Wasteland Walking

World of Darkness based games.

Wasteland Walking

Postby Cady » Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:02 am

Time: 5:21PM



The road was broken here. Not by unnatural means, but by tree roots and a small sinkhole that had formed from years of neglect. Cady slowed her steps and gave the area a wide berth, pulling out a small, battered notebook and pen to briefly sketch the area and take note of the highway sign that still stood, though twisted slightly, on the side of the road.

26 It read. She marked it down and slipped the items back into the side pocket of her backpack.

She'd passed a town sign about half a mile back stating she was now in Graysville, Ohio. Population 110.
"Bullshit." She'd snorted slightly, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. Maybe a decade or three ago it had been something like that. Small, peaceful town where they likely had town meetings, neighborhood watches, and all of those other trite things no one had given much thought about.

Until they were gone. Hadn't there been an old song that warned people about making sure they knew what they had before it wasn't there anymore? Yeah, she was almost sure.

The girl moved back into the brush along the side of the road and kept going. She knew not to go strolling down any street like she owned the place. Even though the Shield City south of Columbus was a couple of days travel in a direction mostly opposite from where she was heading, it wouldn't be wise to spend too long out in the open. Who knew what was out in this area and she didn't much want to run into unwanted company while she was alone.
Well, anytime, really.

She walked by the remnants of a fire, touching the ashes, and looking it over carefully. No signs of a struggle or a quick leave, but the ashes of the coals were cold to the core, and a small bit of meat left by it was all but destroyed by maggots. A week or more since someone used this fire. Just then, the slight sound of fast-approaching something was caught, a sound of breath. Her blue eyes scanned the grass and she crouched a moment, only to have a familiar shape break the nearest grassline. Oss tilted his somewhat squarish head and glanced her way. She returned to her normal posture, a tiny bit embarassed. But over-reacting to a situation and erring on the side of caution had saved both her and the dog's skin on more than one occasion.

She gestured for him to follow her, and the big dog obeyed, giving her about a ten to twelve foot head start as he sniffed out the camp behind her. They would be fine for another hour or so, then the late spring sun would fall to the treeline, and by then she needed to figure out where was home tonight. She'd yet to see a house, but had seen a few burned out shells of them. Not good enough. At night, a door, any door was better than nothing. A way to close things off, a wall to put her back against.

Needs had gotten much, much simpler in the past couple of years on the run. She had her pack, stocked full but of things she couldn't always find and needed. A rifle was strapped to her back, seldom used, but you wouldn't know by how well the old thing was kept. Her sneakers were not ideal footwear, but were mostly new, relatively speaking. Simple.

Cady continued on, aware of Oss at her back at a slight distance. It was good to keep him there. In a way it gave her a little break on checking things where he was. She could focus on picking out the path ahead and finding them a decent shelter while he brought up the rear guard. Worked for food, didn't talk back overly much, and for the most part never let her down. Better than most of the humans she'd ever teamed with.
After a few more minutes of walking, she saw some buildings that looked for the most part intact off the road further to the right than she was. It was the right direction, so she turned on her heel and moved from the relative non-safety of near the road to the heavy brush oddly safer, if only marginally. She moved slowly. The world outside the walled cities was nearly uninhabited by comparison, but that didn't mean it was empty and it didn't mean the buildings were either.

Lucky it seemed once she got close enough no one moved outside the buildings. There were four, three smaller sheds and a main looking house. She picked out a shed. They were about seven foot by seven by her guess, more than adequate for the night if need be. Oss had caught up by then and looked in the doorway at her briefly, but started sniffing around, then marked a bush a few feet away. She smirked a bit, knowing that meant he approved of the spot as a stopping spot for the night and wanted to let any animals and such in the area that it was his, and therefore hers. Cady set her pack down, storing it inside a crevice of the shed and rubbed the back of her neck a moment. She couldn't rest though. It was time to check out the house. She had to be sure it was empty too. Armed with her rifle on her back and her knife, the girl headed to the house, noticing two others down a rough looking dirt road out front. it looked like the road led off further, and had once been paved though not well.

