[AW] start again, from the bottom, and grow
[ grovekeeper rank 1, forward dated to jan 13 ]
#1
Quote:Prepare a patch of land to become part of the garden. - Grovekeeper Rank 1

They said; each seed has a humble beginning. It was true. Each seed was tended to by humble thought and humble hands, even if they were hardworking and intentional. Bae had been a scout for so long that he never considered picking up and planting things. Growing some food was one thing, but providing for the realm was another. Crops were not important to him, a Luperci who ate mostly meat, but herbs could be cultivated in favor of cabbage. Then the realm would have its own supply of medicine and a garden to make them feel at peace. After the war, they needed a place to relax.

Baelfire scoured the Bastion's supplies. He found some seeds in a dark corner, not usable in their current state. Reading the package, someone had written it was flower seeds. But he wasn't here to plant. Nothing would survive the cold and nothing would grow in it. He picked up a small shovel and went to work in the City Square. His residence had mostly been spared. Imrah was out front, giving a nicker of welcome to her owner. The roan had been through a war but she bounced back quickly. "Hello," he said softly to her, approaching the horse and giving her a pat "just going to do some work here."

He bent down, still a bit sore from the injuries he hadn't been able to dodge since destroying the catapult. He began to arrange rocks around in a large circle outside of his cottage by the side. He'd make two gardens; for each side of the cottage. The rocks served as a barrier, and there would be no shortage of them since the catapults had rained down most of them from outside. He would only take the smaller ones, less boulder-sized than stones. "There," he grunted softly, leaning back to admire his work. Now that was out of the way, he'd begin to clear the area inside the stone circles. Busy work was busywork.

He used the shovel to clear the snow away, checking the soil underneath. While not a very experienced gardener, he deemed the soil better than most. It was frozen but it'd thaw. Better than nothing. There were no rocks or minerals in it too. An added bonus. He sweeps the rest of the snow to the side, making large piles on either barrier. Bae began to pull out any weeds that were still there, using his hands to do the task. A few times he had to pause, used to harvesting but not cultivating. He breathed a bit hard but continued after a short rest. "One done," he said to no one in particular. Only himself. To his knowledge, anyway, he was the only one here.

Not that he minded at all. It was quiet, honest work. He'd be done in another hour or so, clearing the opposite circle of the earth. Come spring, he'd be able to plant some seeds and watch them grow. He hoped they did grow; the man was a complete novice. Maybe he should ask someone but he didn't know any other aspiring Grovekeepers.
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#2
WC: 466

On four paws, Arran wandered through City Square, looking at the damage to various buildings. His own house had taken damage, though thankfully not a direct hit from the catapults. He was sure the roof was going to leak quite a bit when it warmed up enough to rain instead of snow, which was not great. They would need to fix that as soon as possible, but since he was not sure exactly how to go about doing that, he was going to need to find some help. There were other buildings with more damage, though, so he did not think his roof was really a priority. Really, the priority was helping everyone move forward at whatever speed was right for them. Some may struggle a lot and others less so. He was worried about everyone, though, and as a Heartward, he was hoping to lend a listening ear to anyone who wanted it. Some would not want to talk about what happened, or at least not yet, and that was fine. 

As he walked, he spotted Baelfire in the garden patches with snow pushed aside. Arran did not think about the gardens much in the winter because they were buried and he was usually out making sure that the sheep and goats could safely move about their pen. But, if gardening would help Baelfire cope, Arran was all for it. Besides, he was always up for some digging. Digging was a great way to work out anxiety or just focus on something easy and let his mind rest. Well, as much as Arran's mind rested anyway.

Before the catapult burning mission, Arran had seen Baelfire around a little and knew his name but that was it. He did not know what skills he had or where he had come from, which made him a little sad. The pack had grown so much since it was founded and it was no longer realistic to know everyone well. Now there would be friends and acquaintances and maybe coworkers... and Rand. Maybe now was a good time to get to know him a little bit better.

Decision made, Arran turned and approached Baelfire, making sure that he approached from the front. Arran was not sure which of his pack mates might react badly to having someone suddenly come up behind them.

