Naked and Afraid

Everett | Ethereal Eclipse

POSTED: Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:59 pm

Arlen Stryder
WC: 246 | OOC: I'm sorry I absolutely suck at starters. This is forward dated to whenever it is Arlen's allowed out. Dunno when that is, though.

Though he'd been given the okay to leave the packlands, the sensation of being out of Casa without his mentor or a parent with him was still very foreign to Arlen. The Stryder-Knight child was very unfamiliar with the outside world and what all came with it, but he was excited to learn. Having opted to leave in his optime form rather than one of his four-legged ones, he walked very slowly through the forest of large trees. His green eyes widened in wonder at their height and at the strangeness of them. At home, while he might not have known every single tree and bush, he was very familiar with it. There was nothing he knew here.

The young red head ran his hand nervously through his dark red curls before clenching them by his sides. Silently, he wished he had something to do with them. He wished that he had pockets to put them in or something to fiddle with. But he had left the fort in lupus form, not knowing that he would shift later on.

Cautiously, Arlen threw his leg over a fallen log in his pathway, but when he was halfway over, he heard a noise. "Who's there?" He called out while straddling the semi-decayed tree. He gathered his legs beneath him and clambered up to where he stood atop it. Unfortunately, he couldn't see very far through the trees.

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POSTED: Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:33 pm

The word of fellow travellers had brought the British dogs further west. Tales of promising fishing spots, good hunting and plentiful plantlife had been exchanged for a cooked meal and companionship. Everett raised a hand to rest upon the thick skin of a oak tree, and smiled at its familiarity. These trees were common once you ventured away from London, and as he glanced at the canopy he marvelled at how these individuals had come to grow and thrive in foreign soil. In a way, they were much like himself and Olivia - far-flung strangers, hoping to settle and establish roots.

The collie woman walked a few paces ahead of him; Everett watched as she waded through the tangled overgrowth or stopped to taste the air. Prompted by her watchfulness, the man's eyes surveyed the forest carefully - his ears twitched as animal life scuffled along the disordered trails or the passage of a bird cast a sudden shadow. The cost of their constant vigilance were visible from the slump of their tired bodies, the hardness of their features or the miles of unspoken distance that lay behind them. Blood pounded in his ears and his breath was expelled in hard gasps from the piebald's lips as he tried to keep pace with the female.

"Olivia," Everett called breathlessly as the tri-coloured woman stopped and turned to face him. There was a hard set to her jaw as she stared at him. "I know. I'm sorry to have to push you, but, er..." He understood. He knew why they wandered such lengths, were easily startled and rarely settled anywhere for too long. At this moment, the male didn't care. "Olivia, I know," he grimaced at the weakness in his voice. "It makes little sense to run on nothing. Loathe as I am to admit it, I am spent. I will go no further."

Both heads turned in unison at a shout ahead of them. It was a simple command, but recent experience cautioned him against immediate action. Reflexively a hand touched the pale line of flesh a blade had exposed as he thought. The Ames' pink nose breathed in the stranger's scent, and noted amongst the pack smells that the voice belonged to a youngster. "Wait where you are, we will come to you." With careful strides, the dogs advanced and stood a respectful distance before the other. Glacial orbs focused on the hearty russet-pelted youth and his curled tail wagged in greeting.

The piebald pressed a palm against his chest as he introduced himself, "Do not be afraid. My name is Everett, and this is my dear friend Olivia. Who might you be?"

Thanks for starting! <3

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POSTED: Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:18 pm

Arlen Stryder
WC: 294 | OOC: Welcome to Arlen's whiplash moods and endless barrage of questions

Heart rate increasing with every passing second, Arlen glanced around him for any sign of an approaching enemy. While in the fort, he'd shrugged off his mother's paranoia and worries towards him and his siblings, but maybe some of it had worn off on him. Maybe. So when the voice called out to him, it did not sound anything like he was expecting. In fact, it didn't really sound like any voice he'd ever heard before.

