[P] Waste of Time
#1
The ever familiar scent of the ocean teased its way into the hound’s senses as unsure footfalls carried him across the landscape. It hadn’t been long since the lad had decided to strike out on his own though a path was hardly laid out especially when his mind took to wandering as often as it did. But there within the recesses of his thoughts was the purpose of this journey, to discover the world and perhaps gain a place for himself within it. If only to discover a way to better provide for those held dear. A comfort found within their company that he had not yet found anywhere else.

Yet there was little to keep Jackdaw on track. Truthfully he didn’t even know where to begin on such a reckless search and it only brought a mind to stray further. Originally set path deviated from far too easily as the roll of waves caught his focus and brought angled features to shift. Flopped ears fought to raise as he risked a peek over the cliff’s edge only to be met with the sights of sodden sands and scattered pools. Curiosity overriding judgement then as hind limbs stretched out to begin his descent.

Claws curled into the skittering rocks as balance was hard kept upon the still slick ledges. The coydog doing all that he could to not simply fall into an ungraceful heap at the bottom as the small stones did. Not that what he did now was anywhere near dignified or graceful. Hands and feet alike clinging and scraping against the stone all in the desire to investigate the beach which lay below, the lure of those pools far too much to resist. He couldn’t remember the last time he rooted around in one and with luck he might find something to pique inspiration or even bring back home.

Sigh of relief blew from his lungs the moment paws touched the ground. It had a somewhat unpleasant squish to it but at this point such was preferred over the slipperiness of the rocks. At least here it would be harder to fall and even if he did discover that unlucky patch it wouldn’t be as harsh. Heavy steps shifted against the beach as blue-gray gaze peered into the collection of pools. A figure soon stooping as low breath escaped, speaking to none but himself, “Now would’ya look at that.” Slowly hands dipped into the shallow waters to scoop up the slug as attentions fixated upon the odd creature.
#2
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And the stars will be your eyes, And the wind will be my hands

To look out at black, thick and untamed water was something that he had never been privy to, before coming so far east, coming so far north - it was a humbling sight, and he brushed his thumbs along the brim of his hat, settled so nicely between his thumbs while he stared out to gray skies and choppy, black water. Some ways off, beneath the hissing sounds of tides kissing the rocky shore, there was a sound of scratching, scrabbling - some manner of beast on the rocks, but he sat for a good while longer staring out and feeling the chilly ocean spray against his ruined features.

Pallid green eyes, faded like the desert sun, turned over to the dark slab of scrappy, sea-eaten stone, and found a figure there among the rocks, holding something up, when curiosity drove Santiago to his feet, slowly meandering his way over while fingers readjusted that cap between his tall, roughed-up ears.

"'Ay, amigo!" he called out over the hiss of a wave while the stranger fished through pools. "Y'doing some kind of fishing, boss? Anything good?"

Carefully, he gripped his hands out onto rocks and tried to slide his way down alongside this doggish stranger and his actions were less than graceful while he settled himself down ledge by ledge, claws scrabbling uselessly on rocks and bottle brush tail waggling to try and balance himself, mumbling soft and disgruntled swears beneath his breath at every misstep that startled him.


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#3
Perhaps too much focus had been placed upon the lands before him and not to what truly lay just a ways away. The scrabble against those rocks enough to turn folded ear at first though it was put off on delayed reaction to his own descent. At least until something far different broke the silence, a figure jolted in place as those lyrics hit him. Unexpected start given to the coydog who had once thought himself alone now sat awash in a sense of panic. Yet instead of springing up to flee sheepish gaze shifted to stare upon the other.

Faded eyes regarding the coyote for a moment before the slug was gently placed back into the shallow waters he’d scooped it from. Hands shook as slug’s slime flicked from his fingertips. A piece of him didn’t wish to admit that he was merely rooting around for something of interest, afraid of what this stranger may think of him them. So instead he simply agreed with the assumption that he had in fact been doing some manner of fishing. A hand rose to nervously brush through streaked hair as he attempted not to look too long into the unknown’s eyes.

