[P] Faith in a greater good.
for Razeeee
[Image: silver.png] Prompt [365/1000] Scout in the wilds beyond New Caledonia for a minimum of one week and create a small map. !

Her trip to Portland was fast approaching and the blue-eyed trader knew that she would need extra supplies. Additionally, she had decided on a third co-rank that was a bit outside of what one might consider her "normal" skills: she sought to become a Pathfinder. A wolf that knew the lay of the land and kept her pack appraised of it. Who knew where they could expand, where to avoid, what was around them... it was a good complement to her hunter co-rank, really, and she thought that her position in the Guild was enough to display her mercantile abilities.

The wolf was taking note of landmarks as she moved through Cape Acadia, stopping when she was at a good vantage point to look out at a cove that she had spotted. It seemed like an area thick with aquatic mammals sunning themselves. She noted that carefully on the paper that she was carrying with her. Perhaps it was already known that they bred and spent time there, but she was noting it again if so. With quick tally marks, she indicated how many she spotted and thought she'd come back to check later in the season. Would they travel more south for warmer waters during the winter? Did they stay? When did they whelp? These were things she also wanted to know, from both a Pathfinder and Hunter's perspective.

Her ears twitched as she looked out on the cove, considering if she could get one of the fatty seals with her bow. It wasn't likely that she'd pierce through the blubber enough to do more than piss them off. It would be good meat, but she didn't think she was capable of taking one down alone. Maybe she'd have to see if someone wanted to take up the challenge with her another time, though. Unless she could spy an injured one. The hunter crouched down to watch and see if she could spot an opportunity. She'd be remiss if she didn't at least watch for a while to see if there was one worth trying to hunt. There were also some younger ones... if she could separate one... it was still quite risky alone.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
[Image: lantern.png] Wordtober (Consolation Corner) sinister

[000] realizing most of my characters are the same brand of Stupid

Pawprints spaced evenly in a loping trot wound their way through the gritty shoregrass to the softer sands, left behind by a canine who would have been similarly colored to those sands if not for the dark splash on his back or the bistre flick of his bushy tail. Not that Nikamew was reflecting on camouflage as he leisurely approached the cluster of seals. When he was curious, he was bold and hands-on (or to be more apt for his preferred form, nosy and mouthy) about satisfying that curiosity.

It wasn't the first time he'd seen the ocean or even seen pinnipeds (at nearly four years old, he was well-traveled enough around the eastern half of Canada), but it was his first time venturing so close to the latter. They seemed like lazy things, and their manner of locomotion had Nik convinced that they'd be easy to catch on land.

When he came close, this theory was challenged.

Aware of the wolf's sinister, hungry stare, the closest seal -- a male who likely weighed more than Nik's Optime form did -- stretched its neck up and unleashed a guttural bark whose meaning was clear. The canine startled, fur jutting up along his nape, and jumped back, but his tail began to wag and his teeth glinted as he inched in closer again. Once, twice, he tried to circle around the seal to nip at its tail-fin, and both times he was rebuked by a toothy lunge.

Disturbed by this slow dance between caniforms, the rest of the group began bouncing back toward the safety of the water, diving where they could not be reached by a terrestial predator.

Sneezing and leaping back as the seal nearly latched onto his snout, Nikamew happened to glance toward the small cliffs overlooking the cove -- and thought he saw a pair of dark ears beyond the brush.

"Tân’si!" the wolf greeted, then scrambled backward as the seal blundered toward him with more threatening barks.
[Image: silver.png] Prompt [844/1000] Scout in the wilds beyond New Caledonia for a minimum of one week and create a small map. !

While taking notes about the cove as best she could - her writing was still rather rudimentary, but she did know how to draw a basic map and make tally marks at least - the wolf was surprised to see someone else out near the seals. Someone else approaching the seals on four legs. Battalion immediately paused in her writing to look around, as if expecting a whole clan of four-legged wolves headed toward the seals to take one down. Certainly the boldness with which the stranger approached made her think that there was more to it than just a solitary canine approaching a bunch of seals. When she saw there was no one else, the long-earred wolf had to just assume this guy was just suicidal. Not something she'd meant to see on this journey, but she supposed if he wanted to die, she couldn't really stop him...