When Everett and Olivia broke through the trees and into his field of sight, Arlen carelessly jumped off of the log he stood on and stared at them wide-eyed. Sure that they were harmless now (though he had no reason to be), he forgot that they were strangers and approached without fear. "Oh, I'm not afraid." He grinned his usually bright, crooked smile and wagged his red tail. "Hi, I'm Arlen." He ran another hand through his hair absentmindedly. "I've never heard people talk like you. Where're ya from?" No one had ever bothered to talk to him about what was and wasn't appropriate to ask strangers right off the bat. To be honest, though, it wouldn't have really mattered if they had.

"I'm from a pack not to far from here, do you all have a pack? You don't smell like you do." During this interrogation, he had drawn closer and begun circling them curiously. He'd managed to calm himself enough that he wasn't jumping around them or running like he once would have. Instead, he simply crossed his arms and took wide, confident strides but there was no hiding the gleam of curiosity that lit his eyes. "Are you headed somewhere?"

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POSTED: Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:06 pm

They had made quite an impression as the stranger's expression of awe left little doubt. Everett pushed his narrow shoulders back and rested a hand on his hip as he allowed himself to be scrutinised. His body language betrayed little of the insecurities that bubbled beneath the concealed mask. Within his mind, twin voices competed for dominion over the other; one warned him against deceit and another sought for peace and connection. From the corner of his eye he noted Olivia's clear discomfort as she stared at the youth, before she hugged her chest protectively.

Glacial orbs flickered her way as the russet wolfdog drew even nearer, and he tilted his head to one side. Everett wagged his tail at the boy's spirited response, only ceasing in its movements at Olivia's retort, "You should be afraid." Her hard lavender gaze trailed the floor as she let her words linger, but the male tried a gentler approach. "She is right, Arlen. You need to look after yourself. I know it doesn't sound like much fun does it?"

Fingers ran through wild curls as the youth questioned the pair's accent. The Ames could not help but be swept up in Arlen's charm and exuberance - a part of him felt empty without young minds to mentor or the purity of innocence to serve as a reminder of the sweetness life held. "Our accents do not help us to blend in to the background, hm?" Everett swept a hand through his spiked hair as he continued, "We have travelled far, across an ocean or two if I recall? We came from an island, smaller than your 'Souls by far. And here we are." He merely hoped that his answer would be interest the other for the simple reason of wishing to engagement.

Olivia followed Arlen's movements and snorted as he circled them. What was he doing? The tip of her plume-like tail twitched as she gave her master a look of pleading. Everett ignored her signs of begrudging with a one-sided smile - he had slowly warmed to the youth and was content to continue their chatter. "We are loners," the piebald admitted as he savoured Arlen's scent. It was not one he was familiar with, but then, since his encounter with the wolves he had been wary of straying too close to borders. The russet-touched boy folded his arms as he continued to stride around them and issued another question.

Everett shifted his weight onto his other foot as his legs protested. It had been a while since they had last rested, and since that was the reason they stopped now felt like as good a time as any. "My, you are just brimming with questions," he chuckled. "Arlen, I don't suppose you know of a more comfortable spot we could carry on our little conversation?"

Olivia huffed something that he hoped wouldn't dampen the boy's spirits. "Don't you mean interrogation."

Aw, Arlen is adorbs!

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POSTED: Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:03 pm

Arlen Stryder
WC: 606 | OOC: Don't let him know or it'll go straight to his head!

Arlen first neared Everett and silently sized him up. He was well shaped, in his eyes, and well dressed to boot. It made the kid a little self conscious about his own wardrobe- or rather lack thereof. It reminded him that while he was out and about, he needed to see what he could do to remedy that situation. Though he was still growing, it was clear that Arlen would far outgrow the white male. The thought of it made the Stryder grin with mischievous thoughts, but as he approached the female, she clearly shied away from him. Unused to such treatment, Arlen sobered up himself.