She found an open window at ground level in the back and went inside the house, giving it a brief, but thourough inspection while Oss waited outside. Clear. Both floors, and it looked like the house had been ransacked, but not destroyed outright. Good. Nothing to really obtain here though, but at least it meant it wasn't terribly desireable to others. Cady left it like it was, and on the way out she did notice a can of some sort of ravioli crap in an open cupboard. Missed likely because it had rolled to the side. She'd almost missed it too, almost.
She palmed the can and went outside. She noticed a shell of an old car across the little road, but by now the light was starting to turn golden and the shadows grow. That would have to wait for tomorrow. She didn't want to risk losing track of time when she had so little left before dark. The downtown couldn't be more than another ten minutes walk if this place was small enough for only a hundred people or so to live in it. Tomorrow she'd see if there was a pharmacy, or a grocery store there too, and shore up her supplies.

Setting the can into the shed, she called Oss over to her and offered him some of the jerky she'd held in her pocket. While he snacked, she pulled a pair of small snare wires from her bag and set them up about a hundred feet away from where she was planning to rest. With the dog around, it had to be at least that far or she'd be setting them for nothing.

Once that was settled, she started working quietly to move a few things here and there. It was a way to give her some protection if an attack came from the road or the highway back behind her, and places to shoot from. Oss growled low and she paused, while he sniffed out one area, but whatever had been there maybe hadn't been much of a concern, so his fur went back from on edge and he relaxed to trot back over to her and sniff around the shed.
Cady sighed and rubbed her forehead. Damn, she was tired. Last night, the only shelter she'd found was in a copse of trees and she hadn't slept a wink. Mosquitoes were awful, even with the repellant she'd made.
Tonight, she'd have a roof over her head and hopefully a little bit of peace and quiet. She was feeling optimistic, but the reality of the situation was, if she got more than a couple of hours it would be a miracle.

She opted for no fire. It was warm enough, and as much as it might keep bugs and animals away, it might spook her rabbit quarry or worse, alert people or other things to her presence here. She pulled a thin blanket out of her pack and a small box of crackers and her water bottle, making the last of her preparations. The less noise they made here the better. Cady would just have to wait and see what night would bring here.
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Re: Wasteland Walking

Postby Rand Nailo » Tue Nov 10, 2015 6:18 pm

He saw her go into the house, completely by happenstance, and decided to lean against a tree and watch. The dog was up wind, and their sight was only good out to middle range. Their noses handled the stuff that was too far away to be naturally dangerous. For a bit, the dog was all he had to look at and so he thought about the dog. When the young woman reappeared the lone figure just remained still and trusted the human mind to filter him out against the background. It was a Gift, after all. He watched her, still and silent, until she'd settled down for the evening. Then he watched longer. Once he was confident she and her dog had settled in, he went to work.

An MRE in one of her snares, just for good measure. It was sealed and even if things didn't go well she could trust that it was safe to eat. There were so few humans in the world willing to walk the wilds, they deserved to be handed the occasional win. Then he created a zone of silence near the old car, it was where he'd slept a couple of nights ago he mused to himself. Back when he'd first been searching the area himself. He wondered, idly, if she'd found the can of food he'd left in the house. Once his zone of silence was in place he set about starting a fire (the activity took a lot of wood cracking to make happen so the zone of silence was paramount) and got it lit.

He then dropped the zone and pulled his favorite camp chair out of a bag that wasn't quite big enough to have held it, set it up, and leaned back in the recliner design. He loved old sporting good stores. Oh, and the old Amazon warehouse, that place was tops and where he'd found a lot of his favorite stuff. He then began whistling the song from the beginning of the Robinhood animal based cartoon his children had watched so long ago.
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Re: Wasteland Walking

Postby Cady » Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:07 pm

Her eyes snapped open, and honestly that was the only indication Cady had that she'd been asleep at all. Something was........different. Was it an animal in her snares? No......too quiet. Something scraped against the ground and it sounded close. But there was nothing here.

