[P] An arm wrestling match with a cougar.
for Parzival.
#1
OOC:
Set in the Dampwoods.

IC:
His search so far had been in vain. This did not perturb him, because it had been a long time that his search had been in vain. Years at this point. His third birthday had recently passed and he had celebrated it alone again. Each year he wondered if his next birthday, he might celebrate with his lost sister. Each year passed without their reunion, though. Perhaps this one would too. Polliwog didn't really let it get to him. If he did, he'd be a sad sack every day of his life. It didn't do to dwell on the what ifs in life.

There was a pack nearby. The loner was assessing if he wanted to approach it. Not all groups were friendly. Especially when a gruff, large swordsman approached their borders asking after another wolf. He had been rejected rather forcefully before when he just went right up to borders and howled. Usually a pack meant a lot of activity, though. There would be those coming and going. Unlike his birth pack of Silver Falls, modern pack members traveled. They had commerce to keep moving. Their lives weren't spent just hunting, brawling, and sleeping.

It was midday and he was settled into the Dampwoods a fair distance from Casa di Cavalieri. Enough to be respectful, but close enough that he thought he might catch someone leaving the pack to go about business. He had set up a fire, letting the smoke lazily rise to announce his location. Maybe it'd even draw someone to him to answer his questions about if they'd seen a dark-masked wolf with bright blue eyes. He wasn't close enough to their territory to make them mad (probably) and if they came to him instead of him having to go to them, all the better.

Avarice and Theodora grazed nearby and he idly read one of his favorite astronomy books as he waited.
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#2
There's magic in our bones - A north star in our soul - That remembers our way home 

OOC: stuff here


There was a merit to being a large, male mountain lion. Parzival wasn't about to start using his size to find a mate, he wasn't interested in having his genes passed on, but his size was good for intimidating other lions. What a female might see as an attractive option, other males saw as a threat, choosing to either run or try and scare Parzival off. He'd avoid other lions as much as he could, but sometimes their paths did cross, and usually it ended in a bunch of screaming and Parival coming out on top. He was good at this thing now after all... confidence on his side from the pack he called home that he knew wouldn't let him down. 

Such was the way today; without even intending to, Parzival had scared off a young male cougar from his meal, leaving the deer corpse barely eaten and perfect for taking away. Parzival felt perhaps a bit bad for stealing another's meal that he'd not worked towards, but the younger lion needed to learn a lesson about abandoning food too early and Parzival didn't mind the idea of not having to work for his hunt. 

So he made his way back home through the thick woods, dragging along the deer by the neck, pushing through the layers of fallen leaves now covering the ground. Spirits were high for Parzival; an easy 'hunt' meant he could get home and relax quicker. So noticing someone else occupying the woods, fairly close to home, had the lion feeling curious but not suspicious. He would be spotted by the wolf either way; carrying a corpse wasn't exactly quiet after all, so Parzival decided to head towards the other's camp. 

Close enough to be heard, the lion dropped the dead deer from his mouth. "Waiting for someone out here?" Parzival called over, tail flicking curiously, "You're awfully close to my home."



♕Parzival♕

out of the woods,
      out of the dark,
im well aware of the shadows in my heart
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#3
The sound of a deer carcass being dragged was not a quiet thing at all. His ears perked toward the sound when it was still a fair distance and he stood up. Avarice shifted anxiously, nostrils flaring and a soft whump of disapproval coming from him at whatever was coming. Polli patted the horse's shoulder reassuringly and returned his book to the saddlebag that was resting on the ground currently. "We'll just see what it is, fella, before we decide if we need to be worried." he said to his steed, scratching briefly behind the horse's ears where Avarice liked to be pet.

Theodora stayed close to Avarice, but didn't seem as bothered as him. She tended to be the more placid of the two. Polliwog turned to look as the scent of blood - deer - and cougar came closer. His hackles rose and his hand moved to his sword hilt, ready to defend his animals as well as himself. Cougars were territorial creatures. Usually females with young were the ones he found the most vicious about defending near their dens. He hadn't caught the acrid scent of their territory markings near here, though...

He was surprised when the feline spoke and more surprised by what the mountain lion said. "Your home?" he said, looking out toward Casa di Cavalieri as if expecting it to suddenly obviously say Kingdom of Lions or something. The scents about the border were decidedly canine, though. And as far as he knew, felines didn't gather the way that canines did. They kind of went their own way and got together to procreate, then separated again. A simpler way of life, in some ways; he sometimes thought it would be easier if he hadn't cared at all when his sister went missing. His life would've been a lot different.