Just quick glimpses to acknowledge that he was there and coming this way. Enough to observe the brilliant green which shone out from otherwise muddled tones. Enough to see the scars which marred him and the hat worn between tall tattered ears but never enough to stare. “Oh, um, not yet?” Phrases uncertain as they fell and hands fought the urge to find something to fidget with. Attentions glancing to the pools once more before they returned in the other’s general direction, “I, uh, hav’n’t really seen much out here. No nothin’ much at all.”

“Unless you, well, unless you wanna eat slugs.” Though despite how strange those little creatures had felt or even looked there was a twinge in the doggish man’s lip that betrayed the disinterest in such a suggestion. Surely there had to be something better out here. He remembered seeing crabs wandering within the rocks and pools during his younger days but they hadn’t really been of a great size. Yet still an hesitant offer is extended, “Do you, uh, do you wanna hav’ a look around with me?”

Slowly lumbering figure stepped toward the coyote with an offer of assistance. Clawed hand reached out to where the other made his own descent, “Name’s Jackdaw by the way.” It was only then that noticeable attention was placed on the decorated man. Focus which wavered only slightly when he felt himself grow uneasy and worry of staring.
#4
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And the stars will be your eyes, And the wind will be my hands

He hadn't expected the tall, lanky fellow to come help him along the crags, and upon closer inspection, the dog hybrid was all bends and slopes and blunted points, and he cleared his throat, catching the eyes that were studying the scores and scrapes of hairless skin on his face, the mars of old scarring.

He smiled regardless, in all its broken-and-missing-toothed glory.

"Santiago Tejada," he answered back, dusting off his hands once on even footing, and pushing out a hand to the lanky fellow sharing the outcropping. "Don't you worry about this, Jack - can I call you Jack? - It's just what happens when you get dragged behind a horse out into the desert."

He played it off with a laugh, and a sigh, bottle brush tail curling a little as he appraised the shore.

"So slugs - I don't think I'd be much for slugs, but there's gotta be somethin' here, right? Ain't never seen a body of water so big, anyway."

A hand clapped jovially against that shoulder, and with slightly wobbly feet, he tried to find stable footing on the rocks, shuffling his way to the tide pools, peering into them with a somewhat perplexed gaze.


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#5
Visible twinge of shame echoed across the coydog’s features as if he had been caught doing something wrong and in his heart he had. Foolishly gaze had wandered and he found himself staring without meaning to but as he neared it had become so hard not to notice all which marked this man. He had tried so hard to focus on those brilliant eyes and yet in the end could not help but stray and observe the oddities which marred him. More coming into focus as broken smile graced the stranger’s visage.

Quickly eyes dropped down as nerves took hold, not wishing to offend any further than he had surely already done. Worries running wild within his mind even as no aura of aggression seemed to radiate from this Santiago. Ears perked suddenly as that name fell and attentions returned fully to the one before him with a brief spark of hope. Only to be dashed as half-hearted explanation chased after it, something the hound had not exactly hoped for at it only made his staring all the more clear.

Hand slowly released the other’s as he finally found his voice, “Oh, uh, sorry.” All he was able to muster at first though as the coyote took to surveying the shores Jackdaw near forced himself to continue, “But, um, Jack’s alright if that’s uh what ya wanna call me. Yes, yes, it’s fine.” Last phrases muttered in silent echo of those before as extra assurance is given. A start and pull from his thoughts was given in a friendly clap to his shoulder, wide eyes flickering toward the gesture briefly before equally graceless steps chased after the man.

Focus eventually followed Santiago’s own back to the pools lingering briefly on the one he’d discovered the slug in moments before though he doubted more mobile creatures dwelled so near. Perhaps a deeper pool would yield the best results or even turning over some of the bigger rocks. Once more pulled from an internal debate Jackdaw found stuttered words, “Well uh, the uh slugs, they were um… never mind.” Ears seemed to droop further in thoughts of idiocy for surely the other knew the slugs had not been a serious offering.

