[P] The Fun House
#1
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Nyx was familiar with the feeling of having bandages wrapped about herself to cover fresh injuries, but that didn't mean she was happy about it. Aside from the feeling of constriction, and the occasional pain, there was this incessant itching beneath the bandages that she knew was nothing but a trap, for the moment she did scratch the itch, her back would be alight with stinging and burning pain. Yes, the itching was undoubtedly the worst part of recovering from a wound like this. That, and the restricted mobility. For this reason, while the mother was recovering, she brought two of her sons with her when she went out. 

The boys, Uriah and Besekel, were identical twins, save for that Bes had sustained an injury to one of his ears as a pup that had left it collapsed and folded over, whereas both of Uriah's ears stood erect. It was a nice day, milder than the weather had been for quite some time, with a cool breeze rolling in from the east, carrying with it all manner of scents. The white furred fighter didn't wear any of her usual armor that day, only linen bandages with slight blood stains dotting her upper back adorned her well muscled figure. 

Again, she didn't leave home with any particular goal or destination in mind, with this injury, she could neither fight nor hunt, she only knew that she wanted to get out of the house, and that her family didn't feel good letting her out alone just yet after the fight she'd been in, it was unlike her to sustain any injuries more than a bruise or scrape. "So where to, Mom?" The younger twin Besekel asked looking down at his mother, while his brother stayed quiet.

"N-not sure, lets just s-see what we find." Nyx replied in her usual light stutter, the warrior begrudging the fact that her own children were acting like she needed babysitters. But she wasn't about to argue, she knew that if she was caught unawares by a hostile loner with her current condition, the best she could do was run away.
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#2
Golden orbs scanned the horizon, flashing for a moment as the light caught them. Snow white pelt shook gently into place. It was rough from lack of grooming and living out in the wilds for a time. He had been on his own since he had left the pack, surviving on the plants he recognized and whatever small animals he could catch. He had lost track of the days since he had left the pack behind, but long gone were the muscles and mass that came with living with a well to do pack in the coldest parts of the north. Time and lack of consistent meals had molded him into a leaner version of himself.

It was a particularly nice day today for Fall, though he could tell that Winter was only right around the corner. The chills in the morning were an indication of that. More than once he thought he felt the slight itchy feeling of his winter coat starting to creep in.

The trees danced casually with the wind as Quilo padded along the path, carrying scents with it. Some of the scents were familiar to him, in the sense that he recognized them but didn't know them, ones he had picked up when he first arrived here, and some were new. Of course Quilo didn't realize his own scent was being carried on the wind as well...or was it more that he didn't care? He wasn't particularly afraid of this new place nor of meeting new folks, particularly around these territories. A brief thought crossed his mind, remembering how he had first discovered these territories. There was a strange feeling, as if he was being beckoned here, and he felt an odd warmth as soon as he crossed what felt like the borders. It was all surreal.

Wide paws came to a stop abruptly, ears swiveling in the direction of sounds. Are those voices? He paused, listening carefully.

He waited for only a few seconds before realizing with a twinge of embarrassment that it wasn't voices he was hearing, or so he assumed, but the babbling limpid contents of a small creek. Licking his lips, he broke through the treeline and made his way down the hill toward the source of the sound. The water looked like liquid crystal and he wasted no time dunking his tongue into the cool water to quench his thirst. It was heaven as he closed his eyes.
Walks, "Talks", and thinks.
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#3
Scratching the front of her ribs a bit and shifting the unbearably uncomfortable bandages, Nyx continued to march forwards, the two sons that'd come with her in tow as she began towards a nearby stream to get a drink and take a small break. It wasn't unusual for the white warrior to be able to track for hours on end without stopping for water or rest, but with her injury, coupled with how she'd been feeling lately, she thought it best not to push  things too far.

Coming upon the stream, the snowy femme couldn't help but notice the presence of a scent in the air, a male wolf that wasn't either of her silver furred sons. "Mom." Uriah started, but Nyx merely dismissed him with a slight wave of her hand. She only smelled one wolf, and even if she was injured, it wasn't as though three of them would be outmatched by one of it came to a dispute over resources. But Nyx had no desire to fight, she wanted to extend a hand of welcome to whoever she could, and to offer her assistance in a way that would be mutually beneficial, that's what their group was about.

