[P] element of surprise
Zenith
#1
Tayn’s decision to strike out alone into the southern peninsula was a rashly made one, but the slim coyote pushed himself to see it through. He did want to familiarize himself with the area surrounding the territory of his new pack, Anathema, and the chance to scout out local flora on his own was too enticing to pass up. Soft, carefully placed footfalls made the slight male difficult to hear or track. Tayn wove his way along a path skirting the treeline, where he could get a good view of both the low hills and thicker forest. He’d been moving at a brisk pace all day, and evening saw him closing in on the human ruins sprawling out from Halifax. Late afternoon’s breeze fluttered his long cinnamon braid and carried the scents of what lay ahead.

A stand of hardy blueberry bushes caught Tayn’s attention and he eagerly knelt to pluck the last remaining fragrant berries. Rising again to his full Optime height of 5’8”, Tayn dusted debris from his black pants, adjusted the black leather belt encircling his narrow hips, and set off again. It would be dark soon, and he began considering his options for the night. Not much further south, Tayn caught sight of what looked like the remains of a small village. "Maybe the buildings there will be sturdy enough for a night’s shelter." Tayn’s habit of talking to himself, however softly, was a remnant of his lonely puppyhood.

The buildings were, in fact, stable enough for Tayn’s discriminating taste in shelter. As he was picking his was gently among the vine-grappled walls, an unexpected sound locked Tayn motionless. His bright gold eyes scanned for any sign of movement, and he chanced to move silently closer to the origin of the noise. From a well-hidden vantage between two aging pillars, The young coydog spotted the offending party: a massive monochrome wolf, trotting casual-as-you-please among the village ruins.

All pretense of self-assurance or purpose drained from Tayn and he slowly began backing away. The last thing I need is someone that size deciding I’m encroaching on his sleeping spot… Tayn’s interior monologue frequently did not help his anxiety. The angular male got a few steps away before the wind shifted to his back and gave away his position by scent.
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::Tayn is in Optime and fully clothed unless otherwise stated::
#2
It had been a long day and Zenith was looking forward to laying down, drinking some mead, and sleeping under the stars. Too bad clouds were beginning to roll in. He entertained the idea that some company would be most welcome on a lonely evening such as this, out in the wilds. The muscular wolf heaved a sigh and plodded along, towards a cluster of broken buildings just north of him. The cool breeze ruffled his coal black mane, forcing it up into an even more unruly crest than usual. Zen shook out his thick glossy coat, adjusting the strap of his leather bag and causing the contents to jangle. He’d been out a few days now, scavenging useful objects from the long dead human settlements, but he was feeling quite energized by the outing and wasn’t ready to head back to AniWaya yet.

The little bunch of buildings seemed a good place to call it a night, at least he’d have shelter if the weather worsened. Zen was a big wolf with big paws, and he rarely bothered trying to hide the racket he made. Trotting between walls and rubble, he glanced around for a decent spot to rest. A pile of fallen leaves gathered into a cave-like corner looked promising and he paused. Sniffing around before settling in, the shifting breeze alerted Zen to another’s presence; definitely canine, and definitely trying to be quiet. The huge wolf shrugged off his leather bag, allowing it to drop with a clatter to the ground. He turned, speaking in a firm but relaxed tone. ”Alright. whoever’s out there, you can go ahead and show yourself. I won’t bite.” Zen strode forward a few steps and his indigo eyes caught a flicker of grey and orange fur moving between crumbling pillars just ahead.