Without losing his confident stance, he seemed to relax a bit. His ears dropped a smidge, head half cocked, and eyes widened questioningly. His tail swung limply behind him. "Seems to me like you're the one who's scared," he said quietly. No one had ever been scared of him before. He'd always been seen as a harmless fluffball at home. His smile faded and his brow furrowed. He took a step closer. "You okay, miss?" Before he got too near, Everett spoke to him again. It was like flipping a switch. As he stepped back, he brightened back up and changed into a whole new person. "I can take care of myself, I promise!"

Oblivious to his own charm, Arlen leaned forward to catch Everett's every word, grinning cheesily the whole time. "Nah, man. You stick out like sore thumbs." As he rounded them, he noticed Olivia's glances and gestures towards himself. Sighing, he stopped. His smile didn't leave, but it shifted to one that seemed more patient. It was the same smile he used on his mother to get her to loosen up on the rules. It was the smile he used to comfort his siblings when they were hurting. "Hey, Olivia right? I'm not gonna hurt you or your friend." He reached out a fist to her, smallest digit extended. "Pinky promise?" His tail wagged hopefully. She couldn't say no to a cute face like this could she?

Regardless of her response, he'd turn back to Everett. "You say that like it's a bad thing," he teased the older male. With a chuckle, he hopped back on to his log, arms outstretched. "But, yeah. I know a place. We gotta go that-a-way!" He pointed back the way he'd come. He hopped off of his log and looked at them from across it. "Follow me and try not to get lost okay?" He started on his way when one of Olivia's comments reached him. He paused, hand held to chest and a fake look of hurt across his face. "Olivia, you wound me so!" He turned back around, crooked smile working its way back up his face.

With a spring in his step, he wove through the trees until he reached a small clearing with a stump and a shallow pool of water. It wasn't very large, but it offered room to sit and a soft carpet of moss to ease their paws. "I'n't it pretty neat?" He walked around the circumference of it with hands on his hips like he owned the place. "I'm pretty fond of it myself." To hear Arlen tell the story, he'd known this little haven was here all along. He totally didn't stumble upon it in shear dumb luck that seemed to follow him wherever he went.

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POSTED: Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:11 pm

Everett turned his head to the side as he felt the weight of Arlen's scrutiny upon him. It elicited unpleasant memories that he was certain was not the boy's intention. Regardless, a hand lifted to the back of his neck as he fiddled with the collar of his shirt in an attempt to distract his thoughts. He could not help but wonder at how Arlen perceived him; was he strange by his pack's standards or was he admired? Curiosity bloomed in his glacial orbs as he inspected the other wordlessly. Everett could assume from the youth's lank frame that he was still fairly young, not far off from being a man. The set of the wolfdog's shoulders spoke of a man of pride and strength, features any parent would be proud of. The pale man's features darkened at the bitterness that settled in his stomach for a moment, as he caught the other male's mysterious grin.

The man's tail wagged behind him lightly despite the raised eyebrow that the boy's words triggered. Olivia softened at the hushed tone of the boy, and the way his body language had changed to accommodate hers. Her tail wagged shyly as she angled both ears to listen to Arlen, her senses alert at the sudden change in his care-free manner. The collie did not move from her position as Arlen drew near, while her head canted to one side as he questioned her gently. Everett sighed to himself as he watched their interaction, glad for the positive progress that had been made. The spell Arlen wove about them seemed to be broken as he responded brightly to the Ames' concern for his wellbeing. A look of curiosity passed between the two dogs at the abrupt change.

Strong feelings swelled in Everett as he watched the russet male listen with rapt to his story. Could this be what pride felt like? When a tutor is able to see the passion in the eye of a student, or the way a father looks upon his child with awe at what he has sired. Is this how it was meant to feel, truly, he mused. The Ames chuckled at the expression the male used, and nodded. Olivia could feel Arlen's eyes upon her again as he paused and sighed. She gazed at his face, and lingered on the twin pools of oceanic blue and green. There was something different about the the wolf's face as he looked at her then, that stopped her from grumbling after what he wanted. His words were soothing, but the gesture was lost to her. Arlen's body betrayed no ill will, quite the opposite. So what was the meaning of the gesture and it's promise? "Arlen, I believe what you say. Everett and I warn you out of concern, not disrespect. I hope you understand that."

