[AW] Rabbit Feet are not Lucky for the Rabbits
#1



A pretty decent day with the sun out and shining upon the portion of the world that the wolf dog called home. An occasional wisp of cloud floated by in the blue field high overhead. A hawk slowly flew in circles high overhead in search of mice or other small and unsuspecting critters. Other birds flitted about in and around the trees and bushes as they went about in the endless pursuit of food.

The elder had been out and about in pursuit of his own meal walking the trail and checking his snares to see if he had caught anything for dinner. The wire loops had worked well and Ibycus had several rabbits to prepare into a tasty meal. He also had a small bag full of a small selection of herbs that he had found along the trail.

A campfire crackling and popping out in front of his house with a pan in the flames heating up, Ibycus dressed out and skinned the carcasses. The herbs were sorted and prepped for inclusion in the cooking process. He sprinkled a few drops of water in the pan to check if it was heated up to cooking temperature before laying the meat in and sprinkling herbs on top.





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#2
It was not as easy as she had thought to catch enough small animals to piece together into something bigger. Vera knew she could set snares, but she also did not want to encroach upon her packmembers and any traps that may already be laid. It was starting to get frustrating, the amount of inactivity that she had been up to.

When she caught the scent of cooking meat, she followed it cautiously. Catching sight of the fire her attention soon went to the canine sitting there. Her sharp eyes took the male in and she soon frowned. It looked like this male had some wolf in him, but that was not allowed in this pack...right?

Her curiosity peaked, she went closer, but still slow enough to not be threatening. "Hail" she greeted with a smile and scanned his camp again. "It looks like you have had good luck hunting" she spotted the skins and wondered if she could trade for them, then remembered she had nothing to give in return.

Oh well, perhaps she would have more luck hunting later. Shifting her attention back to the male canine she considered his looks again. "I am Vera...I was wondering, are you part wolf? I only ask because I know the look of part wolves, and I was under the understanding that the type were...not welcome." Her smile faded some as she once again thought of her children. 

"I am not saying you should not be welcome of course, I was just curious as to the...how you say..." she could not think of the word and wished she knew the language completely. Making a face in her frustration, she just said it in Russian "Restrictions." 

288 words | Russian
Vera Zharkov
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#3




The elder watched the female approach his humble home and fire. Her face seemed to suggest that she was unhappy about something. The fact that she was coming over was more surprising to him than what her mood could be given that he rarely had visitors. Ciao Ibycus returned the greeting, his voice betrayed his Italian origins. Some measure of good luck, it seems, he agreed.

Through the years he had heard that there were some that hated wolves so much they would kill practically on sight and he had wondered how long it would take someone with a keen eye in a mostly coyote pack to notice that he had a bit of wolf blood coursing through his veins. He had gambled that what little wolf he had was well hidden by the mostly dog that he was. Another look at the visitor, Ibycus turned back to pan and slowly stirred the contents. If there was going to be a death blow, he would rather not see it coming. Si, he replied, I am part wolf.

The fire crackled and the meat sizzled during the pause while he stared at the pan and continued to move the meat around. As he found that he was still among the living, the elder continued I guess there is not enough wolf blood in my veins to be of a concern to anyone. He thought back to the time that he was invited to join and had always wondered why a ragtag bunch of coyote misfits wanted his presence in the pack. He pondered if this could be the reason for the infrequency of visitors. He looked up at his visitor and tried to discern what she had tried to communicate, I'm Ibycus, he introduced himself and followed up the introduction with an invitation, It's not a great feast, but would you like to join me in a bite to eat?






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#4
Vera huffed and sat with her arms crossed and a displeased expression. If this male had only a little blood and was allowed, then trying to get her children to come was truly not in her favor. Well...she did not know if they would actually come, or even where they might be. 

"Well then, that answers that" at his offer to join him, she gave a nod despite that she was already sitting in his territory. A fresh meal was always welcome to her, whether she had caught the animal or not. "You are kind Ibycus, to invite me after I have invaded your space and asked what was likely seen as a unwanted question." 