Coming through the tree line, round eyes the color of Amethysts found the wolf that was drinking not too far off. A white coat lay across a lean frame, his eyes held a vacant and hungry expression, one that she was all too familiar with. "H-hello?" The winter coated female spoke, staying a respectful distance away but speaking clearly and politely. "My name's N-Nyx, th-these are my sons U-Uriah a-and Besekel." The mother addressed the loner, not wanting to be too forthcoming right away, but wanting to seem amicable in case he was open to that sort of interaction.
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#4
Gold sparkled off the reflection in the water as his eyes opened to a voice, someone calling for their mother. It was a language he understood, a common word Mom. He scanned the opposite shoreline and rested his gaze upon the mother with two more wolves beside her. He remained still as he watched.

Several times he had been caught in situations similar to this and there was no telling whether it would go badly for him or not. But he didn't have to wait for long as a soft voice carried across the water to his side. Nyx...Uriah...Besekel. Unfamiliar names, but her tone seemed to be friendly or at least neutral. He nodded as she introduced them all, then bowed his head respectfully, his gaze flickering between the water below him and the three strangers..no..acquaintances..standing across the water from him.

"My name is Whillow. I only stopped for a drink. Please, if this is your territory, there's no need to drive me away. I will leave peacefully." He wished to have a closer look at the three, but his gaze remained respectful, not remaining on them for too long. He had no intention of starting a fight over something as trivial as territory rights.
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#5
Nyx looked down at the stranger as he became aware of the presence of the three, and yet barely moved. She was standing in her two legged form, meaning that if this male sprang at her, she could not likely outrun him, but the words that he spoke made it seem as though his intentions were peaceable as well, and Nyx smiled softly as her ears flicked into a more neutral position and her tail lowered, not wanting to seem threatening to the male who seemed worse for wear. "N-No, i-it's not my territory." The mother murmured, lowering herself to kneel in front of the water for a drink, but wincing as the action pulled at the stitches in her back, cupping the water in her hands before bringing it to her muzzle to lap up.

She hoped the pair of them could share a moment of peace in this close proximity  before she wiped her muzzle on the back of her hand and slowly stood back up with the help of one of her sons. "A-are you alone Wh-Whillow?" She asked after a moment. "W-we have food back home i-if you're hungry. H-Honestly." She offered, turning back towards the direction she came to indicate that home was that way, though from how she stood, the blood was visible on her back below her long hair. 

"Our g-group i-is called Bête Noire, w-we have a-a rest stop wh-where travelers c-can come eat, i-in exchange for things like... m-materials, o-or doing a bit of work f-for us." The Greyfire matriarch explained, looking back at the loner to see if he was interested at all. She couldn't win every battle, but she could at least be polite and offer help where she could.
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#6
Quilo visibly relaxed when he realized this wasn't her territory and he wasn't inadvertently trespassing, as well as in response to her visible relaxation and posture change. He had assumed no threatening stance of his own, or at least tried to, but it may have been obvious at the time that there was a certain level of tension in the moment that had dissolved upon her confession and gentleness. He sat calmly as she approached the water's edge and drank, allowing him to get a better look at her and her sons.

The first thing he noticed about her were her eyes, shining pebbles of light purple that sparkled like jewels in the light cast from the stream between them. The next, her many scars, and her bandages. She seemed to carry herself in an injured manner. Judging by how carefully she moved and how her sons had to help her, the injuries had been quite awful. She didn't seem to let that affect her smile though and her gentleness. She was easy on the eyes, but there was the unmistakable scent of a male on her, the same scent carried on the two sons which were most likely his, mixed with each of their own. Rustic, earthy. Quilo would have to see the father to determine which of the two they both take after more, but he could definitely see Nyx's bloodline in the two males. He continued to try and keep his gaze respectful, not lingering too long.

His gaze raised to hers for only a moment as she addressed him. "Yes, I'm alone. I've been taking care of myself for the most part, doing what I can as I travel. Luckily there are still many plants and small creatures available for the land to give along my journey." He can't imagine how things would have turned out if he hadn't left as early as he did. Winter did not give much in the way of sustenance when you were on your own.

His ears perked up at the mention of food. For so long he had been subsiding on wild weeds and lean rabbits, small birds, eggs if the nests were low enough. What could they have to offer him?

