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  1. #76
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    "As a hunter should," Lullaby said when she could come up with no other response. "My duties won't change much though, I've already been taught how to cook and I know how to take care of the callows." She gave the boy at her side a gentle squeeze.
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  2. #77
    DQ 1337 Member Ducky's Avatar
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    "Oh, that doesn't sound too hard," Pierce said. "I mean, basically just stick some meat on a fire and then give it to some callows and you're good to go, right?"
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  3. #78
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    Lullaby stifled her laughter. "I don't think you'd be very pleased with the meal if that's all we did, not to mention the meat wouldn't stretch as far. Are you excited to start your hunting duties?"
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  4. #79
    DQ 1337 Member Ducky's Avatar
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    "It's gonna be awesome!" Pierce said. "I can't wait to go out there and kick some-- er, I mean, I'm excited to go hunting for the good of the Clave, and bring back some fine new ingredients."

    What a smooth criminal. Too smooth.
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  5. #80
    I'm a level 22 Buttbuttin Killing_Time's Avatar
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    Whet was still turned away when she heard the voice of 28 making a greeting in her and 27's direction. She glanced up as 27 replied and felt sick again, as if the air around her was suffocating her. The conversation she had been holding had died and she felt overwhelmed by the prospect of trying and failing again. Out. I have to get away. Calmly she took a small step back, slowly moving herself away. Why had she even tried? She began to leave, looking for the exit tunnel she knew to be the least crowded. She felt obligated to be present for the meal and figured food and entertainment would be sufficiently distracting from the social aspect. For now, though, she needed a moment to recover.

  6. #81
    New member ASaluteToYou's Avatar
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    Whet leaving had distracted her, ans she was momentarily afraid. Why did she go? Does she not want to deal with me that bad? Is she having a hard time adjusting, too? All these questions sat poorly on her mind, but her last one was the most terrifying. If Whet of all people was having a bad time dealing, then she could only think of a few other people who might still have their head squarely attached to their shoulders.

    Thankfully, she was standing in front of one of them right now. Ending her short, unresponsive daze with a shake of her head, she looked back at Stylus. "Somewhere between the proudest Hunter and Whet, if I take it correctly," she replied after the Huntress-turned-Builder was out of earshot. "What about you? You're the Word-keeper's apprentice. You get to know all the stories, and tell them all the time, I'll bet. That sounds amazing." Her tone was slightly shaken, despite her attempts to sound normal.

  7. #82
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    There was more to it than just stories but Stylus wouldn't hold that against her. "Yeah, I'm very much looking forward to my job. In a lot of ways things do feel better-"

    His eyes finally met hers and he judged that, what with battling the callows she probably didn't catch the Meccano incident. That was good to know.

    "But in others-I suppose I'm almost surprised at how little other things have changed. In a strange way it's odd that food tastes the same, that torchsmoke still makes me cough or that Meccano is still a piece of floor-crust. I don't really know why I expected anything different but somehow I did, and while that's kinda disappointing, in another way it's kinda reassuring." He shrugged. "Hope that helps."
    Last edited by Aval; September 15th, 2015 at 08:36 AM.

  8. #83
    New member FayeFox's Avatar
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    A peaceful quiet settles over the Clave as the festivities wind down. With uncharacteristically overly full stomachs the callows settle to bed more peacefully than usual and the breeders watching over them sigh contentedly.

    In Dirk’s chambers, Charcoal scurries about preparing Dirk’s pallet, but since Dirk is in a good mood, he barely notices her. As far as he is concerned, today was a fantastic day. The tournament went off without a hitch; only one huntress was injured badly enough to require treatment from Shaman. The winner of the tournament is usually immaterial to Dirk, but it was mildly interesting to him that the smallest huntress had won. While it isn’t exactly rare for a huntress to win, but it is out of the ordinary for one with little brute strength to win. Typically bruisers win through their ability to take many hits, but tonight the speed of Pin, the winner, kept her out of range enough for to not have to take many hits. The meal also went according to plan. He reasoned that the new citizens were made to feel sufficiently honored and special while the entire Clave still had a good time. The Clave always seemed to function more smoothly in the days following a party.
    Dirk settled into his doubly thick pallet and dismissed Charcoal. His last thought before slipping into sleep was that he wished he had the resources to declare more holidays.

    About nine hours later, he awoke to the usual sound of the morning gong. He got up with a dark sense of purpose and took Charcoal and Shaman down a tunnel few Clavepeople know of. His stomach rumbled but there was no time for first meal today for any of them. Such is the burden of a great leader he thought as they disappeared into the darkness.

    Meanwhile, the Clave woke up and went about its business none the wiser.

  9. #84
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    Lullaby woke at the sound of the gong. It was louder here than it had been when she slept with the rest of the callows. She fumbled in the dark for her flint and steel and managed to get a torch lit, blinking in the sudden brightness.

    She dressed quickly but without rushing, and started brushing her hair, or maybe it would be more accurate to say she attacked it. Her long thick black locks had tangled in the night as they always do, but a firm brushing would set it in order. Every so often she laid the brush aside to tease out a particularly bad snarl.