The female dog lowered her gaze to the ground "I simply miss my children, and seeing a part wolf here, it had given me hope that they could come...but no, they are equally half, which is likely too strong a mix." Vera knew it would not help to wallow in her disappointment, but she was older now, and was unsure of how many years would come after.

"My grandson is even more wolf" she shook her head, knowing that had not really been Yvonne's choice. Plus she loved her grandson like any grandmother should. Even if she did not like wolves as much anymore, she would never shun family due to blood. 

Realizing she was basically unloading on a stranger she gave a sheepish smile. "Sorry" she scratched near her ear "My age is getting the best of me of late, and I'm not really that old..." Seven was more than half the age her own mother had been at death. Vera could only hope to reach the same high age of ten. Maybe even older if she was lucky enough. 

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Vera Zharkov
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#5



The aged male pondered his visitor for a moment before turning back to the fire and moved the pan out of the flame to let cool and for the meat to rest. He had seen a great sadness about something beneath her displeasure and was not going to pry into someone's private thoughts.  He cast about looking for something that would work as some sort of plate as, being alone, just horked his food straight out of the pan. His own thoughts were of the sadness variety as the talk went to children and the fact that he did not have any of his own and his own beliefs as to why.

When his eyes lit upon the currently unused pan lid, he realized that it would suffice as a makeshift plate. As he picked up the lid and brushed off some ash from what was to become the food containment surface, It's fine. I would not be able to fight you off anyways, the Italian said as he spooned half of the pan contents onto the lid. And It is nice to hear another voice, especially one that does not whinnie, the elder made an attempt at humor with a glance at his horse out in the field. The lid, with spoon and food, was handed to Vera, I hope it is ok, I was experimenting with what spices I could find growing here.

Ibycus speared a couple of pieces of meat into his maw and slowly chewed as he thought about how she missed her children and understood, at least in part, what she felt. Although he did not have any of his own, there was one years ago that he helped raise and wondered where she was now and if she even remembered him. No, you are not old. At all. He agreed.

You could, a pause as his mind dredged up the names from it's memory banks, go to Boone or Nazario and talk to them about your children. Maybe the could at least visit if not stay. he offered up a possible suggestion to her dilemma.






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#6
Vera glanced towards the horse and chuckled with a nod. The orange and white dog knew what it was like to be alone. As the male wolf dog presented her the lid with meat, she took it gently. She was sure any spices he had used would be fine. 

Taking a bite, she perked up at the taste and wagged her tail. "It is delicious!" At least to her it was, but she was not the best when it came to such things. At his statement concerning her age, she simply shrugged. 

Then Ibycus suggested she ask if her children could visit. Frowning she focused on the food. "Da, I could do that, but then...they would know I was married to a wolf." Was being the main word of that sentience. Her husband had died before she first sought out Yvonne.

"Though my view has since shifted about wolves, I did love him at the start, and that could get me in trouble." Yet she was telling someone she didn't know about it. She chuckled at the current situation and went back to enjoying the meat that had been offered.

Perhaps she could meet Yvonne in lands outside the borders. She did not want to stir up unneeded trouble. 

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Vera Zharkov
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#7



Since it had been several years, and several packs, since he had done any cooking for anyone other than himself, Ibycus had been concerned that his cooking skills were sub par and that his visitor would not like the food. His tail slowly wagged in response to her enjoyment of the meal. The Italian bred dog also began to relax as his ancestry that completely lacked any sort of coyote contributions but did contain some wolf was not going to bring him harm. Also he had to agree with her that the food was delicious and he was glad that his chef abilities have not been totally forgotten.

As he pushed each piece of the rabbit around the pan to wipe up the juices and pop into his mouth, Ibycus thought about Vera's issue. There was not anything he could do beyond lending an ear for her to talk it out. Maybe a solution would present itself. Unfortunately, one did not come to his mind. I'm sorry that I cannot help, he said before the silence got to long. Although, I don't think a past relationship would be counted against you. After all, they are tolerant enough to allow wolves to enter Charmingtown to trade. He tried to be reassuring, however, since he spends most of his time alone, his social experience is considerably less than what most others would have.





