2019-12-29 - Desert Fates: Stop Mumbling!


While Bucky gets a break from traveling across the desert, Ambrose can't get no break from sleep-talking.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Dec 29 01:13:04 2019
Location: 58 Water Street - Apt 602

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He does attend - taking care of business, after handing off the camel. Then he's following Ambrose down into the depths of whatever space the Jackal's led him to. The water's what he's looking for….though he looks to Ambrose, with that almost puppyishly hopeful expression. Here he is. Maybe there can be water and a rest, now?

He's brought all his gear - well, pack and rifle, such as it is - and there's a rather sleepy cant to his lids. It's been a long day, and full of frightening things.

Enter beyond the narrow entrance and there's a shocking amount of space to be found within in comparison to the natural fall of the boulders. At one point, one of the local predators must have excavated the place out, for there's the most subtle musk of hyena lingering where dry desert air hasn't worn it away yet. Long enough to park three trucks and wide enough for nearly two, the interior is somewhat oblong with natural sloped dips here and there, still flat ground and rather sandless despite the winds.

Ambrose has indeed collected things here and there during his forays against the German scouting troops. Two oil lamps hang from rusty nails shoved into cracks in stone and cast a surprisingly homely light. Four barrels are tucked into one corner, both water and oil alike, three to one in number. There's what must have been a seating bench from a convoy truck along one wall where odds and ends are stacked and stashed, from tools to ammunition and spare weaponry in at least one of each known model used by German troops. A helmet is stacked atop what appears to be an Italian infantryman's coat. Next to this, a veritable motherload of ration tins sit like a dragon's hoard of coins. Across the width of the interior space, a somewhat ratty, well-loved hammock is slung along the wall from two rebar metal lengths. The bars have been shoved into the wall as if by a sledgehammer swung by a titan and even bent up to keep the hammock's D-rings from slipping free. It's here the Jackal has settled, fingers interlaced behind his head and booted ankles crossed.

"By all means, look about if you wish. Do not touch if you think it unwise." Slitted eyes still watch Bucky intently despite the laze of lids. "If you hunger, do take a rations tin or two. I have little use for them other than trade. The leather pouches slung on the wall above the barrels contain water…the larger ones, actually." There's a small snicker. "The one marked with red is oil, I do not recommend sipping of it."

He goes padding for the water barrels….and his first act is to refill his canteen, carefully. The second to drink deeply, but not too deep. Taking those warnings to heart. Then he dares dampen a couple of handkerchiefs in a little of the water, strip off jacket and shirt, and give himself a hasty wiping down with them. Then he's primly spreading them to dry. Only once that's done does he look around for a place to curl up. "I dunno, after Army coffee, motor oil might be just the thing," he teases, voice raspy with weariness.

In a vein of distant interest not too unlike a cat, Ambrose doesn't look away from the soldier as he wipes himself down. He does eye the handkerchiefs now littering his space with an equally distant amusement, however.

"The coffee itself did nothing for you? That you'd resort to motor oil? Ruddy hell, man," he comments lightly.

Shifting in his hammock, he sets the slung-bed to gently swinging. "I might spread your bedroll beyond the barrels, in the opposite corner. Sand will filter in regardless of the canvas I am able to tack in various places. If you are concerned, do be aware the camel will weather the Gibleh far better than we. The species walked this land long before humankind thought to claim a foothold…and such a weak foothold it is," he muses with another cold chuckle. An idle gesture at the pile of ration tins is made. "Do indulge in a tin if you will before you sleep. The Gibleh will be here soon enough. You will learn of how wind may truly howl…"

Lean, compactly muscled, with a young boxer's springy grace. He pulls a clean t-shirt out of his pack, apparently deeming that enough to sleep in. "Okay," he says, not inclined to argue. Free food, why would he?

Then Buck's sorting amongst them for something that looks good, finding something else. No asking if they can make a fire, or if there's another way to heat it up - he's found preserved meat, crackers,cheese again. More of the same,but….it doesn't seem to bother him.