Zenith stepped between the vertical stone obstructions and a growl rumbled in his throat at the sight of a small coyote. He bared his teeth and wrinkled his nose in disgust. Zen held a deep-seated distrust for coyotes and coy-hybrids, after his family was betrayed by a splinter pack of the deceitful little beasts. ”Great. Just what I need, a fight before bed.” Zenith groaned. ” What are you looking for, whelp? I don’t suggest you try anything with me…”
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~Zen is most often found in Lupus form. Unless of course he's working, then he'll be in Optime.~
Reply Speed: fast/medium, mainly active on weekends • Character Wiki
#3
This is not happening! Tayn squeezed his eyes shut and huffed a few shallow breaths. The huge wolf had caught Tayn’s scent and called for him to show himself. The slim coydog opened his gold eyes, a crease of worry upon his brow. He stood motionless for several seconds, unable to force movement into his slender limbs. Tayn heard the wolf moving closer and before he could analyze his chances of success in fleeing, the other male appeared in front of him, framed by the vine wrapped stones.

The wolf was monstrous close up. He was in Lupus form, but his head was easily level with Tayn’s narrow chest. Upon seeing the coyote, the wolf growled deeply and took a noticeably more hostile tone. He seemed to think Tayn wanted a confrontation, and demanded to know the coyote’s business here. Tayn simply stood, dumbfounded, as the massive male spoke.

As if being released from a spell, Tayn fell to his knees as soon as the wolf’s deep voice trailed off. Instinctively, his ears flattened against his skull, saffron eyes focused on the ground, and tail tucked squarely between his slim legs. A knot of pure terror bunched in his stomach and a series of quivers racked his pale hide. Ragged gasps replaced normal respiration, and Tayn fought to speak, say something to assure this monster wolf that he meant no harm or disrespect. ”I… I apologize if I am intruding in any way, sir. I m..must have missed a marker, or…” Tayn gulped. He wondered what it would be like to be torn apart. Practically yelping, he managed his final request. ”Please don’t kill me!” Sure he would not be able to manage another bout of speech, he curled into a tight ball, lithe arms covering his angular face.
[Image: Q6tycXN.png]

::Tayn is in Optime and fully clothed unless otherwise stated::
#4
Zenith was almost looking forward to a scuffle, despite his claim to the contrary. But this...this scrawny male wouldn't really be worth fighting, most likely. The coyote stood stock still in Optime, clad in black, looking like a statue as Zenith voiced his warning. Then something unexpected happened. The thin young man just dropped like a bag of sand. Zen’s stern look melted into surprise as he witnessed the most complete and full display of submission he’d ever seen. The young coyote was utterly terrified of him, sure Zen was going to kill him imminently.

Once the slender male finished apologizing and yelping, he just curled up. Zenith’s only reaction was amused disbelief. A sharp exhale at first, then a chuckle, which rapidly erupted into raucous laughter that echoed obnoxiously off the flat planes of stone surrounding them. Zen fell over, gasping between howls, and rolled around on his wide back kicking his legs in the air. Several minutes past before he regained composure enough to sit up and look to his grovelling source of elation. Zenith wiped a tear from his indigo eye and sighed, in attempt to ease the stitch in his side.

He put a thick paw on the thin male’s shoulder and applied gentle pressure. ”You! I like you. Oh get up, skinny! I won’t hurt ya. Here.” Zen extended his wineskin of mead after taking a deep pull himself. ”You need this more than I do!” The big greyscale wolf reclined and regarded the other male with a relaxed and clearly non-combative gaze. ”I’m Zenith. Gatlvska of AniWaya. I find myself in this area scavenging for usable scrap metal, and making new friends, apparently!” Zen chuckled again and shook his head. This kid was something else.
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~Zen is most often found in Lupus form. Unless of course he's working, then he'll be in Optime.~
Reply Speed: fast/medium, mainly active on weekends • Character Wiki
#5
Laughing. He laughed at me. Tayn could make absolutely no sense of this reaction. Maybe the brute was psychotic, or at the very least unbalanced. Keeping absolutely still, the slender coyote listened from his coiled up position as the wolf took what felt like an eternity to tire himself out. Tayn was still alive, and for that he was grateful, but what now? Pressure on his shoulder stopped his heart for a second. Tayn loosened his balled-up defense enough to see the wolf leaning back on his haunches, holding, what? a wineskin between his long white fangs? The wolf’s words barely registered at first. Then it all clicked. He had introduced himself and was offering Tayn a drink, in a familiar manner no less. The young coyote could think of nothing else to do but comply. He unfurled his angular body, thin limbs going every which way.

