Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0

    Homeward Bound



    Posts : 942
    Join date : 2014-03-22
    Location : Deadworld
    Level : 60

    Character Sheet
    Defense Bar:
    65/65  (65/65)
    Health Bar:
    650/650  (650/650)
    Stamina Bar:
    120/120  (120/120)

    Homeward Bound

    Post by Mortis on Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:26 am

    Time: Morning
    Date: March 3rd, 0007

    Morning broke with distant bird song and howling wind long before the sun began its slow creep over the jagged mountain peaks. The vast sea of pines, with their towering bristled spires of prickly limbs resembled the spine of some massive, slithering beast in silhouette against a deep navy sky peppered with fading starlight. It was a horizon that tempted on to roll over in their blankets and return to their dreams, awaiting when the dawn broke with its vibrant reds and pinks. The world did not look it at this hour, but it was most definitely awake.

    Within Mortis’ shack, he could hear the twittering of the winter songbirds outside, fluffed up and huddled against the sturdier levels of their tree-trunk perches. Their brisk, high pitched songs every so often hastened suddenly and grew more desperate whenever something threatening soared overhead, or passed along the forest floor. But, these alarms were distant, far off where the undead superfiend found little reason to consider them worth his time. Dense tree cover made for a prime echo chamber, and could create the illusion of a far off threat sound far closer than it actually was.

    But, that did not keep his horses from turning their ears in its direction, coaxing their faces out of the bushes and the new shoots of grass that peeked through the snow to look in the sound’s direction and wonder. It drew Samhain to patrol a little further around the shack, and Angemort to linger closer to the simple wooden abode out in the middle of this frigid nowhere.

    Inside the simple single-person structure, Ombre had come to roost in front of the potbelly stove, fanning his wings out in front of its grinning black iron face to gather the heat that readily radiated from the fire that Mortis keenly kept well fed. Discarded twigs and chopped up sticks kept the flames alive and well, and provided a little extra light where he sat at a hastily made pinewood table. His gnarled hand gripped a pen, and was busy writing out the last few details of a letter to his niece.

    Or at least he presumed she was still his niece, if the letter Ombre had given him a few days ago meant anything. On the table with him was a clean, dried tooth that was long enough to stretch between the base of his wrist to the tip of his middle finger from root to ferocious pointed tip. It was the only trophy he could get from the gator he had slain in the beginning of the previous month that would fit in Ombre’s delivery satchel. Part of the letter detailed a minute apology regarding how long it had taken him to give her something from the beast, and explaining that the gator took a little more time than expected to fully be processed and broken down into some manageable bits. Later on perhaps he could give her something that was made from its hide, once he figured out what exactly would make for a fine gift out of something both thickly armored and thickly furred.

    Directly next to the tooth was a trio of pictures, showing off the fish he had caught aside from the gator, and then finally a shot with the gator only. The polaroids depicted the undead superfiend holding aloft the slaughterfish, its toothy jaws agape and red eyes staring dopily off in different directions. Another depicted him doing the same with the massive catfish he had pulled out of the ice, although its size was enough that the undead struggled to be seen behind the girth of the golden-scaled creature with disturbingly human-like teeth.

    Woolie was curled up in her bed, happily dreaming away the earlier morning hours with her smoothly furred head propped on the edge of her crate box bed, and her limbs tucked up against her dense winter fluff to the point where it was difficult to discern whether the ewe had any limbs to begin with.

    Her adoptive parent had been certain to stay as quiet as possible this morning, and let her sleep in through the earlier hours. She would not be disturbed until it was time to wake up for breakfast. After all, today was Woolie’s birthday. It still seemed hard to believe that it had now been a full year since Mortis had found her as a newborn lamb, out in the middle of a snowy field.

    He remembered taking her to the Sanctuary, giving her her first bottle of milk. He remembered the few people that had been there, one of the beaked variety and the other... He sighed and pushed her fading memory from his thoughts. It was strange, he could barely remember her name (or the name of the bird for that matter... was it even a bird?), who she was, and yet he still remembered what she looked like. Her voice still was familiar. To think that after that he never saw a single sign of her again, and but three months later he discovered she disappeared. In three months time it would be a year since she left without a trace, his thoughts callously reminded. For how long had she been gone before he discovered she was missing? He did not know.