Yet he seemed cheery enough as he antagonized a bull seal with tail wags and nips as if it were all a game. Her hand went to her dagger and she considered whether she should... help him? Honestly, Tali wasn't sure what he was trying to do so it was hard to say how she could help. Was he trying to hunt it? If so, he'd really lost his head, because he had alerted it to his presence and his only chance maybe would've been stealth. Almost all of the other seals had reentered the water, their preferred domain. The bull seal was probably too annoyed to join its fellow seals in the water.

The male even seemed to have spotted her and yipped what she assumed was a greeting in her direction. It didn't seem like a panicked cry for help, maybe it was an invitation to join him? At this game? She didn't have as much of a suicidal tendency as the wolf who was nipping at a seal that could probably knock him unconscious with one particularly vicious whack of a flipper. Honestly, he was lucky he hadn't been knocked out. He was speedier on land than the seal, though, so that was his one advantage. It might also tire more easily on land, if he was at it long enough.

After a moment's consideration, she stood up and walked forward a bit. Her paper and charcoal was tucked back into her satchel as she raised her bow and an arrow, aiming it at the seal closer to the rump so that she wouldn't risk hitting the wolf instead. Maybe she could help antagonize it enough to make it leave? Or for it to make a mistake so that the wolf chomping at it could get a good latch onto something vulnerable? Honestly, Bat wasn't exactly sure what she should be doing in this situation, so she was just trying a thing and going to see how that went.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
[Image: lantern.png]  Wordtober (Consolation Corner)  insipid


Tail wagging and fur bristled with excited agitation, Nikamew lunged to nip at the thick hide and scurried away again before the seal could whirl fully on him. It might have looked wholly like a game -- especially from the way the wolf grinned and confidently bounded -- but this was an experiment, too. He couldn't hope to kill the seal now except through sheer luck, but he wanted to test whether he could in the future.

A smaller one, definitely, if he snuck up on it, upshore on the rocks... His teeth couldn't hope to pierce through that blubber, but if he harried it enough, maybe he could find a weaker spot. He watched the way the neck stretched and the flippers slapped on the sand and the long whiskers bristled angrily around its barking mouth.

From a higher vantage point, the dark ear-tips became a masked face and then a Luperci form, colored like dark wet soil and armed with what Nikamew recognized as a bow. He wuffed in surprise, suspicious enough by the arrow pointed in their direction that he backed off the seal and lowered his head (as if that would make him less of a target for a skilled archer), trotting in a wide half-circle.

Whether it sensed another predator, or had merely been waiting for an opportunity to escape, the seal made for the water, and Nikamew let it go. His head tilted as he regarded it, then his eyes lidded casually once it disappeared beneath the surface, as if it were an insipid thing that never would have caught his interest.

After all, a stranger was always more interesting.

"Are you going to shoot me?" Nikamew asked, his tail waving in the low, lank manner of a wolf and his grin as bright and lazy as his voice. Most of the time, he saw arrows imbedded in prey -- but more than one stern archer had threatened him with a drawn bowstring for some transgression or another.

They were usually bluffing, though. Nik thought it was because arrows were things that had to be made rather than scavenged, and Luperci didn't want to waste them when a threat could do.
[Image: silver.png] Prompt [1270/1000] Scout in the wilds beyond New Caledonia for a minimum of one week and create a small map. !

She noticed the gaze of the other canine shifting toward her and he backed off once he saw her. Perhaps it had seemed she was presenting a threat to him instead of the seal? Bat carefully lowered her weapon, letting the string go loose and removing the arrow to return it to her quiver. The wolf was relieved he was no longer antagonizing the big beast - it was already lumbering its way into the ocean - because it meant she didn't have to see his entrails outside of his body. She had honestly been worried that might be an impending problem.

When she was asked if she was going to shoot him, the archer shook her head. "I was going to try to shoot that seal if you didn't stop pissing it off. I wasn't entirely sure what you were trying to accomplish, but I am not really a big fan of being present for the death of others." in fact, she rather hated the idea of seeing someone else killed. Violence was not in her nature toward her own kind. Even against prey animals, it was something she did because she needed to do it. It wasn't because she enjoyed it. "Just... one second."

The wolf carefully made her way to the edge of the cliff, pondering if she should try to join him down on the beach or just keep watching. She pulled her paper and charcoal back out to make a note about the seals to herself on the edges, "prey? Ask Clyde. Cliffs may be useful. The map she was making was rudimentary enough that she wasn't planning to broadly share it with the pack, anyway, so a little sidenote to herself wouldn't hurt anything. Once she became more proficient she might be able to document it in a way that she'd allow others to utilize.

