[AW] animals don't forget
Beyond his duties as second-in-command, which were many, O'Riley had long ago charged himself to the role of hunter. It was one he believed himself destined for – his family was full of fighters and providers. Being that he largely was only responsible for himself and his animals, O'Riley used his natural talent to benefit the pack. They needed him, he reasoned. So many of their ilk seemed more inclined to trade or scholarly pursuits (he himself had once thought to do something like this, until he realized how absolutely boring these tasks were).

Hunting, however, was thrilling. Even when all he was doing was stalking prey, it was all for a single goal – a kill.

The deer had made the mistake of coming too close to the garden and spooked at the sight of the big wolfdog when he found them. O'Riley had given chase but lost the pair in the Barrens. Without being discouraged, he took this as a sign to catch his breath and prepare for the longer route he was now committed too.

With a fresh trail, all he had to do was let his nose show him the way.
Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
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OOC: Hey sorry for this weird post but this thread looked lonely. Huh
WC: 395

The only times the male found it necessary to be in his lower form was for hunting and for herb hunting. For the herbs, he often would store them somewhere for him to pick up later, or if he was lucky he could have had his partner or sibling fit him with the same harness contraption that Ixion used when he was running errands with Coaxoch. Today, he was not lucky to have an extra pair of hands around, and he simply could not put the contraption on himself, so he went without it, and figured that he would just have to store the plants in a place for later, and to try not to get anything too bad in his mouth.

Coax's short tail twitched as his spotted nose did it's work in trying to pick through the various different summertime blooms to find the right scent. He was not particularly good at this skill yet, even though he had tried to work on it a bit more. He often found himself walking in large circles and never pinpointing the plant he was looking for, without spending a good half of the day trying not to just end up at the same point he was before.

By the time he had finally found one of his herbs, he was ready to go back home, but he needed to find some lavender while he was out and about too, so he tried to look for a wild patch or two, among other things he had planned to look for. He was sniffing around, digging at roots and picking plants from their rooted homes to hopefully replant them somewhere closer to his home, —for he still was working on regrowing/relocating his former garden that was in the depths of the Blackwoods— when he had caught the scent of their Erilaz.

Coaxoch thought to turn back and get on home to avoid the brute, but Coax knew that if he smelt the male, then he was probably close, and it would be pointless to try and avoid O'Riley. While he did not really go out of his way to stop what he was doing to go greet O'Riley, he knew that if the male smelt him that there might be an interaction, if the other had been up to it.
O'Riley caught sight of Coaxoch before he smelled him, but knew from sight alone who it was coming from between the trees.

There had been, in his youth, only a few options when it came to peers of his age group. His cousins were all older, and the Kaiser twins young and beneath his bloodline.

Coaxoch and his now-dead brother had been the only options, and Valtin had been killed when he was very young. Though they had not been exposed to one another for many seasons, O'Riley's isolation and Coaxoch's injury and trauma had driven between them a powerful divide to which the former capitalized upon at once. Bullying was the most enjoyable when someone fought back, and while he always demanded submission, it was fun to get a rise out of Till's eldest child.

Age and maturity had smoothed the rough edges of their working relationship, for Coaxoch had provided for the pack in ways O'Riley had not – he had brought them children (even if they were tainted by traitor-coyote blood). The fact he had survived at all suggested his handicap had not fully removed all his strength.

Still, the sight of it filled O'Riley with strange, conflicting emotions. He was disgusted sometimes, by the stump left from Coaxoch's amputation, but mostly he was frustrated by what he saw as weakness.

Salsola wasn't supposed to be weak.

“Did you see those deer?” He asked, lifting his head and tail as he drew closer to the Warden.
Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
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OOC: I assume they both are in secui, let me know if I'm wrong. <3 WC: 316

"Did you see those deer?"

The words had cut through the air with the intensity that Coaxoch knew to come from the Erilaz. The two men were not children anymore, and it was obvious here, where they both stood tall and muscular in their halfling forms. Coaxoch still was smaller than O'Riley by a margin, but Coaxoch did become much larger and stronger than he had been when he was a child. He was faster, and more comfortable in the body he lived in, things were all different now than they had been in their youth. Coaxoch was now a father, and Warden in Salsola, while O'Riley had become the royalty he had always destined to be. While they still lived in two very different worlds, they still co-existed within Salsola as Royalty and Subject.

Coaxoch's ears turned before his head had, and they flicked back submissively as he gave a little shrug. "No." he answered simply as he looked at O'Riley's own body language and avoided looking into his pale lavender eyes. Coaxoch huffed lightly. "I was more interested in the plants, not the scat." he told the other as his stumped tail relaxed and his ears splayed to each side of his head.

"You really gonna hunt alone? You know that my father would be more than happy to—" he spoke, before trailing off because he realized he probably shouldn't really have questioned the male's intentions, especially if he didn't want to get sucked into accompanying the Erilaz on a hunt.

