The Kingdom - Born on the Bayou

Admiral Duck Sauce 2013-07-24 11:52:53
"Thanks," Ozzy says tentatively, shaking out his arms and legs. "There somewhere we can stay the night? Reckon it'd be best we picked up again in the morning once we've all had some rest."
Gatac 2013-07-30 00:54:46
"How do you do, Sir," Martin says, nodding his head slightly. "My apologies for the unannounced visit to your lands, we have pressing business. Any assistance you can render would be most welcome."
e of pi 2013-08-02 00:14:18
Anton, busy making sure the ass is back on its feet without further damaging any of the gear it was carrying, simply nods in acknowledgment of Red's introduction before going back about getting himself and the donkey sorted out.
punkey 2013-08-08 13:17:31
Pops and Beau each give Martin a wary look as his ears and tail twitch in the still swamp air. "Aye, there's a place for you all to stay. Renard's friends are always welcome in my house," Pa says cautiously. He looks at Martin. "We've been having...problems with the Descoteauxs." Pa looks back to Red. "You sure he's not with that traitorous clan, boy?"
"What, Martin?" Red snickers. "Kid's way too nice to be one of their's. 'Sides, Martin's a monk. Grew up in a monastery and all that." His smile fades as he gestures to the fallen net. "Set all this up for the Descoteauxs? Seems, I dunno, desperate. I mean, we never needed to string 'em up like this before."
"Things have never been this bad before, my boy," Pa says. Beau shifts uncomfortably at that. "But we'll talk family business later. Come on back to the house, Ma's making chicken with collards and mash, your favorite." Pa looks at Beau. "Beau, set this net back up and hurry on back, ya hear?" he rattles off.
"Yes, Pa," Beau says, and hurries off.
Red grins and says "Great! It's been a while since I had something with kick." When Pa turns away, though, Red's smile fades. He steps carefully over the fallen net and whispers, "Welcome home."
Gatac 2013-08-08 13:45:17
"Thank you very much for your hospitality, Sir," Martin says. "On the matter of the Descoteaux clan, I assume Renard" - Martin's clearly having a bit of fun not calling him 'Red' - "will wish to stand with his family on the matter, and as his friends we are bound to stand with Renard, so what can you tell us of this conflict?"
punkey 2013-08-08 13:51:30
"Well, that would be family business, which I believe I just said would be discussed later," Pa says. "Can't you hear with those big ears?"
Gatac 2013-08-08 13:57:23
"My apologies, Sir," Martin says. "I will try to pay better attention."
punkey 2013-09-12 05:46:55
Pops leads the group down the road as the sun sets through the willows and oaks. It's a gorgeous sight, the sky burning orange and red across the horizon, only offset by the black clouds of mosquitos that seem to erupt from fucking everywhere. They leave Pops alone, though, so the more for everyone else. A torch is produced from somewhere on his person, which Pops lights with a single snap of a flint to light the way forward.

After a mile or so, Pops abruptly turns off the road and down a nearly invisible path off into the swamps - so invisible that Red has to drop back to the rear to make sure no one wanders off or gets left behind. The nighttime swamp is full of interestingly...interesting sights, sounds and smells: hoots and screeches from owls overhead, the scurrying of little animals at your feet, the much louder scurrying of not-so-small animals in the underbrush at either side, and over it all the scent of stagnant and muddy water from the myriad of channels, ponds and rivers wending their way slowly through the marshland. The water was a good distance away from where they were now, by everyone's reckoning, but the land is still damp and the air still heavy with moisture; even when the water is far away, it's never that far in this wet place.

A half-hour later, the path starts winding its way up a bigass hill, at least a hundred feet tall, probably closer to two-hundred, and steep as all get-out. It feels more like climbing the side of a dam from the wrong side than anything else, but judging by the bounce in Red's step and the wisp of smoke in the air, this should be close to the end of the trip.

And at the top of the hill, Pops stops and gestures towards the valley on the other side. "Welcome to our humble home," he mumbles.
From the top, the hill looks more like one side of an ancient lake that has long since blown its banks, and Pops and his folk have set up shop in the valley it left behind in a small village. Far from being a shanty town like the underground monster village back underneath the Ripperdan sluice, the buildings here are wooden and well-built, with proper walls, columns and windows, if seemingly very old and losing slowly to the moisture and decay. Down in the valley lie a row of five or six buildings seemingly dedicated to boats and fishing, then further up are a dozen or so houses/workshops/kitchens, and around the top of the valley are five or six bigger structures - one looks like a town hall of sorts, another like a barracks, and the last one is a big house, two stories tall and long, the oak exterior finished in black stain and vines. Presumably, that's the leader's house, which would make it Pops' place.

And indeed it is, as an equally heavy-set woman walks out onto the big front porch and shouts across the valley. "Pops, you get your ass in here right this minute! I've been ringin' this bell for supper and you and your friends have been out running around in the swamp for who knows how long! You get in here right now and bring your friends with you right this minute!" she shouts in rapid-fire speech.
"Yessum," Pops mumbles. The woman turns around in a huff and stomps back inside.