It had probably been kind of rude to stop talking to the male in the sands for a moment to write the note, but she hadn't wanted to forget. She had kind of warned him she was about to do it, anyway. The wolf carefully set her paper back in her satchel and started to make her way back around to a spot where she could more easily climb down. It just seemed weird to try and talk with someone from a higher vantage point. After all, she didn't have any intention of shooting him.

"What were you trying to accomplish, anyway? Besides making it mad, I mean." she asked as she clambered down onto the beach.

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

The archer claimed that her arrow had been for the seal, and Nikamew laughed with a swish of his dark-tipped tail. "I would have liked to see that," he said, his singsong voice sounding like mockery or teasing even if he didn't intend it badly. Could an arrow even pierce a seal's hide? He hadn't been able to sink his teeth into it to determine whether a fang could. Regardless, the thought of a pincushioned and further enraged seal entertained him -- he who rarely took things seriously.

He cocked his head as the female scribbled something on a leaf of paper before she tucked it away, vanishing behind the rock and brush on the cliff only to descend down one of the less treacherous slopes. Ochre eyes watched her progress as he sat down in the sand, swishing his tail along the wet grains, and he gave a flip of his head in lieu of a shrug.

"Just testing," he answered. "I've never hunted a seal before, so I didn't know how easy it would be to corner one on land. They look like they have a lot of meat and fat." To be able to gorge oneself on all that flesh and blubber would be a great privilege, if one could manage it. "If I try it for real, I'll pick a smaller one or bring a friend," he added, squinting in amusement and wondering if she still thought he was suicidal.

He pointed his nose toward her satchel. "What about you? What are you writing up there?" he asked. Not that the answer particularly intrigued him; he just thought it was fair to ask her a question after she asked him. He'd never understood the point of writing, anyway -- let alone been able to decipher the glyphs some Luperci used.
He really did seem very nonchalant about the concept of her shooting toward him. She wouldn't have trusted someone else aiming an arrow her way, even if it was to strike the prey animal next to her and not hit her. Sometimes, things went awry. If he had known how she had performed at the Clay Pigeons, he might've been more concerned about her ability to hit what she aimed at. Although a seal was a much bigger and better target than a flying clay disc. "Maybe next time." she joked. As if there would be a next time when they'd both be here. It was possible, but improbable.

It was obvious that this fellow was not a insipid canine, considering he had just been batting away at a seal like it was the kind of thing one could do casually. There was a childishness to it that seemed at odds with his age. Like he wasn't aware that dying sucked and one could get seriously hurt playing "does this work?" games with prey. Hell, even the most well-trained hunter found themselves hurt sometimes in a hunt that had been planned perfectly. To just see what happened... that was the game of a younger wolf. Perhaps she was wrong, but she assessed him to be well past what she would consider youth.

"You've got less of a fear of being maimed than me. I'm not sure if I admire that or find it concerning." she admitted, shaking her head. Perhaps a bit of both. "I was writing some information about the area for my pack, including about the seals. I am sure it's not unknown knowledge for the area, but it's good to mark nonetheless. Who knows when the last time someone from New Caledonia was here to mark what they saw." and things did change. The shape of life was constantly in flux. It was good to have current knowledge of an area that was fairly close to their borders. Especially in case someone did have knowledge of how to hunt the blubbery seals. Probably Clyde, if anyone...

She wasn't going to ponder all of that right now, though. It would be rude to just settle into her thoughts instead of talking with her present company. At least, until he decided to dash off to harass a shark or something. "Are you from around here?" clearly he didn't have any friends with him right now. "Oh! I should probably introduce myself, too. I'm Bat." her tail waved in a friendly way.

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

"That thing was all talk," Nikamew said with a lazy shake of his scruff.

Most animals, wolves included, were all bluster -- because nobody wanted to get themselves hurt. Threatening displays were not just a precursor to fights, but sometimes ended them before they began. Noise and bared teeth and bristling fur deterred other creatures from taking that risk, but Nik had been around long enough that he could call a bluff. Certainly, it was a gamble, and there was a reckless streak in him that called to childish notions of immortality, but in this instance, Nik hadn't been concerned.