Everett grinned at the youth's jest at his words. "It was not my intention," he chuckled as he added, "You remind me of myself at your age. The elders must have grown tired of the endless questions I had for them." Arlen was a whirlwind to behold as he laughed and leaped onto the fallen tree stump as he gestured for them to follow. The day had proved to be serendipitous indeed, from their firm friendship with the bright youth who had lifted their spirits to the chance to rest. "Lead the way." With sore limbs the gentleman ambled after the retreating back of his friend, with Olivia in tow. Arlen moved theatrically as he good-naturedly mocked Olivia's comment almost had Everett sprawled on the floor with laughter. "I understand why I like him now," the collie giggled as she watched the faces of the males, "he reminds me of you, sometimes, Everett."

Arlen lead them to a clearing amidst the forest, as the two dogs took in their surroundings. The Ames male could have collapsed onto the ground there and then, were he not in the wolf's company. Instead, he lowered himself gingerly into a sitting position as he watched his friends make themselves comfortable. He rested his elbows onto his knees as he rolled his shoulders backwards and forwards. "I told you a little about where I came from. What of you, Arlen? I would like to hear about where you call home."

ooc is fun!

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POSTED: Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:30 pm

Arlen Stryder
WC: 752 | OOC: This ended up a lot longer than I thought it would, I'm sorry

Though Olivia didn't say a word, Arlen knew enough from watching his siblings that a sort of peace between the two had been made. Maybe she didn't trust him quite as much as he'd wanted, but it was a start at least, right? He couldn't help but notice the look of confusion between the two and answered the unspoken question. "Sorry. My family says I give'm whiplash." He just couldn't help it! Less than pleasant emotions just seemed to vanish from his body at time as if something physically removed them from him. It just wasn't in his nature.

Olivia accepted his promise that he wouldn't hurt them and Arlen's eyes crinkled at the corners despite his smile never changing. Finally, we're getting somewhere! He couldn't help but exclaim to himself. His tail swung loosely behind him, betraying his excitement at his progress. Teeth flashing, he shrugged. "I know you don't mean no respect or nothin'. My mom tells me the same stuff all the time." He paused for a second, imagining just what she'd say to him if she knew how relaxed he was with these strangers. The thought made him shudder. "She also tells me I'm hard-headed." Arlen grinned apologetically, shuffling his feet awkwardly. The last phrase was a little less care-free and a little more "she'd kill me if she knew just how little I listened to her." Oh well. Too late to go back now.

Arlen couldn't help but laugh outright at Everett's words. "You talk like you're ancient! Come on, you can't be that old," he teased gently. "But you aren't wrong. I get sent to go bother someone else all the time." Nearly everyone in the pack had told him to go ask someone else. He just had so many questions. Usually, Lyris lasted the longest before the inevitable huff and "Go ask your father!"

As he lead the way to their destined resting spot (not that he knew where it was), Arlen turned to remark at Olivia's comment. "And I will take that as a compliment, m'dear." Everett might not have that confident aura of leadership that his parents and uncles had, but he had something of his own that Arlen was beginning to admire: class. From the clothes on his back to his stance to his words, the man oozed a sense of dignity that Arlen longed to call his own. It drew the boy to him. He longed to spend more time alone with Everett in the hopes that he might absorb whatever he could from the pale man.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Everett lower himself to the grass slowly rather than plop like a sack of potatoes like Arlen would have. So, for once, Arlen took his time settling to the ground. And by "time", one can assume it took a whole millisecond longer for the gangly lad to put his legs in order upon collapsing to the ground in a heap of limbs. Grace did not come naturally to one who had gained several inches in leg in a very short amount of time.

