[AW] m - Echoes
#1

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Specifically, this thread is marked mature because of: Potential Gore.


Night had swallowed New Caledonia earlier in the day than she would have expected. The winds had picked up and with them, an airy chill that had crept throughout the lands, cutting her right to the bone through her fur and the clothes she wore over it. The ground wasn't a bad bed, when you dug out a little divot within the earth that was designed to hug against each and every curve of one's body but it didn't provide the support that a bed of grass and pelts did and it had barely any warmth, especially this time of year when winter was already in the midst of twisting into the lands.

She had closed her eyes hours ago, reserved about sleeping underneath the stars of the night. It had only been a few hours when she'd heard it, screams erupting from somewhere in the darkness. Animals. It had to be, considering the sound of it had woken her and was unfamiliar for the most part. If it had been canine, she would have been more eager to rush in its direction. She had risen with a groan, her body stiff from the cold in the hollow of the tree copse she had settled in.

Only a short distance from her, a small babble of a brook echoed eerily through the low hanging fog that had taken over her surroundings. It was part of the reason she had settled for this location out of all the others, just to be near an outlet that would allow her the chance to find something to drink if she needed it.

Her head had turned in the direction of the sound that even then, had still echoed occasionally from the woods. With her hand upon her hammer, it hadn't taken long for her to move in that direction.

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#2
[279]
hello I am a delinquent child.
DREAM BIG OR NOT AT ALL
There had been no earthly reason to be out. Absolutely none. And, yet, Dorian found himself wandering around unattended in the middle of the night on a blustery early winter day. Early winter? Mid winter? He had no experience with the season outside of what they had seen thus far, but his mother's scathing comments on it had suggested they had seen nothing yet that marked a true winter experience.

Why was he out? Because his sisters were all shifted and they were the absolute worst now that they had more height and bulk to throw around. He stood by his earliest thoughts about them: they were she-devils born to plague him despite his stupid innate love and affection toward them. They were a difficult bunch and he was only a little sorry to leave Yuki to their evil machinations.

Unfortunately, he got sort of lost. The world was stranger at night and his sense of direction was still warped with change in visual height. Was that supposed to have been a left at that bent birch? Or a right at the bend in that brook? He couldn't remember right and it had clearly screwed him over.

And then something started screaming in the night like an unnatural ghost or banshee or mononoke. It spooked him and he started running in a direction away from the sound, just to get away, when he ran around a wider tree and ran straight into another something that was definitely not a tree. Dorian was knocked back, sprawling somewhat on the ground as he stared up with the absolutely confidence he was about to get devoured by a yokai.
#3
OOC: Adding M tag and warning just in case.


She had just rounded a bend of an old tree when something had barreled heavily into against her legs. She had nearly fallen, instead both hands had found their way to the aged bark of the tree, a motion that had kept her upright for the most part while she focused on exactly who or what had nearly trampled her in the course of trying to run from the sound. The scream of the beast had stopped. Perhaps had been strangled and choked of existence by whatever had attacked it.

In its stead, the near caramel coloration of her eyes had settled on the youth who in turn looked at her as if she had been the monster or the source of that scream that had faded into oblivion. "Was it you? Did you do something awful to that creature?" she'd asked, her voice a boom of sound in that nearly deafening silence that had formed after the absence of terrified screaming.

It was only natural for her to think Dorian had something to do with the whole event. He had come running into her after she had started heading in that creature's direction, terrified by the looks of it. She could have only assumed guilt in this scenario. Regardless, she had straightened herself out, her arms folded over her chest. The thin line of her lips had settled, the smell of blood faint in the air as if a distance from the both of them.

"We need to make sure whatever it was is put out of its misery." She looked down on the youth, folded ears straightened for the most part at the top of her head through her pulled back gray hair. "What's your name and why are you out here?" She couldn't recall if she had seen him throughout the pack. Mirwen and herself had kept, for the most part, to themselves. Or at least she had. "If you're not hurt, you should come with me. It'll be a teaching moment," she'd offered without a pause from her last question.

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#4
[325]
DREAM BIG OR NOT AT ALL
There was a very brief moment of silence in the wake of his crashing into the furry wall of a woman. From the ground looking up, she seemed like a towering monster. It took far too long to realize that it was no beast but another Caledonian. There wasn't even a moment for him to stand up before she started yelling at him.

He didn't mean to, but he visibly flinched as the woman's voice boomed toward him. It had clearly been a very poor night to wander away from home if he was going to be shrieked at in the dark by some mysterious animal and then yelled at by someone he didn't even know after that. He ended up on the ground, too! Injustice!

"N-No! I don't even know what made that sound!" he managed to stutter out as his indignant dismay took over and demanded he respond appropriately to the accusation. How could someone even make something make that sound? It seemed unearthly.

The woman didn't offer him a hand up and Dorian was too cowed to feel insulted yet. He scrambled to his feet, realizing that despite his youth, he was very nearly the woman's height. When grown, he'd likely tower over her instead. It didn't really make him feel better, though.