"You can't tell how long it'll last?" This will be time out of time for him, a space where he's out from under orders, AWOL….but the prospect there is equally undismaying. He can catch up on his sleep.

"Unfortunately, no…though I might hazard a guess as it arrives. The temperature as well as the force at which it hits the rock allows a rough guessing game. Let us see if I am worth my weight in gold in knowing the desert, hmm?" Another vaguely amused gleam of eyes flicker to Bucky.

"If you look beneath the ration tins, on the ground, there are a collection of jackets. I do not light fires if I can help it — it would do me no good to allow those dawn flight circuits any chance at locating my boltholes. Do layer up if you feel you may be cold. You may not. Sometimes the Gibleh winds bring with them heat."

Outside, the camel lets out a groan of sound. Ambrose looks up with an expression slowly melting into annoyance.

He dusts hands neatly off, wipes them, in turn. More rummaging, and he comes up with a heap of coats, even a couple of ratty blankets. He shakes them all out for dust, neat as a housewife, and then Buck's assembling a little nest of canvas and wool, in the sheltered corner by the barrels. Peels off his boots and socks, spreads *those* out to dry, and puts on new, clean ones, before he starts to burrow in. "I'mm a jus' take a li'l nap," he advises Ambrose, tone already slurred with weariness. He may be in danger, but he's got to rest, some time.

The camel doesn't make another sound. Ambrose, however, makes a small sniff of surprise when the soldier speaks up again, as if he'd been listening very hard — too lazy to get up from his hammock to see what caused the disturbance. That, or so very certain of the bolthole's privacy and relative impregnability.

"By all means, rest. Our day begins early yet pending on the whims of the Gibleh." With a soft grunt, he then rises from the hammock to pad towards the entrance. The glow of the oil lamps provide enough light to see his silhouette disappear out and into the night. It's only a brief excursion, probably about the island of the outcropping itself, for Ambrose isn't gone long.

Back in he comes in a near-silent jingle of tack and metal. "I suppose I shall tack up early. Your beast of burden appears to be concerned." Even as Bucky might be falling asleep, there come the sound of canvas being unrolled and shifted about. There's no loss of light, but perhaps a conservation of air and potentially warmth left over from the day's heating of the earthen cavity. Ambrose leaves deliberate sections of the walls open, like as not in order to allow clean air to enter; the holes are small and abnormally-shaped as to avoid any natural musicality.

"Rest, soldier. I shall keep watch," the Jackal murmurs even as he flumps back into his hammock and assumes his previous position.

The Gibleh arrives about an hour later with an interesting softening of the air, precisely as Ambrose foretold. Then comes the sheer wind swat into the side of the outcropping. His eyelids slowly rise and the Jackal appears eminently bored. "…I would hazard until dawn if not further. Puh," mutters he to himself. The wind begins to stream around the outcropping and how does it moan as it does. Sand flickers into the abode in places, but none directly onto or nearby Bucky. Ambrose suggested well as to the bedroll's placement. The swing in temperature is noticeable too after about an hour. It swings upwards into the low 60s Fahrenheit and holds. For this, the Jackal is grateful as he swings back and forth, looking into the middle distance at nothing.

He murmurs in his sleep - English, other tongues. James sleeps with the easy depth of the healthy and young and exhausted, curled up on his side, pillowed on the heap of coats. Even the rise of the wind only has him raising his head blearily, with a questioning grunt. It takes him a drowsy moment or two to recall where he is, what this place is…..and then he's snuggling back down with a nearly canine sigh.

|ROLL| Ambrose +rolls 1d20 for: 15

|ROLL| Ambrose +rolls 1d12 for: 3

This particular Gibleh arrives with a fury and yet doesn't linger overlong in its vein of wicked, whipping winds loaded with coarse sand and stolen heat from the interior desert. Ambrose listens to it sing itself away and into the far horizon. There's a stillness almost breathless after the last whispers of the storm pass. It takes about a minute for the silence to infringe upon the Jackal's attention. He blinks hard once and sits up in the hammock, grasping both sides of the swinging bed in a momentary hunt for balance.

