[Seasonal Event] no spring skips its turn
Deimos Ignatius
the Resurrected Sword
Militia General of the Hollowed Grounds / Guildmaster

Age: 26 | Height: 6'4" | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 8 - Strg: 28 - Dext: 28 - Endr: 33 - Luck: 27
ZURIEL - Mythical - Unicorn (Healing)
Played by: Heather Offline
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#1
 
D E I M O S


The moment he opened the door of his own domicile: empty and forlorn, desolate and quiet, the Reaper shut it again. Something about the miserable, hollow, untouched reaches of the threshold made him turn away – the hustle and bustle of the Rathskeller, the vibrant, constant hum of people going back and forth, or the bright, burning flames of the Spark Bird – and then returning to the pinnacle of his own disastrous efforts left a bitter taste in his mouth. He kept himself busy outside instead, rearranging wood piles overturned by either roaming demons and infidels, or the chilling, hazardous weather. Eventually, even these tasks couldn’t occupy him entirely, or push away the thoughts burrowing themselves in his skull, taking root, and so he wandered the rest of the settlements, the streets, the typical routes and shadows he frequented, and then traversed back into the outskirts.

The restlessness ate away at him, and he could hear the hum of you must try in the back of his mind, gentle at first, then all the more insistent as he meandered, attempting to drive himself into a slate of ambition, aspiration, instead of shuffling along through this life. He knew he was wasting it on brooding, melancholic efforts, but sometimes those were the only nuances coiled within, and facing them head-on hurt, smoldered, seethed in his chest.

Eventually, deep through the forest, then along the incline of a knoll, inspiration struck him. Where the snow had melted, thawed, from the slow warmth of the sun, there was a pocket of flowers sprouting: purple in color, strong, determined little things intertwining their way towards the delicate sway of the heavens. He tilted his head and stared at them, struggling to remember, recall, why they’d even be poignant at all. Recognition only came after a sigh and lowering himself down to their level, fingers gliding over the shrub, laughing to himself: lavender, a calming, assuaging, soothing plant. The warrior, destined to slaughter instead of provide relief, had seen it in the gardens of Isilme, had uprooted quite a few in his youth out of pure mischief. The beast shook his head and pondered moving on, except a peculiar idea curved and wound its way in his cranium, overriding the treacherous bends, climbing to the top of the mountainous convictions; whenever his machinations started spinning, calculations snaking, twisting, and turning, it was difficult to pull away from the devilish designs.

He suddenly knew exactly how to repay a favor.

Deimos spent a majority of the morning with his efforts, gathering supplies at his house, including his sled, gloves, and a myriad of shovels, trowels, and tools, and returning to the lavender. He took much care than he had as a boy, digging through the soil to find the roots, then wrap them up in water-soaked burlap until he could transport them to a safer location, patient, diligent, and meticulous, the trademark of his motions and movements. After he’d snagged three or four, leaving quite a few behind to grow in their own chosen area, he began his sojourn back to the settlements, slower, stopping by his domicile one more time to grab a few more chosen pieces, that in his previous haste, he’d overlooked. The beast packed these articles in snow, presuming they’d keep until he arrived at the bakery. For a few seconds, he surveyed the entirety of his sled and everything contained within, hoping it’d be enough to convey the sentiments unsaid. He inhaled sharply, then continued onward, dragging the objects behind him.

He’d hoped to tread lightly, quietly, in the waning hours of the morning, eyes glimpsing over the sun and deciphering where they’d best be suited (in the surge of daylight, rising and reaching, thriving in the pockets of light and rays). The sled, however, wasn’t well-equipped for rocks and rubble, and by the time he arrived at the front of the bakery, there was no doubt in his mind he’d been heard ages before. It didn’t really matter, but for some reason he didn’t want to be caught – fathomed secrets and furtive intentions. Perhaps Amalia wasn’t there anyway, and subterfuge would’ve been wasted. The rest of his actions were hushed, gloves pulled on, aiming to unload one or two of the shrubs at the front.

Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,748
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#2
Amalia
Still sitting on a shelf and never
Never seen the sun shine brighter
Flowerbirth is here, and the girl feels renewed- or at least somewhere near it. The wound of death is still bear her breast, but she shies away from looking too closely, investigating the feelings that made her yearn for Ludo's release. Instead she takes readily to something new, something which makes her feel wonderfully other than she is: the leopard. Since her time in the information she has been wearing the skin more and more, venturing through nightmares bold on silent paws, sleeping soundly in feline guise.

So it is that she wakes one day, early into Flowerbirth, her round ears having caught a bluster of sound. Dark eyes widen and blink, and she stretches into a standing position. Amalia the baker recoils in fear, but Amalia the leopard is inquisitive and bold, and so it is that the feline strides toward the unlatched back door, slinking out into the sunlight to find the source of the sound.

She does not expect the sight that greets her: Deimos, armed with trowel and spade, clandestinely planting lavender. The whole scene is deeply absurd and profoundly touching. Is he doing this for her? Something in her chest warms and tightens, a soft purr rising unbidden in her lungs. She wants to but she does not approach, content for a few minutes to watch from the shadows, stalking her prey.

It is only when she senses a lull in Deimos' actions that Amalia strikes, pouncing from her concealment to appear beside the man, tail erect and ears upright in happy interest. He does not know it is her - cannot, she is sure - and the thrill of it fills her with a shocking brazenness, a giddy delight. The tables have turned on Mr. Shade, and as the leopard takes a position of readiness for play before the man she wonders if he will engage or shun, chastise or cheer, and is not afraid.
And it feels like me on a good day
Deimos Ignatius
the Resurrected Sword
Militia General of the Hollowed Grounds / Guildmaster

Age: 26 | Height: 6'4" | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 8 - Strg: 28 - Dext: 28 - Endr: 33 - Luck: 27
ZURIEL - Mythical - Unicorn (Healing)
Played by: Heather Offline
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Posts: 1,621
MP:
#3
 
D E I M O S


The Reaper had always been meticulous and methodical, a juxtaposition between the untamed, feral interludes beneath skin and flesh. It’d served him well in battle – control and precision, calculated wiles, a movement, a motion, meant to throw an enemy off, for him to manipulate an opening, to destroy and devastate an opponent, an army. In these quiet, slightly absurd moments, however, it manifested the same tactics, and his mind was willed into the task at hand with little qualm or upheaval. He dug a trowel into the soil like it was a blade, his hands sifted through dirt and terrain like it was bloodshed and tyranny; the beast wasn’t remotely bothered by the ludicrous sentiments dragged through the situation. He worked best when there was naught else to occupy his thoughts, shoving them all aside, attention solely riveted to the assignments and details in his grasp. When the ghosts of mountains and glaciers suddenly erupted behind his eyes, he ignored that too, inwardly growling at the bizarre, clattering things, pushing, brushing them away, grabbing hold of one lavender shrub, kneeling, and placing it within the hole he’d just dug.

But the sensation of being watched slunk over his spine; and for several seconds, he allowed that instance to stretch, for his mind to reel, for machinations to coil close. Perhaps someone had heard him dragging the sled over rock, and were simply curious. Maybe it was Amalia, coming to see what had caused such a ruckus.

When his piercing stare lifted from the lavender, they met the gaze of a leopard’s.

It might’ve been an intriguing picture: predator and predator. But he’d spent far too long surviving, existing, carving out the world with a cutlass, with a rapier, to suddenly be torn asunder in a damned garden. The warrior went completely still, a stone, a monolith, a piece of devastation and ruin struck by the innate cords of his existence. If worse came to worse, and the creature attacked, if his death enchantments were too slow, he had his hunting knife. If he could reach it in time –

So he waited, barely breathing, like a heathen, like a fiend, on the stretches of the battlefield, fervent, ardent, no rapier in hand, no shield intact, save for his indifferent features, sculpted and etched for the legions, for the masses, unattainable, unreachable, a hellion on the outskirts –

But nothing happened.

