[P] the doctors got their claws in you
For Salena! West of DCG in the mountains for ya.

He relished the feeling of a fresh slate and a new leaf and how it flocked back to him each time he pressed into new lands. His meanderings allowed for a liberating fallibility that he did not have where he was born, and Starling adored it: He could try different things, meet different people. He could make mistakes and compensate for them, then move on to new territory and leave those mistakes behind. With that mindset, the Flint was hampered by virtually nothing but the typical threats any lone traveler would encounter, and to live his life freed of tethers and anxieties was as close to personally utopian as the collie mix would ever achieve.

Florian had broken off the afternoon prior as invited by a ladyfolk they had come across. It was not the first time the walking orange had split off for this exact reason, and Starling was well aware it wouldn't be the last. The collie didn't mind -- he could have followed, really, but hadn't the whim at the time -- and used it as an excuse to better explore the local area until Florian reappeared. The Burnt Mountains had been a lovely place to watch the sun rise, and Starling spent a better part of the morning chasing squirrels and hares four-legged for both sport and breakfast. With that complete and a chill in his unseasonable pelt, he shifted back to two legs, double-checked the firepit he had found and used the previous night was properly extinguished, and pushed on down through the mountains, a folded ear to the wind in case the Aatte came back.

Starling caught instead noise akin to shallow huffing and fussing and, characteristically fearless, followed it. Closer to where the mountains would turn into what Starling had already recognized as pack land was a boy, clearly unhappy and alone.

"Hey, uh," Starling called out at slight distance, brows knitted. "You okay there, fella?"
don't let bitterness become you
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Rhodes wasn't sure which was worse, the fact that he continued to let his anxiety rise for absolutely no reason whenever he was around a crowd of people, or that his friends never seemed to be around when he needed them the most. He couldn't expect them to be around him all the time on the off chance that something like this would happen. The smarter thing to do was try and find some ways of grounding himself when he was on his own rather than letting this get such a tight grip on him. Maybe they would know something he could do when he was on his own.

For the time being, he was stuck, trapped with the invisible eyes in his mind, and thoughts running for miles. He had continued to walk from the Ugly Coyote, vaguely aware of where he was going. He had given a small pause when he had gotten to the borders, if only to recognize where he was, but ended up stepping over it all the same. He had done this once before, and didn't like the feeling of being outside the Gang's lands on his own.

But he couldn't stop himself when he was stuck like this. He should have just stopped outside the bar like he had done times before.

He stopped when he had come to a mountain range, find an even spot where he might be able to sit down. At least the upside to all this was that he seemed to be alone. He did his best to try and get his huffing under control. There was no one here to stare at him, so getting rid of the eyes would be easy to do. Then it was just a matter of making sure that he could get the voices that came with them to stop.

Eyes went wide when he heard a voice to his side. Everything was going so well, in retrospect, but now they just seemed to be coming back. One nagging voice was there as he stared up at the stranger's golden gaze. It wasn't like when Azade had found him, he wasn't becoming like a shadow to him, but there were eyes on him. Someone he didn't know, and wasn't a part of the Gang had found him. This was what he didn't want. Sure, it had happened before, but that didn't mean he liked it.

He began to curl up on himself, drawing his knees towards his chest, "S-Stay away.."
(+400) | NPCs: N/A
Rhodes Winthrop

Avatar art by Lin · Sig art by N/A
He realized the stranger was younger than he thought as Starling drew closer, and in so doing recognized the same taint in the air as that lining the borders for the pack somewhere nearby. Starling knew next to nothing about the pack -- its culture, how its people treated one another -- but decided a fairly young man by himself and away from home in apparent distress did not give a positive first impression. Just the same, the collie mix let it go.

The kid physically withdrew into his own knees when greeted, and Starling paused at once when it was requested of him. He neither saw nor smelled blood in or around the boy, but it needn't be present for an injury bad enough to lock him in place.

"Okay, okay," he said as he stopped, raising open hands to signify no malintent. "I don't want to hurt you, I just need to know you're not hurt."

To further his own harmlessness, the Flint took a knee some lengths away and smiled genuine and sympathetic up at him. "I'm Starling. Do you need help?"
don't let bitterness become you
Character Wiki | cNPC Wiki | Player Wiki
Rhodes didn't like being around those he didn't know, but at least with the Gang he knew the new faces he came across were of no danger to him. Why would anyone there want to hurt him? Well.. guess with the whole situation between his father and Nazario, there was a tiny amount of reason to believe there could be intention from someone in the Gang to do so, but it still seemed highly unlikely.

That same comfort was not present here.

He could recall back to a time when he was younger, when he and Remy once had a fight. He hated the anger he felt towards his best friend, but it had been over the fact that strangers had tried to take advantage of his friend. He could have gotten hurt.. and now here he was, outside the safety of the Gang's territory. He wanted nothing more than to just go home, but of course there were two problems with that. For one, he didn't have too much of an idea on how to get back, and the other being that he felt like he couldn't move.

Ocean eyes peeked up at when he heard the male speak up. He had stopped where he was, something that Rhodes was not expecting him to do. His hands had moved up, and assured him that he was not going to hurt him. The young male wasn't sure how much he could believe such a statement. He didn't look like he would actually hurt him, but he was just so unsure.

Eyes followed him as he took a few paces back, offering the younger male a smile as he asked his question. He could feel the tightness he felt loosening up some. He genuinely looked like he wanted to help, but what could he really do or say? He had never gotten help from anyone before. He swallowed and found his head pressing down into his knees. He thought about staying silent, but he managed something, "Y-Yeah... j-just need to c-calm d-down.."
(+300) | NPCs: N/A
Rhodes Winthrop

Avatar art by Lin · Sig art by N/A

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