When you all arrive at the big house, everyone can smell the food laid out inside long before anyone takes a step inside. It smells amazing - fried foods, cooked greens, potatoes and vegetables. Everyone, Martin especially, can practically float through the air on their way to the dining room, which is, in fact, open to the rest of the little valley below, although there are strangely no more mosquitos around the house.
The heavyset woman motions for everyone to take a seat. "Sit down, sit down! All this food ain't gonna eat itself, you know," she says, and turns to Pops. "Where's Beau?" she demands.
"Beau's fixin' the traps and the nets," Pops mumbles.
"Well, he'd better be back here before his supper gets cold, you understand me?" the woman says.
"Yessum," Pops replies as he takes a seat.
The woman turns back to the rest of the group, now seated and drooling - metaphorically or literally - at the spread before you. "Eat! Eat!" she shouts.
Gatac 2013-09-12 12:05:00
Well, Martin doesn't need to be told twice. His rakasta shape is perfect for savoring the smell and taste of the rich food before him, and traveling all day has a way of making him hungry.

He manages to shove a "Thank you kindly" out of his mouth before he shoves a handful of fried chicken into his mouth.
e of pi 2013-09-12 13:13:55
Anton nods his own thanks before digging into the spread. The taste is as good as the smell promises, especially after slogging through mud and bugs for far too long on top of a long day on normal roads.
skullandscythe 2013-09-12 13:22:44
Red takes a deep sniff of the heavenly spread in front of him with a sigh. "You've outdone yourself again, Ma," he says to the matriarch with a smile before tearing into the fried chicken like a hungry wolf pack.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2013-09-12 13:31:23
Ozzy ain't one to turn down hot food, make no mistake. He'd learnt to deal with rations and greasy cold stew, but he never learnt how to deal with small meals, and now the big man gorges like it's a race between him an' the other lads.
CrazyIvan 2013-09-12 21:24:30
Ana wonders for a long moment at just what point what lesser god she had offended to ensure that every time she laid eyes on this motley bunch, she would invariably feel the need to bathe until her skin was raw within hours. It was a particular gift of theirs.

She eats gingerly, with much less enthusiasm than the others, though not so much as to appear rude. And what she does have is, undeniably, quite delicious.
punkey 2013-09-13 17:00:45
Delicious though it may be, after a few minutes, the first tingles of fire appear on everyone's lips. Before long, nearly everyone in the party is gasping for breath, their eyes watering and faces red and dripping with sweat as the spicy heat from the chicken takes full effect, like you've had your lips rubbed with a hot coal before it was popped in your mouth.
Lucius' hands fumble as he goes for his knives. "Poison," he hisses.
"Naw, not poison, just proper chicken," Pops mumbles as he looks up from his own substantial plate. "Here, take a big glass of this, it's good for what ails ya," he adds, and slides a big ceramic jug across the table.
Lucius grabs it, pours himself a tall glass and passes it down the line before he downs it practically in one gulp. He didn't perform his usual battery of inspections, which is why he misses that the clear liquid isn't water but almost pure grain alcohol until he's swallowed the whole glass and bent over coughing.
"Good for what ails ya," Pops mumbles with a nod.
"Still not -" Lucius coughs, "- convinced it's not -" more coughing, "- poison."
skullandscythe 2013-09-13 17:35:29
"Then have some greens, or try the mash. It'll take some of the heat off," Red says with a smirk. His plate shows that he's given quite a bit of attention to his sides as well, and his face doesn't seem as red or sweaty as the others...though no one's really sure if he's just used to the spice or not.
Gatac 2013-09-14 04:55:33
Undaunted by Lucius's reaction, Martin pours himself a generous tumbler of moonshine and downs it in one swig. A wave of fur ripples from his face out to his arms while his tail whips from side to side, alternating between hitting Ozzy and Anton on the back.

"Nice!" he says, in a decidedly un-monk-like way.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2013-09-14 06:37:54
In for a penny, in for a pound, Ozzy thinks. There were enough stories about swamp people to set an edge on Ozzy, to make him think twice about the drink, the food, the whole thing, but his stomach had already won out with the chicken and he weren't about to let his friends drink alone, now was he?
e of pi 2013-09-14 18:55:25
Anton, his mouth starting to burn badly, sticks to the sides. Even if the stories he heard about the swampies are wrong, he wants to keep a clear head.
CrazyIvan 2013-09-14 23:36:31
While avoiding the moonshine, but accepting a fairly large helping of mash, Ana makes an appreciative - almost delighted noise - as the heat of the meal finally hits her. She looks back to her chicken with somewhat more predatory intent.

"This is excellent...I had something spiced somewhat like this, a long time ago. An ambassador was visiting from...gods, where was that. Vientiane? Yes, Vientiane. He made us a dish, spiced with these small peppers..." she took another bite, savoring the burning feel. "I've always wanted to try them again, but they are far too expensive." Those who have seen her house might justifiably wonder just how expensive foreign spices have to be to make the young noblewoman blanche.

"But's the same spirit. Drier, and a little faster on the burn..." She blushes - something largely lost to the flush already on her cheeks, realizing she's been rambling.
punkey 2013-09-15 21:56:57
"Ooh, one second, dear," Ma says, and hustles back into the kitchen. She returns a few seconds later with a small pouch and hands it to Anata - a pouch that contains a handful of those exact peppers. "We got the seeds for those from a lovely man from Vientiane who asked for rights to transport through our rivers. They grow just fine in our soil, so keep those, we've got plenty."
"That's right, damn things are like weeds almost," Pops grumbles. "Make damn fine chicken when you dry them out, though."

"So, Pops," Ma asks in a politely impolite way. "Have you asked Renard about his friend?"
"I so have, and he has already denied such accusations," Pops mumbles.
Ma looks at Red. "Renard, honey, are you sure he's not one of the Descoteaux? There haven't been many others like him around these parts these days, and while he might be your friend..."