But enough about Arlen and his teenage woes, Everett wanted to know about Casa and there was a pretty girl around. Perfect time to talk about the knights and win them over to how awesome he was! "I come from a pack named Casa di Cavalieri! It's a little bit that way-" He pointed northeast, the direction they had been going. "It's mainly made up of my dad's side of the family, the Knights. Which is actually really funny because Casa is all about knighthood and chival..." A light lit in his eyes. After having been so immersed in it from birth, a significant aspect of his pack's culture that had just been taken for fact now made so much more sense. "-ry. Anywho, everyone's taught how to carry themselves in battle, even the medics. You don't have to know how to join though, I don't think. You just gotta learn how eventually. And rather than having just one leader, we split the power evenly between two." He looked down solemnly. His dad didn't like to talk about how the Sole had left and Arlen wasn't sure he should mention it to strangers at the moment.

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POSTED: Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:49 pm

Beneath the glitter and behind the lace

The collie woman relaxed in Arlen's company as he mentioned his family and its dynamic. Talk of home let her mind drift backwards into a past that she seldom explored. A smile graced her maw as she tried to imagine who his parents might be, or what his family was like. From the wolf's words alone, he painted his mother as long-suffering. Olivia's eyes were drawn to the way his words dipped as he admitted he did not consider himself to be obeying his mother's wishes. “Hey, Arlen it's okay. Your mother might annoy you sometimes... but what she really means to say is she loves you, and doesn't want you to get hurt.” Her voice was hushed as a sadness filtered into her amethyst orbs.

Everett chuckled as the russet boy teased him good-naturedly. It depended on what you considered old exactly, he mused. The male could feel Arlen's gaze rest on him, and held his emerald pools briefly. What was it that made the other stop and stare at him? Bracelets jangled as he lifted a hand to brush along his sleeves and adjust the cuffs of his shirt. With a curve of his head, the male inquired gently, “What is it Arlen?”

Olivia seated herself between the two men, and kept closer to her pale ward. It was apparent how long-limbed Arlen was now at rest – his legs sprawled and ended in disproportionate paws. Everett perked his ears as he listened to Arlen's description of a knightly order with a foreign name to his tongue. He listened with keen enthusiasm, as a brow raised at the mention of battle-ready members. It seemed to the silver-touched male that the pack prided itself on martial skill whilst being lead by two individuals. Solemnity touched the boy's features as his voice faded. Everett let the silence linger in respect before he spoke, “How fascinating that the old ways of my home are still practised here. I would like to see that with my own eyes. Your pack, home... they sound proud and if I may say this, intimidating.” A chuckle left his maw as he added, “You have your work cut out for you, lad.”

Love these three together. :3 Art by J. +369 words

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POSTED: Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:28 pm

Arlen Stryder
WC: 463 | OOC: They're all so fun

Arlen couldn't help but stop and give Olivia a puzzled look. "Annoy? Nah, Mama's not annoying. It can get frustrating sometimes how she always manages to just know things... But she's not annoying." Had it really come across that way? He looked down, face turning a serious in comparison to before. "I know she loves me," he smiled. After all, her affections may not seem like much to an outsider, but to Arlen they meant so much. He loved his father dearly and wanted nothing more than to be just like him, but his heart would always lie with his mother.

When Everett's blue eyes held Arlen's green, Arlen held the gaze steadily until the question was asked. At this, he turn away fighting the knot of nervousness in his throat. "Uhh..." Though the sound came out higher pitched than Arlen would have preferred, it was something. He ran a hand through his head and smiled sheepishly. "I was kinda thinkin' about how you look kinda cool." Entire face burning, he swiftly turned away so he didn't have to look at the silver male.

