[P] Building a new home
#1
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YOUR TIME WILL COME

Today was the day they were going to build their new home. While they had a basic tent to live in for now, it would not do them much good when the colder weather approached. Junior had begun to help her do basic tasks, as he was growing old enough to hold such responsibilities. She now had him helping prepare meats and hides, teachings that were normally saved till after his naming ceremony.

His naming ceremony... That would be in a few days, once he reached six months of age. It was an important time that represented a shift into adulthood, and a shift into his new form. Time was passing quickly for the two of them, which made finishing up preparations for the winter even more important. She wished she could share this moment of Junior's life with Mac, but as he has not returned, she would just have to continue on without him. The slight sadness in her chest made her even more determined to do right by her son.

Racks of hides and drying meats made from branches lay near the spot they would begin building, but first, they would need to collect materials. "You're looking for long branches, long or longer than me. And they must be of a softwood, so something like Ash trees would work best. Also, be sure to only take straight branches. Once we have a good collection, I will start preparing the wood." She gave her instructions to her son clearly. He nodded that he understood before he headed off. Beatrix stayed where she was and began to clear a wide circle where they would build their home.

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#2
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(752)

Sorry for the long wait as I’ve gotten better, and for the heavy amount of exposition <3 So looking forward to this!


The faint smell of new leather was comforting to the blonde as he walked through the forest, his gait strong and sure. He enjoyed the feeling of the soft yet sturdy hide against his back, the sharp edge of the freshly cut straps on his shoulders, and the gentle clink of metal buckles and snaps keeping the bag closed tight. Calan had been lucky enough to find a trader selling, amongst other bits and bobs, well-crafted satchels and packs. Having had no secure way to carry his possessions up until now, Calan had pounced on the opportunity to trade what little he had left. He had felt confident he could walk away with a fair deal.


The trader had been immediately drawn to the gold pendant necklace that Calan had been carrying with him since his exile in Quebec - a necklace he’d used to see every day. It had been his mother’s, bequeathed to him when she died. He’d had an almost exact copy of it, one that he had ‘lost’ after her funeral. The piece held more sentimental value than anything, which is why he’d held on to it for so long. He had been stuck in some strange, nostalgic limbo - too hurt to wear it, but too attached to let it go.


What he hadn’t expected was for the trader to dare to argue that the piece was worth the same as one of the bags. Calan had almost winced at the steep inflation - he knew that the necklace had been worth far more than what he’d got in exchange - but he also knew that he wasn’t anywhere near any of the large trading ports, and any good-quality products would be scarce. If he didn’t pounce on the deal now, he mused, it might be a few more weeks before he found anything comparable. Plus, he’d managed to sweeten the pot with the addition of a wood-handled knife, a bolt of thick cotton fabric, and a pair of earrings he imagined he’d be able to upcharge in a pinch.


Handing off the necklace to the trader, Calan had felt a strange emptiness. He’d expected it to hurt more, but the transaction was just... anticlimactic. He supposed that meant the mourning process was going well; that, or he was just in denial. Either way, he had what he needed to survive. He didn’t stop to watch the trader pocket his necklace in their greedy fists, and instead headed north once more.


A couple of minutes out, Calan’s thoughts returned to the steep price once more. Worse, it wasn’t the first trader he’d encountered who had used such shady tactics. He could only imagine that the packs around here must suffer in terms of poor selection and cheap crooks. At least I can help out there, he thought, thinking back to his conversation with Shamus about finding ways to be useful. Something about the way the other wolfdog had carried himself, methodically and unimposingly, had clarified something for the blonde dog. Survival was about using what skills you had, not wishing for what you hadn’t.


Calan cut his musings short at the scent of another wolf up ahead. He frowned at the unfamiliar smell, but otherwise didn’t change his pace. So far no one he had encountered on the road had been a threat, and he doubted that would change. Plus, he was now armed. Amazing what that does for your confidence, he thought. He pressed onwards.


Through the curtain of trees, he could see another figure, white and thickly furred like himself. He could also see a flash of a tattoo on her lean shoulder as she reached down to move something, clearing space on the ground. Judging from the number of things stacked nearby, plus the pegged tent, this was clearly her home. She worked surely but silently, clearing more and more space for... something. Calan‘s curiosity piqued. What could she be doing? The only thing that made sense to him was building something, but he couldn’t see any materials nearby.


“I’m sorry to interrupt, but I think it’s kind of the wrong season to be planting crops, don’t you?” he called in way of greeting, knowing full well that that wasn’t what she was doing. He fully stepped out into the clearing so that the she-wolf could see what little threat he posed, his posture open and friendly. “I’m Calan Brecours. Just passing through the area. You wouldn’t need a hand, would’ya? I’m happy to help if you’ve got food to trade.“ His overall laziness was trumped by his awareness that he had no idea where his next meal was going to come from, now that Shamus’s meat had been finished.