"Already…?" The murmur is disbelieving, so the master-thief, so very light of foot out of habit, slips back outside after untacking the canvas overtop the narrow entrance. The camel appears to be asleep, half-buried in a catching of sand, its heavily-lashed eyes tightly held shut against granules.

Entering the abode again, he checks the wicks of each oil lamp. One is lower and this he turns to darkness. One is left alight near to the front of the small bolthole. His eyes fall and linger upon the sleeping mound of Bucky. They narrow and then drop; his tongue polishes his canine tooth, seen beneath his lip. A fracture of agonized uncertainty makes his face crumple and twist. A toss of his head almost equine follows along with a run of his fingers back through his hair. Cerulean-blues land on the soldier again.

It causes his heart to pang, but so very carefully, the Jackal pads over and levels himself down to lie on his side on the spilt edge of jackets and blanketing. So carefully, slowly, he shuffles back until he feels his spine bump into the soldier's back. A wince. Then one eye opens. Thank god the youth sleep as the dead. A scootch more and now he's got at least half of a back's worth of pressure aligned.

As he lies there, having bundling his own jacket beneath his head, Ambrose stares at the sideways collection of ration tins. His eyes fill with tears and then close. A quick knuckling is followed by a hard swallow. It takes a painful amount of effort, but eventually, in the early hours of the morning, he slips into meditation for the first time in months. It is a blessed black silence in his mind.

Not that familiar, beloved body….but whoever this soldier is, he's used to sleeping with someone else. For it isn't long before he's turning and spooning along the Jackal's back. Not much beyond that, and there's an arm flung over his ribs, the feeling of breath on his nape. "Stevie," murmurs the boy, tone all dreamy affection.

|ROLL| Ambrose +rolls 1d20 for: 3

About an hour's worth of meditation abruptly breaks as suddenly as a dropped china tray of well-cooked turkey at a family gathering.

Ambrose's eyes go wide and stare pin-pointed carmine into the middle distance. Another swallow seems as careful as how he lifts his head with patient speed to turn it and look at his current circumstances.

"…Stevie…?" The pet-name whispered leaves the Jackal's lips with a newfound point of curiosity so very fragile. He looks about the bolthole now and notes the very grey light of dawn beginning to show at the natural holes in the walls. With continued caution does he then lie his head back down on the bundling of his jacket and stare at the ration tins again.

It will be another hour or so before the Jackal extricates himself from the pile of sleeping soldier in the corner with grace and skill. He takes a good dozen steps away before pausing and looking back at Bucky. A palm rises to rub at his ribs, where the weight of an arm once rested. Then, with a 'puh' of self-derision, he slips outside and into the barely risen light of the sun.

Ambrose doesn't wake him with his extraction….but there's a hand groping blindly in the depths of sleep. Hey, come back, where'd you go? "Ste-" comes the plaintive little sound, before Buck's awake enough to raise his head and look around.

Then, reluctantly, he's extricating himself from his nest and getting up, stretching like a dog, fore and aft.

Bucky will make it entirely out of his nest before his guide returns from seeing how the landscape shifted in the night.

"We are…in luck," he explains after a temporary pause. The soldier up and lucid is enough to remind him of earlier's mid-rest slip of the tongue and it's righteously embarrassing to feel some heat touch his cheeks, if only lightly. "The storm was short and left less sand than expected. Granted, I wish to leave earlier, but circumstances are what they are."

Read as: how dare you, lulling me into lingering there at the fringe of your blanket piles, Barnes.

"Eat and be quick about it. Our travels will be in the sun until the late afternoon. You will need to wrap your face against burn." A length of fabric is tossed towards Bucky from another collection; it's clean, at least, a dull beige rather than the black fringed model hanging about Ambrose's neck.

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