"Ahh, way to make this real awkward, real fast, Coax." the words echoed through his head as he suddenly took a seat where he was. "I mean, I'm just sure that you don't have to hunt alone, if you don't want to, is all." he continued to say finally, trying to avoid offering himself as tribute.
“Mm,” O'Riley grunted, barely bothering to look at the herbs. He didn't particularly care about plants unless they were weed or tobacco, and he knew what was bad for his livestock, but he lacked the capacity in him to be a healer. That had always been someone else's job.

Of course, what Coaxoch used the plants for and what not exactly healing.

Like his father, the three-legged hybrid had found a calling in the Coven, that great mystical part of Salsola that existed within and separate from the rest. Between the world of the spirits and the living was the place of the mystic, and where witches were called to stand.

In the Hearg, a person like O'Riley would have been deemed too powerful to live and risk this balance. Siv Helsi would not have allowed a male heir to live. He was a warlock, after all.

Luckily for him, she had died long before he was born.

“I hunt with your father quite often, yes,” the Erilaz added, smiling to show he took value in their working relationship. Till was plagued by calamity, certainly, but he had endured and his bloodline – at least, those who had proven strong enough – flourished here. “It'll take too long for him to get here. Besides, if he's out with your brothers I'm sure he'll have his hands full.” Though the young men were adults now, mostly, they still lived within their father's oversight. Spartacus' notable absence from the feast had confirmed that incidents of unfortunate nature continued to follow the Ulrich house.

“Come back for the plants,” the wolfdog said. “If you can keep them from getting away, I can get one down. You help me and we'll split it three ways. I'll even make sure the meat gets back to your house for you, eh?” Though he was smiling as he said this, O'Riley's offer hardly seemed like one.
Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
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The verification of the working relationship between the Erilaz and the Jagermeister was information that Coaxoch had known about, if only because of the Queen's order to move closer to the Ruins. While Coaxoch had a hard time keeping an eye on his father while he was living in the Blackwoods, it was much easier to get caught up with his family's shenanigans. Though the mention that it would take too long for his father to arrive, Coaxoch knew then that he was being enlisted for a hunt with the Erilaz in Till's place. While Coaxoch wanted to reject the idea, and to speak about how he "wouldn't be as good as his father", he didn't. He didn't want O'Riley to see him as weak, even though this likely would not be a possibility because of the reminder of the stump that looked even smaller in his halfling form.

He chuckled a bit at the comment of his brothers being a handful. "That's unfortunately true. Till isn't a bad father, in my experience, but Sparta and Raito seem to have given him a good run for his gold." he spoke as he shifted a bit uncomfortably in the harness that he wore for his harvest. He knew he was to take it off, but sometimes it was hard for him to take it off alone. Luckily, he did have slightly longer leather straps that he could reach to be able to get out of it in the case of emergency. He turned his head and reached for the underbelly strap and once he got it in his teeth, he pulled it until the buckle's prong came from the leather and released him. Once he felt the slack, he then stood back up on his three paws and bowed his head and neck low to let the harness wiggle free from his frame.

Once he was free from the harness and plants, he shook his fur out from any dirt and debris. He looked to the Erilaz then again and smiled back to him, though this was out of politeness, and one who knew Coaxoch well could easily tell this. He didn't have a choice in the matter of if he should help or not, but Coaxoch also would not deny a good meal with an easy take down in any other situation, either, so he was not all displeased about the situation at hand. "Sounds like you have a deal." he spoke to the Erilaz as he took a moment to put his nose to the ground and take in the scent of the deer that O'Riley had been following.

He looked back up to O'Riley and nodded. "I'm ready when you are." he told the other, nodding his head lightly and letting him take the lead.
Having been raised without a father, O'Riley could only compare his grandfather's role to the one he imagined Till must have provided for his children. The size of the household – which had, even before it been torn asunder, existed in separate islands – had stretched thin those resources. While O'Riley had not had to share with siblings, he had been a younger, male child in the shadow of his elder cousins. Elphaba, especially, after Indra had been sent away, had dominated their attention.

Being unable to be free had made it easy to exploit and take advantage of every single opportunity to control something.

O'Riley watched Coax, wondering at the making of his contraption. It would be useful on a pack animal, he thought, or even if there was a need to send objects across long distance on four legs.

Stowing this thought away, O'Riley turned and sought out the trail once more. He moved efficiently, narrowing down his field of search until the path became clear to him again. Two wolves would hunt differently than a pack, but their unnatural size and speed would allow them greater advantage against prey.

Especially, as lucky would have it, when one of them seemed injured.

It was an old wound, but the reckless flight through the Barrens had caused some sort of trauma. O'Riley could see it played out in the disturbed earth beneath his nose – a slip, perhaps, or a true fall. In either case, the deeper tracks he soon came across in the softer ground confirmed his suspicions. Delighted by this, he turned and explained as much to Coaxoch.

“Looks like one of them is hurt,” the hunter said. “We'll go after that one.”
Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
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