me so far. While I will experiment with it, until it fails me I'll keep going like I'm going.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

Yep. I'm pretty married to my method of rolling dice and seeing how it colors the narrative. It's worked for me so far. While I will experiment with it, until it fails me I'll keep going like I'm going.

Deadmeat5150
Nov 21, 2005

OLD MAN YELLS AT CLAN


Oh Bri you big goofball. I knew Roy wouldn't grasp the subtle, and not-so subtle, hints of what she's dropping.

If an immortal avatar of the small gods and a Grim ReaperShepherd have a babby, will it be super special?

RickVoid
Oct 21, 2010


Deadmeat5150 posted:

Oh Bri you big goofball. I knew Roy wouldn't grasp the subtle, and not-so subtle, hints of what she's dropping.

If an immortal avatar of the small gods and a Grim ReaperShepherd have a babby, will it be super special?

I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume that she can't get pregnant, mainly because I really don't want to think about what the anti-aging effect she has on things around her might effect an unborn child.

I do appreciate a good Discworld referrence, however.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Deadmeat5150 posted:

Oh Bri you big goofball. I knew Roy wouldn't grasp the subtle, and not-so subtle, hints of what she's dropping.

It had occurred to me that Bri, due to her age and condition, might go the other way and be a complete saucy mare because 1) she's too old for this $hit and 2) being functionally immortal means her body is as wanton as an adolescents.

RickVoid posted:

I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume that she can't get pregnant, mainly because I really don't want to think about what the anti-aging effect she has on things around her might effect an unborn child.

Wouldn't it make her extra fertile?

I mean, if her anti-aging field can keep peaches and cream fresh, imagine what it does to her lady bits?

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that Iíll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

CourValant posted:

Wouldn't it make her extra fertile?

I mean, if her anti-aging field can keep peaches and cream fresh, imagine what it does to her lady bits?

It's not something I really planned to delve into too deeply. She does have a kid. Said kid is not with her. She had a husband. He died. She doesn't age. It's difficult to stay close to people. Not grow close. Stay close. People she knows that don't travel with her (basically everyone) slowly grow old, get married, have children, but you see them maybe a few days out of the month. Meanwhile you stay the same age and life largely doesn't change for you. Brianna is a person largely stuck in time. Having children would be tragic for someone like her. Either they stay the same age forever or you leave and see them grow up without you.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at May 22, 2018 around 04:23

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

Brianna is a person largely stuck in time. Having children would be tragic for someone like her. Either they stay the same age forever or you leave and see them grow up without you.

/sigh

Who wants to live forever
Who wants to live forever
Who dares to love forever
When love must die


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c75cOL0G8I

Incidentally, didn't realize this was a Queen song until I looked it up; Freddie was a pretty amazing musician.

RickVoid
Oct 21, 2010


I can say, with absolute certainty, that I have never heard a Queen song that (A) I didn't like and (B) didn't make me feel. The world is poorer for the death of Freddie Mercury.

On another topic, I guess I assumed that the unborn child would be trapped, unchanging, at the moment of conception, which is horrifying to consider. But per Ice I am wrong. Yay.

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CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

RickVoid posted:

I can say, with absolute certainty, that I have never heard a Queen song that (A) I didn't like and (B) didn't make me feel. The world is poorer for the death of Freddie Mercury.

Indeed. Beyond the music, Freddie lived so openly, unapologetically, unabashedly, as 'himself'.

That man had courage, confidence, and talent the likes of which we're hard pressed to find today.

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