    It struck her that this was how it was best to deal with everything: firm without hurting, and a gentle hand where it was needed.

    Her hair brushed out, she snuffed out the torch again and went into the hallway to wait for someone else to walk to the dining hall with.
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  10. #85
    I'm a level 22 Buttbuttin Killing_Time's Avatar
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    Whet was already half-wake when she heard the gong. Her mind somehow always anticipated it moments before it rang and she sat up to rub her eye. The scabs and cracks on her burn wounds pulled and hurt as her neck and facial muscles moved. She got up and clumsily felt her way to where she remembered the torch and the steel and flint that would turn it on. She carefully put her broken arm and the torch on her bedside table and held the flint firm in her hand as she struck it until the torch lit. She immediately placed the lit torch back on the wall so as not to waste too much fuel.

    She let her hand run across her stubbly head. She still hadn't gotten used to the odd sensation of such short hair. In the low light she managed to locate the little clay jar shaman had given her, it contained a foul-smelling ointment she carefully rubbed on her burns. Her teeth were gritted in anticipation of the stinging sensation it gave, though fortunately it was usually over by the time first meal was over. Afterwards she slowly got her tunic on and took her time to gird it up properly so her legs could move more freely. She noticed she didn't feel very hungry and remembered how yesterday, despite how sick she had felt, she had still been able to work up an appetite and eat both portions served to her. She noticed there was light outside her room and so extinguished her torch and walked into the slowly filling hallway.

  11. #86
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    The Stylus kid was already well settled into the habit of waking up long before the gong to compensate for his lengthy and meticulous morning routine. Today was one of those particularly slow days where his bones felt they were made of lead and his joints felt like they were lubricated with thick sticky tar.

    He used a knife on as much of his skin as he could reach to scrape off the majority of the grime that tended to accumulate from living in a cave, wiping it on a specific rag he kept isolated beside his washbowl. This minimized the amount of dirt that would taint the water when he washed. Others seemed happy to wash in their own filth but the idea disgusted Stylus.

    As clean as he could possibly be with the materials available to him, he dried himself. Taking a clean and neatly folded tunic he slowly, a little painfully, raised his arms and slipped it over his head, smoothing it down.

    When the gong sounded he was looking in the little piece of reflective metal he had retrieved from behind a torch; ensuring he looked the part of a hard working, trustworthy, capable and valuable citizen. The largest part of this was artfully working his hair into a sensible, practical shape to be destroyed quickly and efficiently by unconscious habitual tousseling.

    Finished, he grabbed his crutch, hoisted himself upright and finally emerged into the tunnel more or less in time to join the bulk of the new citizens.
    Last edited by Aval; September 18th, 2015 at 10:05 PM.

  12. #87
    New member ASaluteToYou's Avatar
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    Loft sat up at the sound of the gong, tongue going over the parts of her inner mouth that had gone dry overnight. She had probably stayed up too late last night- as she had tried to get to sleep, she was either thinking about her depressing revelations from the feast or trying to bombard her mind with creativity so as to stop thinking about it. As a result, her eyelids felt heavier than usual, and her body ached uncharacteristically from the festivities.

    Still, she got herself up, threw on her new clothes, and splashed her face with water, embracing her towel as she dried off her face. Why am I so upset? Stop it! she told herself as she snarled into the now damp cloth. Stop it right now! Face fresh, Loft tucked away the towel and made for her hair ties. It wasn't particularly hard for her to do her own hair- everyone else had fired up their torches, leaving her room dim, but not pitch black, and her characteristically matted locks still had the pressure-induced kink from where they had been tied up most recently.

    Taking a deep breath, Loft emerged from her room to find that the majority of the callows- no, adults- were already outside, and heading to first meal. She walked towards the center of the people-mass, keeping an eye put for anyone she could go up and be social with.

  13. #88
    DQ 1337 Member Ducky's Avatar
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    Pierce exploded out of sleep at the sound of the gong, flopping onto tiles and running, fully clothed, in the general direction of the front barricade. Obviously, he had already been awake for some time, excited to get to his new duties. Today was going to be a good day, and he was ready to do his job! Strangely enough, nobody else seemed to be so. In fact, nobody in the entire Clave seemed to be about their duty. Was he risking his life to protect a bunch of layabouts?

    ...Of course. He was risking his life life so that they could sleep in. This was his duty and he was proud to sacrifice his morning hours for the good of...

    The gong echoed through the Clave. Confusion welled up inside of Pierce. Was there a second gong that he had never known about? Maybe a second wake-up call for those who missed the first?

    It couldn't be true. The two gongs sounded different. The first sounded more like...

    ...Like something had been dropped, carelessly, by a half-asleep member of the Clave, somewhere not far away. In his own still-drowsy state, it would have been easy for Pierce to mistake it for the gong and get a move on a bit too soon.

    "Oh well," he said to nobody in particular. "Here I am!"
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  14. #89
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    Lullaby spotted Stylus and waved to him, making her way over to him.

