[AW+] Finding your path.
Quote:Hunter Prompt: Discover an animal that often calls New Caledonia home and keep note for future hunts!

+305 words

There was so much to learn that it was making Bat a little... well, batty. She had been spending most of her time getting settled into the humanized way of living that seemed most prevalent in New Caledonia. There were so many horses and other domesticated animals. Four walls are where most wolves seemed to spend most of their days, surrounded by their belongings or their cooking or their sewing or their alcohol or... it made her dizzy to think of all of it. It had made her feel panicky that morning and so she had left the area.

She was still within the territory of New Caledonia - she had no intention of leaving the borders for a while - but wasn't near the heavily populated area. Instead, she had her nose to the ground and was following a trail in the River Valley. Battalion was on four legs and happy for it. It felt right, to be following something through her pack's lands to see where they frequented. There was a water source nearby so there were a lot of animal scents, actually. Of course prey creatures and predators alike came to the river to drink. Water was life. Water sustained them all.

The specific scent that she was following smelled like a bigger deer. Probably elk? She had never tracked an elk. At least, not as an adult. Her parents might have had her follow an elk before, but if so she didn't remember. Certainly Battalion wasn't going to take down an elk by herself, but tracking their movement was something the pack could find useful. If there was one thing she felt she needed to do, it was make sure she was incredibly useful in as many ways as possible. Tali would give them no reason to toss her out on her tail.
[Image: wolfmoon.gif] Heartstring Word of the Day - 5 August 22 noun | the deepest emotions or affections

Location: the River Valley || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

A soft melody, something that thrummed her heartstrings and which she associated with the quiet, warm, tender days of her puphood, hummed between her closed lips as she stepped through Lebennin  on springy legs. Her song — a simple tune that she thought must have come from her father, though she could not definitively place the memory — was accompanied by the gentle trickling of the river and the occasional chirping of a bird. Cacophonous, perhaps, to the ears of some. Symphonic to those of the Lady of Dawn.

With a woven basket — a crudely-made thing that her father had attempted and looking about ready to unwind at any moment — hanging from the crook of her elbow, its belly lined with emerald witch-hazel leaves, Sólveig skipped over one narrow stream only to step gleefully into the soothing waters of the next. She moved seemingly with neither purpose nor care, but she knew what she was looking for.

"Oh! Sorry, little flutterby," she said sweetly to the handsome swallowtail butterfly she had inadvertently disturbed from its feast. Perhaps Sóli could have taken better care, but she was nothing if not penitent.

Pausing to watch the buttery butterfly flutter by, Sólveig's eyes caught movement in the River Valley beyond it and focused intently on the Lupus-shaped figure that she spied. It was not someone she knew, but perhaps... had she seen them before? They seemed to be making no effort to conceal themself from other Caledonians, but past experiences made her wary. Instantly, Sóli found herself wishing that she had asked Inga or Naomi or Dorian or even Reblin to join her.

Closing her eyes a moment to steel her nerves, the Lady of Dawn scrunched up her face, balled her fists, and stood firm. And then she waved an arm and called out to the figure in the near distance.

"Hello!" she howled, hoping that she didn't look as stilted and anxious as she felt. "Are you tracking something?"

[WC -- 335]

Her ears perked when someone called out and she raised her head to look at them. There were scents of wolves all over the place and so she hadn't tried to follow one of those. Nor had she worried about them. They were all packmates now... or should be. Hm, perhaps she shouldn't have been so single-minded in her focus. Perhaps she should've spread her awareness to the wolves that could be nearby, too. Especially since she might need to assess their threat level. Being in pack lands didn't guarantee safety. It just made it far more likely.

The wolf she spotted seemed... sunny. She was lightly hued and looked perhaps a bit stiff in stance? Not uncomfortable, though. Just... perhaps anxious? It was hard to read from a distance like this. Body language was annoying that way. The one area she found words were actually superior to body language. At least across a distance you could speak and clearly understand tone still. Across space like this, her eyes didn't pick up on the subtleties of what the body was saying. Then again, it also made her feel more at ease because the other wolf couldn't clearly see where she was looking, so she didn't have to worry she was being insulting. Though she did make sure her eyes weren't focused on the other's face for long anyway.