Accepting the wineskin, Tayn took a gulp though he usually did not like to imbibe. The drink was smooth and sweet, with lingering floral and herbal flavors he found surprisingly complex and pleasant. An unchecked ‘hmm’ of approval escaped his mouth. The young coyote’s herbalist training kicked in and he quickly identified the mead’s additional components. ”Wonderful. What is that? Rose hips, blueberry, and.. clover flowers?” Tayn looked up into the striking indigo eyes of his unlikely companion as he returned the wineskin, temporarily forgetting the tense situation that had just dissolved. ”Oh! How rude of me. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tayn Silvaire. I am a medic and herbalist, and Zepar of Anathema.” Tayn nodded to the big wolf, Zenith, respectfully but with a little less submissiveness than before. He assumed a cross-legged seated pose near the enormous male.
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::Tayn is in Optime and fully clothed unless otherwise stated::
#6
OOC: apologies for delay. School stuff got pretty nuts.

”Tayn. Pleasure’s all mine!” Zenith thumped the smaller male on the back of the shoulder with a big paw, once he had regained verticality. This coyote was full of surprises, Zen acknowledged, now quite ashamed of his initial gut-reaction. A healer, and he was spot-on in his taste test of Zen’s favorite mead recipe. The younger man was thin and awkward as hell, that was for sure, but he was not unattractive. Zenith’s mind wandered a moment, to the arguably inappropriate, before returning to the here and now. His indigo eyes gave the coyote a more thorough up-and-down before recentering on those unsure gold eyes. Zen put on one of his signature charming, crooked smiles and took back the skin of mead. After another long drink, he retrieved his leather travelling bag nearby and pulled some of his finds - two books - from within.

”Alright, smart guy, what do you make of these?” Zenith guessed a medic would know some reading and writing, more than he did at any rate. The big wolf pulled the texts from his bag rather irreverantly in his massive jaws and dropped them with a muted ‘thump thump’ onto the ground. One book was paper-bound and small, lacking in pictures and therefore uninteresting to Zenith. The other was larger and heavy, bound in hard paperboard of some kind. It had pictures, but they were of rocks and hills and he couldn’t tell anything useful just by looking at them.

The light of evening was fading fast, he realized, and maybe sleep would be a good idea soon. Once he offered the books for Tayn’s scrutiny, Zen flopped down next to the cross-legged Optime coyote. The big male stretched his thick-muscled Lupus legs and rustled amid the leaf litter to find a comfortable repose. He stayed alert, though considerably more relaxed, waiting for his new acquaintance to show signs of tiredness. Zenith was a protective sort, after all. He would not be able to get any kind of real rest if he worried about another’s well-being.
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~Zen is most often found in Lupus form. Unless of course he's working, then he'll be in Optime.~
Reply Speed: fast/medium, mainly active on weekends • Character Wiki
#7
(OOC: no worries >.< )

An exuberant slap on the back rocked Tayn’s whole body forward, causing his rusty-bronze braid to flop over his thin shoulder. He recovered his posture and looked to his big companion quizzically. Zenith was eyeing him up, appraisingly maybe? Tayn did not completely understand the look on the indigo-eyed male’s face, but he didn’t sense anything dangerous in it. When he allowed his gaze to meet Zenith’s, the wolf smiled crookedly in response and reclaimed the wineskin. Tayn sat still and silent, ever the observer, as the grey male drank from the mead, set the skin on the leaf-strewn ground and temporarily disappeared behind the cracked stone wall. A moment later, he trotted back with a leather bag, and pulled two books from inside before flopping down next to the thin coydog. Tayn didn’t have a chance to contemplate the implication in Zenith’s calling him “smart guy”, because his attention was funneled to the books in front of him. A lonely puppyhood was spent almost entirely with his nose in books, and Tayn’s love of the rare objects had only grown since.