It was much darker than it had been a few minutes ago......how long had she been out? Hours? Where the hell was...
Just then, she nearly jumped out of her skin when Oss appeared at her side. He'd been pacing, and made a faint whimper when he saw she was awake. She got the impression he'd been trying to alert without being loud to give away their position, and had been successful enough to not wake her. Good dog, but the trade off was going to be trouble too. She followed his gaze out to the little roughly paved road between this house and the two others, and caught her breath in her throat, reaching instinctively for her rifle. There was a fire going not far from that old auto she'd been eyeing earlier. She could see the lights, and now smell the faint odor of the smoke. Maybe it had no been going long.

Did I miss someone? I thought everything looked empty.

Inwardly, she cursed herself for missing any obvious signs of inhabitants, and quietly hushed Oswald, signaling him to come with her and get a closer look. Maybe whoever was out there had not seen her yet. It wasn't likely, though, unless they were even less thorough than she had been in her search. Still clinging to a hope that would give her an advantage was only natural as she took damage control. If they had seen her, she was still alive.
Couldn't be overly hostile then, right? Maybe she was trespassing and the person just hadn't been there earlier. He or she began to whistle to themselves and while it was a comfort to have them seem at ease and unaware, the tune was vaguely familiar and all the more creepy in the otherwise still, slightly humid, evening air.

Stop over-thinking it, just move.

She wouldn't go close enough to make the person there feel threatened. Her hope was not even to be detected if she hadn't been already. She'd assess the threat, from as safe a distance as she could manage. Then maybe pack up to be able to make a quick dash at first light. Beat this person out on the road, and put some distance in.
Cady crouched down and worked hard to remain quiet as she moved through the brush and overgrown weeds slowly toward the edge of the little dirt road, trying to get a better look. Oss for his part was tense, but instead of barking and revealing them, she could hear the low rumble of a growl, almost at whisper pace from six feet to her left. She felt better with him there, always did. He kept sniffing the air and looking worried. She hoped he didn't lose his cool. If this guy had friends, or if they had neighbors, a full on baring fit would bring attention right to them.

She watched the figure on the chair, just sitting there, tilted back slightly. Her guess was a male , age was hard but he seemed in good health and shape. Great, not much hope of me coming out on top in a fight..... She thought.

The hair on her arms was standing up, as much from the cool and damp night as it was from the adrenaline hitting her system. He was about fifty, maybe sixty yards away. Fire looked inviting, but he sure didn't. Cady watched, sitting behind a mostly dead fallen oak branch, noting every move he made.
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Re: Wasteland Walking

Postby Rand Nailo » Thu Nov 12, 2015 8:49 pm

He waited until she'd come out to take a look see, whistling away the time and watching the fire, before finally digging into one of the many pockets on his tactical vest and coming out with one of his favorite trail rations. A bar, made of nuts and fruit, bound together with honey and let to dry a bit. Just like one of those store bought ones nobody could find these days, only without all the weaver taint stuck to 'em. He broke off a bit and popped it in his mouth, chewing appreciatively for a long moment. After he'd thoroughly enjoyed his mouthful he sighed before looking straight at her hiding place and holding up the rest of the bar. "Want some," he called out in a friendly questioning tone.
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Re: Wasteland Walking

Postby Cady » Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:00 pm

He pulled something out of his pockets and proceeded to take a bite. Food. Even though she'd had those crackers, it had not been much. Truth be told, she was low on rations, that's why she'd been working harder to set the snares at night. The can she'd found was saved tonight in case those had been empty when she woke.

She ignored the hunger pang, while Oss off to her side, glared, a low growl in his throat. He was showing more control than she had expected. He was obedient and loyal, sure, but a stranger that he'd missed? It was so unlikely, she'd expected him to charge. But he sat in the cover of darkness and shrubs not far from her, watching. Why even more control and more caution than usual?