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#3
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YOUR TIME WILL COME

Someone was approaching. Her fur bristled as the other got closer to her home, not even slowing down as they walked towards her. A blond wolfdog appeared, eyes searching over the land she had prepared. With a smile, she asked Beatrix what she was doing. The white woman stood up, arms landing onto her hip in indignation. "No, not farming. The forest has all the resources I could possibly need in terms of plants and herbs. I am building a home." What was this canine doing, just strolling up like this?

The man continued, trying his best to seem friendly. He introduced himself as Calan and offered help. Breatrix's cool eyes looked over her "home", a small patch of cold empty earth with only a small tent up. The man was brazen, that was for sure, but she would make a lot more progress building her structure with another set of hands. Junior wasn't able to shift quite yet after all. After giving the man one more glance over she decided that he couldn't be much harm. "Wela'lin, that would be much appreciated. My name is Beatrix. I do have some meat drying I could offer you in return." Beatrix pointed to some wooden racks just behind some nearby trees. There were a few small mammals hanging from a tree branch, still yet to be cleaned, as well as some hides, furs, and meats drying on wooden racks in the sunlight.

Just then, Junior emerged from the brush, struggling as he pulled a massive branch with his jaws. His thin tail gave a satisfied wag as he looked up at his mother after dropping it, then his eyes caught sight of the stranger. "This is Calan, and he has offered to help us build our home. Wonderful job finding such a nice branch." She smiled down at him. "Keep gathering more branches, I'll be right here." She said comfortingly before he nodded and bounded back into the woods.

Turning back to the man, Beatrix pulled the knife from her belt at her hip. Eyes on the man, she headed over to the branch her son had brought and begun stripping the branch of its smaller branches and leaves. "Would you be able to find me some wood just like this one? Something soft and bendable? Also, the longer the branch, the better." Before he could answer, she looked down to continue her work.



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#4
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(634)


Calan’s greeting was met with calm, but slightly guarded, surprise from the cream-colored woman. He watched as she stood up to her full height - just a little shorter than his - and put a strong but elegant hand to her waist, demurring any suggestion that she may have been merely gardening. Even as she offered her name and accepted his invitation for help, Beatrix kept her mannerisms and speech formal. He wasn’t offended. It made sense that she was a little put off by him: a couple months ago, Calan wouldn’t have had the courage (or desperation) to approach a random stranger and indirectly ask for help. Times had changed, however, and hunger spoke louder than any social faux-pas.


Besides, she was a beautiful woman in the forest on her own. This situation was practically oozing for him to take it over with his inflated sense of masculine egoism. Or, well, whatever masculinity a queer, slimly built pretty boy could have. Either way, she was beautiful, and he knew that he was beautiful...


Just then, Calan heard the rustle of trees nearby. The blond turned his head towards the sound, just in time to see a young dog popping out of the forest. In his maw he held a stick nearly as long as he was. His thin tail wagged with obvious satisfaction upon presenting his treasure, before fixing his eyes - with the same guarded stare - on Calan. He only nodded to the boy as Beatrix introduced him, feeling muted by the boy’s own silence. However, before he could muster up something to say, the young dog was dashing into the forest yet again. Calan let out the breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding. He really and truly had no idea what to say to kids.

His attention returned to the promise of drying meat, and what he would have to do in order to acquire it. Shelf-stable goods would be good for his traveling. He only half-listened as Beatrix gave him a grocery list of instructions, his mind focused on mentally calculating how much he could trade a stick of jerky for in the future. When she was finished, he was quick to jump in. “Sounds great, what about—“


But before he had a chance to ask more, the woman had turned her back on him. Like mother, like son. Still, Calan only shrugged and made his way into the forest, staking out a path in the opposite direction of the small lupine. It wasn’t worth it to argue with someone holding the keys to his survival.


With a goal in mind, it didn’t take Calan long to find a small collection of sticks that fit Beatrix’s description, each around two meters long. He tested each stick‘s bendiness by lightly bowing the middle with his knee while holding both ends, his eyes looking out for any splinter points. The blond found about six sticks like this just by wandering, then two more from fresh sapling branches that he hacked off with the help of his new knife. It wasn’t exactly kosher, but it meant that he had a couple branches he felt extra confident about. Humming a nameless tune under his breath, he returned to the small circle and the mysterious white woman.


“That your son?” he asked as he put down the branches close by, feeling he was stating the obvious. The boy seemed pretty sweet, all things considered, but Calan never trusted kids. If they weren’t three days old and insanely delicate, they‘d pull out your hair and poke fun at your biggest weaknesses. Empathy - and an understanding of giving pain - seemed to develop later. Who knew what was going on behind the boy’s judging eyes? Psychopathic buggers. “He seems... obedient. What’s his name?”

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