[RO] No place to go but everywhere
bNPC prompt Wrote:Dawnsong scouts Broken Occident and Ethereal Eclipse and mostly tries to learn about the local flora and fauna. She takes extensive notes about trees, plants, potential prey, etc. She isn’t particularly keen to talk to strangers, but will ask about the area and area packs and mention timidly that her crew is here to trade.
Wayfinder prompt Wrote:Learn some information from some outsiders - packs, or otherwise, the more snooping, the better! [1062/1000]
Location: Ethereal Eclipse || NPCs: Amadahy (horse), Dawnsong Pembroke (bNPC) || Form: Optime

Relishing the quiet of solitude, Rafaela was content to give the mare her head and simply enjoy where the ride took her. Following the deer trails that disrupted the thick undergrowth and wove between the trunks of ancient trees, crossing over countless freshwater tributaries and innumerable decaying logs, the forest here felt wilder than she was used to. But maybe that was only because it was different. Back home, she felt confident that she could navigate the forests of Tall Tree blindfolded; maybe even the sprawling, uneven, precipitous Trailside and La Caída, too, if she was feeling especially ballsy. Nah, there was nothin' wilder about this forest than back home, she decided silently to herself. And, given enough time, she thought she could do the same here, too.

These thoughts gradually faded in favor of more important matters, namely the upcoming horse race. For her part, Rafa had spent a great deal of time and energy preparing for this competition, even going so far as to delay furthering Saratoga's training to allow more time with Amadahy. She hoped that it wouldn't negatively impact the filly's trust in her or affect her confidence with what she already knew, but she would find out soon enough. As excited as she was for the race, and as refreshing it was to be away from the turmoil of home life, Rafaela was definitely ready to be in Del Cenere again.

The distinct sound of a snapping branch, sharp and clear in the surrounding silence, drew her attention instantly and she urged Amadahy to a halt.

Searching with her senses on high alert, Rafaela scented him before she saw him: a large deer the likes of which she had never seen before. His antlers, still in velvet, were of a size and a shape that did not reflect the white-tail bucks or the moose bulls she was more familiar with. They were vaguely reminiscent of caribou antlers, but larger and more spindly, and the beast himself shared no resemblance to what few caribou she recalled seeing.

"The hell...?" she whispered to herself, squinting and sniffing at him.

Another sound, this time in the opposite direction, demanded Rafa's immediate attention and the beast took his leave without another thought.

"You best show yourself right the hell now," Rafa said into the surrounding green, scenting another canine but unable to make out where they were in the thick brush.

When she emerged from the undergrowth, it was a wonder to the Del Ceneren first, how she hadn't been able to find her before and second, how the woman had managed to hide her height and lanky limbs at all. Not to mention the stark, highly-contrasting markings of black and white that spanned her long body. Despite her size, however, Rafa was pacified by her other defining features and thought that she wouldn't think twice if she had seen the woman in Charmingtown.

"I'm very, very sorry," the woman said softly, clearly anxious. "I didn't- I wasn't... I'm only out here for... for plants. Just looking for plants."

Sitting atop her mare, Rafaela looked down at the black-and-white hybrid with little expression. She seemed genuine enough, or, in the very least, harmless, and there didn't seem to be any others that the Ashen could scent in the vicinity. Gradually, the coyote relaxed.

"You see that big deer?" When the other woman nodded, Rafa continued. "You know what it is?"

Again, the woman nodded. Silent, Rafaela lifted her brows and canted her head expectantly. "That's- That was an elk."

"Elk." She gave the direction that the beast had gone a final, thoughtful glance before returning her attention to the woman. "You from around here, then?" When the woman didn't immediately respond Rafa sighed. "Look, I ain't fixin' to do you no harm. I just ain't from 'round these parts is all." Another pause, and the coyote softened her expression with intent. "I'm Rafaela Tejada from the Del Cenere Gang on up to the far north. You know where Moosehead Lake is? Well... it's a good long way from here." She shrugged. "Only this far south to compete in that Cavalier pack nearby."

"My name is Dawnsong Pembroke," the hybrid at last offered, appearing marginally less nervous about Rafa now that she had provided more details about herself. "We- other members of the crew and I, is what I mean... We set up camp along the shoreline farther to the south. Oglethorpe."

"What's that?"


"Yeah, I heard you, but what the hell is that?"

"Oh. A name, our name- I mean, of our camp. It's the name of our camp."

"Huh." She glanced past Dawnsong in the direction she thought their camp might be and saw only forest. "Oglethorpe, you say? You a pack, then?"

Dawnsong shifted uncomfortably. "No, not exactly. We... sailed here, from Savannah, to explore and trade goods."

Now that piqued Rafa's interest and it showed in her eyes and her ears. "Del Cenere does a fair amount of tradin' ourselves."

"D-does your pack... What things does your pack have? For trade, I mean."

"Plenty of things, but mostly livestock and such."

And Rafaela shared what she knew about the things that might be available for trade, and about Del Cenere at large -- especially Charmingtown -- and their conversation felt more easy, more comfortable, from then.

"We got someone in Del Cenere who likes plants too, same as you. I reckon you two would get along." Dawnsong said nothing but a small hum of acknowledgement bubbled in her throat. "Anyhow, I oughta let you get on back to your plants. Maybe we'll see you 'round."

"Yes, maybe."

Dawnsong gave a little wave as Rafaela urged Amadahy along the trail again, her back to the woman. When she looked behind her a final time, the black-and-white hybrid had, once more, melted into the surrounding thickets and brush as if she had never been there at all. But the Tejada woman's head was filled with the memory of their conversation, and of the information that she had gleaned, and she was committed to sharing all of the most important points with the Rey Salvaje and the rest of her fellow Ashen.

[WC -- 1062]
OOC: backdated to during the 'Souls Olypmics, hosted by Casa di Cavalieri (est. date: 7 Jun - 9 Jun).

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