[P] A wary eye fixed
#1
344 words. Eastern side of Sunflower Sunsets. I left it vague about how she arranged the meeting, but if either of you is okay with the assumption that it was your character(s) Vicira or some other representative met with, that'd be great! :>


Dead sunflowers lay crushed beneath the red horse's hooves as Vicira stared out at the expanse of grassland, dark ears on a swivel. They were less exposed here than they were miles out from Inferni, though it was quite some time for the folk they would meet with to reach them. She justified this, reasoning that while the Salsolans could disguise their scents, the Infernians' heritage would mark them an automatic enemy of this mysterious group.

It was apparent now that they were being targeted specifically. The raid on the night of the full moon confirmed all suspicions, though most Infernians had an inkling when their own were lured and attacked outside the borders. But Maddox's death had spurred Vicira to get to the bottom of what was happening, and when a scout's passing conversation with one of their allies roaming Drifter Bay revealed that Salsola was having similar problems--well, Vicira was quick to arrange a meeting.

She had not told Vesper about this, of course.

The Aquila was suspicious of their allies; apparently her former mate's trade alliance with the Thistle Kingdom meant less to her than her singular friendships with packs like the knights. She would forbid this meeting, if she knew; she would rant and rave that Vicira was giving up Inferni secrets, that they were inviting attack, exposing a place of weakness.

She knew that this conversation would happen, but she would not let it until they got the information that they needed.

To counteract this, she brought along two of Vesper's allies. Vicira did not think entirely highly of Virue and Annabeth, but they were ranked, and the Mercatura dependable enough. Bringing Virue was a gamble--and later Vesper would insist that it was a cruel joke, and her anger against this would be much harsher than her anger against this little meeting.

But for now, Vicira waited.

"It's sunhigh," she said lowly, and combed her fingers through Kresnik's flame-colored mane. "I wonder if they were attacked on their way."
#2
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This smacked of bad taste, and Anna went along with it anyway. There was concern for Vicira, a sincere, deep concern for the girl that Anna had watched grow up. She had watched the admiration and affection shift and change, leaving those eyes, glazed into coldness by smoke and calculation. She had watched the girl grow into a scornful woman and astounded herself into wondering she had been that girl once, raising smug glances at her family and feeling that she knew better.


So Anna joined Vicira on the mission with the Salsolan leaders, though she knew that there was some sort of bad blood between her and the daughter of Vesper, though she could not entire understand why. Love of the Aquila, perhaps? She could not be sure, but it hurt in its own way.


Anna had no horse, she had run after in her hulking for in an effort to keep up and look menacing, having secured smaller weapons with Vicira. Shifting out of it had required donning her garments, and the delay in their allies' arrival gave her the chance to do so.


Vicira spoke idly, and the Mercatura snorted. "If they did, I'm not sure we should be thrilled or concerned." Annabeth smoothed her hair into place, lamenting the absence of her once usual curls, mostly out of necessity and shortage of bee's wax. "They're probably trying to be fashionable and arrive late, like we came too early or something," she added, shifting her weight from one hip to the other in a slight huff.


huff puff annabuff
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#3
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Assumed a raven came to SL and Scorpius just randomly picked Rafael to come with him... [ 350 ]

The raven was obviously Infernian. It reeked of coyotes and chattered mindlessly until it was given a reply to the message it carried and promptly sent back whence it came. The little scroll was meant to summon the leaders of Salsola to a clandestine meeting, but the actual task was delegated and reassigned and entrusted further and further down the chain of command until it fell into the hands of the Jagermeister.

Although it vexed him to be sent away from Salsola during such perilous times Scorpius was not about to defy the wishes of his superiors and more than willingly acquiesced, even if he didn't like it. He was tasked with selecting one or two of his packmates to accompany him and after a few moments of quiet contemplation found the Inner Ring to be - from his perspective - quite lacking in dependable individuals.

The first wolf that came to mind was his long time personal confidant, Vesta, but other duties required her attention. Stannis and Itachi were next on his list but they too were indisposed, charged with much more important matters than face time with their shifty coyote neighbors. Rafael came next, much to the Beast's displeasure, but the Hound had proven himself enough to at least be worthy of a seat among the Wardens in his eyes.

When the day came Scorpius disguised both his own scent and that of his horse before bringing her to a halt at the eastern periphery of the Thistle Kingdom to await his comrade. When ready, the duo pushed on through the snow-blanketed Drifter Bay to the meeting point where the Infernians had already gathered, muttering to each other about gods knew what.

A gruff woof of sorts announced his approach even though he knew they had seen them coming across the valley; it was simply a courtesy, whether interpreted as such or not. Blood red eyes observed the trio of coyotes for a moment before fixing his gaze on whom he assumed was the highest ranking, his focus settling on the bright Lykoi blaze upon her ashen face.


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#4
OOC:

I assumed that Virue would make bad jokes and get rejected? I doubt that will be a problem :D

[539]

IC:

Virue understood he couldn't fall stagnant, and short of his own expectations. He had to keep moving, despite his newfound affliction. At no point had he decided he was going to work his life around his knee. Some days it was swollen more than others, and there were even days where he was free of pain altogether. Still, the inflammation always came back. The boy had never seen problems like this with someone of his age, but there were crazier things happening all the time.

Virue had followed close behind until they reached their destination, then he began to slow down. Keeping up hadn't really been an issue; almost as if his leg had taken a break in it's torturous role. Virue hadn't met anyone who could run as fast as him in his native form. It wasn't an arrogant, unanimous claim, but more of the simple truth rather, as most of his spare time was spent in Inferni’s fields—sprinting, for hours on end. He wasn't entirely clear on why he ran as much as he did, but he certainly enjoyed it. At least that fact could partially justify his main pastime. Only partially—as not everything Virue did was easily justified.