Oh how stupid could he be, desperately hands wished to hide his face though instead he only attempted to cover his blunder. “I’ve uh ‘eard crabs and the like might tuck themselves in the rocks. Right up under ‘em. So if we’re lucky maybe we’ll find, uh, maybe we’ll find some crabs if’n ya like that sorta thing.” Or if they were really lucky maybe a lobster decided to hang out in the pools rather than retreat to open waters. If nothing else Jackdaw could at least hope some fish had become stranded during the shift of tide. Anything to appear as if he hadn’t just been playing around earlier and now drug the coyote around blindly, even if he was.
#6
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And the stars will be your eyes, And the wind will be my hands

He had split his lips into a broad grin, cheeky as it was, with the clumsy fellow's mannerisms, and careful speech - perhaps it was that he had responded quite literally to a profoundly ridiculous idea; Jack, sweet as he was, seemed a touch slow. It reminded him of Duffy, the poor guy, rest his soul, and he had to stifle a laugh as he stepped into a frigid pool.

The cold bit promptly down through his sparse hair, and the sound that Santiago made was something of an alarmed yelp.

"Hoo-- ah, yeah, that's chill," he muttered, his posture stiff, arms out while he made way for some of those rocks. "Y'know - never eaten crab, but I hear they're amazin' boiled. I think a couple of good-lookin' guys like ourselves deserve something like that, don't you?"
Fingers fished up an odd, five-pointed thing, and watched as one of those limbs curled back slowly towards his fingers, which grasped onto its scaly back, before he muttered a soft no with a look of disgust at the alien creature, and set it back down in the water, and shuffled along, inciting a panic in a sparse group of small-fry fish.

"So, Jack, whatcha doin' all the way out here? Y'got friends to hang out with, or are you slummin' it alone, like a true man's man?"


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#7
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peel the scars from off my back, I don't need them anymore

The hound clung to wavered hope that he had not made a true fool of himself in that blunder and yet such was impossible to avoid. Something made all the more clear in passing glimpse of a grin that laced over the coyote’s features. No sound fell to accompany it but none was needed to muddle his mind with possibilities of what could have been done differently here. Once more his gaze averted to hold upon the pools though diversion does not last as attentions were drawn back just as quickly as they’d been stolen away by the sharp sound of alarm.

Folded ears darted high as wild thoughts twisted his gut over what had happened. Potential flooded his mind for perhaps the other had sliced his paw upon the rocks or worse stepped on a creature that saw fit to retaliate. Concern shown in his eyes as he shifted toward the other, only to slow when it appeared there was little cause for panic. Muttered phrases and lifted limb produced nothing but the chilled waters below without tinted shades of blood or the frantic movements of a disgruntled critter.

And while Santiago seemed no worse for wear Jackdaw’s gaze still chased his path for a few moment longer. Only half listening to the talk of crabs though catching enough for vague understanding. A slow nod given as if broken from a self-inflicted trance before phrases escaped, “Then us, uh, dash-dashin’ fellas better find some-uh good ones.” Couldn’t be that hard right? Especially with the both of them searching for the creatures, all he had to do was watch himself.

“Holler if ya find somethin’, “ yet he cannot stop himself there, “just, um, just be careful lookin’ for ‘em okay? ‘eard ‘bout some nasty critters lurkin’ in the waters.” While some of those spun tales were surely just made up to scare folks like him off, the coydog had trouble not believing them. There very well might be something out there looking to eat canines and there were no doubts that there were those who could harm them within that rolling tide. But it was not enough to do away with curiosity as fingers coiled around a rock, a cluster of fish quickly darted from reach with nothing more hiding away beneath it.

