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Celeste     Warm winds blow and a lazy dust tornado swarms along one of the many paths from the city out to the wasteland. It's relatively quiet out here in the morning, nothing but the sounds of caravans now and then and the occasional wanderer searching around.

    Celeste is one of the few out on this particular path, settled among rocks and little shrubs, the tall grasses whistling softly with the breeze. She stands near a low rock formation, her attention fixed on several bottles she has lined up on various rocks, all waiting to be busted. The girl has a sling shot (of all things), and is holding it up and taking aim. Either she just started and hasn't hit anything yet, or she's a terrible shot.
Rachel     With the amount of space in the world, it's always a bit of a surprise when two souls collide in the middle of nowhere with no intention of doing so. Rachel's footfalls can be heard before she's ever spotted - she's not trying to be quiet and she's running at a good pace. Her hair has been tied back in a pony-tail and her clothes are coated with dust, along with her skin that's speckled with the dust as it sticks to the sweat on her face. She slows her jog to a brisk walk when she spots Celeste, working to catch her breath.
Celeste     Turning quickly when she hears the sound of someone running, Celeste releases her hold on the rock held in her slingshot and there it goes! Good thing she's a terrible shot. The little rock goes whizzing past Rachel, about ten feet to her left to then fall into the tall grasses. Celeste slowly lowers her slingshot, smile turning up at one side of her mouth as she gives a sheepish look Rachel's way. A murmured, "Sorry," is offered before the embarrassed girl squats down to the ground and begins picking out a few more rocks.
Rachel     "At least you didn't have a gun." Rachel replies, her voice with a bit of gravel in it from the dust she has swallowed. She has water at her hip and takes a drink from that before she tries to say anything else. One hand absently brushes dust away from her clothes while she takes in the attempted target practice session and finally turns her attention back to Celeste. "Have you fired any in the right direction yet?" She wonders.
Celeste     There comes a chuckle from Celeste when a gun is mentioned, and she gives a little lopsided grin. "Yeah," she agrees from her spot on the ground, fingers poking about and collecting just the right rocks. Once she has a few in her palm she rises up again and loads one rock into the slingshot. Her dark eyes shift to Rachel again and she says, "Of course I have," in a huffy, teasing way. The way she says it might not sound convincing, though. Again, none of the bottles are broken. Celeste looks to the bottles and takes aim, and as she releases the rock it does go in the right direction, but doesn't hit anything. Celeste scowls lightly, mouth twitching.
Rachel     Given they're only innocent bottles sitting in a field, Rachel feels quite alright about being amused at the miss. "At least they don't fight back." The woman quips, turning her canteen upwards and letting the water splash down on her dusty face. She shakes her head to clear the water from her eyes before moving a bit closer to where Celeste is shooting. "You're not squaring your shoulder. Nothing will go where you want it to with your shoulder bent out of line with your arm." She hesitates for a half a breath and then reaches out, stoping just shy of touching the stranger. "Hold it up like you're going to shoot. I'll show you."
Celeste     Celeste shoots you a little -look- at the quip, but it has her smiling just a bit. "Yeah," she agrees. "I'd be outnumbered. Good thing you showed up," she teases with a little laugh. She notices how you start to approach her and she stands a bit taller. Not nearly as tall as you, though. Celeste takes in the tips, and as she tries to move her shoulder she says, "Oh yeah? That's my problem, huh? Alright.." She pulls the rock back and releases, and it gets closer this time, just barely missing the bottle. "Ohh, you're right.. Kill a lot of bottles in your spare time?" she asks.
Rachel     "Many, many . . . bottles." Rachel agrees and her smile looks to be one forced for the situation than an emotion that is properly felt. "And that was very close. You're a natural. You just need to stand the right way and those bottles won't know what hit them." This time she reaches out and actually touches Celeste's shoulder, guiding it to square just a little more and then holding her hand firmly there to prevent it from shifting. "Try now." She suggests. "You live nearby?"
Celeste     "Good thing they don't have eyes," Celeste says as she looks over to the bottles, eyeing them suspiciously for a second. She chuckles. When her shoulder is touched she smiles, trying her best to hold her shoulder that way. Good thing it's being held for her, for when she shifts and starts to pull back she finds that she was indeed lifting her shoulder. "Ohh.. Wow. I was really messing it up at first, huh?" she says with a smile, tugging the rubber back and then releasing. Close again. Almost got it! "Gah! Almost!" Celeste hurries to try again, but her excitement makes her miss. Oops. Cel giggles. "Huh? Oh, yeah. Over on the ranch.." Celeste lowers her hands then, turning slightly to look at Rachel. She offers a hand to shake. "Celeste Drake."
