[P] And I don't know what I have seen
P. Nikamew | Shattered Shore
Location: Shattered Coast || NPCs: -- || Form: Lupus

He watched them for a long time, parked on his haunches and canting his head comically from side to side with every groaning, flatulent sound that they made, trying to make sense of what they were. With their fins tucked up against their plump bodies, they looked more like nuggets of smooth, well-formed poop than any sort of living thing that Elkin had ever seen before.

But they were definitely alive. Sitting there on the outskirts of the stony coastline, the dark wolfdog had been watching them carefully for a while and he had not only heard them make their odd noises but he had seen them move.

Without visible legs (unless those wide and stumpy things nearest their head were something to consider), it was a wonder to Elkin how they moved at all. He was reminded first of worms wriggling against dark soil and then, almost immediately, of the way caterpillars propelled their linear bodies forward in rolling increments. Licking his lips and scooting forwards a little, the young wolfdog wondered if that was exactly what these were: giant, over-stuffed caterpillars.

It was a strange world that they lived in, Elkin thought to himself as he rose abruptly and revved up his curled tail, its cadence swaying from one side to the other before gradually slowing and sinking with each cycle. If he thought that goats were strange then whatever enormous, blubbery masses of flesh that made up seals was something altogether otherworldly. Giant, sea-dwelling caterpillars or beached, rotund fish? It had to be one or the other, didn't it?

Elkin whined to himself and sat back down uncertainly, wondering if these weird things were worth hunting and wishing that Vannin as with him to help him decide.

[WC -- 294]
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The woodlands thinned and became broken up by overgrown fields and patches of asphalt, and the artificial lines of a city silhouette loomed in the distance beyond the tamaracks. Nikamew skirted the ruins of Halifax the best that he could, venturing into the suburban sprawl at the city's edge only to avoid the scents of another wolf pack in the forest. They weren't the first such ruins the wolf had seen, and he was not afraid of the buildings and cars, but he knew them to be dead places, devoid of prey.

Hunger eventually drew him to the beach instead, where he wandered in hopes of finding crustaceans or slow shorebirds to eat. The coast was more jagged than the northern shore where he'd found an unidentifable monster carcass, with forested islands just a swim away from the cave-pocked cliffs. He explored for a while, finding a clam whose shell he carried with him to gnaw on, until the distant gurgling vocalizations of seals pricked his ears.

The seals were not the only life on the beach; a dark wolfdog sat watching them, head tipping this way and that. Amused by this, Nikamew chuffed around the clam before he dropped it among the rocks and approached the stranger with a lowered head and a friendly flick of his tail.

"Aren't they entertaining?" Nik asked in his usual casual singsong. "I think they can be hunted if you catch them far enough from the water." He'd experimented once with badgering a seal up close, and while its weight and teeth had threatened them, he'd been quick enough to avoid injury. He was still convinced that it was possible to kill one (and feast on all that fatty meat) given the right choice of prey and a team effort.

He grinned, tilted his head meaningfully, and then hopped away from the young male. He stepped closer again only to repeat this, inviting the curly-tailed canine to join him.
Location: Shattered Coast || NPCs: -- || Form: Lupus

If not for the intentional uff sounded by the approaching stranger, Elkin might have missed the other canine entirely for how engrossed he had become with the plump, slothful creatures bathing themselves in the late-season sun. In a flash that was more instinct than design, the dark wolfdog whipped around, ears flattened and hackles raised, and regarded the tawny figure with caution. The lowered head and singsong voice placated Elkin, whose ears popped up again almost as quickly. He gave his curled tail a tentative wag.

"Yeah," he agreed with diminishing hesitancy, giving the seals a cursory glance. By the time his moon-pale eyes had returned to the stranger, most of Elkin's earlier evidence of alarm had dissipated. "You think so?"

It was tempting, he thought, if only to see if it was possible. But not by himself. He would have to find Vannin. They had hunted the strange hoofed creatures together so it seemed fitting that they should hunt these weird legless things, too.


The stranger was grinning at him, his head turned in a telling way that stirred enthusiasm in Elkin. When the tawny canine hopped back the first time, Elkin bounced ahead two short paces, his tail wagging energetically. After the second time, the darker of the pair gave chase until he could get close enough to smell the stranger properly.

"I'm Elkin!" he offered with verve, his tongue rolling out one side of his mouth. "Do you wanna try hunting those things with me?"

[WC -- 253]
OOC: So sorry for the awful wait on this! <3
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”It would be worth it to try, I think,” Nikamew said, his ochre gaze passing across the beach. ”All that blubber could keep you full for weeks.”

For that reason alone — well, also for bragging rights, just to see if he could do it — Nik thought it a worthy endeavor. Weighing risk and reward was part of any wolf’s life when it came to predation, especially for a loner without a pack to back him up. It was why they chose the weak, the young, the old; better a runty calf in the stomach than a half-ton bull elk in the bush. Hunger and desperation had driven Nikamew to extremes before, though, which had begun with stealing from abandoned traps and escalated to foolish feats such as snatching carrion from beneath a bear’s snout.