He was about to speak when his stomach suddenly growled loudly, causing him to blush under his fur. I guess that's decided. "You have no idea how much that offer means to me. I would love something to eat, but I don't want to be a burden on your group. I'd be happy to do whatever I could in return for whatever you offer." He stood upon the shore. Normally he wouldn't be so forward with such an invitation, learning to be wary of such promises in his recent journey, but he was so hungry and so tired. Come whatever may come, even if he was going to be tricked, as long as he finally got some decent food in his belly.

"Before that, though, can I do something for you?" He looked around the shoreline. "You're bleeding and you seem to be itching as well. I imagine it's from your wounds healing. I know something that can help with both of those issues, if I can just find some.." He began sniffing around through the various plants, seemingly on a mission, almost forgetting that the others were there.
Walks, "Talks", and thinks.
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#7
Nyx's silky tail wagged behind her as she proposed her offer of food to the seemingly gentle loner, only to lay back down at her heels when he spoke of being alone, imagining the difficulties he must have faced. Her eyes softened, and the female let out something of a quiet laugh as she heard his stomach growl loudly in response to the mention of food, though she covered her mouth in an attempt to be more polite. 

"I-It's no trouble." She spoke up, but the wolf seemed to be sternly set in his feelings of wanting to provide something significant in exchange for whatever food she offered him. Her tail wagged again and her ears perked somewhat, though it seemed her sons had lost a bit of interest and began to converse between themselves, she'd have to give them a word about politeness and diplomacy later on. Nyx was about to begin walking to lead the way, but the other stopped her, mentioning her wounded condition, and stating that he could help if he could find something.

"O-oh, i-it's okay, r-really, i-it's nothing." She stammered, suddenly sheepish and bashful about her bandages, turning to hide her back and clasping her hands behind her, but the wolf was already foraging about for whichever herb or remedy he had in mind. In the context of the myriad of scars that decorated her body, this injury could be considered a minor one for the warrior, but it was still enough to put her off of her game, and for that, she was embarrassed. Her ears drooped and she gave a nervous laugh. "W-well, th-thank you... D-do you want to look o-on the way? W-We have f-fresh deer, a-as well as s-some cooked foods..."
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#8
Quilo sneezed, causing a dandelion puff to explode and send its seeds off into the wind to be scattered across the ground. He looked up at her as she offered for him to look while they're on their way. She seemed determined to get back to their group lands as quickly as possible. Deer meat sounded delicious, it had been a while since he had been able to catch a deer.

His gaze moved to the direction she gestured, then he nodded. "Of course! I can look while we're moving. The two herbs I'm looking for grow pretty much everywhere, anyway. I'll follow you guys and continue looking while I do so. By the way..." He looked to each of them in turn, again keeping his gaze respectful. "Thank you." He moved to push and hold some bushes out of the way so that they could help her get up onto the pathway.

On the way, his eyes scanned every which way, looking for the telltale leaves and flowers he had been shown, his nose twitching for the scents he recognized.

"While we're walking. Can you tell me more about this group? I noticed you call it a group, rather than a pack. Is there a specific reason for that?"
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#9
Nyx's tail wagged again once the attention had come off of her own well-being somewhat and back onto the prospective journey to bring Whillow home and feed him. She could see that he was young, his demeanor was gentle, yet determined. He seemed like a hard worker, and Nyx wondered if he would feel at home with their group, or if he would merely have a meal, do what he could to repay them, and be on his way. Either way, a positive interaction was always a good thing in Nyx's eyes, so she smiled as she began to walk back in the direction from which she had come, the three males all hopefully following her as she went. "I-it's this way." The warrior spoke as she moved, her eyes turning back and another embarrassed smile playing on her petite features when the male thanked her. "I-i-it's nothing, w-we only w-want to make f-friends a-and connections."

The male came before her to push aside the brush that was obscuring her climb back from the banks of the stream, and Nyx blinked, giving a warm smile as she passed him and murmuring a quiet "Th-thank you." before walking on. She was truly embarrassed, not quite accustomed to the level of politeness and interest that the other had shown, far more acclimated as she was to fighting her own battles, as well as fighting battles in defense of others, seldom had she stood back and let someone help her like this. 