He eagerly leaned forward to collect both texts, gently brushing stray debris from the covers. The hardback tome was a geological and mineralogical reference guide for the region. It would be of use to some, he was sure, seeing as it was in good condition and had several nice maps and illustrations. Tayn said as much, but his voice was soft, as if he was speaking to himself. The paperback was a novel, a well-preserved but unremarkable science fiction work, and therefore unvalued by the majority of Luperci. He however would not mind having another written distraction to add to his small collection. Tayn opened the novel to a page at random and swept gold eyes over the type in a cursory evaluation of the writing style and content. He found it held his attention well enough, and would have liked to have started reading it from the beginning, but the sun was past the partially clouded horizon and its light quickly faded. The young medic replaced the books with care next to Zenith’s leather bag.

A yawn heralded Tayn’s sudden awareness that he had been travelling all day and was weary. He turned to look at Zenith, who looked comfortable but was still awake. Tayn was unsure of how to broach the topic of sleep, since he would very much prefer spending the night nearby the larger canine now that Tayn felt Zenith would not cause him harm. Shyness won out and Tayn simply curled himself in the leaves piled against a half-standing wall at his back. The slim coydog tried to will himself to say something to his companion, but the words just didn’t come, so Tayn closed his gold eyes and hoped the big wolf wouldn’t think him too uncouth.
[Image: Q6tycXN.png]

::Tayn is in Optime and fully clothed unless otherwise stated::
#8
From a comfortable recline, Zenith rested his travel-sore body and watched the smaller canine excitedly flip through the books. He barely caught Tayn’s low voice as the light-furred male gave an explanation of the hardcover book’s contents. Zenith made a mental note to keep the book, perhaps one of his packmates could read it to him. The paper bound book, as Zen suspected, was not the type most others would desire, but it seemed to interest Tayn.

Finally the slender male set aside the books with a yawn. Zenith was getting tired, and was glad to see that sleep was next on the agenda. Tayn passed his tentative golden eyes over to Zenith for a brief moment, just long enough to catch the wolf’s indigo eyes, before looking away. Zen watched with heavy lids as the Anatheman medic selected a leafy sleeping spot a few feet away, along the other wall of the chilly stone ruin. A slight smile edged along his lips as the bulky wolf allowed his eyes to close and embraced the drift of slumber when it took him.

----the next morning----

The first graceful wisps of dawn were creeping into the eastern sky when Zenith awoke. He lay still and acclimated to the sounds and scents of the morning, gradually becoming aware of all that surrounded him. A soft slow breathing rhythm perked Zenith’s ears, and he turned to confirm the presence of his companion from the night previous. The massive male decided he would wait until Tayn stirred on his own, rather than wake him with the racket Zen would undoubtedly make upon standing. Zenith’s mind cranked away in the quiet, and he found himself thinking uncommon thoughts, like whether or not he might see the awkward, skinny coydog again after they parted ways.
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~Zen is most often found in Lupus form. Unless of course he's working, then he'll be in Optime.~
Reply Speed: fast/medium, mainly active on weekends • Character Wiki
#9
OOC: this thread = much adorable :3

Tayn had not enjoyed a night so restful in a very long time. So long, in fact, that he was reluctant to end it. Vaguely aware of the sun’s earliest rays reaching to warm the earth, he stubbornly kept his eyes shut to the soft light. He was curled up on his side, limbs tucked in close to his slim form. Lazily, the coyote stretched and rolled to the other side, recurling after he moved. A soft patch of sun-warm grass found its way under his head and the young male scrunched into the comfortable spot he’d found. Tayn almost slipped back into a dozing sleep when his sharp mind clicked to awareness. There had not been any raised patches of soft grass in the ruined building’s corner. For that matter, grass did not smell like smoke and honey and leather.