Dorian dusted himself off, trying not to mumble his indignation. Her words were demanding. "Dorian. I just wanted a walk, get away from my sisters," he answered promptly, though disdain trickled in at the mention of his sisters. Those damn things were the real reasons he was in that mess. Then, he glanced back the way he came. "Do.. do we have to?" he managed, turning back to Maethriel with a look that said he was not really keen on the idea at all.

Odds were she would drag him along, though.

He should have stayed home and suffered.
#5
She hadn't meant to seem as if she were yelling at him but if it came out that way, perhaps it was better in teaching a lesson, if he had been the reason for the beasts' scream that had echoed through the dark. It had only been safe to assume that he was what had caused it considering he was the one she had run into. When he had convinced her that it wasn't him, she had felt apologetic that she had assumed so quickly his guilt because, in the end, he had been doing just what she had since there were always moments throughout her relationship with Mirwen that she simply had to get away before the two blew up at one another. He scrambled to his feet and soon, the both stood there, unmoving, while the sound of that creature faded away. The smell of blood had grown stronger but at least the screams had stopped.

She hadn't noticed his height, hadn't made a comment on how large he was. She had simply seen his age in his response. It never occurred to her that eventually, he would have taken over her height wise and as a male, potentially strength wise as well, because she still had hope for the children that they held onto their innocence. "I believe you," she had remarked while gathering herself to move toward the creature. "I'm doing the same. My sister, Mirwen, and I spend too much time with one another. She's started to grind on my nerves lately."

She looked between him and the direction the sound had come from. "We could leave it there if we knew that it was dead but we don't know that." She looked him over. As large as he was, nearly as large as her, she didn't want to think of him as a coward but he had come this way, barreling into her, nearly knocking her down while ending up on the ground himself. "It's our responsibility to make sure that it's not suffering. "I'll look after you, if you're worried about getting injured."

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#6
[349]
DREAM BIG OR NOT AT ALL
She believed him. That was good considering he hadn't done anything wrong in the first place other than sneaking out of the house and running around without his parents knowing anything at all. That was hardly a crime, though he was sure the tongue-lashing he was going to get would certainly make it seem like a crime. That and the mockery from his siblings at getting caught.

But Dorian smiled at the unexpected similarity between the two decidedly dissimilar people. "Does she do it a lot? I don't get a break from it at all. I have four of them," he explained with a slight shudder. If it wasn't one or the other, it was the third or the fourth. His day could easily be broken up by the machinations of his sisters into a nearly clockwork routine. Honestly, he was envious of the people with only one or two siblings, like his elder half-siblings. There were just three of them! How unfair was it?

His joy was extremely short-lived. Maethriel - who still hadn't introduced herself - guilted the boy into understanding. Guilting him was exceptionally easy, but at six months and a sneeze he knew too little of the world and people to be any different. He was also easily goaded into defending himself and a perceived slight to his dignity despite having been the one on the ground moments before.

"I'm not afraid of getting hurt," he countered with a slight rise to his voice. He wasn't afraid of that! Five siblings and five sets of teeth meant there were more than enough bruises on all of them from play fights and the natural establishment of their familial hierarchy. Pain was nothing. He was more afraid of what they would find than anything else. Maybe it was the unknown? "I'll go. Maybe it's nothing." It probably was something.

Dorian turned as though he had decided but paused, looking over his shoulder at Maethriel. She was going to lead them, right? Not that he was scared or anything.
#7
The chance of them coming upon another creature in the midst of a meal was strong. She had done so before in venturing toward an unknown sound and the couple of times she had done so, she'd scared whatever was in the middle of their meal away unless they were so hungry that they were willing to fight for whatever had fallen. While she didn't hear that scream anymore, the scent of blood that played to the air was strong enough that the direction toward it was all but written in stone and the dirt that led that way. She believed him, primarily because there was no major reason that he should have lied.

She didn't know his parents and she didn't know what his family was like but the idea that he'd been trying to get away from his family for a while, his siblings, was such a similarity to her that she probably would have believed it even if he hadn't told her he had four sisters.

The shudder, the sound of his voice, it all offered a meager innocence that clutched against her collarbone and her better sense of judgement. As he had turned, she had assumed he might lead the way but his indifference toward moving forward after he had turned made he realize that it was probably better that she did, considering she had told him that she'd protect him from whatever particular brand of danger that this turned out to be. She had easily taken reigns on the situation and after a few moments, had gathered herself enough to walk around him with a slight scoff and a teasing grin.

He reminded her of someone, though she wasn't sure who. There was definitely a lesson to be learned in the exchange between them.

After several long moments of walking in relative silence, they had traversed a distance in which he could have wandered off without her knowing. The smell of blood would have covered his escape if he had been silent enough to warrant the action in and of itself. In the short distance they'd traveled, nothing had seemed out of place in the wilds until they'd come upon something that had made her pause. Right before her was a tree whose branches had been broken into sharp points near one claw scratched side closer toward the ground but level with her waist. Blood dribbled from some of those points along with a tuft of hide that she recognized. The claw marks, she did not.