He smiled, a slanted and foxish thing that made his long whiskers flick. "Now, if it had been a boar, or even a horse, I wouldn't have pushed it." He hadn't feared being maimed by the seal, but he knew what a herbivore armed with tusks or hard hooves could do. He was smart enough to pick and choose where he took his chances and where he thought he couldn't win.

The she-wolf explained that she was writing down information, and Nikamew uttered a short hum of thought. "Why don't you just tell them yourself?"

He knew there were reasons that Luperci would choose to write things down rather than just speak to the recipient of the message, but he was curious to hear everyone's excuses for it. Some even made sense. Codifying oral tradition into glyphs for later generations to read seemed so rigid to him, though, and delivering messages had always been easier with one's own feet and mouth in the small packs where he grew up. He was interested to hear this one's reason for complicating matters.

His ears twitched as he backtracked over her response to a proper noun. "New Caledonia is a place?" he ventured.

His ignorance seemed to clue her in that he wasn't from here, unless she was just asking the question to make polite small-talk. He shook his head. "West of here. Across a very big river." He had no other description for the St. Lawrence. "It was a wilder place than here." He hadn't really liked that word for it -- wild, rather than normal -- but the type of Luperci who wrote things phrased it that way a lot.

He grinned at her name. It was natural, and he quite liked it. "Is it because of your ears?" he asked. "I'm Nikamew."
All talk? The blue-eyed wolf looked out at the surf as if expecting the seal to show back up and prove how not just all talk it was. Although she suspected it was a more dangerous predator in the water. Once it had slipped away into the ocean, it had looked much more graceful. On land, it was a bulbous mass. In the water it had looked sleek and efficient. The opposite of her. In the water, she felt like she looked like she was just barely north of drowning.

The stranger seemed more concerned about land animals that were known to be threatening to hunt. Personally she didn't know anyone who had actively hunted a boar except with a bow, and she didn't actually know anyone who had hunted a horse at all. They seemed far more popular as mounts. "So you do know that at least some prey animals are dangerous... although boar is delicious. Maybe seal is, too. Still think I'd stick to arrows for hunting them though." and a group of canines who could all shoot together to maximize their chances of a fatality. That was a lot of fat to get through on those things.

He seemed confused as to why she would write down what she was learning. The wolf tipped her head slightly in confusion. "For ... those I can't talk to? Like, um, those that either I won't see or, uh, future generations." she said. Although she doubted anyone would keep this particular map that long. It was useful in the short term, but it wasn't going to be wow let's show our kids level good. Probably her mapping would never be that good.

The wolf figured he must be very new since he wasn't even aware of New Caledonia. Not that her pack was so great everyone should hear about it, but he was pretty close to it. "Yes, if you walk that direction, New Caledonia is the border you'll scent." she said, gesturing toward where her pack resided. It would be hard to miss with noses like theirs. Although she supposed if he went high enough above it, he might miss it. He confirmed he was from an area she hadn't heard about that was wild. "Ah, I came from a wilder pack myself. There's, um, a group farther down the coast that is trying to be more like that, I think. Other groups here are definitely a lot more modern, I guess?" she assumed he'd know what she meant.

His question about her name made her laugh. That wasn't a new one, but it wasn't one she had really heard recently. "No, actually, although you're the first one to ask in a long time." it was kind of surprising no one else ever went "oh your ears are kinda big like a bat's, that makes sense"; maybe she had fallen out of the habit of introducing herself as Bat as much as she did Tali or Taleon or Leon... she was pretty sure she said Bat often enough, though. It was Batty that she avoided because it just didn't give off the right vibes.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
Nikamew tilted his head, impressed that the she-wolf had even eaten boar. He supposed that killing one from a distance, as bows allowed, was much safer than trying to sink your teeth into an enraged hog. Then again, he was sure that a big pig—like a seal—was protected by enough meat and fat that one measly arrow wouldn't drop it. In that case, he hoped that the archer would be far enough away to scramble up a tree or something.

"Nothing beats fawn," he said, licking his chops at the thought of such tender flesh. He wasn't really inclined to try riskier prey for the taste, but... "A seal would be worth it for the amount of meat, though." He didn't have the luxury of dining on tasty delicacies that some Luperci seemed to. When he had the option, he prioritized anything that he could gorge himself on, expecting to go hungry for days at a time.