She wasn't entirely sure, but while she didn't trust most of the people she met, she trusted Oswald. She was going to follow his lead. It was as she was finishing her thought, that the figure spoke. Confirming male for sure. Cady blinked from where she was as he looked straight at the spot she was in. She was only slightly surprised by him acknowledging her presence. She was careful and quiet, but you didn't tend to survive alone unless you were careful and always aware. She knew that better than most she had met in her travels, because the penalty for lacking that sense was death. No, she was far more unsettled that he seemed to be looking directly at her spot, instead of the general area the noises had been coming from.

Cady bit her lip and debated what to do. If he was looking right there, it was an either extremely lucky guess or he really did know where she was. If he knew and hadn't sprung right up, that meant he was likely confident in his abilities. She had to be confident in hers, but that didn't mean she wasn't a bit baffled by it. She didn't move, but Oss did, he circled a bit to come to rest about ten feet in front of her, planting his feet. He sounded a bark then, not loud, but enough. With the dog between them, Cady felt a small measure of comfort, but she didn't stand up. Best to keep cover while she felt this out.
"Don't know you. So, no thanks." She said cautiously, debating on just backing off now to grab her gear and go. Walking at night was stupid and invited all sorts of trouble. But sharing a space with a stranger didn't exactly feel like a good idea either.
Oswald sniffed the air, and she still had to marvel at how he was keeping his composure. She'd been working with him on it, but to see it actually working was impressive. Control over instincts wasn't easy. Cady still didn't always have it.
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Re: Wasteland Walking

Postby Rand Nailo » Sun Nov 15, 2015 1:22 am

The figured inclined his head to look at the dog, staring at the creature and unleashing his inner wolf for a eighth of a heartbeat. Just enough to tell it the domesticated creature where it stood in the pecking order of the night. At the bottom, the Omega of the three of them. The hound tucked its tail and backed toward its owner, as was appropriate.

"Rand Nailo, nice to meet you," He grinned at her through the dark. "How about now?"
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Re: Wasteland Walking

Postby Cady » Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:36 am

Just one look from the stranger after the bark, and Oswald's whole demeanor changed. A moment ago he'd been ready to defend her, show he was top dog. Now, he was backing off, until he stood about a foot from her, enough so he could likely feel her presence behind him for reassurance. Tail down.

She looked at the back of the dog. He wasn't turning himself away from the stranger, though. It was enough to give her pause, and a sudden draining of the confidence he'd brought her a moment ago.

What the hell.....Oss is usually unshakeable. What is this guy's story?

Cady stood up slowly as he offered her his name, brushing her hands off lightly on her well worn jeans. She eyed him from behind the tree, a bit less than thirty feet between them. It appeared and sounded as if the friendliness had not left him. She couldn't decide if that was to unsettle her or just actually seem welcoming. Social graces and cues had been out the window on the washline as of late.
Still, she couldn't exactly just go on and retreat now, not knowing someone was this close, and what if he had friends around, waiting? Well, hell.

The girl stepped out from the downed limb of the tree and took a few small steps forward. Oss fell into pace slightly behind her and to her right. She stopped on the dirt road, still leaving about half the distance between her and him. Just enough to give her a head start if he went for her. Old habits.
"Cady." She simply said, losing a bit of the edge to her tone, as it didn't seem overly necessary. She shook her head at the offer of food,, however. "We didn't realize the place was occupied, Rand."

It wasn't an apology, but it wasn't accusatory either. If Oss had sensed this guy, he hadn't acted like it before. Unless that growl had been it. He was usually a bit less subtle about things. From here, she could just feel the warmth of the fire. It made her regret not starting one earlier.
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Re: Wasteland Walking

Postby Rand Nailo » Tue Nov 17, 2015 8:43 am

"Nice to meet you, Cady. Suit yourself." He settled a little more deeply into his chair and enjoyed another mouthful of the prepared trail ration that he'd been offering her. Rand couldn't blame her for not trusting his offer, there were so many hooks in the concept that it was practically suicide to accept. That's why he'd offered. Not to kill her, mind, but because it would have put hooks in her. Obligated her if he decided there was any way for her to be of use in the immediate, though the obligation was illusory at best. "It's not occupied, merely visited by two strangers at the same time by pure happenstance. I was there at the edge of the woods when you were checking the house."

