[P] how good it is to know you're like me
#1
On a morning brilliant as this, the white world burned the eyes. Between the glare and the crust of ice atop the snow, Celia had to struggle to keep up with her high-stepping father, but she was happy. They hadn’t walked like this, just the two of them, in a while. The sandy pup was pleased by the spread of her recent days. She was getting there, however slowly. She was learning how to be embedded in this life and this pack more deeply than she was by simply being born to it. This on four paws and soon, she deeply wished, in the form that would allow her to wield a weapon.
 
But in the simplest way of things she had a father who she loved, and they were exploring together, and that was all her soul really needed.
 
Celia peered at a row of trees ahead and bounded towards the promise of shade. Then she turned to watch the Lune pick his own way across the meadow, powdery snow skittering across its hard surface around him. “Can we go to the ruins, Papa?” she asked, meaning Wolfville, once Cedric had attained the trees. The girl was not much smaller than she would be as an adult, but she still had to crane her head to meet her father’s gaze when he was standing right next to her.
#2
Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

409 words

With mentors to guide them now, Cedric didn't spend all of his free time with his daughters at his heels, but it also meant that he could choose to spend more one on one time with them as well. The man wasn't the kind of parent to want a break from his children; they were the only thing keeping Cedric's home from being silent and lonely. So long as they wanted their old man to stick around, Cedric would take every opportunity to be a part of his daughter's lives. Soledad was training today, the girl very chipper about her studying and training. She had shifted already, around a week ago, and was very eager to get into training just like Cedric had been the moment he'd received hands. Celia was late however, Cedric tried not to worry for his daughter, but knowing how much she wanted to train just like her sister the man could only hope it happened soon. She deserved to be rewarded for her bright and willing nature, not delayed further and further back. 

They headed around near the western borders, close to the guard tower and not far from Wolfville. Cedric spent less time on this border, simply because it was the furthest from the Fort and if the Lune was to be stubborn about sticking to his Guardsman routines then in order to play it at least somewhat safe he stuck to the borders that were closer to aid. But he still remembered these parts well from his patrols back before he was carrying the pack on his shoulders. 

His warm eyes turned down to Celia with a smile. "Of course we can, they shouldn't be too far from here." The father replied, making a turn towards the right to head up towards Wolfville. Now that Casa made claim to almost all of Wolfville there was far less risk of danger from the deserted streets, so Cedric felt it would be a safe trip to take Celia on. He didn't have the same dread in his stomach as he would if she'd asked about Halifax or somewhere out of Casa's reach of protection. The scars of Cedric's cheek stung with the memory of that particular abandoned city. "What is it you'd like to see in Wolfville?" Cedric pondered, wondering if he could guide them to a particular spot that Celia might like.




Cedric Stryder

A Knight Carries His Shield 
For The Sake Of The Entire Line
#3
(HNGH I'm so sorry this is so short)

As Celia and Soledad had grown into their paws, the Knight girls had been allowed to explore farther and farther from the Fort. Usually Cedric accompanied them, sometimes old Morty, and on very rare occasions they had been permitted to play just outside the Fort unsupervised. Celia had never been as far as Wolfville – had never laid eyes on human structures outside of the Fort – and all she really wanted was to steep in the alienness of it all. It was all about the feeling a place or person gave her gut.
 
She started after him but was startled back a step when a gust of wind sent a few sticks raining down in front of her. Celia instantly pounced on one of them and took it in her jaws. She tossed it in the air and made to catch it, but it landed to the side. Cedric spoke, and Celia abandoned the distraction to trot after him. “Oh, I don’t know, really” she started, making a few bounds to catch up, “I just want to see what’s in them.”
 
