[AW+] in or out of season
Ethereal Eclipse
#1
He had been lucky.

That was all there was to it – Oberyn had been in the right place at the right time, and taken advantage of the situation.

For weeks now, the bugling elk had been heard throughout the forest. Oberyn had cautioned his group to be wary of the bulls, which had become aggressive as the rut kicked into high gear. It was easy to figure out where these males were, owing either to the markings they scratched into trees with their impressive antlers or the strong acidic smell of their urine. Though Oberyn and his mate had been in the area for several months, their presence had yet to truly alarm the herds which had, for many years, gone without the threat of pack wolves.

The bulls had been fighting when he found them. Generally, these combatants did not battle to the death. This was a show of force, that was all, and the loser was generally smart enough to leave and try their luck elsewhere. What made this encounter different was the terrain: several days of rain had left the ground muddy and slick underfoot.

A slip was all it took, and then there was a serious injury. Oberyn heard it happen: a great bellow of pain, a crunch of antler against bone. He smelled blood.

The loser struggled to stand and fled, leaving a trail behind him. A keening wail from the winner signaled the shift of power among the herd.

Oberyn followed the bloody elk. He called for Makwaikwe, but her response told him she was still miles away – too long to get there quickly. Not wanting to lose his chance, he pursued. Alone, he harried the elk for the greater part of twenty minutes, and at great risk to himself, found an opening. This was only possible because the animal was already wounded, and even then, he took a great risk. There had been several kicks he narrowly avoided, and one he had not, but this did not damage him quite as much as it could have.

While he panted and made efforts to regain his breath, Oberyn became aware of something else. He was not alone.

The other predator emerged soon after. He was lean looking, scruffy and mean. The sharp lines of his face made Oberyn think he was a coyote, but he was big. Worse yet, he was on two legs and brandishing a metal blade that flashed in the light.

Oberyn growled.

“Oh come off it,” the stranger said. “I just want a piece. You don't need all of it.”

“This is mine,” Oberyn snapped.

“Yeah, well, I'm hungry too. You'll be better off if you just let me have what I want, then no one has to get hurt.”

Leave.”

“That's my line,” the loner sneered. He had been getting closer despite Oberyn's bristling fur and bared fangs, and looked like he was not only ready to pick a fight, but eager to do so.

Generated Prompt: It's early afternoon in Ethereal Eclipse, and it seems like it's been raining a lot.
Your character makes a successful kill after a great amount of effort, but they're immediately harassed by a hungry and dominant stranger who wants it for themselves.
#2
The crisp air touched her coat, causing the femme to bristle. A few steps, shaking her coat out, the mottled dog stood, and listened.

Through the trees and brambles, Harley was able to make out the silhouette of the sun. Not quite dusk, but the sun was on its way to rising higher and higher, signifying early afternoon. With the amount of rains they had been getting, the small group had tried to stick a bit closer together. Maybe that was due to pure animalistic instinct. Once the coldness began to set in at night, it was harder for them to keep, and continue to keep, warm. Soon, a den would need to be made, giving them all somewhere to shelter from the winter storms that ripped through these lands. Somewhere close by, a call went up from Oberyn. She was close enough it wouldn't take her but five or ten minutes to get to him, so, she set off.

The elk had bugled most of the mornings, rutting season heavily upon them, which-- Harley had also warned her boys-- meant higher testosterone levels and bulls trying to compete for dominance. Perhaps it was the bulky wolf who had brandished his teeth and brought down their meal.

However, in the clearing that she could partially see, was a scene that made her stomach drop. Another Lupreci, on two legs, was hovering Oberyn, his teeth barring, the sunlight caught a glimmer of a weapon. Harley, without hesitation, took off at full speed, and raced towards her somewhat, pack-mate.

Upon arrival, milky-white teeth glimmered with dominance. Her entire coat was one large line down her spine to her puny, stubby tail. Saliva dripped from her jowls, panting, ears pinned backwards and the growl that erupted from her chest was fierce, threatening even. "Leave." Came a snarling reply, forcing herself near the left side of Oby. Despite the urge to push herself in front of him, the smaller dog was-- well-- smaller. Dwarfed by the Lupreci on two legs, at least she had her speed and agility on her side.