Without getting up he reached down beside his chair and tossed another stick on the fire. "I see normal folk out here so rarely, I figured it wouldn't be too much of a disappointment if you came out and said howdy. I used to have a little walkman with a couple of tapes but it crapped out more than a year ago now and... well. That's that these days." Yes, he was rambling, but that was what lonely people did when they finally got around somebody to talk to. Right? He double checked that character in his head and mentally nodded that he'd recalled right. Put the woman at ease, Rand, and then find out what news she has. Good intel, a bit of social practice, maybe a cuddle if he felt the urge later on, and then on their ways.

No harm, no foul.
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Re: Wasteland Walking

Postby Cady » Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:28 pm

She stood there and watched him as he took another bite of food. She could have definitely eaten, but she hadn't lived this long by blindly taking things strangers offered. Matter of fact, that was probably a great way to end up sick, drugged, or dead. He likely knew that.

Oss sat by her side and she reached down slightly to pat and reassure him. Something was still off about this guy, especially to her companion, so she was an extra measure of wary. Risks usually outweighed benefits, and as she sized up the guy, it seemed that was the case again. She didn't want to leave tonight anyhow. First light she felt safer. Not safe, but less likely to be stalked by a mountain lion, wolves, or worse. She frowned when he revealed he had indeed been here when she arrived. Inwardly she cursed her observation skills, but, if he wasn't any good at hiding, he probably wouldn't still be alive.

Still, she had better keep sharp. If she missed things like that it would mean a matter of time before it cost her. This time maybe not, but the jury was still out. The fire popped and crackled a bit as he tossed the stick in, sending a few tiny flashes of orange yellow light into the air above it. The glow was a bit of a comfort too, it was hard to get a flashlight or lantern and keep it running in times like this, those stupid D batteries were a bitch to find without corrosion making them useless. Fires were the easy answer for light and heat, and for now, the world was not to run out of wood. Cady listened as he spoke again and gave a slight nod in agreement.
"Plus, not sneaking up on someone unaware of you is a rare courtesy out here. Almost as rare as seeing people at all." She remarked, recalling the last time she'd managed to sneak up on a pair of sleeping men, drunk by their own disgusting moonshine, by the smell of it. She hadn't hurt them, wasn't really much point to that, but she'd come away from that night with a new skinner knife, the snares she now used, and a pair of wool socks without so much as causing one of them to stir. You tended only to announce yourself to others out here to trade with them. Her head snapped up a bit at the thought.

Did he want to trade? She had almost nothing, and didn't really need much if anything at all. Bullets, yes but who had those anymore? Cady stretched her hands out slightly palms out towards the fire, even though she was still a bit far away to really reap the benefits. "Shame you didn't still have the walkman thing. I might have a battery or two kicking around my bag. Don't know if they're good for sure, but I'd trade that for some time by a good fire."

She didn't have much use for batteries aside from that, actually. She had a small camp lantern that used a C, but she rarely used it. Dependence on any device that ran on them made you have to trade for them, and prices were usually high as hell because they were harder to find by the day. Not much new was being made since the world essentially fell to pieces.
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Re: Wasteland Walking

Postby Rand Nailo » Fri Nov 20, 2015 6:17 pm

"Rare as seeing people? I see people all the time... what definition of 'people' are you using?" She probably didn't include witches, werewolves, the more intelligible spirits, or wolves like he did. Hell, he even knew a half-useful vampire that sold him information from one of the shield cities. Thing had fun personality too, laid back like Rand but a bit prone to Eastern thinking and sharing blood with a shadow manipulating former female of his kind for Rand's tastes.

"Eh, that's ok. Besides, the Fire is free. I'm feeding it but that spirit comes and goes as it pleases." He gestured from her to it in invitation to join him. He wasn't the type to make people pay for such simple things. Or much of anything really. He preferred friends to debtors, always. Oh, that was a good one. "I prefer friends to debtors any day. Or night, as the case may be. The domestic is welcome to come along with you, if you can convince it."
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