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LEAVE THIS BLUE NEIGHBORHOOD - Cole & Jeremiah

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 MUDDY WATERS, ;; Natalia
Cefin Alinari
 Posted: Jan 20 2018, 12:05 PM
Quote

Lightning & Fire
Age: 20
application
tracker
Group Icon
Spy
Speaks to Animals

Posts: 70
OOC: Olly


After a brief check-in with his brother and mother, Cefin was circling back up to the north where he had been prior. He had been chasing leads for a number of individuals – most of them were ambitious politicians hoping to resurrect the ramshackle villages that dotted the continent – but thus far they had all come up empty. Conan had not appreciated his lack of intel, but the younger brother explained to him several times that in uncertain times such as these, people tended to be flighty. Important people even more-so holed up underground the second they sensed something afoot. His older brother had appreciated the emphasis on importance even less, and he demanded that Cefin up his ante this next time around.

The scolding still irritated Cefin, who had a bad habit of ruminating over criticism regardless of who had delivered it. He ought to be used to his brother’s disapproval by now; in fact, he could not remember a single time in history where Conan had actually expressed pride or satisfaction in anything he had done for him. Cefin’s expression soured at that thought while he walked along a well-trodden path through the Maple Valley, scowling at nothing in particular. What irritated him more than anything was that he was already complying with the wishes of his family and had done so without a single argument. Not every situation in life was benefitted by a cooperative, gentle personality. Life with the Alinaris was certainly a long-term situation where quite the opposite was true.

Cefin let out a listless sigh, but a nose not far behind him cut the sound short. He froze immediately in mid-step and strained to hear if there was any further movement. Immediately there was none, but the hairs on the back of his neck stood up to suggest otherwise. Still, he did not want to draw attention to himself by calling out or shifting, so he very nearly tip-toed along the path and readied himself for an ambush.

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Natalia Voight
 Posted: Jan 24 2018, 08:58 PM
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Lightning & Fire
Age: 20
application
tracker
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Hunter
Portal Creation

Posts: 44
OOC: Spotty


All her life she had always taken a roundabout way towards her destination: the road less traveled, or more correctly, no road at all. Roads were too open, and even game trails made her hesitate. It made her direct attitude about things seem out of place, but she was already full of contradictions anyway. She didn’t care to change for any one person but herself. And as of yet, she found no need to completely overall her methodology.

Natalia was an adaptable creature, she had to be, even if the adaptation made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up in protest and vigilance. But even if the idea made her uncomfortable, she knew it was the lesser of two evils. Traversing the Maple Valley with two horses off no true road would draw far more attention to herself versus if she took one of the more worn footpaths. The latter surely increased her availability to any other bandits who happened to be prowling the stretch for any likely victims, but it also gave her the chance to increase her own numbers by finding other travelers who by sheer pack configuration wouldn’t make for as easy targets than lone pickings.

As of yet she had come across only maybe two others on her journey. Though as they settled to rest, the wolf marched on without such. She had gone several days without sleep before, but most of those occasions involved something exciting or, more than likely, just dangerous to keep her awake. The quiet lull of the valley did nothing to help her cause, and she found herself guiltily closing her eyes as they focused through Tolun’s ears; every so often peeking to see if one of them swiveled in one direction or another prompting alarm.

The sudden manifestation of a disturbance caught her attention, causing her to bolt upright as adrenaline flew through her veins and electricity down her arms. Tolun seemed unphased, so perhaps it was him that caused the noise, but regardless she drew the dagger out of her boot with her good hand, guiding Tol with her legs as she converged on the crossroad ahead.

Tolun’s attention immediately gravitated to the left, and Natalia’s gaze followed promptly, her muscles only relaxing when familiar features came into focus. “Good, it’s you." Her tones were jovial enough, but more so saturated with the sense of relief that came from having a knot of tension soothed from your back.

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Cefin Alinari
 Posted: Jan 27 2018, 11:48 AM
Quote

Lightning & Fire
Age: 20
application
tracker
Group Icon
Spy
Speaks to Animals

Posts: 70
OOC: Olly


Even in human form, Cefin’s ears had been trained to be relatively fine-tuned. Much of his travels he could do as a wolf, but he often used that tactic once he’d already been spotted in order to make a quick getaway. He could hear, just slightly, the sound of hooves on the road, which eased his tenseness only the slightest amount. Bandits and looters did not usually travel by horse right on the path itself. They chose outposts or hidden culverts along the roadside to ambush their victims. Still, that did not mean the horse in question was not a part of a very hostile patrol-person. He was not in Caldo anymore, so the chances of it being one of his own were just as likely as it being just about anyone else.