Rachel     "Rachel Night. Nice to meet you, Celeste." This smile looks a little more natural, but it's a small one. Her face is ofter somber. Her hand is also surprisingly calloused given her age, though it doesn't completely lack for softness. She shakes the hand in return and takes a small step back to give Celeste back her personal space. "I didn't mean to crash your battle. I was out running, but I'm always looking for a good excuse to stop."
Celeste     "Usually people run 'cause they're bein chased by something.. Or they just like running.. But you look for reasons to stop?" Celeste says, watching you curiously. "Why's that? You have to run for some reason?" At this time she takes a quick glance over the other, sizing her up. "Look fit enough," she murmurs before realizing, "Ohh! You're with the militia? Oh," she says softer then. "I guess that's why you run?" She chuckles. "And why you know how to fix other people so they hit the target.." which she has still yet to do. Talk about embarrassing.
Rachel     "Neither running nor hitting bottles are requirements for militia work. And I did both before joining. Doesn't mean I really like the running part. But, if something is chasing me, I don't want to get a stitch in my side and then bullet in my back." Saying all this, she looks down at her dust covered body again and frowns, fruitlessly trying to brush the dirt off of her clothes while she chats. "I'm pretty new to the militia life. Had done my share of wandering before that. That kept me moving all the time - but when you're staying in one place it is easy to become lazy."
Celeste     Celeste's starting to give a tiny grin, something a bit forced when it's mentioned that running is a good way to avoid being shot. Note taken. She glances away and back, eyes narrowing slightly. "Ah-hah.. Yeah. Ah, True. I guess you do get a little lazy if you're in one place for long.." Maybe she should start running, too! "I never really run much.. Guess I depend too much on my horse for getting away fast." She chuckles. "You ever ride a horse before?" she wonders. "Not that I wanna encourage you to stop running. I should.. probably try that sometime. I probably couldn't run past those rocks without needing to stop."
Rachel     "I've been on a horse. And the horse was moving. I'm not so sure you could call it riding though." Her subtle smile is back and her eyes shift toward the bottles which are all still standing. "Let's just say that me riding a horse isn't so different than you firing a slingshot. I can go through all the motions, but the end result isn't pretty." She's clearly teasing, though it's also not a lie that she's not one for riding. "The majority of my life I've been on my own two feet. I admit, the idea of having a horse take care of the hard work is sometimes very tempting."
Celeste     "It can be pretty handy.." Celeste murmurs, her gaze following yours to the bottles and back. Once she looks to you again she gives a bit more of a smile and says, "If you ever wanna give riding another try, you should stop by the ranch. I could give you a little tour and, if you wanted, I could teach you how to ride. We have a few horses I'd trust with kids, so you should be fine on one of those," she says, giving her own little tease. "In return you.. You teach me how to shoot?" she asks, knowing it might sound odd for someone out here not to know how to.
Rachel     "I wonder which one of us will be more hapless." Rachel responds with a tilt of her head. Her eyes linger on Celeste for a quiet moment and she finally nods her head. "I think I would like that. To have you teach me to ride." Then she makes a face and shakes her head. "Listen to me. So formal. I've spent a lot of time out in the world by myself and not really met a lot of people I'd make plans for seeing again. No one has offered to teach me anything in a long time, without a price associated with it."
Celeste     "Mine has a little price though, hmm? Long as that's okay.. I really am a terrible shot, and to tell the truth, I don't even own a gun. Not the smartest thing when there are creatures roamin' about all the time. I know we got people to look out for us, but.. it never hurts to protect yourself, too, ya know?" Celeste says with a little, shy smile. "So.. if you think you could help me, I'd really enjoy it. If you think that's fair to trade it for riding lessons." Her smile returns. "You're not from here then, yeah? Moved around a lot till now?"
Rachel     "I wasn't really thinking of that as a price, though. That's something I'd offer to do anyway. Knowing how to protect yourself out here - well, it's pretty important. The people who are supposed to protect you aren't always in the right place at the right time." Rachel bites down on her bottom lip nervously for a moment, then nods her head to the question. "I've been on the move for eight years now. I've stayed in one place from time to time." That long by herself in the wastes? It might explain the haunted look that she always wears.