Olivia sat in between the two men and Arlen was grateful for the distraction. "So you two come from the same place, right? What's it like? The question may have been unwelcome, but he didn't really care at the moment. Anything to get the spotlight off of him for once. He gave his small speech and Everett spoke again. Calmed enough to be able to meet his eye again, he smiled in shock. "Are they really that similar? I promise, we're not as scary as we sound," though he said this, there was an obvious pride in his posture at the suggestion that his home was 'intimidating'. "Yeah, I do. But that's why we're assigned mentors when we're young. So we're prepared for our ceremony later."

"Yeah, I do. But that's why we're assigned mentors when we're young. So we're prepared for our ceremony later." Without pausing to consider that his friends may have questions, he barreled on. "My mentor is actually my uncle, Callum. He's teaching me all sorts of stuff. He's good at fighting and survival things and he's got this cool rapier and he's like the pack pup sitter. And his two kids are mentored by my parents. Mama's in charge of basically all the workforce. She's an archer and a hunter and she's got my cousin Aldora. Rohan, the other cousin, is with Dad. He's the Lune." At this Arlen paused at glanced at Olivia and Everett. "Oh, is this too much all at once?"

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POSTED: Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:51 pm

Beneath the glitter and behind the lace

Olivia noticed a look of confusion on Arlen's features as she spoke about his mother. The corners of her lips rose upward as he mentioned his matriarch's perceptiveness. Was her own mère not equally skilled at uncovering that which lay veiled within her daughter's heart? The tenderness of his words awoke a sudden homesickness - the woman from across the sea shook out her tresses as a way to distract her thoughts. Olivia's gaze turned momentarily to Everett as bitterness rose inside her. While it was true her friend had chosen to abandon his home and family, and she had willingly stayed by his side, she could not help but feel lonely in her predicament. Servant by birth, and still one despite her freedom. At his hands, she reminded herself.

Oblivious to his friend's inner struggles, the gentleman levelled his stare serenely upon Arlen. Not a trace of judgement or mocking dwelt in their depths. An ear perched forward as Everett studied the younger canine with interest, perplexed by his sudden flustered behaviour. Ear tips twitched as they caught the high notes of Arlen's voice as he struggled for words. By the Lord and Lady what ever could be the matter with him? The gentleman quirked a brow as the very thing that caused the other male such concern was revealed to be himself. Everett grunted an answer to the confession, lost for words. The redhead tore his eyes away from him then, and seemingly with relief. How was one to respond to such? "Well, er, thank-you," the silver male dipped his head at this. "Have I mentioned how lovely your coat is? It reminds me of autumn days. I daresay you must be popular with the females at home." Everett added mischievously with a wink.

Sat as she was between the two males as the exchange went on, Olivia found herself looking from one to the other with subtle irritation. She had thought the wolf too young to acknowledge her master in that way, seemingly she was mistaken. And there he was, responding in kind! As the question of their own home was brought up, she was eager to answer. "Where we came from was different from here. Smaller, but no less grand. It was often cold, not as cold as these lands mind you. His people," The collie paused to look at the gentleman, "Lived well, in large houses with such fine things. Oh, I only wish I could show you!" Everett tilted his head at her description of home and smiled faintly. She humoured Arlen, and chose her words carefully. The repugnance that drew them away was absent from her account. He nodded to Olivia, "What was once our home is long gone, behind us now, dear. We hope to begin anew, in your lands."

Everett settled back into a comfortable position as the wolf spoke of his pack. He found himself nodding in acknowledgement for the practises that were mentioned, and weighed his options silently. The lad's parents sounded commendable, particularly his mother who he was left under the impression had a strong character. The silvery male, firm in his belief that it would be rude to interrupt his friend in mid-conversation listened with interest as Arlen continued his stream of words. Names and unfamiliar terms flowed from his lips before he paused and returned to his senses, as though seeing both loners for the first time. The gentleman grinned as he folded his arms lightly. "Hardly, Arlen. I am a captive audience, although I do not understand some of the words you said. There is yet time for me to learn." He gestured about the air as he questioned, "To those less able to fight or defend themselves. What does your pack make of those less fortunate?"

"mère" means 'mother'. I couldn't get the hover text to work with me. +600+ words

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