As they walked, the loner turned to ask her about the group that she'd mentioned, urging her to tell him about it, and to this she sighed in a moment of relief. This was something she could easily talk about, as she herself had played a large hand in the formation of the group. "O-of course." She began, looking up as she pondered what to tell him for a moment. "B-Bête Noire, i-it's not a large group..." She began, her hands clasped behind her, fingers fidgeting and interlocking above her tail. "M-most of us came f-from a pack, b-but that was... a-a violent way of life, a-always driving p-people away f-from the borders, a-always fighting with o-other packs, I-I didn't want t-to live that way anymore... H-here we don't d-drive people away, w-we welcome a-anyone wh-who passes by, a-and we live m-mostly in peace..." She concluded, looking down at the four legged male as they walked.
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#10
Bête Noire.. The name wasn't familiar to him before today, he remembered her mentioning it earlier, but that was understandable considering he knew very little about these lands anyway. He remained quiet as he listened to her explanation. A smaller group was something that didn't sound so bad to Quilo. Peace also sounded nice. Welcoming everyone sounded nice. But..yet...

"It all seems too good to be true..."

Visions of the pack he used to be a part of swam before his darkening eyes. He opened his muzzle to speak further, but was interrupted mid sentence with swishes of his tail, gold sparkling in his eyes. His gaze rested on the telltale small white bunches of flowers along the side of the trail, and yet more of the low green plants he knew so well. His gaze focused on her, then back at the plants as he rushed off, yipping like a pup, and began sniffing them to double check.

"Yep, this is Yarrow alright! We have Chickweed here as well." He sat triumphantly as if claiming a great kill. "Nyx, if you take this Yarrow here," A snowy paw gestured to the flowers. "Chew it up, and cover your wounds with it, it will stop bleeding. It should also help with pain, and promote healing. Same with the chickweed, you can chew that up and press it into the affected areas to stop itching. It's also great for eating and making teas. Yarrow I think not as much for that, but still a great plant to know." As if to illustrate his point, he reached down and snapped up a mouthful of chickweed to chew it up happily, his tail creating a dust cloud behind him.

"Chickweed has a nice taste. Yarrow is great for making ointments and applying them to bandages to control bleeding, help with pain, and has other uses as well! Chickweed can be used in the same way to stop itching, but they both can be used in a pinch with what I was told is called a 'spit salve'."
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#11
She took pause for a moment and smiled. Sounded too good to be true, huh? "W-well, m-maybe it is too good t-to be true... Y-you can s-see that I'm injured, b-but i-it's u-usually peaceful." She admitted with a slight shrug of her shoulders as they walked. Her arms and legs that were exposed were practically covered in various scars from various fights, even her face was marred, this injury she had to her back, she couldn't see it, but she knew that it was only the first scar she had received in the duration of the existence of Bête Noire, and it wasn't anything life threatening. She could no longer recall the amount of time's she'd risked her life to packs prior.

She was about to say more, when the male ran out in front of her to a clump of little flowers and began to instruct her on how to apply them to her wound. Besekel perked his ears in interest at this find and walked up ahead of the rest, looking at the plants the other wolf had found as Uriah and Nyx arrived in tow, before verifying what Quilo had said. "He's right." Was all the younger twin said as Nyx looked on with reluctance.

"W-well, a-alright, th-thank you." The femme spoke before lowering herself to the ground, sitting as she began to unwrap and peel the old bandage from her wound. Her chest and abdomen, both front and back, were revealed to have even more scars, long stripes of overlapping claw marks from different battles and different times, her back had one large and long set of claw marks that was old, covered in a greyish pink scarred skin, with another, fresher wound running diagonally between her shoulder blades, one long gash that had stitches, and another shallow cut that hadn't required any ran parallel.

"I-I had it looked at a-a couple days ago, b-but i-it seems like it's s-still bleeding, m-maybe because I-I sleep on my back." The fighter laughed a bit, not showing any pain from peeling the bandages from the scabs that had formed and the drying blood stuck in her fur, she had plenty of experience with hiding her pain.
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#12
Quilo nodded to Besekel when he confirmed what Quilo had pointed out. He wasn't completely sure, but judging from the way the boy seemed to be observing the plants, he was as interested in learning about them as Quilo had been when they were explained to him in his younger days. Besekel didn't seem much of a conversationalist, but that was okay.

"Thank you Besekel, and you're welcome Nyx." He sat back and watched her sit and redress her bandages. His gaze trailed across the many scars littering her body, some more gnarly looking than others. This female had to be a warrior at some point. He had seen many scars like this back in his old pack, had once even hoped he would have multiple scars of his own with their own stories to tell. But for now he had no stories he wished to share, at least ones his body could tell. Perhaps one day he would. Anything he did have would have been hidden by his thick fur for now.