After a few moments, the sandy girl raised her nose to the breeze, inhaling a curious thread, something new. “What would you like to see in Wolfville?” she asked, voice flat, eyes glittering. She slowed to study the scent, head cocked.
#4
Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

389 words

Cedric found the ruins interesting. Casa held three, if one was to count the small town of Summerville, and Cedric thought them to be something historical. Who actually made them was something the man couldn't fathom; he'd seen first hand the kind of buildings his kind were capable of with the creation of the guard towers, so things at the scale of some of the buildings in Wolfville and Windsor were far beyond that scale. Perhaps there was a being that lived before the canine, Cedric had never read a book to find out such old history, but he had just enough imagination to imagine what god-like beings might have left these ruins on the earth to be refound. 

But where there was wonder there was also danger. Cedric had almost got himself and Naya trapped by a falling ruin, then Cedric had been attacked in one. Along with a few other occurances of loners hiding amongst the buildings and the Lune's opinion was set. He liked the towns, but considered them as dangerous as a dark forest. 

So he was glad to be with Celia now, to protect the girl as she hopefully got to experience the wonder of the ruins and not the dark side of them. "There are lot of things in the towns. They're like old versions of the Fort, only much bigger and left to ruin, no one really knows who made them but there's lot of strange things to see." Cedric explained lightly to Celia as they walked. 

The Lune smiled when Celia asked him for his own interest, and the father hummed audibly in thought. "I've always wanted to find some old relics. The first time I ever explored somewhere was to find treasure, but I never found any. Maybe we'll have some more luck today." He claimed, nose twitching a bit to catch any new smells. Cedric doubted loners would stick in Casa lands to hide anymore, but when the Cavaliers had claimed Wolfville the Lune remembered finding a few. There was something in the air that had Cedric's hackles flair; an old scent that put him naturally on edge. It might be old; it didn't smell strong, but still Cedric's eyes were darting around for any signs of life.




Cedric Stryder

A Knight Carries His Shield 
For The Sake Of The Entire Line
#5
(Let me know if you wanted this stuff to play out differently, and I can edit!)

The world drifted out of focus as Celia tried to imagine what a “relic” might look like, and what treasure she might even want to find. The idea quickened her step, so that she passed Cedric and forged her own path in the snow – but there was still that weird scent.
 
Snuffling the air, the dusty colored Knight veered off their path, heading down the gentle slope. “What is that?” she muttered as she went, more to herself than to her father. “Hey Papa,” she exclaimed, stopping suddenly to look back at him. “Let’s check it out!”
 
Without waiting for the Lune’s response, Celia broke into a series of excited leaps down the snowy hill, sliding past trees and nearly losing her footing. The whole while she kept her nose up to try and identify the sour-sweet-stinky smell. There was no clear direction from which the scent drifted – the wind was too uppity – but Celia knew enough about things to look up when she heard the offended cackle of a raven up ahead. “This way!” she shouted.
 
The scene was not the exciting discovery Celia had expected. The pup scrambled to a halt the moment she caught a glimpse of the fawn-colored carcass. She backed partially around a tree and worked herself up to another curious look, tail tucked. From her perspective she could just see an outstretched body, surrounded by black scavenger birds, one of which tugged on the tail of the thing. Celia was searching for the right name for the beast when she saw the flash of bright blue, heard the muted growl of the angry, littler beast at the cougar’s side.
 
When her father caught up, Celia kept her gaze stubbornly forward, unwilling to make eye contact. She reckoned this was trouble she would have to answer for later, but for now, the girl could just watch as the crows shuffled closer to the thing and its cub. “Papa…?” she voiced quietly, not really sure what she wanted to ask. Her heart hammered in her chest. The cub growled.
#6
Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

Looks good, lemme know if I need to change anything as well xD

Cedric couldn't easily forget the smell in the air. There was a reason for his hackles to rise, like his body was telling him of the dangerous creature that had already once attacked him. Way back when he was younger, a freshly appointed Cadet at the time. When Aldora and Oviduu had been training with him, one of these beasts had attacked. And through team work, the creature had been killed by Cedric. He knew them fairly well, so to pick up the faint scent of one put the man on immediate alert. As weak as the smell was, Cedric didn't know how much he wanted to trust sticking around, though before the man could tell Celia the girl was already off. 