The pain intensified in the absence of movement, and he held the leg away from the ground, trying his best to ignore it. Not to mention that the battered flesh from his brawl with Methuselah was still in the midst of healing, which only added to the aches. Virue didn't make a sound, or even a grimace, but it was obvious that his back-left leg was bothering him as he hobbled to a stop.

The small hybrid approached a short sunflower, which was nestled at a comfortable distance from its larger peers. It appeared as though he might sniff it as he stooped to the yellow petals, but those that knew him would be sure to think otherwise. There was no sniffing for those with a daft nose. Instead he observed, in his usual peculiar way, almost as if there was a significance to the flower only he recognized. Lifting his head, he said, “I'm sure th-they'll be here soon.” before placing his eyes elsewhere. Both of these women were acting cynical, and he was trying to be as positive as possible; an admirable trait in the eyes of some, and not so much for others.

At this point, there was doubt as to why he was here. He’d been quiet for most of the trip, aside for a few quips he'd made here and there, which had been ultimately ignored. It only made him more nervous. But Virue had spoken and fought with one of these lunatics, and that must have been worth something.

A woof came from a ways away, and Virue eyed the approaching figures. He yipped back in response. Confidently. It was the one aspect of his father's assertive personality he had effectively adopted for himself, even though his anxiety held him back from virtually everything else. Despite his usual habit of excluding himself from groups, he now found himself lingering closer to the other coyotes as the Salsolans drew near. He trusted those he was familiar with, more so than he did strangers.
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#5
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I am laughing that Scorp is like "UUUUUUGH FINE I'LL BRING RAFE" XD XD Sorry for the small post and wait, will be more prompt <3 <3 [351]




The duties of the Kingdom pulled them in every direction these days, but the hound was never short of patience. He was a diligent sort of creature and always responded when summoned, even if by a man who never acknowledged him with more than a withering stare. Rafael chalked this up to a general dislike rather than a personal grudge (he could see no reason why), and was hardly affected to learn that he hadn't been among the first considered for the task. It was a busy time, and many of his superiors were too preoccupied for meetings with the subordinates of their allies.

Regardless, he trusted Scorpius' judgments, more than he trusted most others in Salsola, and certainly before the coyotes that had gathered in the sunflowers. Rafael had never met their southern cousins, but he had heard the whispers and tales of them, and more frequently as the Boreas attacks grew bolder. He knew they were among the oldest, if not the oldest pack in the area, and by that right alone he wondered how they had not claimed more territory than they did. He supposed past endeavors to that cause might have been the reason their history was so bloody, and their people so despised.

The Jagermeister called out to them, and the Warden, doing his best not to further stoke his superior's ire, kept his manner neutral and relatively subdued. They halted their mounts a yard or so away, and from above he gazed upon the three, assessing; one was injured, the other two healthy as far as he could discern. His gaze rested on the tall and wiry one, whose red nose would mark her a Lykoi to anyone native to the area. As a foreigner, Rafael overlooked this marker, but had been drawn to her cool and dominant posture, and figured her the leader of their exchange. He nodded to her, and then drew his attention toward Scorpius. Whatever lead the man took, the Warden would follow, as if a shadow to the shadowy beast. The irony of it almost made him smile.

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#6
Note that this is before they learn that it’s Boreas (or at least this is the case on Inferni’s side, when it’s revealed a couple days from meeting).


Vicira twitched her ear at Annabeth’s reply, and snorted, tossing her a small smirk. She knew that concern would have to be their response, especially if what the scouts said was true and this was a common enemy, but it felt good to ignore that possibility and joke wryly about it. She said nothing, though. It was, predictably, Virue that remained optimistic and pointed out that they would probably arrive soon, and he was proven correct.

Two figures on horseback approached through the snow, one a black behemoth of a wolf and the other an elegant hound. Their scents were masked, though this did not surprise Vicira and seemed safer than carrying their allegiance on their fur for their mysterious attackers to hone in on. To Vicira’s pleasure, their gazes alighted on her with quiet expectation.

“Sounds like Salsola is experiencing trouble,” the Tears woman said idly, then gestured as if to wave away such vague talk from now on. Her eyes hardened. “Wolves have assaulted our borders and managed to invade our territory on the full moon night. They’re disciplined, and many have armor, weapons, horses. We don’t know what their motives are yet.” She looked to her companions at this, sure that their own experiences might have provided some clue. Virue's friend had been attacked, after all.
#7
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They came to them and it made Anna look on in surprise. Though, she was also a little alarmed at the fact that two bold and rather large packs were experiencing troubles enough to warrant a talk between the sides. Anna did not know if she liked the idea of it at all, especially having such common ground with slavers. Born in Casa, it had been her upbringing to fight against the practice, but with the warm waters between the two packs, she had not said a word and kept her thoughts to herself on the matter. Though it was wrong and she knew it.


"If they have left clues, we don't have it. We don't know what has provoked them. Hatred of coyotes, probably," she added to Vicira's words at the glance the younger woman had sent her. The Mercatura rolled her shoulders again and found herself dreadfully uninformed. She had never wanted to be informed before and found her lack of knowledge disturbing and discomforting. She liked to know things, especially since it had settled in on her that she wanted to protect Inferni.


Her words ebbed away and she turned her gaze to the men that had come riding in, waiting for their answers or for Virue to give his side of the story, that would be undoubtedly interesting; it would at least be more informative than her useless sentiment.


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