Slowly, he began to turn in the direction of the noise so he could at least face whoever it was that was coming along. He still listened carefully for the potential of being flanked, but there was no evidence of footfall coming from the other side of the crossroads. His muscles tensed under the cloth and leather that bound him together, and his fingers played on the grip of his dagger – at the same time as the approacher, unbeknownst to him.

And then she came into view. Recognition was not immediate, as the horse’s face concealed her for the first few seconds. But then, there she was. Natalia Voight, forever frightening him by accident and appearing out of nowhere in the oddest of places. The youngest Alinari’s posture visibly deflated as the adrenaline passed through his body, and he was finally able to relax. “And it’s you. Why am I ever surprised?” he smiled a wry smile and shook his head in defeat. One of these days, his Caldonian friend was going to send him straight into cardiac arrest.

Upon looking at her more closely as she neared, though, it was clear that Natalia was both very tired and perhaps not physically well. The wry smile that he wore faded into an expression of concern. He stepped forward, using his momentum to halt the horse she rode, and reached out to gently pet the equine’s neck. “Are you alright? And why do you have two horses?” His golden eyes were trained on her, but in his ear he heard the incredulous snort of her mount. She’s very nearly fallen off a few times already. She might not be able to sleep, but what makes her think I don’t want to? A hint of Cefin’s smirk returned, but quickly evaporated at the underlying implications that something was wrong that came with the horse’s complaints.

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Natalia Voight
 Posted: Jan 30 2018, 03:04 AM
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Lightning & Fire
Age: 20
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tracker
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Hunter
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Posts: 44
OOC: Spotty


Cefin has always been the smoother-edged of the pair if them. While both were skilled at the more delicate aspects of espionage, Cefin was most certainly better at genuine empathy. It was a complete mystery how it had manifested itself within an Alinari of all people, but her own family had black sheep too.

From her father's stories, her grandfather had been painted to be a ruthless man. He lived and breathed the fire in his veins; ripping the oxygen from others to fan his own flame. She'd never met him; though she had a feeling Vincent would never allow that anyway. But the stories of Ander were fairly consistent, just differing on how one interpreted those actions. He had no fuse. It was as easy to displease him as it was to breathe. Her own father hadn't been like him, but some tiny details bled through. While his fuse was infinitely longer than her grandfather's, he did have a tipping point where the infamous Voight anger triggered. He'd snapped on her more than once, but even she knew when she was asking for it. He'd never laid hands on her though. No, Vincent spent far too much time mulling over every - very literal - fire-filled outburst to assure his inner demons that he wasn't his father.

Perhaps that same opposite bled passively through Cefin. His brother, mother, and what she heard of his father, were not at all what you'd expect a man like Cefin to come from. She didn't know if he actively aspired to be different, or the chips just fell that way for him. But his contrast was nice, albeit annoying at times.

He was one of the few people she felt bad about lying to. Mostly because he actually seemed to care. Now was no different, but she also didn't want him to fret over her needlessly. "It’s a long story.” One she wasn't sure he wanted to hear. "But I'll live...hopefully.” She managed an accompanying half-hearted smirk.

Her cloak was currently concealing the sling she had put her arm into to give her shoulder a rest from lugging its weight around. But it was only a matter of time before he caught on. Cefin was a lot of things, but he wasn't stupid - no matter what anyone else might say. It had been his job to read people. Her more than anyone knew that their familiarity gave him a solid advantage. Not to mention the fact that Tolun would likely rat her out anyway.

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Cefin Alinari
 Posted: Jan 31 2018, 08:19 AM
Quote

Lightning & Fire
Age: 20
application
tracker
Group Icon
Spy
Speaks to Animals

Posts: 70
OOC: Olly


The youngest Alinari knew better than to assume that Natalia would openly admit to any ailment or injury that had befallen her since their last meeting. It was not the Caldonian way to own up to weakness, even to the point of stupidity at times from Cefin’s point of view. The huntress didn’t appear to be that far gone, but he still scrutinized every inch of her body that he could see while he was being given the answer of ‘It’s a long story’. She had covered most of herself up with a cloak – not necessarily suspicious in the winter-time, but Cefin was particularly perceptive and even more-so of his friends.