Perhaps he was misunderstanding what the cougar meant. Maybe he just meant he denned up nearby. Cougars didn't generally stop to chat, though, so this was already an unusual occurrence. At least he didn't have to worry that the lion was likely to attack his horse or mule, since obviously Parzival already had a meal. Like all predators, cougars weren't prone to killing things for sport. Although, again, they also weren't exactly the sort to chat with wolves (usually), so this whole encounter was already proving very atypical. He'd keep his hand on his sword hilt.

"Not waiting for someone specific. I'm in the area looking for my sister. Smaller wolf, blue eyes, brown fur, sort of a dark mask around her eyes and ears. Any chance you've seen her?" and hopefully not murdered her or something, because that would suck a lot.
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#4
There's magic in our bones - A north star in our soul - That remembers our way home 

OOC: stuff here


Wise people hesitated before striking a conversation with Parzival, knowing to think through the decision to engage with a cougar with their defences down, rather than jump right into assuming the cat wasn't trying to trick them or attack. In a way, Parz did almost wish more people were stupid, it would give him an easier time when meeting new people and deciding on if he needed to leave them be or enjoy himself. But he could respect the wise ones, it was how he wanted Cavaliers to act around mountain lions, lessons he'd pushed his little siblings to remember at all times. The wolf, once aware of Parzival's presence, seemed to spend a moment thinking up his options before deciding to talk to the cat. 

"Yes." Parzival confirmed, sitting himself down. "My pack. Casa di Cavalieri. Full of fancy pantsy wolves... and me." The lion explained further, licking at his lips to clean off some of the blood. Pride was evident in his tone, holding his position in the pack well, happy to talk to others like the full Cavalier that he was. 

Thinking for a moment of the described woman, Parizval purred softly before slowly approaching, leaving his deer behind for a moment to better inspect the male. If it was his sister he seeked, perhaps there would be a resemblence in looks, but as Parzival got closer he saw little he could connect to. "Hrm, afraid not. If I have, I can't remember... keeping a canine's face to memory is tricky sometimes. I can't rely on smell nearly as well as you lot can, and there's enough faces in my pack to commit to memory. Since I don't know her, that at least tells you she'd not in Casa." The feline explained, despite his usual tone he did have some genuine desire to help the man. A lost sibling was something Parz didn't like seeing repeated. 

He tried to think again in his head about this lost sibling, tempted to recommend going up to Del Cenere to ask the Ashen given the amount of visitors going through there, before his ears caught something moving nearby. He glanced to the man's horse and mule, thinking for a moment it was them moving, before his sharp eyes noticed the fawn-furred creature stalking close behind them. With a sudden yowl that would no doubt startle the wolf and his animals, Parzival rushed to catch the other lion before it could attack, knowing in his gut this was the young male he'd stolen a meal from. 



♕Parzival♕

out of the woods,
      out of the dark,
im well aware of the shadows in my heart
  Reply
#5
Casa di Cavalieri, he noted the name for reference. Also the fact that they were apparently fancy pantsy, whatever that meant. Did it mean that they wore elaborate clothes? Didn't seem like the kind of thing he'd want to be known for, but he wasn't one to judge either. Wearing fancy clothes was... a way to live, he supposed. Although it was an odd pack to keep a cougar, if so. He certainly was wearing nothing fancy and definitely nothing pantsy.

The mountain lion moved closer, appraising Polliwog. The warrior returned the gaze levelly, taking in the sheer size of the large cat. He had seen cougars before. This one was big, even for that kind of animal. Not the kind he'd like to tango with. At least... not in a real death match. Actually just brawling one would be quite fun. He wondered if this strange cat liked to just brawl with wolves, if he lived among them. Maybe a question to remember later, if he met up with the feline again or visited his fancy pantsy pack. It had been a long while since he just had a good brawl with someone who could actually beat him...

Polliwog was not surprised to learn that the cougar hadn't met his sister. No one had. Every time he got a single clue it was a misdirect, a mistaken identity, a falsehood, or she had left already. "I appreciate you thinking on it. If your pack is... amenable to visitors, I wouldn't mind asking around there. Do you think that'd be alright with your leadership? I can provide services or goods in exchange for time spent there." mostly the services. While Theodora carried some goods, they were mostly for his own use. He had found that his most useful skill on land was his carpentry, though; not everyone knew how to work wood the way that he did.