Despite the scars, and despite the pain she HAD to be in, she seemed to give no indication of it. The same he noticed before, none of it affected her smile or her gentleness. Definitely had to be a warrior at some point, if not currently.

"I must admit, seeing you in your current state, it's hard to imagine your group gets much peace. Your pelt tells a story of a life of battles and close calls. Would you like to tell me the classic 'you should have seen the other guy' story while you redress your wounds?" His eyelight danced with humor.
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#13
Uriah stood awkwardly off to the side as Nyx sat and Besekel knelt beside her, helping his mother treat and redress her wounds as she talked with the loner about the group and the treatment of her injuries. Nyx laughed heartily as the wolf noted her many scars, and deduced that Bête Noire must not have been as peaceful as she claimed it to be. She would admit, her scars used to be something that the warrior was self conscious about, that they meant she was never strong enough to keep from getting injured, that they made her unsightly, but none of that mattered after living through as much as she had. 

"Y-you think so?" She laughed, taking a moment to wince as the bandages were replaced around her, recovering her wounds after the soothing herbs had been applied to them. "Th-these wounds aren't s-so bad, B-Bête Noire's o-only been around f-for a few months, a-and this is the f-first new scrape I got in... I-in fact, a-all that peace m-must be making me go soft." She quipped, ignoring any helping hand as she pushed herself back onto her feet, exhaling with the strain she was under. "B-But of course." she offered afterwords with a humorous glint in her eye, "Y-you should have seen th-the other guy~" 

They kept walking then, heading back to the village where the rest of her family lived. Nyx wasn't sure where anyone would be at the moment for introductions, but she at least knew where the food was. "N-now come on, l-let's get you th-that meal." She offered, leading the loner before long into a clearing past the trees, a wooden building stood there behind a vast garden and a few rows of makeshift tables crafted of cut tree trunks. from inside the building, there wafted the smells of smoke, coupled with the smells of fresh and cooked meats, stew, bread, spices and herbs, garden vegetables, and Nyx continued into this building, beckoning for the wolf to follow her.

Inside there was a long table and a fire place, a few chipped plates, strewn about with various food items, pots of tea leaves and barrels of fermented wine, but the raw meat hung out in the back, freshly butchered and cleaned it seemed. "T-take your fill, w-whatever you like, y-you can h-help us with s-some work later t-to repay us."
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#14
Quilo took in the sights as he followed Nyx and the two sons. He paused only for a moment as his eyes fell upon wooden buildings, before realizing they were heading exactly in that direction. Despite not seeing anyone around, he figured everyone had something to keep them busy considering it was a small group, and he was fine with that. Besides, he had more important things on his mind at Nyx's mention of food. Almost as if to spite him, his stomach grumbled lightly, letting him know that there was going to be no refusal at this point. His tail wagged gently behind him as he followed into the wooden building and looked around at the tables, his nose twitching at the smells of the cooked foodstuffs. There were even plates and utensils he had seen used so many times, yet always wondered why, as he never desired to use them himself.

He examined the cut trunk table, the recently used fireplace, wrinkled his nose at the smell of the fermented barrels, and let his mouth water a bit at the bundles of herbs and the strung up meats. It was all so...unnatural yet genuine at the same time. Being accustomed to living as a non-luperci for his entire life came with a few prejudices that were nevertheless harmless, and he kept them to himself, though it may have been obvious that he was a little uncomfortable.

So it's a group of luperci then, unless like me, non-luperci's lived here among them. Bittersweet memories played across his eyes but he shook himself of them.

His eyes fell upon hers as she spoke, doing a double-take at her words and at all the food around him. He bowed his head sheepishly.

"I wouldn't feel right taking a meal while you all watch me eat, especially when I'm being offered a free meal despite making sure I pay equivalently. Perhaps we could all enjoy a meal together? If not, I'll be fine with taking a cut of venison with some vegetables, just one plate will be perfect, thank you."

Despite being a non-luperci and living his life that way, one thing he had picked up from an early age were his manners, at least most of them. He was going to destroy that food after she placed in front of him, no plate or utensils necessary, polite or not. Honestly at the point he was, he would have jumped on the slab of meat if she had suddenly tossed it onto the ground outside. He licked his lips just thinking about it.
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