Now it was up to the stranger on what his next move would be. Harley had Oberyn's back, she hoped he understood that.
WORD COUNT - 375
wheee~
#3
Location: Ethereal Eclipse || NPCs: -- || Form: Lupus



The Season of Revival had long since passed them by. What fawns or kits or poults had survived their tenuous early weeks and had made it through the
Season of Growth were by now of a size and a cleverness that no longer made for such easy pickings. But Elkin was undeterred as they edged, headlong and at what felt an impetuous pace, into the Season of Wit. With Harley's insistence upon their feeding hierarchy and the recent addition of their two allies, the dark wolfdog had, himself, enjoyed a bit of growth and knowledge. If he and Vannin had managed to survive their exile solely by the will of the Goddesses, Elkin felt now that they could thrive by their own tooth and nail.

And that was good, because the Season of Quietus was waiting in the wings.

Nose down and tongue lolling, Elkin was casually following the trail of a raccoon when Oberyn's call reached his ears. It was intended for Makwaikwe, his mate, but the sound of it made him curious. He tried to recommence his pursuit of the raccoon but that curiosity in him ultimately won out over his commitment to find his would-be prey and, with a final hesitating pause, the yearling altered his path and loped towards where he had heard the call.

He found the scent trail easily enough, the acrid tang of blood igniting his desire to hunt, and followed it along with little regard for much else besides catching up with Oberyn. As he neared the place where the elk had had its last stand, a stranger's scent tickled his senses and urged him to exercise caution. But Elkin carried on without slowing, his anticipation of the kill dulling his concerns for safety. It wasn't until the sharp glint of sunlight on metal interrupted the wolfdog's intense focus on the hunt that he realized something was wrong. Very wrong.

"Hey!" he barked as he made his way onto the scene, the hackles down his spine standing on end. "Who're you?"



[WC -- 346]
#4
The standoff might have ended sooner – with one or the other men lunging – if Harley hadn't arrived when she did. Her ferocious appearance surprised even Oberyn: she was all fur and teeth. Bolstered by her presence, Oberyn made a point to lift his tail even higher. Alone he would have struggled against the weapon, but with another body to distract, they had a chance. Still, he could not allow his companion to be hurt. They lacked a true healer, he thought, and though one lived with the traders in the west, she would take time to reach.

Though the woman had startled the loner, he quickly got over his initial shock and snarled with annoyance. “Don't tell me what to do, bitch,” he sneered. The insult brought a deep growl from Oberyn, but the bandit showed his teeth and tongue in a grotesque smirk. “You and your girlfriend think the two of you can take me? I'll cut you down before—,”

Whatever else he meant to say was cut off by the third voice, erupting from a dark shape that Oberyn thought for an instant was his mate. The young man's arrival was serendipitous in its own way: the loner with the weapon seemed to deflate a little, recognizing he was quickly becoming outnumbered.

Even so, hunger seemed to have taken his sense of reason from him. He lifted the sword again. “Shut up!” The bandit shouted. “Give me some of the meat and no one has to get hurt!”

“No.”

Oberyn's flat refusal enraged the stranger, who made an awful sound and lunged for him.
#5
Vannin could feel the seasons changing.  The lands were rich with the scent of earth, moist decay and wet fur.  Far from being the barren land felt during his grief, the return of his ability to sense the spirits was almost distracting.  These lands were alive and filled with details shouting for his attention.  All those distractions held their breath as Oberyn’s call energised the surroundings.  Blinking in the direction of the sound, Vannin rose from his haunches gracefully and began a land eating lope towards the source.

On reaching it, Oberyn was gone, and what remained was the scent of blood and churned earth, but also apparently, his brother had passed this way as well.  Their loose grouping of Luperci were becoming closer it seemed, at least they came across one another more and more often.  As he followed the signs of pursuit, a whisper in his ear and scent in his muzzle, gave Vannin pause.  The scent was of Luperci, but of a stranger.  Was Elkin in danger?  Vannin’s hard quickened, but his wits didn’t dissolve.  He did not call out, nor dash forwards headlong towards whatever lay ahead.  Instead, he guessed at where the tracks would lead and made a wide circle around.

