[AW] Life finds a way.
Quote:Marksman Prompt: Work on your aim! Just try not to hit anyone with your misses...

+405 words

Councilor Tanaka had told her to work on her bowman skills in a manner other than just hunting. Other than practicing with moving targets that weren't animals, she wasn't sure how to do that other than to work on her aim in general. The skills to hit a deer were similar to hitting an enemy. The difference of course was that a Luperci would be trying to shoot back and more strategic about avoiding you. Especially since it wasn't like Bat was going to assassinate anyone. She was just going to defend her pack if it came to that. Which meant being able to fire arrows under stress. Eventually she'd have to ask Tora - or one of the other canines he had mentioned - to help create that kind of scenario to practice. She needed noise and blunted arrows they could shoot at each other while they practiced. Possibly also someone coming after her that was using a handheld weapon. Because it wasn't like archers just shot at each other until one died while everyone else left them alone.

That wasn't for right now, though. Right now she was just practicing basic marksmanship. She still had a solid stash of arrows that she could use, though she'd want to make more later. She was fairly good at mending broken arrows, but that didn't mean they were all recoverable. At some point, too, they became too short to fix because the shaft was too short to accurately shoot. For now, the dozen she had would work for her practice. A different day - possibly a rainy day - would be better for making more. Perhaps tomorrow she'd gather some supplies for that to set aside in her home so that she could make them whenever the time presented itself.

She took a deep breath, drew her bow back and let the arrow fly. It landed with a thwack in the tree she had been trying to hit, though slightly lower than she had intended. Tali went to retrieve it. Though she could've sent another few after it before she'd need to recover the arrow, she didn't want to risk splitting it with her next arrow. That would be a lucky (or, perhaps, unlucky) shot, but she didn't want to risk it. Better to just take the extra steps and go get it every time for this particular practice. She was working on aiming well at a distance for now.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
The canopy rustled overhead, its dappled shadows swaying in the wind. Jonk’s pups were growing like weeds, and he couldn’t wait to return home after a long day of training and scent marking the borders. Hokori had been an excellent patrol partner as always, and while he still hadn’t agreed to her “training” his monthling children, she’d found it fit to invite him and his family to her wedding regardless.

Though he wasn’t quite sure about her carrying Tufts down the aisle, as much as his eldest would enjoy the attention.

Jonk froze at the sound of arrow fire, worried that he was about to wander in the way of a projectile. That wouldn’t be a very pleasant walk to the Circle, even if whoever shot him accompanied him there, on account of being skewered. The prince backed up a few steps so that he was between two trees and listened closely to where the sound was coming from. Another loud thwack gave him a direction, and he trotted — carefully — in the marksman’s direction.

Once he spotted the packmate responsible, he let her recover her ammunition before announcing his presence. ”Hello! I don’t think we’ve met yet,” Jonk said, recognizing the dark brown woman as a new packmate but not knowing her name. ”I’m Jonk of… Well, of New Caledonia, but formerly of the Great Prairie.” The prince still marveled at his good fortune, to have two packs that he cared so dearly for; it almost made up for his homesickness.

Jonk often wondered if he’d be able to convince Woodsmoke to come with him to his birth pack when their children were older. It was a long journey, one best started after the first snow melt so that they could return before New Caledonia was blanketed with white. Would over six moons of travel be worth a moon or two in his homeland? It was worth it to Jonk, but to Woodsmoke? He couldn’t be sure.

Her ears twitched at the sound of footsteps, blue eyes turning to look at the approaching wolf. They dipped quickly once she had briefly glimpsed his face. Scents were always an easier way to remember someone for her, since she didn't stare at faces. It seemed like most did, though; humanization digging deep into their wolven ways until they'd have nothing left except bare bones instincts. Her position in the pack was Commoner, though. Everyone was higher ranked than her, either through position or longevity or both. Unless someone had joined after her. Even then, they'd be at most equals.

Honestly, though, with this guy it was easy to just look at his shoulder or lower anyway, he was gigantic. As a small-side of average herself, she was easily outsized anyway, but he was bigger even than most. Bat was glad she hadn't met him out in the wilds. She'd have probably been scared straight out of her boots. If she had boots. Which she didn't. So she'd have auto-lost any boots when she did acquire them, maybe.