    ”Sssss...” He paused in his writing, letting the pen rest on the table while he let a hand run over the bare bone of his cranium.

    Moving on, he reminded himself, was a steady, slow process. He often thought he would be over it within the year, if only because of how little time they actually spent around each other. But he found that some wounds took longer to heal than others, and scars faded even slower. Even so, he consoled himself with the progress he was making, and since the journal was destroyed he noticed that those events distracted him less and less. Time was slowly eating away those bitter memoirs of the previous year, and the years before that. Still, when they did manage to rear their ugly head, he was keen to question why when they decided to lurk about overlong.

    What was the purpose of lingering upon a memory that grew ever more fuzzy and unfocused?

    What sense was there in thinking about someone who would never come back?

    She likely regretted him, and he in turn regretted her. There was nothing productive in lingering over past regrets, he told himself. But until he managed to drown out her memory entirely, he supposed those old ghosts of his past failings would come to haunt every once in a while. They would arise when he least expected it to linger in his thoughts as a disjointed, blurry amalgamation of bitter events and painful feelings. Until then it required a bit of effort and substitution.

    What occurred in the Sanctuary was not the focus of that day, the fact that it was no longer the last time he ever saw her, the focus of an otherwise painful and bitter year, no longer was valid. It was the morning he had found Woolie now. It was solely the day he had taken her into his home to care for and raise, to keep her happy and in turn maybe bring him a few moments of happiness- albeit fleeting. The questions of what may have occurred should he have taken that partially forgotten woman’s help were faint whispers that grew ever more silent and out of sight. It was all just dust in the wind, as it were; as he was to those acquaintances, so too were they to him. So far as he cared now, the Sanctuary may as well have been empty when he had gotten the supplies he needed for her first week at his then homestead in progress.

    And now, look at her. She was a stunning animal of exceptional health. Mortis turned slightly in his seat to look at her as she laid there in her bed. Woolie was a pampered soul, and deserved every bit spoiling she received. There was not a bone or joint out of place on her, and her wool was a delightfully thick and warm consistency.

    It was almost a shame to know that he would have to shear her in the coming months, as the seasons grew warmer. There was another sigh, this one a little more content as he considered the ewe for a moment. Though he knew that the sheep was going to keep her coat a little while longer, he still decided it necessary to set that pleasing image into his mind permanently- or at least as permanently as he could. He wanted to remember how delightfully fluffy she was throughout the summer after he had sheared her.

    Barring that, he would find time and some extra quick-developing photo paper to take a picture or five.

    Soon after the hand upon his skull returned to the pen upon the table, and he turned to continue writing his letter. It would not be too long before the sun began to crest over the distant mountains and shine in through the windows. With it, it would be time to send Ombre on his way.

    It did not take but a few more lines of neat penmanship to clean up the end of his message to the taxi-yellow femme, and he signed it as he always did, with a strike of his name and his regards.

    But, he did not fail to look it over once more before he folded it to stash away in an envelope, where it would be joined by her other gifts from his trip. The letter read as follows:

    To Livewire:

    Dearessst Niece,

    My apologiesss for not writing you back sssooner, there wasss much to do up here that had taken my focusss away from writing back. The wooly gator I had mentioned in my last letter had to be properly processed, the skin itself was long enough to cover a busss and perhapsss sssome more. It will be a fine hobby in itssself to figure out what to do with it all, asss there isss more than neough of it to make a number of rugsss. In the photosss I have included you will sssee ssso for yourssself, and it isss unfortunate that I find the outer carapace-like falssse sssnout it hasss may be too large to keep asss a whole for a trophy, and I am uncertain asss to what I could ussse it for.