She mirrored his confusion with a tip of her own head, and he smiled. It was a self-satisfied little smile, as he'd anticipated her explanation, but for once the male didn't debate the point. Instead, he considered an entirely different angle, lost in thought a moment before he ventured to add, "A drawing might be easier than explaining." His tail dusted across the sand in a wag. "I do like to look at drawings. Sometimes they're very funny."

The archer gestured in the direction of New Caledonia; it was the name of a pack, and an unusual name at that. Most packs in Mer Bleue had been descriptive in nature, like Cedar Bend, or Blackcoats—if they had a name at all. His own family band hadn't called themselves anything.

"Oh?" That she came from a wild pack intrigued him, and his ochre eyes lit with a new blaze of curiosity. His heretofore languid bearing sharpened, with prick ears and tall posture. "Did you leave or were you chased out?"

He filed the information about a feral group along the coast away for later; he'd make his way there eventually, if he felt like it. Most similar packs he'd come across on his travels had considered him, a male in his prime, a threat of some sort, or at least didn't have the resources of territory to take in an unrelated stranger. It hadn't offended him... mostly. He said it didn't offend him.
Fawn. The wolf had rarely eaten fawn before. It wasn't usually a good choice in a hunt. Sometimes there was a weak fawn that could be driven away from its mother to drop back and get taken up by the hunters. It was risky, though. A mother would come back to defend its young fairly fiercely. She remembered the calf that she had dropped alongside Oberyn and Makwaikwe, though; it had been young. Not exactly a fawn, as that usually implied deer in her mind, but young nonetheless. Her favorite food... did she have a favorite food? Not really. Everything she ate tended to be pretty good. Nothing sprang to mind as "ah, yes, I love eating that most of all"; it was all in the mood. Fish, maybe. She really liked fish when she could eat it.

"I wonder if seal would taste more like fish or more like deer... I mean, they live mostly in the water, but they're also not fish, so..." it was a question she'd have to ponder until she actually tried the blubbery creature for herself. If she ever had the chance. It wasn't really a top priority. Really, she'd be much more interested at the moment in getting New Caledonia to go after an elk, she didn't think they were ready for a wild seal hunt.

He seemed to be trying to get her off balance and it was working. Bat hated that it was working a bit. "Funny drawings would be a bit different, I think. Unless, um, it's merely someone's skill you'd be laughing at." which seemed an offensive thing to enjoy. Then again, maybe he just liked being offensive.

Certainly his next question seemed to suggest he enjoyed being offensive. Her face warmed with an embarrassed heat. Was it that obvious that they would have driven her away from them? Maybe getting pushed out of a feral pack was more common than she had realized. The way he had sharpened made her wonder if she had accidentally made an offense. Perhaps it was her phrasing? It was... hard to figure out how to divide the "modern" and "wild", the "feral" and "civilized"; often words had different meanings to different wolves, she had found. But wait... no, she had taken that word from what he had said, mimicking his choice of phrasing. Bat was left baffled as to how the conversation had shifted in a way that made her anxiety rise up over her like a flood.

Her ears twitched anxiously a few times before she replied. "I was driven out." she was glad that her voice didn't shake as she said it, because she had been almost certain it would've. The wolf wasn't sure how much more than that she wanted to share with him. What had seemed a fairly casual conversation was rapidly becoming something she wanted to escape. While she sometimes talked about her past with those she trusted, this male was not one of them. They'd barely met and here he was, prying away at the shell she kept around her vulnerable self.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
"Anything that lives in the water tastes like water," Nikamew remarked flatly. While it wasn't universally true, he thought that semi-aquatic animals like muskrats tended to taste like lake, compared to a more terrestrial rodent like a groundhog. Otherwise, an animal's diet changed its flavor profile, which was why he avoided eating little predators like weasels when he could help it. The taste was too acrid.

His tail wagged when they got on the topic of drawings. "Well, it's funny when they don't look like what they're supposed to," he pointed out. Who could blame him for chuckling when a portrait looked like a bad caricature? "But I did find a tree that had a funny picture carved of a — well." His ears twitched back, and he sat down and curled his tail around his haunch with a small hum. "It was lewd," he said instead. Offensive as he often was, he would draw the line at describing that in grand detail.

The she-wolf's large ears twitched, perhaps in a nervous tic, when she answered. Nikamew noticed this, but he didn't dwell on it or consider that he'd made her uncomfortable with his question. A small part of him acknowledged that perhaps he had, but in Nik's mind, he hadn't meant offense, so it didn't matter what she took from it. Still, he flashed her a smile that was a little softer than his earlier grins.