Cefin also knew better than to ambush her, corner her, and demand the truth, however. Backing a lion into a corner and expecting cooperation was rarely if ever successful, and he did not have a mind to be eviscerated either metaphorically or literally. Absentmindedly, he stroked her mount’s head and scratched beneath the leather of the cheek pieces where horses tended to sweat and itch the most. Even her grumpy gelding could not feign displeasure at such a gesture.

“Well, at the very least, I ought to commandeer the second pair of hooves that so conveniently appeared.” He finally responded with words, forgoing for now the subject of her not looking well. If he at least rode with her a ways, he could keep one eye trained on her at all times until he was able to deduce what was really going on. Not giving Natalia a chance to refuse, he took the lead of the second horse from her control and swung onto the steed’s back. The only Alinari to ever willingly ride a horse.

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Natalia Voight
 Posted: Feb 1 2018, 06:29 AM
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Lightning & Fire
Age: 20
application
tracker
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Hunter
Portal Creation

Posts: 44
OOC: Spotty


While for moment her company seemed to drop the subject, knowing Cefin for as long as she did, as well as she did, she knew that this wasn't something he'd give up so easily. Despite the readily apparent differences between him and his kin, he most certainly inherited their tenacity. Their goals might have differed, but as with every Alinari she knew, once he sought something out, he locked his jaws around it and didn't let go. He just perhaps did a bit less growling.

Before she could protest, the man had already swooped in, removing the other horse’s lead from her possession and brought himself into the saddle. “Hrm,” she scoffed playfully. “How very Alinari of you to take without asking.” Nevermind the horse part.

Clicking her tongue, she urged Tol forward in a lazy walk, eager to get back on track. “Am I an Averian woman now? Needing a big strong man to escort me to my destination?” The young woman purred in jest, forgetting a moment the pain at her side and lack of sleep.

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Cefin Alinari
 Posted: Feb 4 2018, 10:56 AM
Quote

Lightning & Fire
Age: 20
application
tracker
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Spy
Speaks to Animals

Posts: 70
OOC: Olly


Having not yet acquired his own horse yet, swinging back into a saddle was a pleasant and welcome change. The other members of his family were vehemently against the use of horses given their close and near spiritual ties with their lupine forms, but Cefin enjoyed the gentle rocking of the horse beneath him as well as the conversations that came at times from a very different perspective. The idea that stealing a horse away from her was ‘very Alinari’ of him brought out a pleasant laugh from his throat, and he winked at Natalia beside him. “If I don’t play the part sometimes they might disown me. You know how hard they are to please.” It was quite vexing, honestly, to be so different from his mother and brother. Ofttimes he simply kept his own interests and aspirations to himself lest he be heavily chastised for deviating from the dogma they’d written.

He nudged his mount into a lazy walk and maintained pace beside his huntress friend. Now that he was on his own set of hooves, the likelihood of her escaping his concern was far less. Cefin assumed, at least, that she would not create a portal and remove both he and this horse that she apparently needed if he annoyed her too greatly with his mother-henning. “Don’t flatter me so much.” he playfully scoffed and ran the fingers of his free hand through the mane of his steed. “I assumed it’d be safer to travel with you for my own safety. You’ve kicked my ass enough times for me to know where I stand.” His smile was self-deprecating and easy-going. He had lived long enough as a mild-mannered Caldonian to know that posturing against his fierier cohort members would be ridiculous at best.

Cefin did not want to deviate too far from the original topic of concern, however, and eyed her suspiciously again. “I am as stubborn as the best of them, though, so are you going to tell me what’s wrong or not? You know you can’t shake me, Voight.” Cefin did his best convincing look with a smug little smile and his brows raised in expectation. If she somehow managed to shake him now, she must know that he’d just repeatedly and tirelessly work to find her until he knew she was okay.

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Natalia Voight
 Posted: Feb 6 2018, 09:10 PM
Quote

Lightning & Fire
Age: 20
application
tracker
Group Icon
Hunter
Portal Creation

Posts: 44
OOC: Spotty


“Yeah, I know.”

His comment about her flattering him, delivered right before his hypocritical explanation, produced a heavy scoff. ”Damn kiss ass,” she chided with a roll of her eyes. And he thought she was the one stroking egos. “Maybe if you put a little more effort in next time we spar, I'll let you win.” Cefin had the ability to take her down several pegs if he reached far enough within himself. Every being had the capacity to hurt, to maim, to kill. It was the levels of said beings’ willingness to do such that men had constructed a foundation for morals and honor upon. And those that deviated from that ever shifting ideal were deemed no better than animals. When the truth was, they all were, no matter what any high-bred scholar said to counter.