    However, Sssamhain sseemsss happy to conssider it for ussse asss sssome sssort of armor sssince it isss ssso thick, I have given it a rough meassurement of at leassst three inchess of sssolid leather alone that coversss the bonesss. Although I am not very learned in tailoring or leatherworking in that ressspect. I will have to find sssomeone that could do the work for me until I become adept enough myssself to work with a hide of sssuch abnormal densssity.

    Otherwissse, the game hasss been the ussual expected fare. We have ssseen plenty of deer, including a few wandering moossse. I have taken a number of trophiesss of the latter, sssince we do not sssee them very often in the grasslandsss, methinksss they they are native to the northern areasss only.

    I have heard about your interessst in having sssomething from the gator, however, and I have not forgotten it during my ssstay. Unlesss Ombre managesss to losse it during hisss trip, I have included a tooth from the beassst in the envelope. It isss the sssmallessst one I could find, and it ssstill wasss long enough to cover my hand completely. Likely it will fit the sssame in my brother’s palm if you let him examined it. I have alssso included a few photosss from our fissshing trip for you to look at, hopefully they ssstay prissstine on the trip over. There were other thingsss I found in the gator while I wasss cleaning it, but I wass uncertain if they would be proper giftsss, there were a few sshardsss that contained sssome ssort of unknown energy, a ssstrange jar, an old rifle, along with sssome ssstrange flassk of glowing orange liquid that will need sssome analyssiss, and I highly doubted you would be pleasssed with an alarm clock that had been ssstewing in itsss bowless for who knowsss how long. But if you do want any of thessse, feel free to tell me and I will sssend them over.

    I am keeping thessse ass ssome additional odditiesss, they might make sssome nice converssation peicess if the three large rugss made from itsss hide fail to impresss.

    I am ssstill surprisssed at the diversssity of fissh that resside in thisss lake, aside form the fur-covered gator-mimic of courssse. One of them looks like it ssshould resside in a ssstream, and I do not believe I have ever heard of catfisssh ssswimming and breeding thiss far north. Looking at the teeth I can only conssider that the creature ssubsssidess off denssse mineral depossitsss and meat.

    Ssspeaking of which, feel free to tell me of my brother’sss reaction to its mouth, I am certain he may find sssome appreciation in itsss sstrange traitsss. The ssame goess for the other fisssh, I have yet to sssee any othersss like it. It looksss like the resssult of sssome ssstrange union of a barracuda and a crocodile.

    I am uncertain if I had told you either lassst time I wrote, but I managed to teach Sssamhain how to play Go-Fisssh. Ssshe isss a sssurprisssingly quick ssstudy for a dead horssse, but I find ssshe growss exceptionally more clever with each passsing month. I sssusspect that it hass sssomething to do with usss being linked, ssshe may be sssiphoning off sssome of my mental ability the longer we are joined together.

    Or at leassst, I like to think ssshe might be. Otherwissse her growing acuity isss a myssstery.

    I am going to sssee if I can teach her sssome more complex gamess ass the year goess on, it could prove entertaining on a ssslow day to have her to play cardsss with. If ssshe takesss to it well, I might sssee how Woolie and Angemort take to it, and if we could widen our card game group from two to four. But, I am being optimissstic, mossst animalsss take yearsss to be taught how to count or recognize patternsss in a way that can be communicated to usss asss we can underssstand it. I wholeheartedly believe that if I did not have my ability to mentally communicate with the horssesss or Woolie, thisss feat would be nothing ssshort of impossible.

    Even ssso, it isss sssomething to make the daysss feel a little ssshorter. If it isss ssuccesssful, I doubt I will have to worry about another boring day around here.
    I go home today, by the time thisss letter reachesss you likely I will have already been back on the homessstead a whole week. Assside from teaching the animalsss sssome gamesss for a rainy day or two, I alssso have plansss to widen the garden out to accomodate sssome herbsss and flowersss for the sssake of making sssome home-made teasss. I have been waiting for mossst of thisss winter to get to digging out a sssuitable patch for them all, and an extensssive lissst of plantsss that would be friendly to the grassland’s particular climate.