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#8
Vera shook her head as Ibycus offered an apology. "It is fine, I will find a way to make it work" she was good enough at covering her tracks that no one should be the wiser if she went to meet her daughter somewhere. Or maybe Ibycus had found a way to help her "They can? Perhaps my daughter can meet me there then...and my other children if I ever find where they are." The orange and white dog smiled "You helped me after all, you have my thanks."

Vera started to relax, one issue that had been bothering her now seemingly resolved. Now she just had to figure out how to actually use her skills and be useful to the pack as a whole. Because she did have skills she could use, and she did not like just lazing about that much. It was a bit sad that she hadn't tried harder to get the things she needed to get to make it easier to perform said skills. She was normally more resourceful.

Shifting her weight slightly she decided to dwell on it more later. "So, how long have you been with the pack?" Vera may as well take advantage of the current company, and perhaps learn a bit more about at least one of her packmates. It could not hurt anything after all, and it truly did not bother her that he was part wolf. Though she knew she needed to show such discrimination outside of the pack, she would not do so within its borders. 

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Vera Zharkov
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#9



Ibycus stirred the fire a bit causing a cloud of sparks to ascend with the smoke. He tossed a few more sticks of firewood onto the hot coals resulting in another swarm of the tiny hot embers to fly up into the sky to quickly die into suspended ash. The food all gone, the wolf dog put the pan and lid on top of the fire and allowed the flames to lick the remaining sauce off of the cast iron.

He stared into the fire and watched the flames dance over the wood as the exothermic reaction converted the pieces of a tree into ash. A wave of sadness flowed through him as he considered that he did not have a family of his own. That when he dies, he will be alone and that there will be no one to mourn.

Ibycus thoughtfully looked up at a distant hawk circling in the sky as he calculated the answer to her query as well as to quell the sadness before it overtook him. It's been just over a year now, he replied bringing his focus back to his pack mate. In thinking about how long he had been there, it occurred to him how little he knew about anyone in the pack, but he also knew it was his own fault for being such an antisocial hermit.





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#10
"A year..." that sounded like a long time to her, but then again, she had never settled in one spot for very long. In Russia it had been dangerous to stay in one territory for a long length of time. In the south lands of this place, it had just been habit to travel around. Then when she did reach these lands, she had tried to settle, only for the pack to break apart. "I wonder if I can even manage that?" It may not even be in her nature at this point to stay with a pack.

The white and orange dog would try though, especially if she could find a way to see her children still. without much else to say, or even do, she stood and stretched. Looking up, she also spotted the hawk and smiled a little. Looking back at Ibycus, she realized he likely lived out her all alone. Vera was alone too, with no ties within the pack. Silently, she sat back down. In the long run she wouldn't mind some company, and she was sure the male canine was lonely. Or he may not be, but he wasn't exactly chasing her away yet.

While she may want to stay, she wasn't sure what else to talk about. Knowing nothing besides that Ibycus was a decent cook and hunter she searched her mind for any topic they could continue with. Looking at the pelts nearby, she said the first thing that popped into her head. "What are you using the hides for?" It was better than just sitting in silence, at least when someone was close by to actually talk to. It might turn out that he wasn't using them for anything of course, but she really had nothing else to continue with at the moment. 

306 words
Vera Zharkov
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#11



Although he spent most of the time by himself with the assumption that everyone else either was unaware of his existence or otherwise did not want to bother themselves with visiting the elder, he actually enjoyed having someone visit and felt disappointment when his unexpected guest rose as if to leave. To keep his feelings from showing, he busied himself with checking on the pans to see how well the fire was cleaning them. A scrap piece of leather worked good for wiping the ashes from the cookware.

Continued activity with placing the cast iron to one side and stirring the coals of the fire and adding more fuel to help cover up any possibility of outward showing of his gladness that she had decided to sit back down and stay for a bit longer. True it was counter intuitive to his introvertness, but it was nice to talk to someone besides himself.

Ibycus looked over at the hides and pondered them a moment as he considered what projects he had in mind to do and if any of them required leather or fur lining. Usually, when I do not have a need for them, I put them into the communal storage building for anyone to make something or use for trade., he answered her query.