Celeste     Celeste is observing you quietly.. The bite to the lip, the look in your eye, and she focuses in on a bit of the information you give her. As she tilts her head just slightly she wonders, "You on the run from something? Or were you once?" There is no judgement in her words, just curiosity, and she wants to know. "I.. know how that can be." She gives a little smile at that.
Rachel     "I haven't been running away from anything, no. I think I might be more alluring if I was some master criminal from across the wastes, with the law on my heels." Rachel lifts her shoulders in a quiet shrug. "Like many in the wastes, I was wandering because I had no place to belong any longer. But, I'm hoping to find a place here again. Joining the militia to be a part of the city and making it my home."
Celeste     Celeste looks a little embarrassed once again. "Oh." She giggles. "I'm glad you're not running from the law.. Ya see people like that here sometimes. Come in and start to relax, then all the sudden they're gone with not even a note.. You seem like a nice person.. Glad you decided to make your home here. How long ago did you find your way here?" Celeste wonders, forgetting all about the lonely bottles over by the rocks.
Rachel     "I guess it has been a month or so now." Rachel replies after a quick pause, clearly trying to work out in her head how long she'd been in the area. "What about you? Is this home? You've always been here on the ranch with your horses?" Green eyes are fixed on Celeste, watching her with an intensity that some might find to be unnerving.
Celeste     Unnerving, yes. Celeste looks away a few times, but her gaze is always drawn back to Rachel. "Ah.. Yes and no. I was born here, but when I was seven there was a raider attack on the ranch. I was out when it happened.. I left for a few years and, you know.. I came back when I could. A cousin of mine just returned, too, and he's gonna try to help get the ranch back to the way it was fifteen years ago. So.. kinda been here my whole life. Pretty much.." She gives a little smile at that. "Where are you from originally?" she asks.
Rachel     Her face darkens briefly at the mention of the raider attack and she nods her head to the entire explanation. "I'm glad to hear that you have the chance to rebuild and bring it back to what it used to be. Having things destroyed is . . . sad." Rachel finishes a little lamely and then turns her own gaze to anywhere but in Celeste's direction. "I'm from nowhere. It was a farm. We took care of ourselves with the help of traders who came by from time to time." That's all she offers, perhaps not wanting to discuss why she's no longer there.
Celeste     Celeste's smile brightens. "You lived on a farm? You should have said so!" Didn't she just? "Awww, but you already pledged to help the militia! Hmm.." Celeste chews at the inside of her cheek as she thinks on it. "I'm sure you could come to the ranch sometime.. Even just to hang out. Or if you ever got tired of fighting thing, you could come help us. We're always looking for people who know how to do ranch work. It'd be good to have another person around.. Right now there's just a few of us. Me and my cousins and a girl with her kids. Well, they're not -hers-, but she's taking care of them.. and you'd be welcome," she says, looking excited, her smile wide now.
Rachel     "I already said I'd come sometime so you could show me a few things about horses." Rachel reminds her with a quiet smile and a small shake of her head. "And it has been a long time since I've done anything on a farm. I'm sure I could pick it up again if I was pressed to do so, but I'm not sure it's the life for me any more." She pauses and then adds - "But, if you need a spare set of hands for anything, I'd be happy to lend them if I'm not already working."
Celeste     Giggling, Celeste's face starts to turn pink. "I know.. But coming over to hang out and meet the family and.. possibly work with us now and then is different than coming over for riding lessons and being shown around." She grins a little at that. When you say that farming isn't quite for you anymore she nods, saying, "Understandable.." She studies you a moment, then looks away and to the bottles. The girl nods to them and says, "Show me how good a shot you are?"
Rachel     "If I miss, I'm going to be terribly embarrassed." Rachel admits, rolling her shoulders as if to loosen them. "And I haven't actually used a slingshot in a long time. You might have to give me a couple shots to get the feel for it." She makes plenty of excuses, but she doesn't actually refuse the challenge, holding her hand out to take the weapon from the other woman.
Celeste     Celeste looks amused by this, and she hesitates before handing the slingshot over. As she takes a small step back she waits long enough, giving you time to line up a shot before she murmurs, "Ya know.. I meant with a gun. If you have one on you.. Militia always have at least some sort of gun on them, right?" she asks, looking at you from her position slightly behind you and to the side now.
Rachel     "The nice thing about rocks is that they're a lot cheaper than bullets." Rachel replies, fitting a stone into the slingshot. "And it's not that I've never wasted a bullet into a bottle to impress someone, but that's the sort of thing I usually keep for a second date." She teases with her words while she raises the slingshot and squares her shoulder, taking aim at one of the bottles and letting the rock fly. It shoots true, flying straight and hard and the sound of rock against glass rings across the field.