"I was too," he explained. "Not by my pack, but another one — they chased all of us out of Mer Bleue, even my grandmother, who couldn't even shift. All because they felt threatened." His gaze became more direct, his ears remaining pricked, and his hackles began to shiver on the nape of his neck. While it wasn't directed at Bat, the injustice was still able to draw strong emotion from him.

But he continued on talking as if the moment of intensity hadn't occured, tipping his head and pointing at the bow poking from behind her shoulder with his dark nose. "Do you like living like this now?" he asked — meaning "civilized."
"maybe he just liked being offensive" lmao yeah nik is just kind of a reddit bro tbh
He seemed more experienced with water animals than she was, so she nodded in agreement to what he said. It made sense that they tasted like their environment. Even the specific type of land an animal lived on could effect their taste to a certain degree. Whether they lived in a forest or on a plain. Some of it was type of animal, but other parts were habitat based. A seal would probably be both blubbery and delicious.

He seemed undeterred from the idea of chuckling at someone's attempt at drawing. The wolf knew how she'd feel if someone laughd at her crude attempts and felt a bit defensive of her fellow unskilled artists. "I mean, I suppose... I just wouldn't want to make someone feel badly if, um, their work wasn't the best." she said with a twitch of her ears. Battalion definitely wouldn't laugh at someone else's work. At least not on purpose.

When he said that he had seen something lewd on a tree, she felt her face heat with surprise. Why would someone go through all the effort to do that? "Seems like a waste of time. Unless... um, it was message for someone specific." maybe they wanted to show their real life lewd bits to someone and that was the signal. Despite her naivety in the matter of sex, she was aware that plenty engaged in it as a recreational activity. And also some wolves were just obsessed with their bits, it could just be that rather than a signal to anyone in particular.

He had been driven out of his homeland; her ears flicked back. How distasteful. Who would feel threatened by a pack of non-shifters and wildlings? "I'm sorry that happened to you. What a terrible thing for someone to do." she wondered if the fairly isolated community of Silver Falls would eventually fall prey to such a thing. She doubted it, though; the nearest town had been fairly easygoing and not at all out for blood when she had been born. Although things shifted and changed; it was possible eventually they might cause someone to drive them away with their nonsense about four legs being superior.

At his question about how she lived now, she shrugged. "Sometimes. Sometimes not. I go on four legs more than a lot in my pack and I go on two legs more than my birth pack. There are pros and cons to both. I think if I'd met the wolves who are forming a more wild pack first, I may have abandoned my bow and gone a different way... but I found New Caledonia and I liked it there, so..." it mattered more who lived with her than it did how she lived.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
The female twitched her ears again — he was sure it was a nervous tic now — but Nikamew merely turned his head away in something like a dismissive shrug. ”They should laugh at it, too,” he said.

Anyone who took themselves too seriously to chuckle at their minor failures was too haughty for him. He supposed some folks might get upset if they were earnest in their intentions, but they were sensitive, like Bat seemed to be. She didn’t see the humor in the grotesque doodle either, though Nik huffed an amused snort when she suggested it might be a message for somebody. He would have to try that sometime.

His bright eyes flicked to her as she expressed sympathies. ”It was terrible,” he agreed. ”We could have fought them back if we all used our stronger forms, I think, but that was the cause of the trouble in the first place.” He would always maintain that it had been possible to reclaim their territory, if only his family hadn’t been so scarred by their losses.

Curious about Bat’s answer, Nikamew listened intently and more politely than before, bobbing his head along. ”In between makes the most sense,” he said, ”choosing what you want to do. If I’d had opportunity, maybe I would have learned some things and joined a two-legged pack too. But most of them don’t remember anything about being wolves, if they even are wolves.” He twitched his nose and whiskers to the side in mild disdain.

”Where did you hear of that ‘wild pack’ again?” he asked mildly, standing up and stretching, claws scratching lines into the sand.
He was dismissive of everyone else's feelings about their skills. They should laugh too, as if everyone could just chuckle over their wasted effort. Her ears twitched again but she didn't say anything. There was nothing to be said when they clearly had very different perspectives on laughing at someone else's work. It wasn't like she was going to convince him or he was going to convince her to change perception.

