[P] Familiar roads and christened intersections
Oberyn/Mel | Ethereal Eclipse
[Image: wolfmoon.gif]  Word of the day  Scrutinize - 2/4/2023

OOC: Liam is in Optime form.

With the knowledge that his Campers were safe by the Lifeguards and the rest more than capable themselves, Liam thought he had earned some time away. His Band required food just like any other group of mouths to feed. Despite the trappings of humanized culture having woven its way into him, hunting remained an ever necessary task. It was not easy to forget this. It was instinct and biological imperative.

The Watershed had no dearth of available prey. Yet Liam felt the call to travel further. This was not unusual for him. Ever since he was young he had roved from place to place. As a Portland trader, that was just what he and his family did. His time in New Caledonia was the longest he ever spent rooted somewhere. He knew his former packmates probably looked down on him for leaving it now. Yet he knew logically that this time it was not worth dying in a war for. He had a child and several other children to look out for. A scrap of land was not home. Family was. Why kill for material wealth?

It was when he was following and scrutinizing the fresh tracks and droppings of a lone stag that he heard something. Whoever was here was upwind of him. Had they scented him before he realized? Worried that it may be an old foe, or even an old friend that thought unkindly of him, he spun around. It was with relief that he saw it was a stranger.

Even on four legs the stranger was still a well-muscled figure. Leaf green eyes met his. Liam thought the newcomer might be fully wolf like him. Something reminded him that hybrids were the new norm, however. The days of speciated non-Luperci may just be over.

His own days as one certainly were. His parents were dead and he and Silas were turned. The non-Luperci branch of the del Mortes was extinct. Life was far different now. That did not have to be a bad thing. He was lucky to still have his life and family.

"Hello," he said. "Are we tracking the same prey?"

It would be ironic if they were. A wry smile found its way to his lips.
Though the group was still cautiously adapting to the newcomer, Oberyn felt confident that things would smooth out soon enough. Winter was starting to loosen its grasp on the land – not that it felt like it much today, with the cold wind present and snow still visible on the ground. He didn't mind winter, for it made hunting easier, but he longed for warm nights and long, sunny days. Though the ocean south of their home still felt dangerous, the shoreline of the old Court was safe enough. Swimming would be a welcome thing, he thought.

The endless grind of seeking food kept him busy enough to yearn for respite, but Oberyn did not regret the decision to live in such a way. Hunting was a natural part of life. Keeping animals just to slaughter them seemed, in some way, repulsive. There was no true freedom in a fat pig or sheep, just the baseless trust that they never had to fear or worry. All the things in the wild lived like they did – knowing that life was fleeting, and cherishing each day as if it might be their last. The extent of looking ahead was to store food or imagine, as Oberyn did now, the summer yet to come.

Momentarily distracted by his daydreaming, it wasn't until he was close to the stranger that Oberyn took notice of the wolf. He was tall and fit looking, with well-defined shoulders and forelegs. There were scars all over these, as well as on the man's face. His missing ear gave him a roguish look. While the wolf was quick to turn and face him, there was no outright aggression in his posturing. If anything, he seemed friendly. No doubt his confidence came from somewhere – and while Oberyn guessed that this had to do with his physical stature, up close a wealth of scents informed him of much more than that.

This man was a stranger to these parts, but he did not live alone. He had a horse. He was not a Cavalieri.

Though inclined to caution, Oberyn returned the smile and wagged his tail in a show of peace.

“Just keeping an eye on things,” he offered. “I haven't seen you around here before.”

Given his answer, Liam wagged his tail. He was an interesting man. Was he encroaching on his land? Then again, the pack leadership he knew of were different. Nazario was a coyote. O'Riley and his Queen looked entirely different. Cedric and Aldora were as well. He turned away from these thoughts when his natural green eyes implored him with a question. Good. He was being fair. The world was full of that inherent value.

"I understand. I am Liam del Morte, the Chief of Camp Eclipse. I came just to hunt, but I can leave if you need me to," he answered.

Everything had shifted. His ex-packmates knew him by face and name. Now only a handful of them remained. This was fine. It was changing. The ground warmed beneath their feet. Mud re-emerged. The soil was loose enough to dig graves into...

Everything was too complicated.

"What do I call you?"
As he got closer, Oberyn's nose could pick out other scents. Though this man had been traveling through local woods, he carried with him notes of others – several, he thought – as well as horses. This marked him as a Luperci who lived plenty of time on two legs. Having never heard of Camp Eclipse, Oberyn could only imagine that this was a collection not unlike his own. Liam's title made him sound like the group's leader, which seemed likely given his strong looking form.

Oberyn was glad that the man was quick to explain himself. This made him seem more truthful, though Oberyn had no reason to think he was here for anything. The Court was still small, and lacked anything which a thief might want to steal beyond food. This didn't last very long, though: his children were growing at an exponential rate now.

Seeing no reason to conceal his identity, the wolfdog offer his own freely. “I'm Oberyn Haskel,” he returned with a wag of his tail. Few recognized the name now, but he was proud to carry it. “A member of the Court of Fangs. As long as you don't run through our home, I don't see any reason you shouldn't be out here hunting. There's plenty of wapiti here,” he explained. “But if you want something smaller, there's plenty of that too.”

They were not a pack, and held no claim of the land. Only the Cavalieri to the north did, but Oberyn didn't think Liam would be foolish enough to cross such well defined borders.

“What is Camp Eclipse? I haven't seen anyone else settle down here recently.”

Sorry for the delay!

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