something in the way.
[Image: uMScYSd.png?1]BLAISE SADIRA
i watched a change in you


The sound and smell of the sea were thick upon the cool air. In the moments just after waking, when her consciousness teetered between the dreamworld and reality, the brine scent and the soft rush of distant waves were alien, alarming. But her mind eased as seconds passed her into full alertness. She remembered that she was no longer in Sinopa territory. She had chosen to leave and she had traveled northeast of her own accord, finding herself at last near to the ocean. The previous day would remain forever in her memories as the first time she beheld the ocean, an entity as vast and powerful as the night sky. She had spent several hours by the sea, enthralled, unwilling to leave it for the longest time. Her growling stomach brought her back inland a short ways, however; there was little to eat on the beach except for the scattering of foul-smelling sea life, long deceased and rotting in the spring sunlight.

Blaise was successful in finding a small forest creature to take the burning ache of hunger away. Then, she had bedded down for the night. It was now morning, and the pangs of hunger returned. It seemed she could hunt just enough to stay alive, to make the hunger bearable, but she was never satisfied. She could not seem to get ahead of it. It was becoming a graver issue by the day, and as her ribs and hipbones grew more visible, her confidence in her ability to live this solitary life waned. 

Being young, the she-wolf believed with certainty that she would find a solution. Young wolves such as herself did not die. 

A wave of fear and grief washed over her with the force of an incoming tide. The memory of her brother's smile split her heart in two. She felt her eyes sting and a flash of heat burned her face. Getting to her feet, Blaise broke into a steady lope, following the scent of the sea. The tears that had come rolled down her cheeks and then ceased to flow as she buried Jett's memory away. The pain ebbed away with each footfall, until it had disappeared as suddenly as it had come upon her.  She would travel by the seaside today, sticking to the beach as much as she could. 

The trees thinned and the earth beneath her paws softened to the sandy consistency so foreign to her. She could hear the cry of gulls and the barking of sea dogs rising amid the steady roar of the water. But there were other sounds, too, sounds in a category that she had not heard in months. Canine voices.

Her heart thudded in protest as she drew near to the pair. And an odder pair she could not have come upon. One of the individuals was a she-wolf who stood on four legs as did Blaise; young, perhaps another yearling. The other was a stocky male with rather unpleasant bodily proportions and an equally unpleasant odor emanating from his person. The Sadira girl balked inwardly, her entire being pleading with her not to approach. But her lower instincts would not allow her to turn away. For canines, survival was found in numbers. 

Lowering her stature, tail tucking slightly, Blaise drew up to them. When she spoke, her voice was breathy and soft. "Hello..." Large, periwinkle eyes alternated between the two. 

Lupus form. Please let me know if I should change anything!
Word Count: 567
Table by Silverfrost

[Image: bvCe91Q.png?1]
The rocky shoreline spread out in front of them as far as the eye could see, only occasionally disappearing behind an outcropping or large piece of driftwood. Every so often, she would see the bob of something in the water, but she couldn’t tell if it was one of the strange ocean dogs she’d told Thread about — not that he’d believed her. Or well, he had, but he’d become convinced that they must have been invisible just like her animal guides.

Frustrating, but tolerable as long as she didn’t think about it too much.

”I wish Jonk could’ve hung out with us longer,” Marten muttered to herself, still a little bummed out her new, giant friend hadn’t walked all the way to the northern land bridge with them. ”Do you think we should bring him and Woodsmoke a gift after their mateship ceremony?” Marten had tried to suggest they attend as well, but Thread interrupted her before she could; they would be busy exploring their new home, and wouldn’t make it back to New Caledonia in time.

Jonk had been understanding, but Marten hadn’t. How was Thread going to make new friends if he never met anybody more than once? Even the yearling acknowledged that most of her friends were just strangers she’d probably never meet again, if only to herself and her animal guides.

Shaking an errant clump of wet sand off her foot, she glanced over her shoulder just in time to see a fellow four-legged canine step out from between the trees. Before Thread could stop her, she barked an excited, “Hello!” at the skinny, brown-furred stranger. Unable to contain her enthusiasm but increasingly aware of personal space, she bounced from forefoot to forefoot — it seemed to get better results than running up and sniffing butts like she’d grown up with. ”What’s your name? Are you hungry? You look hungry. Thread, do you have any fish leftover?”
Marten met so many people, and strung them along to wander with either her or the two of them. Everytime it caused him to become anxious as to the demons that plodded around, a man walking with a child who wasn’t of his blood was something to scrutinize and investigate. Thankfully he had only received wary glances from folks. Thread did his best to keep their meetings brief. Brief so that the wary glances did not become weapon-wielding brawls. “I know kid, but as ya says it, he’s got his wife ta be wit.” Thread was always quick to push away Marten’s wants to spend more time with strangers.