Vannin arrived on the scene just in time to see the two legged Luperci lunge at Oberyn.  The stranger held a knife, a weapon that would be particularly dangerous to them.  They had no healer and wounds from a blade could easily start to smell and go bad.  Vannin, did not growl or bark, he rarely did, instead he sprang forwards, biting at the back of the stranger’s foot, as he would any large prey beast, before springing away to avoid the knife.  Perhaps if they worked together they could harry this Luperci stranger.
#6
The Lupreci simply growled, not taking a hint, his tone-- the way he spoke about her being a bitch-- made Harley's eyebrow lift straight into her eyebrow.

Who did he think he was?

Elkin was next to arrive, the brute simply shit talking them, and Harley's own growl was met with a snarl from the stranger, lunging forwards towards Oberyn. Two things happened then; one, Vannin, who leapt at the stranger from the darkness, appeared, causing Harley to understand the projection of his slashing teeth, and two; Harley threw herself towards him, in front of Oberyn. No way was she going to let this man get hurt, let alone the pseudo children she had. His sword turned on Vannin, she lunged for his arm, and snapped, pulled, snapped again, then growled when the shimmer of his sword glistened. If she could distract him long enough--

A third happened now. Yelping, the hilt of the sword found the side of her jaw, and eye, blood trickled down the side of her features, staining her white fur red. Harley leapt backwards making sure she was in front of their kill, but far enough away she could circle back without getting hit from the sword, again, but snapping every so often so Vannin wasn't in the line of his fire, either.

She could pose the distraction. That's what family was for, after all.
WORD COUNT -
wheee~
#7
[Image: wolfmoon.gif] Anthropomorphic Word of the Day - 24 September 22 adjective | described or thought of as having human attributes



Location: Ethereal Eclipse || NPCs: -- || Form: Lupus



In an instant the standoff erupted into action.

Vannin appeared from the woods, silent as a spectre, and grabbed the blade-wielding loner in his teeth as the man made to lunge for Oberyn. In that same moment, Harley launched herself in front of the proud wolfdog and was snapping at their antagonist's arm with her own Goddess-given weapon. Elkin watched all of this unfold as he paced and hopped from side-to-side, guarding Oberyn's kill and searching for an opening to add his own damage should the need arise.

That need came after the aggressor clocked Harley in the side of the face, causing her to leap back with a yelp. When he saw crimson rivulets running down her face, Elkin snarled fiercely. If his features were a show of mere arousal before, they were fully aggressive now and, with his posture stiff and straight, he watched the loner sharply with puckered lips set in a 'c' shape that exposed his fangs to their fullest extend. The fur along his shoulders and croup stood to attention, as did his ears and his curled tail.

"You don't touch her!" he rumbled as he put himself between the loner and Harley, slipping his tongue fleetingly between his incisors. "You don't touch any of us. Leave. Before we free your spirit from your body.

Maybe it was the hunger that drove him mindless. Maybe it was arrogance or indignation or rage. Whatever the reason, the man still did not heed the signs of futility and danger that the Goddesses had long been showing him.

Elkin didn't know what the loner said and it didn't matter. What did matter was that he was lifting his bloodied, sword-wielding arm, seemingly with the intention of striking down Vannin, and the dark wolfdog charged forward to sink his sharp canines deep into the muscle of the anthropomorphic canine's thigh. With the howl of agony, the loner moved to turn his sword on Elkin instead.



[WC -- 338]
#8
The world erupted into noise and motion. It was the first real fight Oberyn had been in since his return, at he was unprepared for the defense his companions quickly mounted.

Vannin rushed from the wood, silent, and snapped at the Luperci's leg. At nearly the same moment the stranger turned and Harley struck, yanking the blade away from its intended target. The smell of blood tainted the air. Oberyn snarled again, but it was young Elkin who moved next, trying – in vain, it seemed – to give the loner a chance to turn tail.

