Threat or Happenstance?
[[A fresh trail leads to the borders and leads away. Care to join Nazar in discovering it?]]

[Image: Nazman.png]With the long list of chores that he'd been finishing successfully, he found himself weary by the end of each day. He was fast to fall to sleep and quick to rise in the morning, fearless of the cold as he started each day earlier than the sun had risen. This morning was no different.

With his brown shirt sitting open on his chest and what was left of his torn pants, he worked his way down the steps of the courthouse. Paws met the snow covered paths that were piled with a fresh sheet of white, and his dark paws moved effortlessly through it, leaving muddy prints in his wake. His direction was toward the East, just before the sandy shores of the Loch at Whisper Beach. There, he followed the edge of the territory toward the South.

Pale blue eyes reached out into the snow-lit wilderness that butted up against Casa di Cavalieri, sights searching through the falling flakes of ice crystals that gave the world an ethereal glow in a tint of blue. Nazar didn't particularly have a game plan should someone or something be on the edge of the territory, and he couldn't honestly say that he'd handle it as well as another Cavalier.

There were rules in place for how loners and strangers should be treated, and as far as Nazar was concerned, as long as he didn't kill anyone he was in the clear. Ultimately, not finding anyone or anything would be a best case scenario, and really the only souls that Nazar thought Casa should worry about were the three that ran under the same title as himself. The Dishonored. Hopefully, they didn't have anyone on the outskirts waiting for them.

They'd run once before. What was to say that they wouldn't again?



Patrols, patrols, patrols, patrols.

Fenris and Artoi help her, she officially hated patrols.

But, per Eros's verdict, every day, Artoia ran patrols. It was a familiar path she'd learned to run, one her mentor used too, she was sure. She mixed it up, every now and then. Took a different path.

She also never went alone, always picking up on another of the adults to accompany.

Well, if one thing could be said of her constant role being on the move, she'd grown leaps and bounds in stamina, leaning and toning her muscles, her body.

And not just her physical body had changed, but her mind had as well, in little steps, one at a time.

Over the course of time it had been since the catastrophe of the Feast, since the day she had devoted everything that she had to Eros and finding who had done this tragedy, the patrols had helped her to build a working map of the territory in her head. She didn't know every nook and cranny, true, at least for now. With time, it would be refined.

Though Eros had mentioned also teaching her to control and redirect the anger that had flooded her on that night, and every day following it.

Ironically enough, running patrols did that also. Perhaps that had been Eros's intention by design, but she didn't care to ask. He had his methods to teaching her. Roundabout they were, leaving him to most of his own devices conveniently enough. It worked, though, for the most part.

This time, no one was available to join her as she finished her own chores around the Camp and the sparse few left around the stables after Lucian had wrapped up there. So she forayed alone, dismissing the guard's pointed questions as to where she was going with a brief, "Running border check for Eros, like usual. Be back before nightfall."

On the path out to the border, she caught another's trail, one she was familiar with. Prints in the snow, dislodged mud, the snapped twigs of bushes as he passed by, and his scent. Easy finding, just like Lyra had been. Just the mere thought had her shoulder aching at the memory. Artoia shook the sensation off like a horse and an irritating fly, refocusing her glacial green gaze on the terrain around her.

From Nazar's trajectory, he was starting at the northernmost point to the east of Whisper Beach and heading south along the border. From how old the scent was, he wasn't far ahead of her, and not particularly in a hurry either. Picking up the pace to a ground-eating lope, she aimed to catch up with him.

Finally she did, though she didn't waste breath announcing herself when he could clearly hear her footfalls several moments before she appeared at his heel. When even with him, she glanced at him. "Eros's orders, I have to patrol with someone. Smelled you as I was leaving the Fort, didn't think you'd mind me taking advantage of the opportunity. Don't have to make idle chitchat, if you don't want to." it came out in a single exhale that she swiftly replaced in the bellows of her lungs.

"Find anything yet so far?"

She still had leagues to go in knowing the world, but she felt like she knew a fragment of Nazar. From a pup, to their spar the other day. She'd won then, even if it hadn't come easy. Artoia wasn't arrogant enough to believe it had been all because of her skill, or strength either. He'd ceded to her, though not without pummeling bruises into her skin in his efforts to best her first. She could feel their echoes, peppered across her flesh.

She'd just never stayed down when he'd pushed her there.