Yet distraction seized him once more as focus was drawn back to the tattered canine, “Oh, um, nah. No friends out ‘ere just, uh, roamin’ by myself.” And he hated it, sure there was excitement to be found in such adventures but doing it alone just wasn’t for him. It got too quiet and he could only talk to himself for so long without self-consciousness catching up even if none where around to hear it. The goal had been to search for family that he was sure roamed these lands all while seeing what this world could offer.

With no leads to go on it was but empty hope which guided his path, “It’s somethin’ I suppose. Haven’t, uh, haven’t found what I was lookin’ for though. No not at all.” Steady sigh escaped him as further thoughts are kept to himself. ‘Should’a made friends with a bird or somethin’ Jack. Ain’t no one’s fault but yer own that yer out ‘ere alone,’ head shook slightly then but his regrets of setting off completely alone where not this man’s problem. In hopes not to give Santiago time to pry he quickly attempted to turn focus from himself, “What brings a, uh, fella like you this way? Are ya lookin’ for somethin’ particular? Or, uh, just adventurin’?”

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#8
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And the stars will be your eyes, And the wind will be my hands

"Will do, amigo," Santiago had answered, shifting to overturn some rocks, and watching the darting of minnows and other such fry as the water was disturbed. He listened, ears twitching in his cap, before he piped up once more, after leaving the conversation to sit, and momentarily stall, simmering. Steeping.

Standing up a little straighter, and adjusting the brim of his hat, he laughed softly. "Ah, just ended up this way. These winters, bitter cold. But you seem used to it!"

Probably born this far north - despite the sleek look of his coat. Jackdaw had something of a gentle face, but he attributed it mostly to the dog blood that ran thick in those veins.

"If you're all alone on up here, why don't you join up with some folks?" Going it alone probably afforded quick dinners - but there was undeniable safety in numbers. "Better yet, Jack, why don't you join up with me n' mine? We aren't as bad as some may think. Li'l rough around the edges, sure, but we're good people."

Free people. People of principles. His gap-filled grin greeted the dog-hybrid again, before he stooped back to his work, and fished about for more of these crabs, before finding one trying to hide amidst the rocks. The noise was a quick one he had made, while he chased it, and the crab raised its ungainly claws, giving the coyote a quick snip as it moved to square off against him.


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#9
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peel the scars from off my back, I don't need them anymore

Nerves noticeably settled at the answer given, he would be careful, alert; and while it was not much a wave of relief washed over Jackdaw in that moment. He did not wish for unnecessary harm to fall on either of them in this quest. And while the coydog did not vocalize or attempt to draw attention to his frequent fretting it was evident in the way he carried himself. The built tension shifted to slight relaxation against his figure as focus gradually turned mostly upon the hunt for crustaceans.

Creatures that could be heard skittering about the slick stone but there was still the matter of finding and capturing the beasts. And as fingers curled against another shore bound stone drooped ears perked at what fell. Blue-gray gaze glanced upon the marked coyote in a mix of question and curiosity. Light questions flitted through his thoughts over the remark but still he gave a gentle nod in response as gentle laugh laced his words, “Born ‘n raised in the area. Hard not ta get used to it.” Even still the winds bit at him in the harsh embrace of winter but there were ways to stave off the bitter cold.

Though it was not this which held his attention for long as invitation fell. Gaze fell away from the coyote’s gap filled grin as he debated with none but himself over the offer. While he ached for company and the familiarity a group could bring Jackdaw still held on to reservations. “’aven’t met the right ones I suppose.” The coydog regarded the other carefully in the next moments before further information was sought, “Who are your people?” If others thought ill of them was there a reason for such cruel speculation?

Or was it merely due to the presumed nature of what he assumed was a band of coyotes, “Are ya judged by, uh, action or by, uh, or by… appearances?” Perhaps even a mix of both? He would understand if Santiago didn’t wish to give answers to his prying though Jackdaw doesn’t stop there. “No matter what, if yer folks are as good as ya say then I’ll, uh, I’ll consider yer offer.” This one didn’t seem bad but he had also only known him in this so far brief encounter.

A piece of him felt bad of questioning the man’s word, he desperately wished to say yes and yet something held him back. Steadily attentions returned to self-assigned task as fingers wrapped around yet another rock only to be drawn out with a surprised yelp. A sharp pain felt upon his hand as a crab scuttled quickly out from under its hiding place, a mad dash made by the creature toward another stone to hide away from the hybrid’s sights.

Briefly focused risked a glance toward Santiago as he squared off against his own quarry. Only to turn back to his own, if they were going to eat these things he couldn’t let it get away. One alone would not be enough and the hound would not forgive himself if he did not contribute in some way to their hopeful meal.

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#10
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And the stars will be your eyes, And the wind will be my hands

By action, or by appearance?

Now that was a tough question, and Santiago, with divided attention, didn't answer for a solid moment as he attempted to skirt the crab in the water, bundling up from the backside into his hands. The crab's claws hoisted back in protest, flexed open but immobilized in their current position, and he made a triumphant 'whuff' of approval before he answered.

"Call ourselves the Drygrass Posse, we come from wayyy down south-west from here," he answered after his pause, pausing to wet his lips. "We -- y'know, we look rough. And, I mean, sometimes, good people gotta do bad things t' get by, but at our core?"

Morality was gray. "It's a matter of perspective, I s'pose."

Coyotes were an opportunistic bunch, it wouldn't do them any good to not stick together - but when Jackdaw answered with a soft maybe, he smiled nonetheless.

"We're around." There was a gesture with the crab, which legs shook a little as Santiago bobbed it in Jackdaw's direction. "But we're good to one another. Like family - but y'know. One you choose, rather than what you're born with."


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#11
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peel the scars from off my back, I don't need them anymore

A small whisper in the back of his mind told the hound that he had messed up. That he shouldn’t have asked such questions of this man yet no matter his worrying they were already in the air. Lingering between them in a growing silence, filled only by the sounds of shifting paws and skittering crab legs left to echo in his ears. If he had offended the coyote in some way it was an apology to come.

In truth, Jackdaw had not expected an answer and it seemed as if he would not get one. Though all the same he was content to simply absorb himself into the act at hand and attempt to push off any awkwardness he may have caused. Focus shifting to rest fully onto the creature before him as heavy, clumsy steps sought to dance around the beast held carefully in his sights.

Yet the creature was faster as it scurried out of reach with each effort made, soon hunkering down to duck itself under a rocky crag. Diving against the sand those blue-gray eyes peered into the sparse light before foolishly a hand reached in to seize the crustacean, grabbing hold of one of those many legs to drag it back out. An act which should have earned him a swift clamp of one of those claws but luck was on his side this time.

Those menacing limbs too short to reach his fingers from this angle. Tail wagged in his triumph, dusting sand to and fro about his legs though a soft whuff pulls him from passing excitement. And finally an answer, a name for the band and a reason for distrust. Flopped ears fell for a moment before his own answer came, “I understand that, I really do… and I, uh, I ain’t gonna judge ya for it.”

Everyone had to do things they weren’t proud of from time to time. Hell, even he had in the past and he was certain such times would not be the last. Slowly the dog steadied himself as feet found their way beneath him once more and sand dusted from cloth and fur. A small smile creased his features as the crab bobbed in gesture before raising his own. Not a very impressive catch but one none the less, at least the creatures would feed them in the long run.

Gaze turned down for a moment before they rose to meet the tattered coyote. An internal debate echoed in his thoughts before finally lyrics fell, “Well, uh, what say you to cookin’ these up and, um, maybe we could, uh, talk a bit more about this, uh, Posse.” Family was all he wanted right now, even if it wasn’t those of blood that he sought out in these lands. “And I’ll, uh, let ya know my answer when our bellies are full.” Even though he was already nearly certain of what it would be. Yes.

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