A sound drew both his and Parzival's attention at the same time, something that made the fur rise on the back of his neck because unlike the cougar he knew it wasn't his horses. As the large cat yowled, Polliwog felt his hackles spike even higher. He advanced toward the smaller cougar with his sword drawn. The mule and horse both attempted to bolt, but they were hobbled in the way he preferred while camping somewhere. It meant that they couldn't run and in this case that was a detriment. Polli cursed under his breath; perhaps this area it was better to tie them in a way they could get loose from in instances like this. Luckily it seemed that the two predators had gotten in between the prey animals and the aggressive cougar before he could spring at either of the equines. Which meant they could just kind of hobble away as best they could while Parzival and Polliwog fought.

He moved to swipe his sword at wherever the animal was exposed, careful to avoid hitting the cougar he had just been talking to. Luckily he was accustomed to fighting at close quarters. Not alongside a cougar, of course, but the awareness of others in battle remained the same. Mostly he was seeking to strike at the belly, where there was surely a soft spot and it was likely to be exposed if Parzival had gone for the neck. It also wouldn't surprise him if the young cougar ran, its intended targets now no longer a good option to hunt.
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#6
There's magic in our bones - A north star in our soul - That remembers our way home 

OOC: stuff here


With a light scoff, Parzival nodded his head to Polli, "Believe me Casa is incredibly welcoming to guests, especially those who are happy to work for their stay." The feline explained, considering in his head how little had changed in Casa from the attacks last summer. There might be more wariness there, but it wasn't on a noticable level. Indeed Cedric, as always, didn't let tragedy shift his beliefs. "And given my dad is the leader I'm sure I can convince him it's fine." Oh yes, a chance to brag, to lean in to the odd reality of Parzival being something of a 'prince' within Casa. 

But the bragging didn't last, instead Parzival felt frustration build at the approach of that young cougar, clearly desperate enough to try and push back and follow Parzival until he could steal something back. But rather than go for the deer, the plucky young feline seemed to want to torment the canine and his animals. Perhaps Parzival felt a bit guilty for drawing the rival cat close and putting Polli at risk... but in all honesty he wasn't expecting such a reckless response from the other mountain lion. Who would really? 

With both Parzival and Polliwog in the way, the young cougar couldn't make his attack against the two hooved creatures, hissing in frustration and backing off from the swinging sword. 

Any cat with good instincts would run right now... but apparently this particular young male was giving up on his retreating tactic. Parzival could see the other cat's muscles flex just before it pounced, pushing himself forward to try and launch back at it, knock it away in a flurry of claws and feline screams. It was aiming for Polli's legs, Parzival hoping to reach in time to drag the other cat back and away with a bite to it's rump.



♕Parzival♕

out of the woods,
      out of the dark,
im well aware of the shadows in my heart
  Reply
#7
The prospect of a place to ask around more about his missing sister was appealing. Just because this cougar didn't know didn't mean that his packmates didn't know her. Maybe she had interacted with them somewhere in neutral territories or inside of another pack. It wasn't like "oh I met a big-earred wolf with blue eyes" was something that came up in natural conversation. Even if they had mentioned meeting her, they might have said they met someone with a name that Polli didn't even know. He had long ago figured out it was likely she was no longer using her birth name, which was why he didn't ask that specifically anymore. It confused matters more than it helped.

He didn't have time to ask how a cougar had a father as leader in a wolf pack before the younger cat came, but he put a pin in it to ask after the brawl. The copper-eyed wolf was really curious as to how a big cat had become a full member of a pack. Obviously it was adoption... unless Parzival's father was also a cougar and the leader of the pack was a cougar. That would be strange indeed.

The fight made him smile, because he enjoyed the adrenaline rush of a good scrap. Although it was also infuriating to have the strange cat attack his animals. If it was just him fighting, he'd jump into the fray eagerly. Which was probably the reason that he had so many scars; he never backed away from the possibility of drawing blood. Which also meant his own blood was drawn in turn more often than not. When it came to Avarice and Theodora, though, he needed to be protective and preventative rather than reckless.