In fact, the more he stared, tensed, became rigid and stiff, the more he realized that there was no ravenous inclination from the leopard’s stare. It appeared almost excited; but not to instigate inevitable upheaval. The soldier blinked, and tilted his head, rupturing the nonchalant framework with apparent curiosity. If this carnivore wasn’t prowling for food, then what was its purpose? Was it someone’s companion, wandering the streets until it heard a noise? Was it a true leopard, come down from some mountain region, keen for entertainment instead of hunting? It appeared to be a daring creature, audacious, expectant, which likely served the feline well – fortune always favored the bold. Deimos’ eyes narrowed, brow furrowed, attempting to piece together the riddle, the puzzle, the enigma, unfurling its way through the midst.

He continued to watch the opposing beast as his hand reached for something in his sled, unwrapping a sheaf of parchment paper lined in snow and ice, the wrapper crinkling. He’d meant for the meat inside, some partridge, others turkey, to be for Amalia, and he’d simply leave it on the doorstep, but she wouldn’t notice portions missing. When he had some tiny pieces in his grasp, he dangled it from his fingers, waving it in various directions, bemused at the possibility of its head following his movements, bewitched and beguiled by food. “Hungry?” Then he tossed it in mid-air, intending to divert or distract it away so he could finish planting and escape before the baker returned.

Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,748
MP:
#4
Amalia
Still sitting on a shelf and never
Never seen the sun shine brighter
He is still, a statue, tight with readiness, and for a moment the world stills. A thrill dances electric up her spine. She challenges him, causes him pause, lights tension in his body and flight in his heart. It should not excite her, but ah, how it does: she, the baker, the sunlit waif, challenges him, the heathen, the glacier in the night. She can see it in him, smell it on him, taste it in the air, and it lights something primal within. The predator stares at him, her prey, dark eyes unblinking as they hold his blue, the steady purr rising within her breast. She could strike him, leap upon him, take him between her teeth and taste the salt upon his skin.

His head tilts, and the moment changes.

Shocked, the leopard shakes her head, wondering at the incredible strength of instinct which grasped her moments before. It is strange to be a predator; she is unfamiliar with the thrill, but as she regards him she softens and drops, the flare of fiery aggression mellowing back into playful interest, kitten-like delight. One large paw snaps out to swat at an unfortunate bug, though her attention is quick to return to his face, round ears turning as she gauges his next plan.

She watches with interest as he reaches into his sled, though the predator's wariness is not absent as his hand disappears. It is the smell which reaches her first: before he has a chance to speak Amalia is sitting up, suddenly alert, awake, aware. The smell of meat has never been one that appealed to her before, but as he dangles the partridge she finds herself ravenous, yearning to taste it, to tear it with her teeth. Long tail beating the ground in anticipation, she watches his hand with rapt attention, head following his movements, body tensed like a spring.

As soon as he tosses it, she uncoils, and the meat vanishes between her teeth.

Back on the ground Amalia purrs, stalking closer to Deimos with a playful air. Three feet away she stops again, her body pressed close to the earth, long tail swatting the empty sky.
And it feels like me on a good day
Deimos Ignatius
the Resurrected Sword
Militia General of the Hollowed Grounds / Guildmaster

Age: 26 | Height: 6'4" | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 8 - Strg: 28 - Dext: 28 - Endr: 33 - Luck: 27
ZURIEL - Mythical - Unicorn (Healing)
Played by: Heather Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,621
MP:
#5
 
D E I M O S


Deimos had been a predacious, minatory force for so long, it was bizarre to have the notion reversed. It wasn’t quite vulnerability or unease slinking across his flesh and bone; the Reaper would never consider himself weak or susceptible, but he sorely lacked the claws, the fangs, or the carnivore’s speed if anything went awry (and he didn’t like it). It was the unknown, the strange, bizarre instances stretching across the tense moments, leaving him wondering, without answers or solutions. Intimidation and a menacing, malicious stature had always been his first weapons, but here, it didn’t seem to matter. He hadn’t been immersed into such notions since he was a boy practicing skirmishes with a wooden blade, taking on schooled masters and fellow, future barbarians; sometimes not meeting blow-for-blow, coming away with widened eyes and bruised limbs, realization a daunting teacher, experience a masterful foe. But he’d become better, tougher, stronger, through perseverance and fortitude, might and control, resilience and persistence. There was no way to suddenly become more than a predator’s ferocity though; the innate, ingrained instinct to murder, to maim, to rip and tear apart. His had been molded through battle after battle, through shortcoming after shortcoming, through cool indifference and yearning; the beast before him had it stored within its veins, and wouldn’t bear a human’s notions or nuances about death and finality. Another’s demise was their sole purpose, so they could consume, so they could devour, so they could live another day.