She noticed the whole of the Alinari family functioned quite like a wild wolf pack. Hierarchy and prestige were determined by violence and domination. And while Conan certainly boasted his prowess, she knew Karin still controlled true leadership. She was most of the brains behind Conan’s brawn, she believed. Whether that be via direct advice or knowledge and life lessons passed from mother to son. Cefin had gotten a more healthy share of his mother’s wit, but lacked any of the near fanatical ambition of the rest of his kin. It put him at the bottom of the totem pole so-to-speak and she wasn’t quite sure how to feel about it. It was a wiser move to stay low in Caldo amongst other posturing and puffed individuals, and she knew that, but she hated to think Cefin was holding back for any reason - as if him finally winning the day would send her into a homicidal hissy fit. For all her confidence, she wasn’t that prideful, she’d simply work harder, and shove him into the dirt harder the next time.

He was right however, she couldn’t shake him. As much fun as it would be to make him guess and flounder, she was tired. A defeated sigh left her lungs as she pulled back her cloak. Even if he was on the far side of her, it would be obvious enough that she was injured. Despite her lethargy however, she managed to continue their banter. “And maybe this will be the handicap you finally need to beat me, eh?” She had little expectation of him to start anything, but the thought was amusing nonetheless.

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Cefin Alinari
 Posted: Feb 10 2018, 10:38 AM
Quote

Lightning & Fire
Age: 20
application
tracker
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Spy
Speaks to Animals

Posts: 70
OOC: Olly


Natalia was many things to Cefin – their relationship usually danced somewhere between that of bickering siblings or that of youthful sweethearts. Wherever they fell from one day to the next, he normally allowed the huntress to decide. While he was the most emotionally adept of the Alinaris, he did not have the complexity or prowess that a woman had to keep up with the constant change of subtle cues or altered inflections. As such, he simply went along with it, accepting whatever changes or stagnations that happened along, and enjoyed her company throughout.

He knew her well enough to know that something ailed her and that her pride prevented her from owning up to it. His obstinate nature, fortunately, won out in this scenario, and with a defeated sigh Natalia revealed to him her arm tied up in a sling. Worry lines immediately creased his expression, and Cefin reined his horse to a pause and then came around the other side to see her injury better.

“What happened?” he asked, ignoring her attempt to continue their banter and lessen the attention on her injury. Cefin pulled his horse in as close as he could to inspect what he could see. Beyond a bad dislocation or potentially a break, the huntress at least seemed to be in one healable piece. Looking up at her face after inspecting her arm, the young man gave her a look that was incredulous, concerned, and humored all in one. “Leave it to you to go off into the wilderness with two horses in tow and only one arm to make it all happen.”

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Natalia Voight
 Posted: Feb 17 2018, 02:19 PM
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Lightning & Fire
Age: 20
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tracker
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Hunter
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Posts: 44
OOC: Spotty


Try as she might, she knew deep down that once Cefin had worry on his mind, trying to take it away from him was a near impossibly fruitless effort, especially when his concerns were justified and not abstract in nature like the man - unlike his brother - seemed to think about regularly. It came as no surprise that he demanded answers. Despite him lacking the gruff tones of other Caldonians when they 'asked’ for something, she knew Cefin too well to know he was going to press her for it no matter how she tried to wriggle out from his care. He wasn't normally brutish in his mannerisms, very clearly dominated by his lightning nature, but that made him more dangerous. He was clever and rested, he had the time to circle and weave between topics until he got what he wanted, charming it out of her. Damn bastard. Their relationship was a highly complicated one. One she herself wasn't quite sure how to describe, but Cefin’s emotional proximity to the huntress afforded him lenience and honesty a stranger wouldn't receive. It was an annoying, albeit refreshing, change of pace.

“Bandits,” she conceded, urging Tol back into a walk after he had stopped to allow both man and horse to cross his path. “Was gnawing on one of them's face when the bitch they were with shot me.” Cefin was no stranger as to how she operated. Sometimes savagery was the best tool used. “Thank the gods that she wasn't trained by your mother, or I'd be flattened out by now.” As an archer herself, she understood her own good fortune, and was simultaneously filled with joy and pity for the amateur. She left out the part about Shayne however, still conflicted about how to feel about it herself, as well as feeling like he might try and force her to rest due to thinking she was going insane.

“You've seen me do far more idiotic and impossible things. Don't act all surprised.”

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