The young cat jumped at him and he shifted positions slightly to prepare for what he thought would be an attack to his torso. He was able to turn slightly and aim his sword down to strike at its shoulder. Parzival was there, too, grabbing its rump and hauling it backward. The cougar reached out an arm that was far too long, though, and snagged one of Polli's legs. He cursed as he fell, the scent of blood peppering the air as its claws successfully dug in and then left a long - though not overly deep - scratch as it was hauled backward. It seemed to decide Parzival was the bigger threat at this point and turned around to swipe at him instead. Which gave Polli time to draw his hip dagger and aim it at the cougar's exposed side. He wanted to at least get it to run off; it wasn't necessary to kill it, but if it was going to continue to be a fool, better to take it out of the cougar breeding pool anyway. No one needed more desperate and stupid felines running around.
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#8
There's magic in our bones - A north star in our soul - That remembers our way home 

OOC: stuff here


A wolf against a mountain lion was a risky experience; odds are it would always end in a slaughter or close call. Parzival knew this of himself as well, his potential to be something threatening, wielding that strength like a shield to keep danger away from his home. He also knew how much impact having a cougar on the right side had on a fight. Perhaps alone Polliwog would've struggled against the young cougar, perhaps he wouldn't... or perhaps he'd never encounter the younger lion at all given it had been following Parzival. 

Regardless... the Cavalier cat was here and he wasn't about to let Polliwog handle this alone. 

Dragging the other feline back saved Polliwog from having his leg torn off, but the claws still caught and tore a bit, Parzival would consider that a fault of his own reflexes. Not quite sharp enough yet, unlike his teeth and claws, which were put to work as the other cougar turned to attack him. Two mountain lions fighting was like watching two tornadoes collide; a flurry of howls and screams and the brutal smack of hefty paws as both worked to slap and scratch at each other. Anyone daring to get close would surely be shredded, but Polliwog seemed to test it with a knife, aiming for the younger cat. Parz caught this movement; used to splitting his focus in a fight to check on his companions, managing to connect a claw on the other lion's neck just in time to keep him still and let Polli's attack land. 

With a yowl of pain from the knife wound, the young cat flailed in a manner that was no longer for fighting, prompting Parzival to let him go and move back so the injured lion could run. It scrambled and fled, growling a low and gutteral noise from the wound it had received for it's troubles. 

A quick fight, risky but dealt with fairly well, Parzival shaking himself off much like a canine once he was sure the young cougar was truly leaving. 

"Nice job with the knife," Parzival stated to Polliwog with a huff, "but man what a dumb cat. Makes me hate being associated with them, I'm way smarter than that." He had the instinct of a cat sure, but there was a lot of pack mentality and canine knowledge in Parzival's mind now that he disliked the idea of being 'just' a feline. "Your leg though, it'll need looking at... good thing we were just talking about a visit to my home, we've got healers who can help you."



♕Parzival♕

out of the woods,
      out of the dark,
im well aware of the shadows in my heart
  Reply
#9
As a general rule, he didn't get involved in fights with cougars. It was best to avoid them when he did come across the acrid scent of their border markings. Especially since he had vulnerable members in his party. Even when not hobbled, Avarice and Theodora were at great risk from a cougar attack. If he won a fight with a mountain lion after they had already ripped one of his animals to shreds, it wouldn't be a success. Just an injury to a leg could put either of them out of commission, either temporarily or possibly permanently. Equines didn't fare well with damaged limbs.

It was his protective feeling about his hooved companions that had made him strike, even when perhaps he should've left the yowling pair of cats to their brawl. He needed this ended quickly and efficiently. Before someone else was hurt in his party. Already he could tell his leg was going to need some TLC he hadn't planned for. He'd need at least a couple days' rest before he could ride again. More than that would be wise, but he wanted to finish more of his searching before it got colder. Preferably find his sister before it got cold, but the scarred warrior wasn't going to pin his hopes on that. It was far more likely she wasn't even here. Just as she had never been all the other places he visited.

The knife seemed to help end the fight, at least. The young feline yowled and dashed away. He had at least wounded the cougar. Perhaps now the mountain lion would think twice about attacking a wolf in the future... though probably not. Doing it the first time had been stupid. Even with the tempting hobbled prey creatures, there was a lot of risk going after them when their owner had a sword on him. It could've actually gone a lot worse for the young cat. He was lucky Parz had let him go.

"It must be strange, thinking like a wolf but having the body of a cougar. I bet your wrestling matches with wolves are fierce as hell." he remarked, shifting his leg to look at it more closely. The gouges luckily hadn't gone as deep as they might've, he was fairly certain they would just add to his scars and not cause a permanent limp of any sort. Which was good. He wasn't really made for using a cane.

He carefully walked back toward Avarice and Theodora, who were still near but obviously rather freaked out by the whole situation. They were unharmed, though, that was the important part. "Seems I have even more reason to visit your home right away, for information and for healing. Certainly is good luck I met you when I did." though circumstances might've been entirely different if he hadn't.
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