The merit she had to still being on four legs was that she could easily outrun her father, leaving Cedric in shock and bewilderment as Celia dashed off towards the smell. To the young girl, it was merely facinating and exciting to smell something new, she'd yet to learn the smell of danger. "Celia!" Cedric managed to bark out just as his daughter dashed off, quickly following behind her as fast as he could stride on two legs. 

With Celia off on what she thought was adventure, Cedric ran with his perception dialed up to one hundred. Blazings eyes looked around for any sign of presence, his nose working constantly to pick up on the now stronger aroma to decipher if it was old or fresh. What he eventually caught was a thick scent, a mixture of foul concotions lifted into the air that Cedric recognised. He'd seen carcasses rot before, and knew well of the smell of death. It should make Cedric relax, but he couldn't be sure that the smell of predator and the smell of death were related. It could just be a kill, after all, and a trap for a curious pup. 

It made Cedric run faster to catch up to his daughter, hearing her mutter something as she discovered the smell was not what she'd expected. Her uncertainty and Cedric's own stress made him reach the clearing with a snarl already on his face. First he noticed the unmoving, half devoured corpse of the cougar, then the smaller cub nearby. It growled; out of fear but enough to set the worried father off the edge, and Cedric growled right back. With fully grown lungs and experience in using his threats well, the deep and threatening snarl of a wolf was enough to scare the cub out of any attempts to attack. The small beige cub backed off, scarpering around until it hid behind its dead mother. There was a pang of sympathy for the young creature, now lost in a world without its mother and without mercy, but Cedric couldn't think of any reason to remain around. Nature had a tendancy to pick and choose, often making orphans out of the young, there was surely nothing to do to change that. So with a sigh, Cedric crouched down to Celia. "Come on, we should go." The father urged, wanting to get his daughter away from the foul scene. 




Cedric Stryder

A Knight Carries His Shield 
For The Sake Of The Entire Line
#7
(Cedric can feel free to stop her, and then things can stop being so dramatic haha)

If Celia was frightened, it didn’t show in either face or posture. Fiery sights followed her father into the clearing, and the dusty girl realized she could not predict what her father would do. She knew of a youthful encounter with a cougar that had turned his favor against their kind. Cedric was an able warrior, keen in mind and body, but he was also a gentle father. She couldn’t imagine he would harm the cub. So, when the silver man rumbled deep and grave, and the animal spooked, Celia started forward. Papa, she whispered, harshly.
 
When he crouched beside her and beckoned her away, Celia ducked her head and took a few steps away from him. Go? They couldn’t leave. Luperci or not, the being on the other side of the corpse was a child. She couldn’t imagine leaving it to the crows.
 
Letting her gaze burn into Cedric’s for only a moment, Celia darted towards the corpse. Only when she was hit with a spray of bloody snow did she realize she’d failed to anticipate the cub’s desires. The tawny youth attained a tree in only a few strides, and before Celia had registered its trajectory it had begun to scramble up the trunk. “No!” she cried reflexively, leaping at the foot of the tree. “Please! We want to help.”
 
The cub reached a limb that it must have judged high enough to be out of reach and scrambled onto it. It stared down at the wolf pup and hissed. Its claws pierced the limb, but Celia saw the whites of its eyes. She hesitated. The cub was scared out of its mind. Shame rose up in her throat, and she looked back at Cedric for guidance, or maybe grounding.
 
Something stirred in her then, beginning between her ribs and then shooting into her limbs.
 
Oh.
 