"Hi," Arran greeted when he got close enough. "Mind if I help? I can dig at the surface a little to help loosen the weeds." With the ground mostly frozen, he would not be able to dig down very far at all, but he could scratch at the surface to help make the weeds a little easier to remove. Really though, he just wanted to dig and he would take any excuse possible to do it.
ARRAN
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#3
Quote:Prepare a patch of land to become part of the garden. - Grovekeeper Rank 1

Bae glanced over his shoulder. The voice had been familiar to him, even if he did not know it well. He half expected Liam or Kule, Eulalie or Valkyrie... Even King Iomair coming to check to see what was being done. He did not expect Arran, a man he had little contact with until the catapult decision. "Hello," he said politely, still a Commoner but unable to bend down even more than he already was "this side is done, but you can help me clear the snow on the other garden-to-be." He looked away and across the cottage's other side, giving a nod.

If Arran followed, Bae lifted himself from the ground and began to bring the tools to the other side with him. The shovel was almost godly in helpfulness, but no doubt the other Luperci would assist greatly too. He bent down again, his knees under him as he leans to the left. He lets Arran have the right. With the little shovel, he began to shift the snow to the side. It wasn't as deep as he expected. Bae didn't know whether to thank the weather or the last stand for help depleting the snow. His cottage had withstood harm, his horse was safe... But the grounds around the area were downtrodden with pawprints.

"You're Arran, right?" he asked casually as he scooped more snow "we... didn't have a chance to, err, introduce ourselves last time" He wasn't even sure the man knew his name "if you don't know, I'm Baelfire." Slowly, surely, the scarred Luperci was beginning to come out of his shell. It was only by these conversations and meetings did he have the chance to practice socializing. Maybe he'd become as charismatic as a merchant. But he'd never be as slick as some of them. No, he did not have it in him to cheat and undercharge people.
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#4
OOC: don't need a snowblower when you have an Arran XD | WC: 459

IC:
"Sounds good!" Arran said, looking over to the next garden plot. He scanned around it, deciding where he wanted to aim the snow he was going to send flying as he trotted over to it. This was going to be fun, and fun was very needed right now.

"That's right, I'm Arran," He responded with a doggy smile as his bobtail wagged and he followed along to the other garden plot. Being on four paws meant that he was not too useful for helping bring any tools over, though, but it seemed that Baelfire was fine in that regard. "It's nice to officially meet you." Arran decided that he really needed to make a point of saying hello to new pack members, and maybe help them feel welcome. Then again, if he had been doing that all along, he could very well have been making the spies feel welcome, too. Or making their jobs easier. Still, that was not a reason to stop being friendly. In his experience, there were more nice canines than cruel ones out there.

"You can usually find me with the sheep and goats, but I'm also one of the pack's Heartwards, so I like to listen if someone needs to get something off their chest." Arran was not sure if Baelfire knew all the different jobs, but also Arran did not often do the 'invite someone into his bed to comfort them' side of the role. Unless they wanted to sleep in the family sleep pile; that was generally welcome, too, especially in the winter when more body heat was great.

Arran moved around the garden plot and lined up so that the snow he moved would land nearby and not onto the garden bed that Baelfire had already cleared. Then he started digging. It was difficult not to sink into The Digging Zone, but he had to pay more attention than that to what he was doing. He was not here to dig holes (unfortunately), so he moved as he dug, creating a snow mound in a line behind him.

He was not too surprised to find weeds under the snow. They grew so fast that it was a lot of work to keep on top of them all. Maybe it would be easier with more grovekeepers. Arran dabbled in helping with the gardens, mostly with planting under instruction from someone who knew more about plants than he did. Really he just liked to dig in the dirt for a legitimate reason, rather than he just wanted to make a bunch of holes somewhere.

"How long have you been part of the pack?" Arran asked. He could not remember when it was that he started seeing Baelfire around.
ARRAN
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#5
Quote:Prepare a patch of land to become part of the garden. - Grovekeeper Rank 1

Another Heartward. So there were more in the pack - a shame he'd never use their 'services'. Not really, anyway. Listening to people was one thing but bedding a stranger was another. Bae nodded. "I've met one before, a Heartward," he said to Arran "she did my hair by the river; wanted to practice making herself approachable" he smirked lightly at the memory, amused by his reaction to Hokori's profession at the time "I can't say I've ever heard of such a job before New Caledonia though" he added with quiet wonder "I wonder what other occupations I've never heard of are here..." Though nothing happened between Hokori and him, he had helped her nonetheless with her approachability.