    It isss exciting to think that in only a few more weeksss I can get to making the bedsss for them all and arranging a few plantersss for the more aggresssive typesss. You may not know it- or maybe you do, you are a very curiousss and knowledge-hungry girl- but ssspeciess sssuch asss Apple mint and bee balm can get invasssive. Thankfully they ssseem to be the only oness I musst worry about, asss the resst of my desssired additionsss seem to be lesss willing to overtake their neighborsss with the right maintenance.

    That alssso remindssss me; ssspeaking of plansss, today isss Woolie’sss birthday. Asss of three -hundred hoursss thisss morning, ssshe isss officially a full year old. I think I will find her sssomething ssspecial for the occasssion. I will be sssure to giver her your regardsss if you have them. Ssshe hasss grown ssso well into a healthy adult ewe, I wisssh you could be here to sssee her winter wool, ssshe looksss absssolutely majessstic. It isss almossst a sshame to know that I will have to ssshear her later thisss ssspring, but I will take plenty of picturesss to remember her look until next winter. I will have to give you a few asss well when I get around to taking them.

    If you and Kev wisssh it, I can alssso include sssome yarn made from her wool when I ssshear her if you like. It looksss very sssoft and of fine quality, but I am not exactly a conissseur of wool and I lack the sssensssory ability to feel the texture for myssself. If not, Ombre might appreciate having sssome woolen insssulation for hisss nessst, I have little idea what to do with what isss likely ssseveral poundsss of wool, by the end of thisss ssspring I will be sssurprissed if there isss not a full ssstone-worth of wool to weave. Unlike you two, I have not been keen to take up knitting asss a persssonal hobby, and how to make the wool into a fabric is an art that isss lossst to me.

    Even ssso, there isss likely sssome sssort of ussse that can be found out of all of that wool. It ssshall not go to wassste.

    I look forward to your next letter, and hope that all isss well with you and your family. I presssume February wasss a bussy month for your guardiansss, being the lovebirdsss they are. Hopefully you were not caught up too much in it all, love can be an obnoxiousss thing in large amountsss.

    Bessst regardsss,


    His final once-over of the letter seemed to be in order. Not a single letter was out of place and all the i’s and t’s were respectively dotted and crossed instead of crossed and dotted. He carefully folded up the letter, mindful not to crease the edges before placing it in the envelope. The tooth soon joined it alongside the photos, and the undead superfiend sealed it with a swipe of his rotted tongue and an unhealthy amount of sickly corpse drool that may as well have been its own glue. Unlike his last letters with gifts within, this one seemed to bulge out, the envelope’s paper threatening to rip against the sharp edge of gator’s tooth.

    He shot the condor a glance out of the corner of his eye-socket, unseen but fully felt. The bird paused in his warming to cock its beaked face in his direction quizzically.

    ”Be mindful when you carry thisss. It isss fragile.” He quietly hissed, all too aware of the slumbering ewe but a step away from his table. ”No sssudden loopsss or divesss, underssstand? I want thisss to get to them intact.”

    The condor gave a small croaking noise, bobbing his head to and fro as he looked at him and then the letter. He understood fully, and he knew the route to ensure that the message got to the trio back in the city safe, sound, and above all expediently.

    ”Good bird.” Mortis sibilantly praised, ”If you do your job well I will give you sssomething extra for your trouble.”

    Oh, something extra? That promise alone made the massive vulture’s feather’s ruffle and fluff up, his pupils dilating and constricting at the thought of what his prize could be. Likely it would be a nice, tasty treat. Fresh meat, bones, or even better; shiny things.

    Mortis may as well have named the bird “dragon” with how much it adored things that twinkled and sparkled. But regardless, he had the bird’s attention and with it, his silent promise to do as he was asked without fail. Come sun-rise he likely would be on the wing faster than an updraft could begin to lift him.

    Tiny hooves clapped in a swift beat upon the wood of the shack floor, following the larger, clawed feet of her care-giver and parent as they paced from one end of the shack to the other. The remnants of her breakfast stained her fuzzy lips a bright, sloppy orange. Her morning mix of pumpkin and hay was delicious as usual. Woolie’s bright amber eyes observed as her Ma went about checking the cupboards and quietly hissing to himself in a way that made her ears tickle.