The more serious topic of a pack's destruction made her stomach curl uncomfortably. Senseless violence... although most violence was. Unless it was something like violence in a hunt for sustenance, the long-earred wolf didn't understand it. Even her practice fighting was for her own protection. If there was an option to not fight and still ensure her own safety, Bat would go for it. She had promised Torabera that she would learn to fight, though, and learn she had. She would not be a risk to the pack if someone came for them.

"Taking someone else's land who has not caused you harm is an offense to the natural order of things as I was taught. I hope all of your pack found safe havens." especially his grandmother who would've been elderly and most at risk in a loner lifestyle. Obviously they had not reformed and were not all traveling together; he didn't have the thickly entwined scents (or accompanying companions) to indicate they were all together still.

He seemed scornful of non-wolves, and she latched onto that a bit; it was an area of interest for her. "Do you not like, um, non-wolves?" she asked with curiosity. Tali did her best to keep judgment out of her voice. It was something she was learning more about from locals, but was it something he also had? A prejudice against those not like him? She had never borne a sense of being better than coyotes or jackals or dogs. Everyone was their own person, for better or for worse.

She gestured in the southern direction where she had met Oberyn to indicate where the small group was residing to her knowledge. "Much farther that way in the woods. If you travel that way, the male I met was Oberyn. He has a mate, too, but, um, her name was really long and I'm kind of embarrassed to admit I don't fully remember how to pronounce it." her face flushed with shame, but she'd rather admit she didn't remember than flub it.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
The cream hairs of his ruff prickled at her well-meaning words, but no guilt shadowed Nikamew — not then, not now even with years to dwell on it. Sure, he and Maskwa had used what the other packs called excessive force dealing with a trespasser, but they hadn’t killed the idiot who had crossed into their territory first. It was no justification to drive out their entire family, even those innocent of the so-called crime. Nor did he feel guilt about leaving his family behind.

”It was a long time ago,” Nik said in answer, shaking his scruff dismissively. Karthwine was probably dead, and who knew about his parents. He could only hope that his brother had been able to start a new family somewhere.

One ear cocked back when she asked somewhat tentatively if he disliked non-wolves, and he looked puzzled a moment before he made the connection to what he’d said. ”No, they’re just different, is all,” he answered. Once he’d held a stronger bias against coyotes and dogs, but he’d grown to accept them, for the most part. Living the life of a loner had helped him accept coyotes, who many packs derided as scavengers. ”I just haven’t met any dogs who keep to the old ways, for instance.”

He pricked his ears to heed her answer, and grinned at her with a nod. ”I might check them out,” he said. He wasn’t in a hurry about it, but he couldn’t say that the prospect didn’t excite him a little. ”Thanks, Bat.”
We can probs wrap this up :3
One more from you or archive it here? :D <3

She had no way of knowing there was (at least some) reasoning behind why they had been driven from their lands. Although what wild wolf could be angry about an interloper being chased off anyway? Walking onto the land of another was an accepted death sentence where she came from. If you made it out with your throat intact, you were lucky, but it wasn't expected. So if she had known, her sentiment would've remained the same: they had done nothing to deserve being driven from their land. All they had done was defend it from a trespasser.

He didn't dwell on the topic and so neither did she. They didn't know each other at all, really, so it wasn't as if she was going to dig into his past for more details. She was far more interested in his reaction to her question about non-wolves. At first he just seemed a bit confused by her question, as if it didn't correlate to what he had said. Which it might not have, in his mind; her ear was listening with the knowledge of local biases and an interest in discovering more about them. He had no reason to know that about her.

"That makes sense. The old ways were gone from their blood long before the world changed." she remarked. Dogs were... different. They always had been. That was alright, but it was factual. A coyote was more wild-blooded than a dog. The dog mixes were the ones that seemed to more easily walk the line between coyote and wolf. Perhaps because they weren't quite as wild blooded as the other two.

She nodded when he said he'd check out the loner band. "I hope you do. And tell Oberyn I say hi, if you see him. I hope they're still doing well." she was half-tempted to visit them herself soon. There were a lot of things happening right now, but perhaps in the springtime or summertime when things had warmed up a bit and she would have actually been home for a decent period of time.

"I should probably start heading home myself, though. It was good to meet you." at least it hadn't been bad, though she didn't think she'd be specifically seeking out his company in the future. Maybe she'd see him again if he joined the loners down south, though.

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

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