It happened about as quickly as Celia would have expected, but given the circumstances her body took an agonizingly long time to make its first shift. In a matter of a minute the girl’s forelegs had begun to extend into arms, and her digits into fingers that grasped strongly the lowest branch of the tree. Emboldened and without consideration for the cub’s fright and threats, Celia strained her muscles in their still-settling Optime orientation and tried to pull herself up.
#8
Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

stuff here

Cedric was only partly knowledgeable on the state of relationships between canine and other species. Obviously their kind adopted a lot of creatures into their lives that deep down felt like had once been nothing more than the next meal. Casa raised cattle and livestock, not all for consuming, and rode upon horses. Then beyond that you had thing such as Cedric's own friend in Miny the crow, a creature that by all natural rights Cedric should just kill and eat. But there was something stopping that; a respect for other lives, an understanding of usefulness. All was different from the relationship between a canine and another predator. Oviduu, although a big and powerful feline, was seen more like a wolf than as his original species. Cedric had never doubted the tigers intentions because the big cat was adopted family. 

But adopting something that was a challenge to canine nature, like big cats or other dangerous predators, came at the risk of never finding mutual respect. The younger the better, but Cedric didn't know if that would necessary work for this cub. There too many questions and risks here. If Casa took in every orphaned stray creature, then surely the pack would be overrun with them. 

Celia's reaction to her father's warning growl was a bit surprising, as was the girl backing away towards the cub when Cedric tried to bring an end to this encounter. But Cedric understood that his own opinion, made from experience, would not align with one of his daughter's. Celia and soledad were raised to be caring, Cedric imagined it wouldn't be a long stretch for them to reflect that need to help towards non-canine as well. Though naturally, the cub didn't want any help, or didn't know what it wanted. Celia approached, and the creature ran.

Sharp claws helped it bolt up a tree and left, Celia following, then Cedric approaching to ensure his daughter wasn't going to be harmed. She looked to him for guidance, and before Cedric could explain the vast difference between the pair of them and this new feline orphan, Celia was curling into herself. Fiery eyes widened as Cedric watched his little girl's form shift, the well-known sound of her body changing into something new. "Celia, are you alright?" The father asked, needing to know if her first shift was causing her harm, even if he'd never heard of it causing damage in the past. With the razor-sharp focus of a guard, Cedric saw beige movement from above as the cougar cub tried moving further up the tree. Its claws pulled against a branch that Cedric could tell wasn't going to hold its weight, so when the cub tried pulling up, Cedric could predict the then sudden snap. 

With a little screech of surprise, the cat fumbled claws across the tree to regain its grip, but was falling close to where Celia was trying to hold onto herself. Not wanting to see sharp talons even near his daughter's face, Cedric's large hands lashed out to grab hold of light brown fur and pull the cub away. It yowled, though a young and weak sound, bearing needle-like teeth as Cedric fought to grasp it by the scruff and legs to stop it from struggling. 




Cedric Stryder

A Knight Carries His Shield 
For The Sake Of The Entire Line
#9
Celia’s internal state was a little chaotic – a mixture of joy, shame, excitement, fear, and frustration. She couldn’t imagine what the cub was thinking as it scrabbled further upwards, but her father’s concerned tone coaxed her to release her failing grip on the tree and settle her weight back onto the cold ground. “I’m okay,” she said, voice a little higher pitched than usual, just as a branch overhead snapped.
 
The Knight girl ducked in anticipation of a storm of claws coming down on her head, but suddenly the silver arms of her father were stretching forward and pulling the cub away. All the same, one of its flailing paws connected with Celia’s wrist, and she cried out in surprise more than pain as it was wrenched away by Cedric’s efforts.
 
It took Celia a moment to register what had just happened, staring and holding her wrist in her other hand, but the cougar’s hoarse cry stirred her feet towards her Lune as he strained to control it, cloak thrust back and jerking with every movement. Celia, wearing nothing in anticipation of needing nothing, closed the distance between them and joined the struggle. Her muzzle wrinkled into a reflexive snarl. Though it was still a child her father struggled with, it had also become a danger to contain, and the girl wasn’t gentle as she finally managed to grab hold of the cat’s hind legs. Then Cedric managed to immobilize it by grasping its scruff, and together they lowered it to the ground and held it there.
 