The seals weren’t as impressive as a bull elk, though, or a bear. He really thought he could do it, as long as he had luck and help on his side.

His smile and footwork cajoled the dark wolfdog closer, and with a few bounds they could be nose-to-nose (or nose-to-butt). The stranger smelled earthy, like the forest floor, but another canine’s scent was layered in his pelt as if they’d slept close together — a relative, perhaps. Intrigued by the other’s pale eyes that so contrasted with his dusky face, Nik tilted his head, then let his own tongue drop between his lower canines playfully.

”I’m Nikamew. You look strong.” Up close, he realized that the male was big, and could probably easily rest his chin on top of Nik’s skull if he wanted. ”I’m quick, so maybe I can cut one away from the others and keep it distracted while you attack it?”
Location: Shattered Coast || NPCs: -- || Form: Lupus

It wasn't until the mention of blubber and fullness that Elkin's mouth began to fill with saliva.

"Yeah," he replied immediately, thinking more with his stomach now than with his brain. His tongue slipped from between his lips and ran along one side of his mouth. When his brain caught up with him, it reminded him that there were puppies back home that also needed to eat and this thought solidified his resolve. "Yeah, definitely!"

If they could take down one of these bloated, languid things, Elkin could bolt down a good quantity of meat that he could regurgitate back up for Makwaikwe so she could keep feeding her puppies. He thought that he could maybe even bring a hunk of it back for the rest of their band, too. He would have a ways to go and it wouldn't be easy, but that's what it meant to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

The other wolf, Nikamew, was smaller than Elkin but he smelled healthy and his build was slender, leggy. The way that he maneuvered to and away from Elkin so easily lent confidence to Nikamew's assertion that he was quick. Stretching his forelegs out and arching his neck up, Elkin stayed in a play-bow position for a moment with his curled tail wagging agreeably above him. After gazing at the beached creatures for another thoughtful beat, he swiveled his head back around to grin at Nik.

"Okay!" he agreed, popping back up onto his front paws again. "I can watch from a little bit away and rush in once you have it separated. Do you think they'll act like deer when they're being hunted?"

He couldn't imagine these things reacting in any way that even resembled a stampede, but with so many of them together in what he guessed was probably some sort of herd it was the closest thing he could think of to imagine a comparison. At the very least, he hoped that the thing could be brought down if he attacked it in all the same vital places as a deer. Surely these things had a neck and a belly, even if they looked like legless blobs. Giving his dark pelt a healthy shake, Elkin turned his head and looked expectantly at Nikamew, ready whenever he was.

[WC -- 394]
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"Most of them will flee to the water," Nikamew said. His observation of the pinnipeds had taught them that they would slip away into their wet domain, where no wolf could hope to follow them with any grace; they reminded him of otters, in that sense. The male that he'd harassed on the northern beach had reacted with more aggression, however. "If they do stay to fight, they do have teeth like us" -- at least, he thought he'd glimpsed prominent canines surrounded by other sharp teeth in that whiskery mouth -- "but the one I encountered was too slow to be a threat." He snorted, his tail waving in amusement at a lower swing than the wolfdog's curl. "You've seen how they move."

Whether the male had been an outlier or the  retreating seals had been uncharacteristically timid, Nik could not truly know with merely one point of data. However, when he spoke, his airy tone suggested confidence in his knowledge. The loner was biased in this way, forming theories and seeking only evidence that might fit them. That he might not always be right rarely crossed his mind, but nothing bad had come of his failures before -- bad for him, at least.

Elkin shook out his fur in a ripple of wood and shadow, looking to Nik with those moon-colored eyes, and the tawny wolf rose on tiptoe to stretch his legs before flexing his claws in the gritty shoregrass. Then, with a playfully haughty toss of his head now that he had eyes on him, he found a point along the stony slope where he might slip down among the herd. He stepped lightly in a deceptively fast, ground-eating trot, and as his gaze fixed on a smaller individual, he broke into a run.

As expected, many of the bulbous beasts made for the water, but others let up guttural calls of challenge. Those that did, however, did not seem inclined to charge Nik, who reached the runt. It whirled toward him with a bark, jaws gaping and displaying big, pointed teeth, but the wolf easily danced out of the way. His tail wagged as he feinted in and jerked back again, his claws scraping through the wet sand.
Location: Shattered Coast || NPCs: -- || Form: Lupus

"Yeah," agreed Elkin. "Clumsy and slow."

With a fleeting look between the seals and the open sea, Elkin allowed himself to consider his new companion's observation. He supposed they must be more like frogs or turtles, then — those rare creatures gifted with the ability to cross between two worlds. Maybe it made a little more sense why they looked the way that they did if they belonged to the sea as well as the earth. He thought that they must move with more grace and agility under the waves than they seemed able to on solid ground. To know that they had teeth like a wolf made Elkin wonder if they would be apt to hunt him if he was paddling in their waters, but the thought left him feeling unsettled and he was glad to dislodge it with the shaking of his dark pelt.