"Hullo! Yes, elk, I think. I haven't hunted one before, but it smells like... big deer, so I'm pretty sure that's what it is." she said with a wiggle of her nose as she considered the scent again. "Care to join me?" she asked, waving her tail in a friendly way. Although perhaps it would be awkward, with her on four legs and the other wolf on two? They didn't have to be on the same mission, though, to spend time together. They could talk and walk. That was assuming the other Caledonian wanted to be around Bat. Perhaps she had other plans or simply didn't want company; neither would insult the Commoner, though she was eager to get to know her packmates.
Location: the River Valley || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

Trying to will the tension out of her limbs, Sóli began to close the distance between them with flowing, fluid steps. The anxiety was still there, though, and present in the way the handle of the basket dug into the meat of her forearm for how tightly she clutched it; in the way the line of her jaw was just a little too pronounced as she clenched her teeth; in the way she held her shoulders subtly, but stiffly, peaked.

Some Luperci seemed to have no trouble at all with deception and dishonesty. Sólveig Dawnrunner was not among them. Try as she might (and try she most certainly did), the High Lady was terrible at keeping her emotions concealed, which was part and parcel with the overall challenge of telling lies and being misleading.

She couldn't tell if the Lupus-shaped woman was convinced by her efforts or not, but as she neared her Sóli finally did begin to relax. Her nose twitched, drawing in the scents of the woman. And in them, she caught subtle scent notes of known packmates and places within the Realm. Surely she belonged here, then. She was maybe just new. Sólveig mirrored the friendly wave of her tail with the same action.

"Elk?" she asked, at once eagerly interested. "Sure! If-if you don't think that I'll be in the way, of course," she replied with a sheepish smile. "I do most of my 'tracking' for plants." A light giggle followed this added explanation. "My name is Sólveig Dawnrunner, High Lady of Dawn and a member of the Circle of Athelas. You're new to the Realm, aren't you?"

[WC -- 284]
OOC: Please lmk if any PPs related to Bat's scent are no bueno! I'm happy to edit!
Bat watched the other female come closer with careful eyes. She made sure she wasn't looking near the fair wolf's face, her gaze carefully kept nearer to the Lady's shoulder once she was nearer. There were definite body language signs of apprehension in the other canine. Tali continued lightly wagging her tail, hoping it would show she meant no harm. Though she definitely understood feeling anxious when meeting someone new. She usually felt it, too. Though she had already felt herself becoming more comfortable here than before. Mostly she thought it was having a safe place to land and wolves that (in theory, at least) had her back.

She was glad when she saw the other wolf relax. It was good to know that her efforts were working. Though perhaps it was actually being near and knowing for sure that Battalion had the scents of New Caledonia on her. She hadn't just shown up. She had been here long enough to have met wolves and been around the residential areas. Bat thought that the other wolf's scent seemed familiar, too; it wasn't uncommon in New Caledonia. Obviously someone who had been here a while.

"Oh I am sure you won't be in the way at all! I'm happy for the company." she said. Tracking was often a lonesome thing, but it was easier when she was following a scent trail just for information instead of for hunting. There was no way she - or she and Solveig - would take down an elk all on their own. Unless they had a bow and were a very good aim. Even then, though, it was pretty risky to do with just two.

High Lady of Dawn... ah, a counterpart to Liam's High Lord of Dawn. She wasn't sure what the Circle of Athelas was, though. "Yes, I am very new. Battalion is my name. It is a pleasure to meet you Lady Solveig. If I may ask, what's the Circle of Athelas?" she had been given the initial information about hierarchy and New Caledonia culture, but she would need time before she'd remember all of it. Plus she was pretty sure no one had told her about this Circle.

She kept walking at a fairly leisurely pace along the scent trail, figuring she didn't need to keep up a quick pace now that she was talking while she worked. There was no real rush and they only needed to be quieter when they got really close. Then they wouldn't want to spook the elk or let on that they had followed its trail. Their tracking would be a waste if the elk decided to never go to its current spot again because wolves had found it.

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