“What now?” she asked, staring blankly and expectantly at her father as only a child beyond her steady threshold can. They certainly couldn’t abandon it now, could they? Not after essentially bullying it into submission.
#10
Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

stuff here

Cedric couldn't say that this was a bad time to finally shift. His own shift, whilst actually perfectly timed, happened in a terrible setting. He'd had to push rubble away from himself and Naya, shifting just in time to make the job easier. Celia's was triggered by the stress of this moment no doubt, her urge to help the orphaned creature, her shock at what was going on. It all piled up and forced this shift on her in a moment where it really wasn't convienent. But her father was here to keep things safe, literally grabbing the sharp-clawed creature from the air as it almost fell on his daughter. Not completely unscathed; one of the cubs claws caught Celia's hand, and although the father's instinct was immediately to protect and remove the threat, he reminded himself that the cub wasn't intending on causing harm during the fall. 

So Cedric didn't let the cub go, despite it struggling, though was surprised when Celia joined to help. Cedric's grip on the kitten's scruff meant it couldn't bite Celia, but the father was still quick to move the situaton along to avoid any harm coming to his girl. Together, they got it pinned, which was a setting where most creatures naturally gave in to avoid unnecessary damage. Which the cub did, finally freezing and growling quietly into the ground, keeping its body tense as if ready to launch the moment it was let go. 

Which Cedric should have done. He should have told Celia to let go and release the cub to run off into the forest. Celia asked him what they would do, and in his gut Cedric knew he wasn't going to let go. He did not have the heart to literally release this orphaned cub from his care, not when he could try to help it. Yes, the cougar was a natural foe of the canine, but it didn't mean Cedric wanted them all dead. Death was tragic, perhaps there was still a chance for a life for this little kitten. Not in Casa, but maybe if Cedric helped the kitten survive, maybe the cat would find a good life out in the wilds. 

So with a sigh, Cedric tugged off his cloak and quickly wrapped it around the cub, restraining the kitten and ensuring its claws couldn't catch anything. The Lune looked to Celia with a small smile. "Well... we can't leave it now. Like you said, we should help." Cedric announced, pulling the bundled cub close to his chest and ignoring the slightly louder growling. "It might not like it, but we'll feed it and let it rest until it's strong enough to live alone, sound fair?"

The father took a moment then, still looking at his daughter, to relax his gaze and look her up and down. Her new form; still a bit small but very beautiful and strong. "Celia... you look incredible." Cedric commented, genuine and honest in his opinions as always.




Cedric Stryder

A Knight Carries His Shield 
For The Sake Of The Entire Line
#11
(Sorry for the wait on this one! Wanna end it here?)

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Celia was too harried to try and glean the answer to her question off her father’s face. Even when he swaddled the cub in his cloak, the girl wasn’t sure what he’d decided. But her heart leapt when he answered, at last, and she gave an involuntary gasp. “Yes!” she said, breathlessly. Her thoughts didn’t venture so far to consider what it would be like, living with a young competitive predator that wanted to bite and slash. Right now, she was just excited at the novelty of it.
 
The pale girl took a step back to give Cedric and his angry charge a healthy berth. She held up her wrist and examined it, wincing. The bleeding was already slowing, and the cuts weren’t deep. Her gaze flicked up to see her hand, also sticky with blood, and she ran her thumb across the pads of her fingers exploratorily. When she looked up to see if Cedric was ready to leave this place – the carcass stunk, however enticingly, behind them – she realized he’d been studying her. The Lune’s cloak vibrated with the animal’s fury, and probably fear.
 
Celia met her father’s sights, identical to hers, and then looked back down at her testing hand, embarrassment and warmth curling together in her belly. “Thanks, Papa,” she said, a small smile touching her commissure. She didn’t care at all for beauty in its plainest sense, but every girl glows at such a compliment from her father.
 
The cougar child gave a sudden louder growl, probably at the sound of her voice, and the Knight made to follow Cedric home. It didn’t quite occur to her to apologize. She had disobeyed and put her father in this position. But Celia wasn’t the sort to wallow in shame and regret, especially not while things were still unfolding. Later, if this turned out poorly for the cougar or for her family, she would wallow indeed, albeit silently.


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