But he couldn’t figure out this one’s motives, because no sooner had he noted the fierce, savage gaze, did it reflect playful ambience.

This whole occasion was a confusing muddle, and he shook his head, presuming it just to be another one of those streamlined instances he wasn’t meant to understand. Perhaps it was young, more entranced by the strands of diversion and amusement than food, but he tossed it another chunk of partridge and searched for something else in his sled to entertain it. There were a couple of loose branches and stems lost, fallen away from their brethren in the journey over to the bakery. The warrior shrugged, reaching for them and then extending their slim columns towards the leopard, weaving it back and forth in the air in effort to get it to swat at their spindly fronds or pull their strands down into the grass.

Thereafter, he eyed the remaining plants. There were still two bundles waiting their turn, so while he figured the large cat was distracted, he dragged the sled and the rest of his tools towards the back of the building, conveying symmetry with tranquility, serenity. Deimos’ intentions were to follow the same patterns as before, shifting back into the container and grabbing hold of the necessities. He looked over his shoulder, narrowing his eyes, studying the cat, pondering if he should be more heedful, mindful, of turning his back towards the feline. The cretin adjusted accordingly, ensuring the leopard was at least affixed to the corner of his eye, before kneeling back down in the grass, trowel in hand, digging into the soil.


Amalia
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,748
MP:
#6
Amalia
Still sitting on a shelf and never
Never seen the sun shine brighter
Amalia snaps up again at the offer of another sliver of meat, her great body springing lightly into the air as Deimos tosses the food. Swallowing it down, she licks her lips, watching intently as he reaches back into the sled. When he emerges with branches her interest wanes, an expression of feline disdain crossing her face. Leopard she may be, but she is not a child, to be easily entertained by swaying leaves, though she is both amused and touched by the gesture. Like her, he seems a different creature: lighter, less restrained, the glacial frost melting to reveal more of the heart within. It excites and bewilders the gentle girl, and she aches at once to push him further while fearing what further may ultimately mean.

When Deimos stands Amalia follows, curious, a shadow to the behemoth of a man. Is he leaving? she wonders, and tries to ignore the cold stab that strikes her at that thought. But no- he rounds to the other side of the building and draws to a stop. Amalia, too, pauses her approach, some steps away, watching with interest as the man proceeds. The way he regards her is both exciting and upsetting: as much as the idea of being feared intoxicates, she does not wish to be viewed with distrust... least of all by him. For a moment she considers shifting, revealing herself to her visitor- but she has gone too far, given too much, and the cruel anxiety which bites at her lungs blooms bright at the prospect - nay, inevitability - of his rejection.

So Amalia does not become herself, but stays the version which is braver, and draws near to the man.

The thing in her chest warms again as he kneels down to dig. Why is he doing this? Why for her? He probably does it for all his friends, she reasons in desperate attempt to quell that thing which fiercely, protectively, wants to find meaning in the kindly act. Purring loudly so as not to startle, Amalia approaches the warrior again, wanting, if not to thank, then at least to help.