As the two men went to work on the gardening, Bae fell into a quiet rhythm. He shoveled the snow to the side that Arran didn't get, careful not to get in the man's way. "Since early December" he uttered when the question was posed "hmm" he leaned a bit to the side to inspect the weeds "do you know how to pull a weed out?" he asked the other Luperci "you can dig around the stock in a circle and use your teeth to pull the plant out. The circular digging will loosen the soil and allow you to grab the entire plant out so it won't spread if you miss a few pieces."

Bae leaned forward on his patch, using his bare hands to dig around a few weeds in a large circle. Instead of his teeth, he used his hands again to tug at the plant crop and pull it effectively out. Of course, he'd have to do this again and again over the course of a few weeks before spring. "I guess some people thought I was a spy," he said quietly to Arran, throwing the weeds to the side.
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#6
WC: 511

Arran paused in his snow clearing when Baelfire mentioned a weed pulling technique. He always liked to learn new things, especially when it was something he was interested in anyway. Working more efficiently was usually good, except when it meant that his digging time was cut short. This technique was good, though, because it was just more focused digging.

"That makes sense," Arran said, nodding his understanding as he watched Baelfire show how he pulled the weed out more easily. He supposed it would be far easier once the ground thawed and the plant roots were easier to get to. "We'll have to do that a lot in the spring since some of these weeds are pretty big." From pulling weeds before, he had learned that taller weeds sometimes had deeper roots. "I don't mind digging everything up then to make it easy to get rid of the weeds." He said this with a doggy smile and a wagging tail. Really, any excuse to dig was a good excuse, and it was a bonus when it was also productive. Once the weeds were gone, he could do even more digging to organize the dirt into rows for whatever plants were going to be grown here.

Arran started using Baelfire's technique then, getting the weeds that were more shallow with it and he quickly had a small but growing pile. He paused again when Baelfire mentioned the suspicion of him being a spy. He tipped his head, considering the idea.

"I suppose it makes sense with the timing," Arran said; he did not think there was much he could do to soften it. It had happened. Everyone was suspicious when it became clear that there were spies among them. New pack members were an easy target for that suspicion and mistrust, as unpleasant as it was for the innocent new joiners. He supposed it was also not much of a welcome to them, and he hoped that they were able to see the good things about the pack going forward: how they were when they were not at war. How they came together to celebrate and to mourn, and how they worked together to continue keeping the pack alive.

"I'm glad you weren't, though," Arran added. "Having new pack members is normally a good thing because they bring new ideas or are able to bolster areas where we need help." He knew that it might be difficult for the pack to accept new members for a while now. He did not know when the borders would even reopen to their neighboring packs who they were friendly with, let alone canines they did not know at all. "Hopefully we'll learn to trust new folks again. And give you a better impression of what life here is normally like." He glanced around him at the various damaged buildings of City Square. Getting back to normal was going to take a while, if it was even possible at this point. He supposed there would be a new normal instead.
ARRAN
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#7
Bae could not help but chuckle. "You really enjoy digging" he didn't want to point out the obvious but Arran's easygoing and agreeable nature caused him to smirk "I'll have to keep tending to the earth before spring, but you're welcome to come and join me should you have the itch to dig." While not every day would need to be neck-deep in the earth, he realized Arran enjoyed the work and didn't bitch about it as some would. He seemed quite happy digging around in the muck, wherein Bae just didn't care. He accepted this as yet another thing to do to improve his time in the pack, and the pack's time as well. They could all stand to have their herb garden within the confines of their territory.

"I think we're done now," he said, leaning back as he inspected both their work. Good enough for one amateur Grovekeeper and one dig-happy Heartward. He was about to invite the man in for some tea and warm his paws by a fire when Arran spoke again. Yes. The spying business. Bae didn't blame anyone for thinking he was a spy. The timing, as the man said, was perfect for it. "you all haven't scared me away yet" he tried to joke, shooting the other Luperci an amused smirk "I can see the community beyond the, ah... fear and mistrust. It's something I wanted to be part of for some time." He didn't want to point out that New Caledonia had lacked in some areas. Fear made people do awful things.