    "Hello," she said. "Maybe I'm the only one, but I find it very odd to sleep alone."
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  15. #90
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    Stylus' heart sank a little at the sight of the 26 doors' worth of tunnel between him and the main corridor, then a little more at the thought of how much further these rooms were from the workshop than his old dormitory. It sank even further as Lullaby turned and walked to meet him, considerate as ever, going out of her way to accommodate his slow, crippled, weakling ass. Her infectious smile did a bit to mitigate that, though.

    "It's different," he replied, "but I definitely appreciate the privacy."

  16. #91
    I'm a level 22 Buttbuttin Killing_Time's Avatar
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    As Whet had begun her walk, Lullaby went past her in the opposite direction. She kept her head down and elected not to greet her, figuring whatever she needed to say could wait. Despite the past month she felt a strange flutter now at the realization that this was her first day as a citizen. She had already fashioned a pouch inside her tunic and couldn't help but notice the weight of the small whetstone safely tucked in there. She had decided she'd eventually learn to love this symbol and this name. Both could still be a reflection of her interests and talent. They have to.

    As she was about to enter the tunnel she looked back and saw Lullaby and 27 talking. She felt that odd empathetic sting once again but stopped herself. She believed in the way of the Clave. Only those best fitted for its system would survive. Only the strongest, only the most well-abled. This was the way that had ensured the survival of her people. If 27 was considered important enough to live, he did not need pity or help. She felt her face grow hot with shame - An emotion she had become well acquainted with for the past month, as a realization crept up on her. Did that mean he was her equal? Had everyone here in this hallway always been her equal? Were her beliefs on the way of the Clave wrong?

    Her right fist clenched. She turned back towards the tunnel and walked with her fellow citizens to first meal.

  17. #92
    New member FayeFox's Avatar
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    "I don't think you'll ever have to acclimate to sleeping alone, Lullaby. Oh, and Spatula? I don't think you'll ever have to give up your privacy," Meccano smirked as he sashayed towards first meal. He winked in their general direction but it was unclear whether he was winking at Lulaby or Stylus.

  18. #93
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    Does he mean I'll have to watch the callows often? What was that wink about? From his tone that was meant to be hurtful somehow, but I don't see the downside of Stylus and I getting what we want...

    "Let's start moving," Lullaby told Stylus. She knew it would take him a little longer to get to the dining hall.
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  19. #94
    DQ 1337 Member Ducky's Avatar
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    Hunger welled up in Pierce's stomach, but he could not abandon his duty as a hunter to eat. If only there were some sort of sanctioned eating time in the morning, this kind of situation could be avoided.

    Suddenly, his contemplation of the issue was broken by the realization that there was, and he was missing it. His feet carried him quickly, tugging on a bruise from the previous evening's entertainment, toward a shifting mass of people moving for food. Mercifully, he'd be able to slip in virtually undetected. Smooth.

    Undetected, he quickly joined the human biomass, and completely undetected he crashed into Loft.

    "Oops!" He said. "Sorry-- Oh! Hi, Loft!"
    Last edited by Ducky; September 18th, 2015 at 06:14 PM.
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  20. #95
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    Stylus nodded and kept his teeth clenched. You better learn to acclimate my foot up your ass. Meccano was one of the people Stylus would very, very much enjoy murdering one of these days.

    He decided to illustrate the point by crutching ahead, caricaturing Meccano's swagger with a seductive jilt of the hip which required much more effort on a crutch than was immediately apparent. Nonetheless Stylus was rather proud of his performance.
    Last edited by Aval; September 18th, 2015 at 10:11 PM.
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  21. #96
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    Lullaby spotted Stylus moving oddly out of the corner of her eye. She watched him closely, ready to grab him if he started to fall, but the odd movement just continued.

    Perhaps another of his fits? She wondered.

    "Are you alright?" she asked quietly.
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  22. #97
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    Stylus stopped abruptly and glanced aside.

    "Um, no, I'm fine." He mumbled, right before his crutch missed an appropriate foothold and he tumbled face first into the floor.

    This was absolutely Meccano's fault.

  23. #98
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    Lullaby reached out to grab him but only managed to pull away his crutch.

    "I'm so sorry!" she knelt down next to him as the final members of the crowd passed them. "Are you hurt?"
    Last edited by sgt_Angua; September 19th, 2015 at 05:25 AM.
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  24. #99
    i am 12 and wat is this? Diplomacy Domination Victory Aval's Avatar
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    "...No" he squeaked, winded and lying. He remained face down for a little while, regathering his dignity, catching his breath, and imagining inflicting various acts of deeoly unsettling violence on Meccano.

    Finished, he pushed himself up into a sitting position. He attempted to brush the dirt off his tunic muttering that it wasn't her fault but without much success.

    He eventually managed eye contact again. "Could you give me a hand?"

  25. #100
    DQ Senior Member sgt_Angua's Avatar
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    Still feeling guilty, Lullaby helped get Stylus upright again, with a little difficulty. He seemed to be only accepting the minimum help which slowed them down. Eventually he was steady again on his crutch.

    "You've got a bit of dirt on your cheek."
    Last edited by sgt_Angua; September 19th, 2015 at 05:25 AM.
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