The large, soft head reaches out, cold nose seeking his hand to gently push the spade away. Crouching down beside the hole, Amalia regards Deimos with a plaintive "Mrrow?" before beginning, if he has moved sufficiently away, to dig, her sharp claws and broad paws making easy work of the soft, spring earth.
And it feels like me on a good day
Deimos Ignatius
the Resurrected Sword
Militia General of the Hollowed Grounds / Guildmaster

Age: 26 | Height: 6'4" | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 8 - Strg: 28 - Dext: 28 - Endr: 33 - Luck: 27
ZURIEL - Mythical - Unicorn (Healing)
Played by: Heather Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,621
MP:
#7
 
D E I M O S


Vigilance and the power of observation had saved him more times than he could’ve counted – the blazing inferno of curiosity commonly wound itself through his fibers and flesh and segmented him straight into mayhem. Without the attentive contortions to his nature, death and disaster would’ve been imminent – the rushing tide, the scraping of sand, the crush of leaves and roots beneath an enemy’s boot, the tell-tale, sweeping indications that another lurked, another preyed, another contorted its way through his bones and called him to action. They stung and they carved, sculpted, infused his lungs and scorched his ministrations, until he was a behemoth of movement and motion. It wasn’t quite the same now, but there’s an echo of something sizzling and seething its way into his mind; the leopard watching him, him watching back, uncertain and apprehensive because the unknown gaped and stared at his existence and sought to mock him every step of the way. The Reaper craved answers, but wasn’t certain of where to ask or what he even sought, turning his head back down to the soil, trowel thrust deep into the soil, like a knife, like a blade, sliding under his power, little resistance, a futile exposition.

The feline crept closer, but with the humming drone of a purr, causing him to swivel his gaze straight back to the spotted beast, pondering if this was some form of attack too, and he was being lulled into a false sense of security, a gentle, coaxing hum before the storm, rampant and clawing his skin to shreds; gone, gone, gone at a moment’s notice. His jaw clenched and a stirring seized its way through his limbs, ready, a soldier born on the battlefield, where a second’s hesitation chiseled notes and knots of life and death, a narrow window of time, a key precipice to crawl away from or launch off.

But there were no showing of fangs (as much as he thought to raise his own hackles), no emblazoned bites hastened to his skin, and no talons or talons sinking, emblazoning, and bloodying. The cold nose pressed against his hand, striving to push the spade aside, a meow ringing in the air, explaining its pursuits as paws dug where he’d begun.

Deimos stared. He openly gaped at the beasts’ actions, before narrowing his eyes, unreadable, unattainable in that stretch of time while his mind roared and brewed, boiled the complexities of his understandings, of his comprehension, of the worlds he’d encountered and experienced. He hadn’t ever known any predators or wild, untamed animals who reflected a human’s actions unless they were companions, bonded and fused, interwoven, thoughts collected and pinned amidst one another. Or – another vein snapped in his membrane, the rush of vulture feathers, a vicious, raptorial descent, until it conformed into another, arms and legs, Kiada’s frame bursting from avian flight to a composed figure.

He shifted down the row, leaving the leopard to its newfound task, swallowing down the nuances and notions suddenly grinding their way into his larynx. Who are you? he wanted to shout and roar, played for a fool – or maybe not at all, and he was inept at the way beasts lurked here too. “Thank you,” he said instead, uncertain of how much was understood, uncertain of so many ridiculous things and he craved answers, information, with naught to go by but the twist and turn of his consternation and the building trepidation gathered in his lungs. Maybe he truly was an idiot and that was all there was to it – the signature sweep of ineptitude clattering in his veins, in his skull, where it pounded and drummed.

The warrior eyed the last of the bushes, and found a suitable location, intending to repeat his past performances, eyes still wandering to the cat, to the confusion, to the bewilderment plaguing his senses. He kneeled once more, spade sliding into the dirt and clay, carving his aggravation and vexation into silent, benign motions, wondering when he’d know anything at all.


Amalia
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,748
MP:
#8
Amalia
Still sitting on a shelf and never
Never seen the sun shine brighter
His hand is warm on her sensitive nose, rough from use and a life of labor. She wonders what stories the lines of them tell, what she might divine from those large palms... and steps back, abashed, looking up at him through wide, intelligent eyes. He is surprised by but not resistant to her assistance, and as Amalia begins to dig that playful energy returns in full. How long has it been since she properly gardened, hands and face streaked with dirt, fingernails stained brown and smelling of soil? Here, an opportunity to get her hands - her paws - dirty, to unsheathe the weapons she so carefully wields.