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#12
Vera nodded in understanding, then again found herself at a loss. Was she really this bad at talking with other canines? Surely she could continue the current vein of conversation or start a new one. "I am eager to hunt bigger prey...as a pack perhaps. Then we could have many hides for the cold season, or even to trade them da." She nodded with a smile and then shifted her position so she was a bit more relaxed. "I have hunted deer alone, but it is hard and can be dangerous." She looked to Ibycus "What bigger animals live here? I have heard moose do, but other than than I am still learning."

There was a lot she didn't know about the pack yet. The dynamics were different than what Mistfell Vale had been. It was also vastly different than being alone. After a moment or two of silence she realized that maybe the male with her would not want to answer, or that the subject seemed to come from no where. She gave a sheepish smile "Sorry, all I know to talk about is hunting and training birds." She motioned vaguely above them, where the hawk still circled, likely looking for food. "What other things do you...like to do? Besides hunt and cook?" 

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Vera Zharkov
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#13
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The elder poked at the fire with a stick and caused the burning wood to shift and settle with a shower of sparks that flew high into the air with the smoke before the tiny pinpoints of light disappeared as the embers extinguished in the cool air. His thoughts revolved around why Vera seemed to want to hang out and talk with him, someone who no one else seemed to want to even bother to see if he was still alive or not.

The elder pondered for a moment, Other than moose, there is bear, and they are big. He thought back a few years to that time when he tangled with a bear and lost almost to the point of death, And have claws. He thought for a few moments, Being by myself for the most part, I stay with the small critters that I can trap with snares.

Ibycus poked at the fire some more as he reflected upon the bygone days of his youth, I like to take care of the horses, cows, goats, and any other animals that like to hang out in and around the barnyard. The memories of one particular deer species surfaced, I remember working with caribou at one time. The elder reflected as he gazed at the near by forest, I wonder if any ever got loose and started a wild herd.





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#14
Vera frowned. Bear was too risky to go after even with help. They did have a large hide though... She shook her head, ridding herself of the thought. When Ibycus mentioned he mostly stayed alone she looked around again. The area did look like it was set up for one canine. "Well, I can visit again...if you would like that." She smiled as he listed the things he did besides hunt. "Caribou? What are those??" The white and orange dog gathered it was some sort of animal, but beyond that wasn't sure if she had ever heard of a caribou before.

If they were indeed in the wild, they would surely have been hunted by now. Unless they were smart and moved away from any pack areas. Then again if the animals had been raised by canine, they might just accept the presence of them as a whole. Vera scratched her chin and tried to find something else to talk about. They could speak of packs she supposed, since it seemed he had been in one before, and she had also been in one before joining this one.

That didn't seem like a topic that could gain much though. Maybe it was fine to just sit here and enjoy the company of another. She also lived alone, so she knew what it was like. It got lonely at times, and her thoughts often drifted to her children and what they might be doing to survive.

248 words
Vera Zharkov
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#15



His gaze slowly swept around to the pasture where Sakoni was keeping herself occupied by slowly wandering around and nibbling at the grass. His thoughts were tumbling about his head as he wondered why someone would want to come by and visit him. All these years, either in a pack or just existing in the wild until the next pack came along, it was a rarity that anyone made the effort to re visit the Italian born resident. At least everyone he encountered was friendly, which was a plus as well as being extremely lucky.

He remembered the early years when there was one that was nice enough to give him a room in her own home. He had helped raise her daughter and helped with the pack's horses and other barnyard animals. These memories were his favorite as it was the best times of his life so far given that it was the closest he had ever gotten to being a family.

His eyes tracked back to the fire to watch the flames dance over the chunks of wood. He pulled his thoughts back to the present, Caribou are like large deer, but not as large as moose. He dredged up what he knew about the species, They are usually found in the lands that are even farther north than here, but the last pack I was in had a herd of them so it is possible that some stuck around.

Ibycus looked up from the fire at his new friend and wondered if she would really come around once in a while to visit or if her memories of him would fade away as time went on as it seemed to do with others that he had encountered during his life. Yes, I would like to see you again. It was nice having someone to talk to that answered back with words rather than just whinnies at you.





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