Elkin stood, panting, as Nikamew stretched, keeping his ears turned to the smaller wolfdog while he stared out at the seals. When Nik began to move, Elkin followed after him at a more casual pace and was careful to watch for his subtle cues. His eyes followed Nik's line of sight. As with everything, there were size variations to the blubbery shapes of their chosen prey and it wasn't terribly difficult to tell which one they would have a better chance hunting. Smaller or older or sickly might mean less meat to go around, but it was generally a surer bet than going with one at the pinnacle of size and health. After all, a meager meal was always better than no meal at all.

Sticking to the thickets of beachgrass and bulrushes, Elkin kept his eyes on the runt that Nik had singled out as the seals stirred and grunted in their agitation. Many took themselves back out to sea, lumbering across the broken shore until they disappeared to their other world. Those who remained did so with a wary eye. Elkin ignored them as he maneuvered himself between their chosen one and the open sea, barring its ability to escape.

As Nikamew came at it from the front, Elkin started forward from behind. Lunging forward, he nipped at its hide before leaping back again as the seal swung its body around with surprising speed to face him. He saw that the teeth in the thing's mouth were as Nik had said they would be and a thrill of something both exciting and alarming raced through his body, raising the fur along his shoulders. When he was given the opportunity to try his fangs on the seal again, Elkin did so with greater force, impressed by the thickness of the animal's skin upon is first attempt. He felt the hide give this time, but only just, and had to leap away again before he could do any worse. The fishy stink of the seal's hot breath against his fur told him that he had narrowly escaped a potential injury and Elkin made a mental note to be more cautious.

With the seal's escape cut off and the pair of them worrying it as they were, it was only a matter of time before the creature tired enough for them to go in for the kill.

[WC -- 548]
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Sorry about the wait. <3 We can wrap this up in a post or two if you'd like!

Their choreography was notated in the sand — spaced-out loping prints condensed into dancing tiptoe and deeper furrows where the tawny wolf jumped to avoid the piscavore’s teeth. He focused only on harrying the seal, having faith in Elkin to act out his part, the type of faith that was placed in the world aligning to Nikamew’s plans rather than trust in the individual.

It paid off regardless, as the seal spun away from him to snap at his hunting companion. The wolves took turns, leaping in and away again, nips turning into bites as their teeth found more lasting purchase in the blubbery hide. Each time the seal’s reaction time seemed to slow, the swings of its head increasingly sluggish and half-hearted, as if it knew its fate.

Licking his lips and tasting the salt of brine and blood, Nikamew was displeased to acknowledge that its wounds looked superficial. He was not completely confident that it was time to end things, but he acted as if it was — grabbing one of the animal’s fins and tugging on it with quick jerks as if it were a toy, claws splayed in the sand for purchase. He released it only when the seal whipped toward him again, its whiskers nearly poking his nose, but redoubled his efforts to yank it across the sand and give Elkin an opening to fall upon it for the final time.
Location: Shattered Coast || NPCs: -- || Form: Lupus

Their movements were concise, fluid. While one distracted the seal, the other moved in to bite it and thus drew its attention upon him in turn to allow his partner an assault of his own. This was how it went, sometimes, with prey. It wasn't always quick, nor was it especially easy, but they did what was needed for them to avoid injury and stay alive. This was just the way that it went, their dance of life and death.

And, in time, it did pay off. There were changes to the seal's movements and reaction time, at first scarcely noticeable but becoming more apparent the longer they worked to disable it. It was tiring, Elkin knew. He had never hunted a seal before, but he recognized some of the signs from wearing down deer and the smaller deer-like prey that he was more familiar with. With enough time and substantial injury, everything always slowed down in the end.

But the seal wasn't finished yet. Though it suffered through the wounds it received from the wolves, the seal persisted in its ability to defend its life. When Nikamew took a different tactic and went after he seal's flipper, Elkin saw that this new offensive might award them an opportunity to end things more quickly. He moved quickly, snapping at the seal's head and neck when it stretched out to dislodge Nik and leaping away again before it could bite him. The second time his hunting companion gained purchase on their prey's flipper, Elkin repeated his assault on its neck, biting harder and truer this time.

It didn't take long for the seal to succumb to the grievous neck wound and, in almost the same moment (or perhaps even before), Elkin was tearing into its flesh and bolting down chunks of briny, fatty meat. Growling in satisfaction and passing courteous glances at Nik, Elkin allowed the smaller wolfdog ample space of his own to enjoy their hard-won prize, all the while thinking that he had almost certainly made a fun and interesting new friend.

[WC -- 352]
OOC: Yeeee! We can end here or with your next post if you'd like to post once more. c:
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