Fervently she burrows into the earth, great claws making easy work of it, tearing and ripping, deadly and strong. She only looks up a moment, when Deimos speaks his thanks. With an eager nod and another "Mrrrow!" the leopardess replies, her black lips curling in an odd, toothy grin. She would like to say more - to thank him, to praise him, to ask him why, why is he doing this for her, what does he see in her, what debt does he think to repay?

But to do so would be to return to human form, with all the exposures and insecurities that implies. She is not ready for that, yet.

Her hole having taken on suitable depth, Amalia again approaches Deimos, long tail raised in curious greeting, large body moving in more bound than stalk. As he works she sits beside, grooming her paws with a long pink tongue before lying upon the grass, close enough to feel his warmth, the very ends of her long, luxurious fur perhaps brushing his thigh. With rapt attention the leopard watches, content, for a moment, to be like this: not the anxious baker, the fearful child, but something fearsome and winsome and equal to him, worthy of being his friend.
And it feels like me on a good day
Deimos Ignatius
the Resurrected Sword
Militia General of the Hollowed Grounds / Guildmaster

Age: 26 | Height: 6'4" | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 8 - Strg: 28 - Dext: 28 - Endr: 33 - Luck: 27
ZURIEL - Mythical - Unicorn (Healing)
Played by: Heather Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,621
MP:
#9
 
D E I M O S


Perhaps he should’ve just accepted it and moved on, stuck his head in the dirt and admitted he didn’t understand, that this was the way things were, and animals here persisted in intelligent, insightful, perspective realms. But that had never been his way, his method, or his madness; accepting was one thing, but giving in was out of the question. He was made of obstinance, tenacity, and might, capable of fighting back tooth and nail, incapable of yielding, relinquishing, or surrendering – the truth was there, in his sights, in the unfurling strands of perception. He required more time, more information; he narrowed his eyes again and watched the leopard work their way through the soil with vivid ardency, shaking his head in incertitude.

The warrior’s hands returned to his own work, calloused and rough, coarse from years of swordplay, where the pommel met his palm and sang, of weaponry, of adhering to dominion, power, and precision. It wasn’t a harsh sacrifice – he’d never be one to grow into softness; all muscle, all brawn, all influence. When his hole was adequate, deep enough for the shrub to take root all over again, he turned to find the great cat there, beside him again, silent and grinning (it was otherworldly and ethereal, and he didn’t know how to react to it except widened eyes once more). Given more time, he snorted in response, casting an indulgent eye-roll, before reaching out to scratch its ears, as he always did with Auni whenever the luxere approached, passing by and then grabbing hold of the last two lavender bushes.

He lowered the first into the leopard’s, where talons had made quick work of the loam, placing the plant along its threshold, then shifting the dirt back over the top of the roots, the abrupt reach of the stem. With any luck, they’d hold and find their way again, settling into the ground to become a nourishing source and substance of the baker and her wares. Deimos did the same to the other, adjusting leaves and branches accordingly, the scent of it all curling its way into his senses; calming, assuaging, soothing. Thereafter, he brushed his hands together, flicked off some of the soil from his fingertips, and glanced back down at the beast, offering the slightest glimmer of mischief. “Our secret,” he whispered, pointing to the shrubs and then back between the two of them. There was no need for recognition, honor bestowed or fostered on his behalf, content to repay kindness with kindness, favors with favors. Perhaps she’d find it a suitable surprise.

He wasn’t quite finished, however, and went back to the sled containing the rest of his supplies, taking off another piece of partridge meat for the leopard. He tossed it towards where the animal was stretched out, then wrapped up the remains, storing and packing it away in the rest of the ice and snow laden nearby. After though, he hesitated, not quite sure how to say goodbye, so he angled his stare elsewhere and proffered a little wave, then dragged his sled to the front of the house, where he could place the meat along the front step. On a furtive edge, no note, naught else given, he left the same way he’d arrived.



Amalia


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