Two Old Birds in a Rickety Cart

Beyond the walls of the capital city, farmlands dot the countryside, crossed by roads to all else in the world. Quests go here.
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Annasiel
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Two Old Birds in a Rickety Cart

Post by Annasiel » Thu May 17, 2018 12:26 am

The wagon, once a brilliant blue but now more of a faded grey, made its way down the mountain pass in the bright noon light. The horse had nery a stumble despite the rocky slope. It was an old beast, nearly as worldwise as the two it pulled, and knew how to handle itself on uneven terrain. The cart, however, did not fair nearly as well. Every little slip in the soil or outjutting rock rattled the wagon with a jolt, creaking the wooden joints with almost alarming frequency. It would hold together, of course, it always had, but that didn't stop it from complaining about the mistreatment.

Cory Burgess sat next to his wife on the driver's bench, pale hands clutching bloodlessly to the rail. This was not his idea of a fun time. Every time the cart slipped, he gasped, and in every moment of silence a stifled groan escaped his lips.

"We c-could have taken a gate, dear," he muttered for what must have been the thousandth time. "S-story's just... just about figured out how to w-w-work them."

His voice was hoarse, his tone breathy. It often was these days. In his youth, he had more bass, but now every word he spoke sounded jagged. To accentuate the roughness, he coughed twice into the collar of his jacket, only sparing a few seconds lapse from the cart's handle before his hands shot out to clutch it again.
Alone she drifts from ancient mists
Nary a candle, nary a wish
But in the wont of wandering paths
Through wooded knolls, and windworn crags
She seeks a face she thought as friend
But now -- she thinks as judgement's end

Lev
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Re: Two Old Birds in a Rickety Cart

Post by Lev » Fri May 18, 2018 9:16 pm

Laniz shook her head for the umpteenth time, resigning herself to an amused silence when her husband squirmed and lunged for whatever bit of rail his hands could find purchase on. When he mentioned the gate again she spat a huff of air over her shoulder.

"Story is about to lose one of her limbs with those tests," she retorted. Then she rolled her eyes, reluctantly skipping over an argument that she'd defended dozens of times before. "You could've used the gate, love. I offered to take the horses on my own and meet you there - save you the discomfort," she added.

The front left wheel slipped into a shallow hole on their path, causing the wagon to shake violently again. Laniz wobbled accordingly. She'd had years of practice balancing herself during rough rides, but her poor husband had never gotten used to it. After the cart settled she continued.

"But someone wanted to make sure I was safe."

Laniz smirked and sent a sassy glance in Cory's direction.

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Annasiel
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Re: Two Old Birds in a Rickety Cart

Post by Annasiel » Sat May 19, 2018 3:56 am

"W-well," Cory replied, growing somewhat defensive himself. Well, as defensive as one could get when simultaneously bracing against a rickety cart, glancing nervously at the nearby edge of the path, and holding down a somewhat meager breakfast. "It's a l-l-long journey, and I d-didn't want you to travel alone."

The cart hit a particularly rough bump and Cory yipped. The yip turned into a coughing fit that he dared to release one arm from the rail to cover. It lasted for a few long seconds, then subsided, leaving him breathless and teary-eyed.

"B-besides, I'd heard t-t-there are nasty animals around here."

The person he'd happened to hear this from was Story, the couple's twenty-four-year-old daughter. She'd spent the entire week before their trip trying to 'prepare' them for the dangers they might face, pulling factoid after factoid from the expansive library of books inside her head.

Did you know mountain bears can run up to thirty miles per hour?

People travelling the country alone account for 74% of all bandit attacks.

Mountains are some of the most dangerous terrain to traverse. An estimated 5,000 people die travelling them every year, and that's just in the area!


Whether they were in good faith or not, they rattled the man, and he couldn't even think of letting Laniz go off on her own without his heart beginning to pound.
Alone she drifts from ancient mists
Nary a candle, nary a wish
But in the wont of wandering paths
Through wooded knolls, and windworn crags
She seeks a face she thought as friend
But now -- she thinks as judgement's end

Lev
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Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:10 am
Location: The world that was: Etirath
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Re: Two Old Birds in a Rickety Cart

Post by Lev » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:48 am

Laniz gave her husband's back a few gentle pats while he finished his coughing. She smiled in spite of herself. When he caught his breath again she took the reigns back into both hands, returning her eyes to the road. Ahead there were small clusters of farm houses and cottages lining the path, their bright earthen roofs breaking up the greenery like colorful stepping stones.

"The only nasty animal you'll have to worry about here is Borsch," Laniz replied. Then she wiggled the leads back and forth until they tickled the hips of the horse pulling the cart. His skin twitched, and he let out a curt snort with a shake of his head. "See? Such a sour patch."

Even after her jest, Laniz could see Cory's mind working. It was a look she recognized clearly after nearly thirty years of marriage, like he was recounting every detail he could muster from a book that wasn't on hand. She bit the inside of her cheek.

"Story would've said anything to keep you home. You know how much she cares for you and the library, but she'd never admit it outright." Laniz took Cory's hand in her own and kissed it gently on the fingertips. "She's got Alice, and were nearly at the gate."

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Re: Two Old Birds in a Rickety Cart

Post by Annasiel » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:46 am

Still breathless from his coughing fit, Cory smiled gratefully at his wife, wrapping his hand around hers.

"Y-you're right, I supp-p-pose," he stammered back, returning her kiss with a quick peck of his own. "Th-th-that girl certainly... certainly knows how to g-get under skins."

It was a blessing she had Alice, for certain, both to keep her out of trouble and to keep trouble away from her. Both girls were magnets for mischief, but while Alice was blessed with her mother's common sense and skills to handle herself, Story, as much as he loved the girl, was far too reckless. She often considered the wrong consequences, or skipped over consequences altogether, only realizing how deep a hole she'd dug when it was far too late. Alice would be a good staying force for her, and added insurance that they wouldn't return to find the cottage burnt to the ground.

"Ah," Cory said simply, looking up from his thoughts to see the approaching gate. It was simple, compared to the rustically ornate bridge of Etirath, and lay open for any traveler. The bustle of the city ran on beyond. Larger than Etirath too, for certain. Though both were considered kingdoms on the maps (well, on the maps that included Etirath at all), Azuria was a proper city-state in its sprawl.

"W-we should f-f-find a place to stay," Cory affirmed.
Alone she drifts from ancient mists
Nary a candle, nary a wish
But in the wont of wandering paths
Through wooded knolls, and windworn crags
She seeks a face she thought as friend
But now -- she thinks as judgement's end

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