    She flicked them and gave a small shake of her head as she continued to follow his movements.

    ”All the hay hasss been ussed, the ammunition iss in the wagon, the sstove hass been extringuisshed, all the toolsss are put away and the lassst of the pumpkinsss are wrapped and put with the resst of our thingss... The ssshotgun iss with Sssamhain...”

    He swore he had everything put away, yet he could not help that there was something he was forgetting. Something important had not been ticked off of his mental checklist despite checking and rechecking it for a solid half hour. Outside, Angemort and Samhain were staring curiously in through the window, wondering what the hold-up was. The former was hitched to the -very full-wagon, while the other was fully tacked and ready to go, nearly chewing upon the metal bit in her mouth as she impatiently waited for her master to figure out what he was missing.

    Woolie’s ear flicked to the side, and she noticed the large, flowing duster that was draped over the chair. Her ma was still wearing only his leathers and what was soon becoming known as his first layer of clothing- the black trench coat that was often draped over them regardless of whether he was inside or out.

    Ma, are you looking for your coat?

    The ewe bleated and trotted up to paw at the towering undead’s leg with a cloven hoof, before turning to look at the article of clothing in question.

    ”Hm?” Mortis hummed and looked down at the black ewe, and then in the direction she indicated. ”Oh! Yesss, thank you Woolie.” He gratefully bent down and patted the ewe on the head.

    That was what he had been forgetting! To think he had almost left the shack without his overcoat. The dark coat was deftly lifted from the back of the chair and slung around his shoulders, his thin arms slipping into their sleeves with little effort. He left the overcoat open as he headed for the door, letting it spread behind him with his movements.

    Woolie happily followed after him, her thickly insulated tail wagging to and fro in time with her hasty trot. Samhain waited for them both outside next to Angemort and the wagon. Though the vehicle would otherwise be thought to be empty enough for the ewe to travel in now that some of their supplies had been used over the course of the month, the undead superfiend had opted to take along some mementos that took up a little more space. The Wooly gator’s hide had been sectioned and folded into three large sheets of thick, woolen hide. It’s bones were neatly arranged like a puzzle to be brought back and ground into fertilizer for the garden, and then some as the year went on. Beneath them, and arranged carefully between the piles of cured hide, were the slats of wood Mortis had cut, prepped to be set outside to dry under the sun as the year ticked by.

    He still had plans to widen the garden out with some herbs for tea, and cultivate a few acres to grow some necessary components for brewing himself a fine alcoholic drink or two. The only thing better than being able to have himself a drink, was to have one that was free of having to deal with a liquor store owner or a bar- or even a price outside of his own work. He could even change it up to his liking, experiment.

    Ah, it was already making him look forward to the fall, when the leaves were already a aflame with their autumn reds and oranges.

    Until then, there was still work to be done before he could see that little personal dream as a reality. He shambled over to Samahin, mentally requesting her to kneel so he and the ewe could get onto her back. She complied obediently with a small snort, and tucked one leg under her chest in a graceful bow that lowered her shoulder low enough that both passengers could come aboard with ease. Mortis only needed to swing one leg over her saddle to find his seat, and Woolie hopped up to join him.

    With another huff, Samhain stood to her full height, flicking her skeletal brush of a tail and turning her long face to look expectantly back at her riders. It was time they made a move on and got home. There was unpacking to do, and after that there was a little ewe who had a birthday to enjoy.

    Surviving a full year on this rock when one was dragged here by a portal was incredible enough, to have been born here and survived for that long was an even greater achievement. Mortis tucked the ewe a little closer to him, and let her adjust her stance upon the horse’s saddle as he eased Samhain forward. Angemort followed close behind as they were soon enveloped in a dense mist.

    As per the usual, all three of them were gone without a trace upon its passing. They were already well into the ether, and quickly returning home.

    Livewire recieves a Wooly Gator tooth, and three photos from Mortis’ fishing trip with her letter.

      Current date/time is Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:24 am