[P] You’re cold as ice
Lyra dusted herself off as she stood among the herbs. Eros’s words from the day prior to her first blood echoed in her head. She could no longer hold herself like a sad little pup. She was now a ranked member in the pack, she had lived to fight another day. Though the young woman had no plans to ever really fight again. As she looked at the plants she had pruned and tended to she smiled. After all the rain there had been in the spring the poor flooded garden had bounced back quite well. 

Stepping out of the garden, her small wooden basket in tow. She had picked a few herbs Cerberus had asked her to get along with a few for Yrsa. She enjoyed working and learning with the herbs, brought Lyra a sense of closeness to her mother who passed. She found it rather funny that she desired to be closer to Minerva yet she’s asked who her father was and though she knew she didn’t feel the same desire. She didn’t care for the bond between them, maybe she only wanted to feel close to Minerva because she wasn’t there. 

Frowning slightly she headed to the clinic to drop off the herbs so she could head out. Once she had placed everything she headed out into the fort. Both Armani and Electa were in the training ring. She assumed training more since Electa was far from pleased losing. She turned away heading in another direction as she spotted Nilda laying in the grass talking with Abiri and a few of Cedric’s children. She smiled only slightly most wouldn’t even notice. “Looks like fun over here.” Lyra spoke as she bent down to give Nilda a little bump. “Thought I’d just stop and say hi before heading out.” She spoke, straightening herself “I’m off to go find a few plants in the woods.” She stated at Nilda's questioning look. 

Lyra waved a hand as she headed off towards the entrance to the fort. It wasn’t until she was almost to the entrance she looked to her right and noticed the lanky awkward youth beside her. “Dagon, thought you’d be enjoying Nilda's games.” She spoke. Her serious face didn’t change, but her tone did. There was warmth in it not many got, Nilda and Electa were some of the few. She also always held a “pleasant” tone with the pups but other wise most got her very void of emotion tone. She didn’t feel the need to be extra with those she didn’t consider worthy of her time. One of the few reasons she was nice to the pups was do to them being so young and Nilda had been her rock so she could at least be kind to those her “mentor” cared for. 
Dagon’s puppy fat had sloughed off to reveal a form only a parent could love.  His limbs were lengthening, and apparently at different rates, or at least that was the impression an onlooker might get, given how ungainly he appeared.  His paws were far too large for him, as were his ears, which seemed to bounce and flick as Dagon walked.  His puppy pelt was being replaced by the coarser adult coat, but it was taking its time, and shed liberally as Dagon loped through land, making it impossible for him to go anywhere without leaving a trail of discarded fur.  The overall look was not a flattering one.  His only adornment was a fish necklace made from driftwood that he never was seen without.

Nilda had come to take them out, and Dagon had been excited to go along with her, temporarily forgetting the difficulties of the past few months.  Nilda had an uncanny ability to think of games that kept his mind occupied.  Eventually though, his fish necklace would hit his chest and bring his mind back, and Dagon would find a shady spot, usually near Nilda and sit quietly, his eyes scanning their surroundings. 

It was as he was on guard duty, that he spotted Lyra heading towards them, and greeted her wit ha wag of his tail, while she greeted everyone.  He didn’t bark or whine, just closed his eyes briefly as he accepted attention. 

The two grownups talked, with Dagon paying only a minimal interest, but as Lyra mentioned the woods, Dagon’s ears did their best to prick up.  He said nothing, just waited, the cogs in his mind working, for a moment he looked back at Nilda, and then again at Lyra’s retreating figure, before deciding and wordlessly dashing off after Lyra.  He said nothing as she walked, just trotted quietly beside her.

When Lyra noticed him and stopped, he looked up at her, and when she mentioned Nilda, Dagon looked back in the direction he’d come before turning his piercing blue gaze back on the larger Luperci, straining his neck to look up.

”Not a puppy.” his tone slightly petulant which perhaps betrayed the irony of his statement. ”Want to help.  I protect you!” Dagon knew he was bigger than he had been when Tok was taken, and he could run faster and shout louder.  No one should be alone, Dagon needed to do what his dad would do, and try to protect everyone.
Lyra let her green eyes fall on the youth as he mentioned that he wasn’t a puppy. She had to hold back a laugh, her face only hinted at her amusement as the corners of her mouth raised. Dagon she’d lump into the group like herself, like Nilda. They had suffered puppyhood ripped out from underneath them in a cruel way. Dagon and Nilda probably had it worse but she had seen her mother and others die, some too sick for days. She still couldn’t place herbs on meat and she figured she never would.

“Ok” she spoke in her flat tone only holding the slight cast of warmth. “One rule, you don’t eat anything I pick.” She spoke looking at him. “Having someone to protect me will be nice.” She stated as she started to walk. Her small basket hung on her arm as she strode.

She didn’t feel the need to say anything unless Dagon asked questions she would honestly answer him. She couldn’t risk him eating anything she was picking as she was looking for poisonous herbs. Minus the few things she was asked to find. She was going to work on figuring out how she could use them or heal from them.

Exiting the fort Howland stood there and held up his hand. Lyras lips curled in a scowl as she looked at him. Green eyes met gold as Howland spoke. “Lyra.” He started pointing at Dagon. “Where are you going?” He asked.

Lyra took in a breath as she let it out slowly. “Not too far, he’s not a baby, nor am I.” She said any warmth in her tone had left the moment she opened her mouth. “Cedric will be fine with it besides he’s my guard you don’t want to leave me without a guard do you?” She asked. Her face read that he needed to back down and let her be though he out ranked her by a long shot. She could see him contemplating what she was saying. She was doing this for Dagon at this point he thought he wasn’t a puppy he was big so shall it be.

Howland huffed his tone low in her ear so only she could hear it. “Careful.” His tone was definitely his way of showing she was walking on ice with him but he relented letting them pass. Lyra strode with every ounce of confidence she had in her soul as they made their way into the forest. “Hear or see anything dangerous?” She asked, glancing down at him, her tone changing with ease. The ice in her voice seemed to just melt away.
The silence between the two of them was nice.  Lyra didn’t expect him to talk, and after all the playing Nilda had done with them, Dagon enjoyed the quiet time.  Lupus were graceful, loping with an easy gait which ate up the ground effortlessly.  Perhaps one day Dagon would move with such ease.  His large feet and growing limbs meant he could keep up with the Lyra, but it wasn’t what a stranger would call pretty, and if a luperci was mean, it might be easy to ridicule the pup. 

Howland was big.  He was big, and he wasn’t smiling as he pointed at Dagon.  If the pup was being truthful, he was a little afraid, but he didn’t let it show, just looked back at the guard.  It was easier to be brave when Lyra told Howland he was her guard, and that he wasn’t a puppy.  Both statements made Dagon’s tail wag with pride.

While Dagon noticed how lyra’s tone changed, it didn’t frighten him or make him think she was strange.  Lyra was Lyra.  Everyone in his family was different, and yet they all had things in common.  If Lyra hadn’t been how she was, she’d not be Lyra.  All of these thoughts made sense to the pup, though it would be interested to know why she was like that, he’d have to remember to ask her.

Once they passed Howland, the woods weren’t far beyond, and as they walked Lyra made her warnings and he scowled.

”Not stupid.” Dagon replied, pretending that he’d not been intending to sniff and maybe nibble one or two of them.

When Lyra asked him if he heard or saw anything, Dagon’s entire attitude changed and he looked alert, scanning around, his ridiculously large ears twitching and capturing sound. 

”Safe!” Dagon proclaimed at last, his nose twitching, staying a little ahead of the grownup, but not so far that he didn’t brush her leg, by accident of course, and definitely not for reassurance.

”Why you want flowers from here?  There flowers inside!” Dagon asked, gently reminding the grownup that she might be able to find what she needed inside the fort, and not wanting to call her stupid for coming all this way.

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