"Hullo!" she replied, her tail waving slightly in a friendly way. Jonk. That was an interesting name. No last name, which was different from some of the other New Caledonians she had met. Councilor Savoy. Councilor Tanaka. Even Liam and Dorian had last names, though she didn't call them by the last names as she did Kalypso and Tora. "It is good to meet you, Jonk. I'm Battalion, although most call me some shortening of that. Tali, Leon, Bat... just not Batty, please." she said. She hated that one.

He smelled strongly of other wolves, a mate? Cubs? There was a lot happening with his scent. "Are you... the mate of Sphinx's milk-mother? I've been meaning to get something caught for your mate, I imagine you have your hands full. Ah, also, congratulations! Quite a brood, from what I hear." she stumbled a bit over niceties, hopefully that had been about right.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
The young woman introduced herself as Battalion, which was a curious name he hadn’t heard before. Jonk wondered if she knew what it meant, if it had a meaning at all; perhaps the sounds just sounded nice together wherever she was from.

The prince was about to ask what she preferred, especially as she had a nickname she hated, but an audible sniff revealed something he hadn’t thought of; he did smell an awful lot like Liam, Woodsmoke, and their children, didn’t he? ”I am indeed. Sphinx is my adopted child.” They were a bright pup with a big heart, and he had to resist the urge to do twice the doting to make up for the loss of their first nursing parent. ”And do not worry — whenever you can hunt for us is more than enough,” Jonk reassured, not wanting Battalion to feel bad for not going out of her way for his family when she was still so new.

They’d only just met, after all.

”Do you have a favored nickname, Battalion?” He finally asked, padding closer to examine the bow in her hands. ”Or one for your weapon?” There were archers in the Great Prairie, though it was less popular than spear throwing and rock slinging. Arrows were fragile and his people were large-bodied; they made better trade goods with the Fur Weavers and Snake River pack than anything else.

Green Death, quite obviously named in his youth, remained in his homeland under his family’s care. It was a good spear thrower; he needed to carve another one of these moons.
It hadn't occurred to Bat that Jonk might consider Sphinx his child as well. To her, a milk-mother just helped when a mother passed or couldn't produce milk. In this case, when the mother had left. They provided a service of sorts, for which the remaining parent provided something in return. Presumably Liam was working overtime like Jonk was to provide Woodsmoke with food. Apparently, they were... all parents of the young pup though? She hadn't dug into all of those details with Liam. Maybe later she'd ask how that all worked. She didn't want to ignorantly blunder around the question with Jonk, lest she cause insult.

"I am sure you have a constant cave of hunger at home, between the pups starting to grow into trying some meat, and your mate, and yourself... I'll try to bring you food more than just once. It's what a pack should do for their own." she said, remembering when she had been very little and pack members had visited a lot to bring food. It was a hazy memory, but a fond one. There had been adults talking while she was given small pieces of meat and hide to chew or a bone sometimes. Her litter had been much smaller than Jonk and Woodsmoke's; even with presumably three adults providing, they were bound to find extra food useful. Especially as the cubs got increasingly bigger and needed more food.

She twitched her ears thoughtfully. "I'm not the best with pups, I've never been around them really, but um, if I can help with them sometime, let me know. I would probably mostly just be an adequate climbing structure and could keep them from getting themselves hurt. Although sometime, I'd love to help teach them some tracking and hunting skills... if you need me. I'm sorry, I'm rambling. I don't mean to presume what you plan to teach them or that you need help wrangling them while teaching them." heat rushed to her face as she realized she had just sort of let her stream of consciousness come out of her mouth. Way to show off your incredibly awkward side, Tali. Now he definitely wouldn't want her anywhere near his pups, lest they catch her diarrhea of the mouth.

Her favored nickname... "Ahh, not really, I kind of change it up. Leon seems to get the least use, I think it comes across as masculine and so others shy away from it. All of them are fine, though, except Batty." the Commoner said with a slight smile. She had never thought about naming her bow, though; she eyed it thoughtfully. "I've never thought of naming my bow." it wasn't like it could respond to its name.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
Plus Emeraude, Liam, and everyone else who came and went, Jonk thought with a smile. There were a lot of mouths to feed at his den, and he wouldn’t have it any other way; it reminded him of his homeland. As the adult son of a king and queen with multiple mates, who each had multiple mates in turn, he’d shared the responsibility of keeping their intertwined families fed and cared for. While Jonk only had two living siblings, he loved his extended kin just as much; they were very important to him, no matter how distant their bloodlines were from each other.