Tayn fought the rapidly materializing truth of his situation. Maybe he was acting immature, but the angular young male just wanted to be comfortable and warm and at peace for a few more minutes. Insecurity eventually pulled his eyes open to investigatory slits, and sure enough, he saw greyscale fur in front of his face. Maybe I can move back to my spot carefully enough, and he won’t wake up… The narrow face of the young medic pulled up and away from his accidental pillow. He sat up softly and hazarded a glance at his new acquaintance. To his disbelief, Tayn found Zenith already awake. Instead of bleary-eyed, the big wolf seemed contemplative. I was leaning on him like a cushion and he just let me do it… Tayn’s puzzlement was less panicked than even he expected, given the circumstance. He looked easterly, at the rosy sky, attempting to piece together a course of action that didn’t involve too much embarrassment.
[Image: Q6tycXN.png]

::Tayn is in Optime and fully clothed unless otherwise stated::
#10
OOC: OMG I know. I just wanna smush their faces together, “now kiss.”

Zenith felt pressure on his flank, and glanced down to see a sleepy Tayn curling up against his side after rolling over to face away from the morning. The monochrome wolf stifled a small laugh and held still, allowing the shy younger male to continue dozing. It didn’t last long, of course, and soon Zenith found a pair of hesitant, dare he say even concerned, gold eyes cast his direction. He simply met the look and let the coyote turn towards the blush of dawn. After a few minutes, Zenith decided Tayn needed a hint and leaned forward to gently grab the back of the coyote’s shirt in his front teeth, giving a little tug. The big blacksmith returned to his laying position, but kept his head up so he could better view the sunrise. “Oh, lay back down Skinny, I won’t hurt ya.” Zenith’s deep gravelly voice was as soft as he could make it this soon after waking up, but it still sounded harsh in his own ears.

Zen wasn’t one for sunrises or quiet lazy mornings, not usually. He felt he should return to his pack soon, a new life wasn’t going to start itself, he supposed. An idea darted across his subconscious, and his mouth was moving before his judgement had time to speculate on the wisdom of what he said. ”Hey. Why don’t you keep that little paperbound book, give it a read and let me know what it’s about. I’ll come back up to the area sometime soon and…and see you.” Zenith almost didn’t finish the sentence, not knowing how to convey interest without pressure. He didn’t want to make Tayn nervous or uncomfortable, his size seemed to do that well enough without the added mire of words and their meaning.
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~Zen is most often found in Lupus form. Unless of course he's working, then he'll be in Optime.~
Reply Speed: fast/medium, mainly active on weekends • Character Wiki
#11
OOC: you wanna do the honors and wrap it up, since I started? pp Tayn a little if needed.

Self-accusatory thoughts ricocheted in the pale medic’s head as his eyes absently traced pastel streamers of clouds across the sky. Turn away and hide, eh? Presented with anything that makes me the least bit unsure, I simply clam up and let the world happen around me... Tayn must have been sitting, poised motionless as the surrounding ruins, for several minutes before he felt himself sink slightly backwards. The movement interrupted his anxious bout of internalized debate, but he could not be sure what cause him to sway back until Zenith’s voice sounded. The wolf encouraged the awkward coyote to return to laying down, and echoed his previous assertion that he would not harm Tayn. Compliance seemed to work for Tayn then, so the slim male lowered his head back until he contacted fur over muscle. A minor adjustment of his angular frame and Tayn found he was quite comfortable resting his head and shoulders against the back and side of his prone Lupus companion. He straightened his black-clad legs in front of him and placed his hands on his chest, lacing slender fingers together.

When Zenith spoke again, the added reverberation from Tayn’s laying against the greyscale wolf’s ribcage added perceived volume to the soft spoken declaration. No one, not even his blood family, had given Tayn a gift before. So unfamiliar with social cues was he, that Tayn did not fully grasp the implication of Zenith’s statement. He wants to talk books?! I would not have imagined something like that would interest him. Giving me a nonvaluable book is one thing, but wanting to meet up again for a synopsis? hmm… (It would require days of mentally replaying this encounter before the naive coyote connected the dots.) ”Thank you. I’d like that.” The medic’s simple reply came readily and without nervous wavering.