High again went the blade, but before it could plunge down into Elkin's exposed neck, two bodies rushed the attacker.

Oberyn came from the front, springing up to throw his paws against the skinny loner's chest. At the same time, a second shadow came charging from the treeline. Makwaikwe, taking advantage of the distraction provided by her mate and those engaged in combat, harried the stranger like she would a prey animal. Her teeth sought the thick meat of his upper thigh, opposite to where Elkin and Oberyn had struck. The black she-wolf bit down, hard.

The loner screamed. He slashed at Oberyn and tore a line down his shoulder, but the momentum of these attacks had a will of its own. His knees buckled and, weighed down by the wolfdog, the stranger stumbled and fell over Makwaikwe as she released her grip and scrambled out from under the pile of bodies.

Ignoring the hot pain from his injury, Oberyn went for the man's hand. Disarming him was what mattered now – whether or not he lived no longer mattered.
#9
The fight, like so many involving life and death, was quick frantic and perhaps less noisy than some might assume.  The zing of blood assaulted his muzzle, and Vannin saw Harley’s injuries.  What froze Vannin’s blood though, was the sight of the blade heading for his brother.  After the loss of a home, along with everyone he’d known, Elkin was the constant in a tumbling and confusing world. 

Vannin tried to cry out, but his voice stuck in his throat, and all that came was an indistinguishable croak.  He tried to leap, but uselessly, his limbs were paralysed.  Oberyn’s swiftness saved Elkin, and Vannin almost collapsed in relief.  The older wolfdog grabbed the strange Luperci’s wrist.  Vannin felt his fear and relief feed the flames of anger in his stomach.  He wanted this stranger dead!  He wanted them to be pulled apart by them all.  How dare this stranger attack them.  Who did they think they were?  Vannin’s tail was stiff, his rear bunched, prepared to spring.  His front paws gripped the earth, and as they did, he caught a whiff of the soil.  It didn’t quite cut through the scents of blood, but Vannin was made aware of the landscape around them, and as that realisation spread through him, the dirt beneath him seemed to leach the anger from him.

”Wait!” He shouted suddenly at the stranger, knowing that with a free hand, he could still try to attack oberyn, but equally aware that such an act would certainly mean the stranger would die.  The odds had shifted in their favour.

”You have hurt us, and we have hurt you.  There’s only one way this fight will end if we continue it.  Is your pride worth more to you than your life? You can be proud another day, but you only get one life, I don’t want you to lose it because you feel there is something you need to prove.”

Perhaps the Luperci would think him weak, and perhaps it was strange to pause rather than just kill given the hunter way of life they led.  Some of the greatest regrets often took place when emotions ruled their actions.  Maybe Vannin was weak for trying this, but with a live Luperci there were always other options, death left no further room for change.
#10
It happened so quickly-- the events that transpired after the stranger had hit her upside her head-- and Harley glanced around with furious, blue orbs that dug into his skull. Part of her wanted to shift, wanted to take his knife from him and rake it down his face.

Yet, her mind was brought back to reality by Oberyn's shoulder attack, and Mak attacking as well. Joining in; much like a natural pack might dominate a prey, she went for his other arm, in an attempt to bite, and then pin against the dirt.

Vannin spoke, sweet, sweet child, and his brother. Oh my boys. The stranger, however, seemed to remain defleated for a moment's time, long enough to allow Harkey's grip on his wrist to loosen. He was manic it would appear, even after Elkin offering an opportunity to talk sense into him, he still tried to stab the youth. He hurt Oberyn.

Harley let out a rather low, harmful growl, and when his wrist slipped from between her jaws, feverishly latched onto his hand, the blood, and claws- which dug into the side of her nose- was met with a furious shake of her head as she refused to let go.

Harley was intent on killing him, it would be no shame for her. And whether or not the boys witnessed it, she did not care. He tried to thrash, she dug her paws into his meat flesh of an arm, glancing around towards Oberyn with the white of her eyes showing.

What happened next, was all up to him.
WORD COUNT -
sorry for the wait!


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