"It's close. Do you have a weapon?"

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#8
[277]
DREAM BIG OR NOT AT ALL
Each moment that passed seemed to ease the gruffness the woman carried about her. Maybe she was relaxing into the idea that Dorian was innocent in whatever shenaniganry was happening in the woods. Whatever the reason, he was very happy not to worry about her anger or fury, especially when it was considerably unjust to assume. She even gave him a look that very much reminded him of his mother and sisters with its teasing nature. He managed a weak grin in return.

Maethriel took the lead after his glance. Dorian was quite glad not to be the point in that situation, when he had almost no understanding of self-defense. She seemed to know what to look for and he merely tagged along to try and understand what they sought. She paused in places and looked at things that he honed in on. Blood in places and tufts of fur seemed to show a struggle. Not that it was new information. No one screamed like that if they weren't putting up a life-and-death struggle.

Whatever it was, the woman thought it was close. Dorian felt the fear catch in his throat as he looked up at her from the claw marks.

"No?" he answered, his empty palms out and up. He gave her an incredulous look and raised his arms to gesture at how empty they were. A weapon? Him? He wasn't even a month into having thumbs. Weapons training had been far from his mind and the mind of his parents, clearly. "Do you think it's going to be that bad?"

Well, obviously, but he really hoped it wasn't.
#9
She warmed up rather fast to those who didn't seem like the bad sort. It was a quality she had, had within her youth and something that, despite the terror she had suffered as a youth, she still seemed to abide by so long as time told the truth about them. His weak returned grin had somewhat set her at ease that he would do just fine but there was still that notion that they both needed to make sure that whatever had been screaming was put at its ease and out of whatever misery had befallen it.

She should have known he'd had no weapons when he'd run into her the way he had but she still wanted to ask. "If it's near death, I'll change to make sure it's not alive through its pain. All I have with me is my hammer."

A bludgeoning would have required putting whatever creature it was through a harsh lashing. She didn't think that she could do that, at least not with a quick blow as strong as she was. If it was a creature with horns, she had no inclination toward even trying that method. Instead, her focus had eventually shifted to his question. "I'm not sure. By the way these claw marks have scored the tree, it's my guess that whatever was making that sound is large. I think some sort of cat attacked something here. The fur smells familiar but there's so much blood... well.."

She had let her statement trail away in favor for following that path again. She was right when she'd stated that it wouldn't take long to get where they needed to go. Unfortunately, their path had also brought them to the killsite of a creature's late night meal. She had been right about how messy the place would be. As they arrived, something shrill snarled before claws met the earth and something large barreled into the woods in the opposite direction. Scared, it seemed, of the both of them suddenly breaking the copse of trees. On the ground, the remains of a moose lay scattered, blood, fur and meat dirtied by the brutal brawl but mostly intact, claw marks left behind.

It was dead.

Without realizing it, she had put her hand up to stop Dorian, turning her head enough that her hair had blanched over her shoulders, braids lost in the dark. "It might come back but it's probably tired after having to fight that beastly thing. We should take as much with us as we can. I think your parents would be happy having something a little extra to eat this season. Imagine the looks on all your sibling's faces when you bring in a hefty portion of meat."

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#10
[400]
DREAM BIG OR NOT AT ALL
Dorian looked back at the claw marks when she spoke. He wrinkled his nose at them. "Big cat I guess. Myra wouldn't do this much." He knew little about other predators and creatures beyond their own kind. There had been warnings to avoid cougars and bears, but he had never once seen either of those things. His extremely limited knowledge told him that it was a mountain lion. Or a really big, really fat house cat.

They broke through the line of trees and Dorian nearly felt his heart explode from his chest at the horrifying snarl that ripped from the darks shadow bolting away from them. He put his hand on his chest, fingers clenching at the shock. His ears heard the fast paced beating of his heart, the blood rushing through his head as he tried to squint after the big creature that disappeared into the brush.

Then he noticed the dead moose. How could anything make that ungodly noise? He couldn't imagine the moose making it, either. Maethriel put her arm up to block his path forward, though Dorian was not exactly chewing at the bit to get at the moose.

Dorian's face broke into a wide, smug grin. "Yeah! They'll be so jealous." Dorian could already hear the disbelief in his sisters' voices and the chiding from his mother to be careful. But they would all be happy for something different, something so huge. Their dad's injury had limited what sort of game they could bring in and their mother did not have an easy time with terrestrial hunts. He only wished he had a knife. "You should take some and salt it, too. Mama says it lasts longer salted." Probably, though she often referred to fish rather than red meat.

It was a strange twist of the day for him; it started out silent before being broken by a horrible scream. To end it with a huge haul of moose meat was exceptionally unexpected. He even managed to embarrass himself only a little in front of the older woman. They managed to carve enough away to take good amounts home, though they were forced to leave plenty behind for whatever had killed the moose in the first place. Maethriel even made sure he got home, though she didn't walk him to the door. Thankfully.

That would have been mortifying.


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