He had to admit though, that giant man was rather handsome. Regardless, the talk of the giant’s eventual mateship ceremony brought a loneliness to Thread’s heart and mind. A loneliness his young friend could not, and should not help full. He’d just have to deal with it though, and be happy that she found some brief, conversation friends. He doubted they’d ever really see them again, though Jonk and his wife were from a pack that they’d have to go near, if they were to venture back to the mainland from where he wanted to settle.

The island, or giant peninsula if the information they found was correct, might not even be all that habitable, but he was determined to have a safe home secluded from the rest of the world. No judgmental eyes, no daggers in the dark, nothing to harm him and Marten. Well, mostly him, given that Marten would be fine out in the world of demons. Perhaps not fine, but less likely to be killed than he for simply being. “Maybe, but what could we give dem?” He asked. The two had little between them, save for two stinky blankets and Thread’s own tools and weapons. He wasn’t willing to give those up, as he’d have to steal new ones, and stealing without a weapon to protect himself was not as easy as stealing with a weapon.

Though before his companion could answer, another stranger came upon them. It was different this time, though, as Marten did not initiate. Thread cursed silently to himself, and gripped his hatchet handle tighter. He did not like meeting strangers. At times it felt like the whole world would rip past the trees, the seas would rise, and everything would come crashing down on him. At least he had Marten, the only person in hell that would dive into the way to save him. There was, what seemed, only one good soul in the strange, frightening world, and she was his friend. Not a conversation-in-passing-friend, an actual one.

“Oh hey dere,” he uttered, nervousness a hint on his breath. “No, Marten, I don’t tink so,” he lied. Thread had one fish left, but he wanted to eat it himself. He had to stop himself from baring his bare tooth even more so when Maten spoke his name. If he absolutely needed to give the fish away for he and his ward to escape, then he would, but fish were tasty.
[Image: uMScYSd.png?1]BLAISE SADIRA
i watched a change in you


The energy with which the other young woman immediately met her was offputting. Blaise's eyes drifted warily to the girl's front paws as she excitedly shifted her weight from one to the next. It was an odd combination of discomfort and endearing that the Sadira was feeling toward the young woman. She tried not to frown, or to flinch; to at the very least, keep her face expressionless. Her name was requested, and she was relieved to find that she did not have to state her most honest reason for approaching them, as the other woman revealed it for her. 

[font=cambria]Blaise remained silent as she (almost unwillingly) looked at the  male among them, who apparently was called Thread. He answered Marten that, no, they did not have any more food, and Blaise felt her heart drop. Her ears wilted in spite of herself. She drew a breath and spoke, her own nervousness quite a bit more obvious than  was Thread's.

"My name is Blaise," she began, and then paused. She detested this entire situation. She hated that she had come to a point where she must ask for help from strangers or face starvation. In this moment, the Sadira girl wished she had never left home, a wish spurned by a fear of death that had been growing, and wrapping itself more and more tightly around her like the cold tentacles of an ocean monster. 

I... I am hungry. I am very hungry. And I'm wondering if there is any way you might allow me to travel with you - j-just long enough to help you hunt a few times, in exchange for food. I am a good hunter. She attempted to keep her voice monotone, free of any audible clue of the desperation that she felt so deeply. 

" Then, I will leave you alone. " She fell silent, watching them as before. 

Word Count: 311
Table by Silverfrost

[Image: bvCe91Q.png?1]
Marten squinted at Thread, not quite believing him, but it didn’t matter. She could hunt and she could fish, and that was enough to help Blaise. ’You can travel with us as long as you need,” she insisted, the invisible figure of Bear at her back, and cut off Thread before he could disagree. ”And you shouldn’t have to hunt like this. I’ll do it, at least until you’re a little stronger.” Marten had quickly learned that if she wanted to explore something, meet someone, offer kindness to a stranger without Thread’s anxiety getting in the way, she had to do it herself.