Dawn flickered pink and orange until the sun ascended far enough to light the midmorning sky brilliant blue. Birds chirped and small creatures skittered about their business, paying no heed to a pair of lounging canines. When the time came for gathering up respective belongings, Tayn fished a small leather pouch from his belt and held it toward the hulking wolf. ”Here is a sampling of some of the more fragrant herbs I’ve collected, I thought you might find them suitable for mead recipes. Oh, except the packet of dry bark, that’s willow and it is good for relieving pain.” Very matter-of-fact yet polite, Tayn’s natural speaking voice was surprisingly deep for his size when he wasn’t choked with anxiety. A smile tugged the corners of his lips as the Anatheman made ready for his return trip.
[Image: Q6tycXN.png]

::Tayn is in Optime and fully clothed unless otherwise stated::
#12
OOC: This’ll end thread, unless there’s something else you wanna add :)

Though he would never admit it to anyone, himself included, Zenith had an uneasy jumble of butterflies in the pit of his stomach when he made the move to give Tayn’s shirt a tug. When the slender coyote did retake his previous position leaning against Zenith’s considerably larger frame, the big wolf breathed easier. For the book, and the invitation to meet again ‘to discuss said book’, Tayn had thanked him and affirmed the plan with a simple and straightforward grace Zenith was honestly not expecting. The greyscale wolf decided maybe he should give his yapping a rest, since he apparently exhausted all his ‘charm’ the night previous. Now he was just spouting crudely composed ideas without applying the polish of a think-then-speak protocol. Zenith could not grasp why he was so worked up over this awkward, and so far platonic, encounter. It was very unlike him, in fact.

The two must have kept their silent morning vigil for at least two hours, by Zenith’s vague estimation. Dawn had yielded to day, and a crystal blue sky held aloft the bright gem of sun. The companions finally extracted themselves wordlessly from the dozing pile of canine they had become. Zenith collected up his leather bag and replaced the heavy hardback book inside. The big wolf found himself flicking sidelong glances at Tayn, who adjusted black shirt, belt, and pants with precision tidiness. The medic pulled a small leather pouch from his belt and, handing it over to Zenith, described its contents. Mingling scents - light fruit-sweet, nose-tingling spicy, floral, sharp greenery - under them all lingered the now-familiar scent of the herbalist. Willow and blueberries and the ground after it rains, with a garnish of Anathema. Zenith couldn’t help a faint smile as he stowed the little leather pouch in his own bag and shrugged the strap over his head.

”I’ll have to dream up new recipes, looks like. Many thanks, T.S., I am not the best with identifying local plant life.” Zen hoped that “T.S.” was a better nickname than “Skinny”. He shuffled his thick paws a bit, trying to work out in his head when would be an appropriate amount of time to wait before they met again. ”I’ll be back before the new moon, along the Quartz Shoreline, so read up." His baritone voice resounded in confidence of the schedule he gave, and Zenith put calculated effort into sounding both nonchalant and in-charge. Unchecked excitement glittered in his night-blue eyes, however. Along with the heterochromic crescent rimming his left, the wolf’s eyes closely resembled a clear night. One final charming, crooked smirk flashed to his new friend, and Zenith turned south at a trot.

Not letting Tayn dispute their next meeting was the secondary reason for his sudden departure. The primary was that Zenith wasn’t going to be able to hold it together for much longer. He needed several good hard solitary miles under his paws to clear his head. A coydog, a hybrid. Skinny quiet kid. Young and naive. Too kind-hearted. All angular limbs and book-knowledge. Male. Overly-submissive. Different pack, and not a close one. Zenith’s ego and pragmatism attempted to gang up on raw emotion as he ran. A goddamn male coyote, that’s who gets your stomach all fluttery, Zenith? You’re losing it.
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~Zen is most often found in Lupus form. Unless of course he's working, then he'll be in Optime.~
Reply Speed: fast/medium, mainly active on weekends • Character Wiki


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