Celeste     "You're trying to impress me, hmm?" Celeste asks in a teasing way, her giggles following after, then silence. She gently clears her throat, waiting until you have taken the shot.. "On the first try!? Dang! I've been out here for an hour.. probably wasted a hundred rocks.. Even getting a blister on my thumb," Cel says with a pout as she moves up closer and watches you, eyes narrowing. "Haven't used a sling shot in a long time, my ass!" She laughs happily.
Rachel     "I haven't!" Rachel insist, also laughing. "A lucky shot, I'm sure. And, like I said, if you had horses out here we'd see just how terrible I am at riding. Shooting is something that I've gotten pretty good at. Or, at least good enough that I've always shot them more than they've shot me." She bites down on her bottom lip and then asks - "Well, did I succeed at least? At impressing you?"
Celeste     "Do you really have to ask?" Celeste says, hands going to her hips as she gives a lopsided smile to the other. "Of course you did. One shot and you blasted that bottle to bits! Me? I'm probably killing poor ants and stuff in the grass." This makes the blonde pout. She looks to the bottles and back, eyes glancing you over as she asks, "How many times have you been shot? Where at?" she wonders with renewed curiosity.
Rachel     "Is that a polite question to ask? Like, asking someone's age or how much money they make?" Rachel seems to be teasing, but it feels like their might be some truth to her words regardless. "I'll tell you anyway. I've only been shot once. Took it in the thigh." The dark haired woman pats the front of her thigh on her left leg. "I'd show the scar it left, but that's a bit revealing." She adds with a quiet laugh.
Celeste     "Ouch! While running or something? I bet that hurt.." Celeste looks like she might ask more about it, but she doesn't. Instead she smiles, looking up to you. "Sorry if I'm getting too personal. Don't feel like ya have to answer anything. I'm just nosey," she says with a soft giggle. She looks away then, smiling a little to her self before she asks, "Think you can kill off the rest?" She nods to the bottles.
Rachel     "You're not. Really. Like I said, I just haven't met all that many people that care much about what I have to say at all. It's every wanderer looking out for themselves out there. Not much room for other people." Rachel twists her lips and slips another rock into the sling. She fires this second rock and just narrowly misses the next bottle. This brings a less than lady-like word to her lips and she urgently loads another stone. This time it doesn't miss, crashing against the glass.
Celeste     "Fiesty.." Celeste says when you get mad and hit the bottle with the second shot. She liked that. She watches how you hold the slingshot, and she offers over a few rocks to you. "What kind of guns do you have? Are any of them easier to use?" she wonders. "I was thinking about buying one, but.. I get kinda stingy with my caps. Never know if I'd need them for something else.."
Rachel     "I can't claim to be an expert. I've lived a life of scavenging and using whatever weapons and ammo I could get my hands on." Rachel draws back another rock and lets it go, again it flies true and destroys another bottle. She takes another shot and it strikes home too. "I've always preferred smaller weapons, personally. I know I'm not a tiny thing, but a lot of weapons were designed with men in mind. A lot of them I find unwieldy. Right now I have a 9mm Pistol which isn't too bad."
Celeste     "Ohh.. Never thought of it that way. I've seen people wandering around with large rifles and all sorts of things.. Oh, they even have a ripper in the caravan store!!" Celeste says with laughter. It's not a gun, but hey! Still pretty cool. "If it's still available.. I would love to use one of those, but.. I kinda don't think I'd want something getting close enough for me to use it. If I could have anything.. hmm.. I bet I'd like a shotgun. Or a sniper rifle!" Yeahhh. One can dream.
Rachel     "A shotgun?" Rachel echoes, her expression amused. She pulls the sling back one more time and the rock busts the last bottle. She turns and places the weapon back into Celeste's hands. "I've never actually shot one, but I've seen them used. Terribly effective. Likely powerful enough to set your or I on our ass if we tried to shoot one though." She looks up at the sky, as though realizing how much time she has passed here. "Shit. I was supposed to be back soon. It was great to meet you, Celeste. Hopefully we can do it again soon?"
Celeste     Nodding as she takes the slingshot, Celeste smiles and says, "Yeah.. Come by any time. The ranch is off that way," she says, pointing to show you which way to go. "Hope you have a nice rest of your day.." She smiles more and waves, then goes back to picking up rocks.. Hey! No more bottles. Whomp whomp whompppp.