”Where are you from? Are you alone?” Marten asked, parroting no less than five concerned adults as she examined the other girl from afar. Her questioning was a little less rapid-fire, powered by worry for her fellow wolf instead of youthful excitement. ”Thread, can you check our bag? Just in case?” Marten glanced back at him, her lips set into a firm line against her teeth. She still wasn’t sure if Thread was lying or not, but if he was she was suddenly unwilling to let him get away with it.

The air felt hot, then cold, and two voices strained to speak as one. ”Whatever happened, you’re safe now. You won’t go hungry while you’re with us.” Marten stood up straighter, her tail held higher, her voice a touch deeper. She was distinctly aware that her memories of meeting Blaise would be fuzzy, and that even that awareness would leave her if she got any more worked up. Not to Bear, though; Bear would remember.

While Blaise put together an answer, Marten followed Thread’s nervous gaze to the treeline. They doubted anyone was going to jump out and attack them, and the starving teenager posed no danger on her own, but someone needed to keep an eye out for anything strange while they did their job.
Of course she was hungry. She had to be. He’d have to give up his fish to a stranger to, in the very least, placate his ward. Yes it was good to feed the hungry, he knew as much, but it was his fish. The older male sighed and opened his mouth to offer the slimy, scaled, and likely now ambient temperature fish, but Marten cut him off. She gave promises to the stranger, breaking every rule of safety he set forth. Thread wondered if his ward ever listened. Well, he knew she did, but the lessons never stuck it seemed. The man pushed aside any foul feelings, and wiped his expression clear of any ire.

Then came the questioning that should have been uttered first. He didn’t know Blaise, he didn’t trust Blaise. Vile monsters hid in wolf’s fur, he knew that from experience. As thread set his own bag down, he held out a hand to rifle through the strangers. He was at slight ease, as it seemed Blaise was alone, but his eyes strayed to the trees and surroundings. Marten flipped the stone once more and offered safety. Nothing had been discussed at length. Nothing had been decided. She thrusted the spear before the fish was even there! Thread was becoming exasperated. “Marten,” he stated sternly while still holding out his hand to take Blaise’s bag. “Why don’t ya see if dere’s any food I forgot ‘bout in my stuff, so we kin give it ta Blaise.”

He loved her, but holy moly she’d offer someone a sword when all she had was a knife. “Looks like da kid gave ya da go ahead to come wit us,” he told her. “Don’t mean I’ll trust ya yet, ya gotta earn dat. First smell of trouble, and yer goin’, or I’ll make ya get gone, ‘unnerstan?” He had not one, but two hatchets, and he knew how to use them well. More than a few fell to his blades, and he’d make another fall, should they try to harm him or Marten.
[Image: uMScYSd.png?1]BLAISE SADIRA
i watched a change in you


Being so forward was uncomfortable for Blaise, and part of the adolescent expected to be turned away. Just as they were strangers to her, she was a stranger to them, and they had no way of knowing whether she intended harm. However, she did not have to wait long before the other female responded with a gracious agreement not only to let her join them, but to hunt for her until she had regained her strength. She began to shake her head, disagreeing with the last sentiment. Guilt swifly linked up with her sense of pride. She couldn't see herself simply lounging while the pair hunted, especially since they were taking such a grand leap of faith by letting her accompany them.

Before she could say as much, however, Marten had turned to the male and suggested he look for some food. He volleyed the task back to his ward before facing the young Sadira, evidently to address her. Of the two, he was the hesitant one, and his stinging words confirmed this. Blaise was trying to be understanding, but it remained that she had never been confronted with such mistrust, and it was not a pleasant feeling. 

Still having not once cracked a smile, she nodded. "Yes, I understand, sir," There seemed no point in adding "you can trust me," because the words would be empty to him until he saw with his own eyes that she did not have any ill intentions toward them. However, there remained Marten's question to be answered - Blaise had not forgotten it - and perhaps her response would put Threads mind a bit more at ease, as well. 

"I am alone; I have been for many weeks," she spoke in her monotone, made blander by her attempt to keep the annoyance out of her voice. She had not missed the way both of them had warily scanned the treeline at her back. Their eyes would not find any malicious shadows spying there, waiting for the perfect chance to ambush. But they don't know that, Blaise reminded herself. 

" Th-thank you both, she said, sighing tiredly. 

Word Count: 350

Table by Silverfrost

[Image: bvCe91Q.png?1]

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