He only hoped the pack could see past this awful event and move forward. "I look forward to the day we put all this behind us," Bae remarked, "so I can see New Caledonia in its glory," Some remarked that the realm even glimmered in the good old days. Full of wealth and promise. He wanted to see that. The scarred man grunted softly as he raised himself from the ground "until that time, we need to look out for our own" The pack came first "and I need to warm my hands by a fire, I don't know about you." He had enough leftover wood to start a small fire. Maybe not inside the cottage but outside so anyone could use it. Still, the offer hung in the air. Not sure if Arran had other plans.

Bae could stand to reach outside his comfort zone and make allies with others.
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#8
OOC: a good place to wrap up, I think? WC: 529

IC:
"Love it," Arran confirmed with a doggy smile, his tongue lolling out the side of his mouth as his short tail wagged, making his hind end wag a little along with it. "Sometimes I get a bit carried away." At least he could go off into the territory and dig holes in places that did not matter. It was not something he did all that often, but it was always fun when he did. He always made sure to put the holes somewhere that no one was likely to step in them by accident. Even if he filled them with the dirt again, they were always squishy, never like the firm ground they were before he went to town.

With a nod, Arran glanced at what they had managed. It was pretty good for being so cold; less weeds to pull in the spring would speed things up, at least a little bit. Arran was hoping to learn more about the plants then and how to take care of him so he would be a more useful Grovekeeper, beyond just digging holes, pulling things that were obviously weeds, and bringing buckets of water for when the plants were looking a little sad. Those were useful skills or actions, but he still wanted to learn more. Besides, it was much different from his usual chores looking after the livestock, and branching out was good.

Arran huffed a laugh at Baelfire's joke, glad that he was willing to stick around despite the way things started out here for him. Arran knew that it had not been a great time to join a pack. He was sure that the mistrust would have been obvious, and of course the events that followed. He was a bit surprised at the lack of newer members not simply leaving. He would not blame them if they did; the pack had not really proven to be a particularly safe place to live for the past few months.

"I think we'll get back to that eventually," Arran said, referring to the pack's glory. It was possible that they would be finding a new normal rather than going back to the old normal, but either way, he was confident that the pack could be a good place to live once again, even for newly joined members. It would just take a while to heal the wounds that were visible and those that were not.

"A fire sounds like a good idea," Arran said, looking down at his paws. "Especially since I need to clean my paws so I don't track mud everywhere in the house." Walking around in the snow for a little bit should take care of that, but it would be faster to use water. And much colder. "I can bring something to eat, and we could talk a bit more about the garden?" He was not sure what sort of knowledge Baelfire had about it, but he thought it was a good place to start getting to know him more. Arran always liked making new friends, and he was definitely not about to let the recent events take that away from him.
ARRAN
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#9
Arran was confident about many things. Bae continually worried about his actions, wondering if he'd ever do anything right. Sometimes he felt like a burden, which is why he worked so damn hard to do anything. He didn't want praise, he wanted acknowledge he was doing something useful. "I hope so" he uttered to the man's words, knowing their community could be strong again. He just had a feeling it'd take longer than most, and he'd do everything in his power to welcome new faces when the borders opened again. "come, I'll start a fire." And he made to collect the various wooden logs he had collected prior to the siege.

Somehow, they hadn't burned. But they had a lot of water in them. His cottage mostly escaped harm too. It was amazing how that happened. "I had some dried meat, but I don't know if anyone has picked my cottage clean" he weakly chuckled. Bae had given his cottage a once-over, noticing the gifts he had gotten from Valkyrie still remained in their hiding spot "if you bring the food, I'll also find some water for you to wash your paws." He had to have something somewhere... right? As the two began their social dance, Bae couldn't help feel a bit lighter. Some hard work was all he needed to get back into the swing of things.

Arran's demeanor helped too, of course. Bae could not help but be a bit cheerful, considering the mess of emotions he felt days prior. He entered the cottage, spotted the wood in a corner and brought it outside. If Arran went off to find food, Bae busied himself with starting the flames. When the other Luperci got back, he'd find a small fire and Bae waiting to discuss more. It helped to have someone to talk to during these times.
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