He missed them all dearly. Laki willing, they would understand why he’d chosen love in a distant land over his duties as their future king.

Before he could thank Battalion, she explained that she wasn’t very good with pups, but would gladly teach them how to track and hunt — just very nervously, as if she expected him to find fault with her initiative. ”Well, Tali, that’s all very selfless of you. And when they are old enough, I’d love for you to pass on your skills to them. I’m sure my mate and Sphinx’s father would feel the same.” Anything was better than Hokori trying to turn them into miniature Reavers; Em teaching them how to throw knives would be bad enough, and that idea was just for fun.

Jonk chuckled at her expression as she eyed her bow. ”When I was your age, I carved a spear thrower I named ‘Green Death.’ I’m still embarrassed about how intimidating I thought that was, and that was years ago — perhaps it’s for the best you have plenty of time to think about it,” Jonk said. He was sure that whatever Tali came up with, if she came up with anything, would be better than that.
Battalion really didn't know how to do anything with children, but it seemed right to offer to assist. The future of the pack was in their offspring, after all, and she wanted to contribute to the growth of the pack. She also wanted to all that she could to prove she was a worthwhile, strong member of the pack. Her hunting and tracking skills were those she could pass along to pups. Her trading... not so much. Maybe when they were older, if they showed interest and aptitude.

"I like to help." she said. It was heartfelt; she had not had many reasons or ways to help others when she had been a trader. All she could do was try to get a good deal for her without much consideration for how it effected the other party. Not that she had tried to rob them blind. Helping them just wasn't something she had considered when she bartered. It would still be true that she would be more ruthless in trade than in her care of her pack, though. They came before her selfish needs or desires.

Her lips twitched when he said that he had named his spear thrower Green Death. That was an interesting name. She'd have to really think on what she might want to name a bow when she acquired one of value not simply practicality. "What would you name it now, if you had a do again on naming it?" she was curious what he thought would be better than Green Death. Tali wasn't sure that it mattered what you named a weapon, really, as who was going to know? Did you yell "GREEEN DEAATTHHH!" as you threw it? Maybe she'd been doing this whole archery thing all wrong.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
The golden prince nodded in understanding. He enjoyed helping as well, because it was in his blood. The royal family took care of their loved ones, as any prairie kin should, but they also took care of their people — the wolves who relied on them for guidance and security, through good times and bad. Jonk had been raised heir apparent to his homeland’s throne; even far from home, his title refused, he was still a king at heart.

At least in the ways that mattered most.

Battalion’s question was a curious one, and he couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought. What would he name Green Death now? Something verbose, certainly. Long-winded with faux wisdom, as if he could ever understand the truths of his elders while in the fields of youth. ”I’m not sure,” Jonk admitted, though he would think on it. ”Whatever I could come up with, I’m certain my younger self would find it just as silly as I find ‘Green Death.’” That was how adolescence was; it made one think they were always right, or always wrong, and never inbetween.

Laki help him, he was not looking forward to the maturing of eight children — including a wild cat no less — all at once. Jonk would endure it, for he was a good father, but it would be a challenge nonetheless. Perhaps Torabera and Kalypso would be able to guide him; some of their children were rather unscrupulous, but they had survived to adulthood without being banished from the pack. It was commendable.
Quote:Marksman Prompt: Work on your aim! Just try not to hit anyone with your misses...

+242 words

"I bet you would. Children often seem to think adults know nothing of the world. Although to be fair, that's how adults often treat them, so it's fair they think we're foolish too." she said with a twitch of her tail. Battalion didn't know much about kids but she did know that. They held more wisdom than others gave them credit for. They had a different perspective on the world than she did and she appreciated that when she did speak with them.

The wolf remembered what she had originally been doing before Jonk arrived. "Ah, I should practice some more. I'd love to talk with you more, if you want to stay, but I may be odd company since I'll be shooting as well as talking." she said, trying to be polite while also recognizing that she had set out today to practice not have a social call. "Are you experienced with more than spears?" she asked, if he did want to stay; if he didn't, she'd understand too.

Either way, the long-earred Commoner needed to get back to practicing. She was more careful now that Jonk was there; not that he was in range of where she was shooting, one should just always be more cautious when not alone while shooting arrows. Her arm raised and she let loose another arrow toward her target. It flew toward her intended target and ... thunk, a satisfying hit where she had wanted it.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again

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