Ooc here

[Image: Nazman.png]It came from afar, the rhythm, the crisp sound of paws breaking through the thin layer of ice that gathered atop the snow. Silver tipped ears swiveled atop his crown, aiming aft, as the sound of someone encroaching on his solitude grew near. At the expense of being caught off his guard, he turned a blue eye over his shoulder and it cast upon a familiar red-wine girl that came up from behind.

Nothing more than a hum rose in Nazar's throat as he returned sights to the front and out into the wilds that bordered the Cavalier land.

Artoia made it know where she'd come from, why she'd come, and at who's orders she was prompted to follow. All the things that lead her here, to disturb the quiet of the world with her presence, and Nazar could do little in protest to it. It seemed she was already understanding the concept of what the woodsmoke man was like when she offered up the respite of idle prattle. That, he was thankful for.

Immediately after she'd stated that idle conversation wasn't on the menu, Artoia piped up with a question that seemed rather trivial. If he had found something, she'd have known it. All of Casa di Cavalieri would know it. He wasn't about to go defending the territory of his own accord. There was too much there that could go wrong, specifically, murder was frowned upon.

“No,” He responded quietly, without returning his attention to her. Blue eyes scrutinized the space ahead of them, instead, and suddenly something garnered an intense attention.

It was there, out in the naked branches of a bush that his sights caught something out of the ordinary. The snow was disrupted and a trail leading from out of the territory came to a stop at the brush.

“Yes,” His voice trailed as he corrected himself, a curious note lifting as he strayed away from the path in the snow that had been beaten by many scouts before him.

As he neared, he offered a lazy gesture, a half-hearted wave of his hand at his side to direct her to what he was seeing. There, on the branches, a tuft of hair shivered in the wind, and two sets of tracks were planted into the snow. Two souls neared the boundary, their scents heavy with salt water and sand. They seemed to consider something, the paws-prints left by them pointed in all directions, before two trails lead away from the territory in another direction, but away nonetheless.

“What does this look like to you?” Rather than leave it up to his own assumptions, he didn't want to be the one that made a poor decision and had to deal with it later. He'd done well plenty enough of that.

It could simply have been a couple of loners that stopped at the edge of the territory. That didn't seem to far from a respect to the boundary, but he couldn't be sure. The prints carried off and away, at no great speed nor any incriminating direction. Nazar was suspect, but he wasn't exactly the sort to trust too deeply, either.


Other than her short inquiry, the snow and wine wolfess kept her words to herself, offering an affirming huff from her lungs to acknowledge his statement. He seemed grumpy, nonetheless, about her intrusion on his previously solo border check. Or maybe his face always looked like that. She wasn't too sure, she'd only officially met the man maybe three or four times in her entire lifetime, and she was only just barely reaching a year, not even passed her First Blood yet.

Her passive thoughts were cut short when, after a few moments of silence, Nazar amended his earlier statement with a simple "Yes,", and he strayed toward the location of what he'd seen.

Automatically she followed, arctic greens scanning around them while he lead them toward the suspicious spot to be inspected, wondering if anyone were watching them from beyond the border to see what they'd do about the evidence left behind. Nazar's hand gestured lazily to catch her gaze and direct her toward what he'd seen, a tuft of fur caught in the branches of a shrub, and multiple paw prints littered across the snow, trampling it to slush in some places, mud in others.

Smoothly she skirted around Nazar to take a closer look, her nose lowered to drift her nares over the prints to take in more of the salty brine of seawater and something like beach sand. She remained around the edges of the tracks so she didn't mire them with her own scent, contemplating as her gaze attempted to follow the path of either set.

"Could be loners that got cold feet before they could howl to join us," she offered first, the more optimistic option of the few she could think of. "Could be loners scouting our borders, checking how often we keep it marked to see if they can slip inside," carefully she moved her way to the furthest point along the border, checking for the path of a prey animal they might have been chasing, or anything they might have been following and come upon Casa's border by accident. "Could be taunting us; getting close, but not crossing over, so we can't actually do anything about it without seeming overly aggressive."

After only a few seconds of further consideration, and then snowy white paws began to carry her Lupus form forward, following the trail away from the border and out into the neutral territory. "Come on. Let's make sure they actually left and didn't cut a U-turn to come back further down the scent line. They might not get as close if they do, and we could miss their trail and not know we're being watched." her voice carried no command to it, so she wasn't ordering him to follow her; it was simply safer to go as a pair.

Forum Jump: