[P] Every spring to come
p. Zoltan | Ethereal Eclipse
OOC: Backdated to early April at Oberon’s Spring.

Tor admired her reflection in the spring she’d found, the proud face of a knight staring back at her. First Cadet. Not only had she passed her First Blood, she had proven herself worthy of a higher rank than some of her peers. All her training and hard work had paid off, and now she was only a few moons of hard work from becoming an Officer. Tor grinned at herself, barely able to believe it.

More importantly, Tor was now an adult in the eyes of her pack. She could pursue a co-rank, join a Banner, leave the pack lands alone… Tor was an adult. And even though she didn’t really feel like one, not yet, she knew she would in due time.

Pausing at the surface of the spring, she went cross-eyed to give herself one last look before lapping up the cold, clear water. Something small and unassuming moved under the cover of the ripples, but when Tor tried to look for it, it had disappeared. Huh.

She sat back on her haunches and enjoyed the warming woods, buds appearing on their branches. Tor wasn’t sure whether or not it felt like spring yet; she could barely remember her first spring, because she had been so young, and then so, so very traumatized. She sighed and scratched little patterns in the damp earth beside the spring, not sure what she was drawing until it began to take shape in front of her. It was a… Horse, maybe? It kind of looked like a horse, so she gave it a mane and a long tail.

Something moved in the spring again, swimming from one side of the shallows to the other, but it vanished again before Tor could get a good look at it. She frowned; if there was a little fish in the water, she wanted to see it!
The boy woke to the petrichor of fresh morning rain filling his nostrils. Zoltan smiled, the earthy scent reminding him that the days were warming and that rain was the new form of snow. Unlike some who might have made the reverse association - rain turning to snow - the boy had been born in colder times and the rain was newer to him than the snow would've been. He rather liked the rain. It made puddles and mud, things he enjoyed quite a lot.

He stretched his body languidly, letting his muscles warm as he got every bit of sleep out of them. The day had begun for him and he was going to grasp it with both paws. There was so much potential in waking. For new things to learn, new games to play, new adventures to have... the boy could hardly contain his excitement at all the possibilities that rose up before him with the sun.

The day opened to him and he walked into it, following trails and seeking out their end points with great enthusiasm. There were so many creatures now that the winter had broken. New lives were being created, animals were leaving hibernation, other animals were just more often visible now than they had been before. All of it thrilled him. He especially liked bugs. He hadn't seen almost any of those when it had been cold. Now they were all over the place.

Zoltan had been following an interesting trail when he caught a different one in his nose. Wolf, the scent said, and he sniffed it further. It was not familiar. None of the Fangs, then, and not any stranger he had met either. Which meant... someone new. He tipped his head thoughtfully. They were not quite in Fang territory such as it was, but they were near it. It was good to learn about others. He was getting old enough to step forth and present himself without as much worry that he was at risk. Boldly, then, he followed the path.

When he came to its end he found a girl. A pretty, pale girl who seemed to have barely any color to her at all. She reminded him of the pale belly of fish as they swam through water, sparks of light glinting off their bright scales and flashing at his eyes. Though her fur didn't do that, of course, she had the same sort of color scheme about her.

Zo woofed as he drew near enough to converse, his ears canted upward and his tail waving very slightly in greeting. "Whatcha doin'?" he asked, sniffing at the air to inhale more of her scent and see if he could pick up any other clues about her from it.
A not-so-distant woof caught Tor’s ears, and they pivoted toward it before her head did. There was a sand, and stone, and charcoal-colored boy standing on the other side of the spring. He looked a little younger than what she knew shifting age to be, but not so much that she was wondering where his parents were; just because she hadn’t been allowed to leave the pack alone at his age, it didn’t mean loners worked that way too. And he was a loner, wasn’t he?

Tor pushed herself to her feet, replying to his tail wave with one of her own, and offered him a cautious half-smile. Maybe he wasn’t alone, and his family wouldn’t appreciate him talking to strangers. ”I was just getting a drink. I saw a fish, but it kept disappearing before I could get a good look at it.” Tor glanced down at her reflection again, pale and proud despite her nerves; no fish in sight. Maybe the earth stuck out a little over the spring, and there was a place for them to hide underneath it?

As quickly as Tor stood up, she sat back down again to investigate. She stuck her paw in the water and felt around where she couldn’t see; there was a little overhang! No sooner had she discovered it, something darted past her paw and into clearer view. It was… It was… What was that? Before Tor could examine it further, it swam along the edge of the spring and disappeared again. ”Okay, maybe it’s not a fish. Do you live around here?” Maybe he knew what was hiding in the spring, and whether or not it tasted good. Not that she wanted to eat this one; Tor just liked to keep her options open now that she was exploring the wilds outside her pack.
Zoltan wondered why she was alone. She was older than him, old enough to be on two legs if she wanted to be. Which was an odd choice, but it was more common than the Court's choice to remain on four legs as much as possible. He didn't understand it. He had been raised to focus on the earth and the sky and the animals and nature. She was among those who favored other things; things he had no interest in knowing, ever.

And yet he was very curious about her. Zo wanted to know more about who she was and where she came from. Maybe it was nearby. Maybe it was far away. There was no one else with her, which didn't mean she wasn't part of a pack. Unlike the Court, established packs had large territories and sometimes their members went roaming. He couldn't fathom why he'd want to roam far from his home base. Why would he want to go somewhere else, when he had a territory full of all the things he needed? There might come a time when he wanted to roam more, but not now.

"Yuh, fish 'n other swimmy types like to hide. Ya gotta be real still, real quiet, watch close for a long time... I haven't caught one before, but I bet you could. Your fur reminds me kinda of a fish belly. They might not even know it was a wolf coming at 'em til you ate 'em." it didn't occur to him even slightly that this might come across as a insult rather than just an observation.

His ear started to itch so he sat on his rump and lifted a leg to scratch it, keeping at it until the feeling went away. Then he tipped his head back forward and nodded to her question. "Not too far 'way." he wouldn't give her exact details, of course, because he didn't know if she was someone who should know where the Court resided. But they did live near enough. "Whatta 'bout you?"
The boy told Tor things about fishing that she already knew, but she appreciated the reminder anyway. He was right; maybe if she was still and quiet for longer, she’d be able to get a better look at the mystery creature she’d been searching for. Tor laughed at the comparison of her fur to a fish belly. She guessed it kind of was, all silver and shiny from regular grooming. ”You’re totally right. Thanks for the advice,” She said, already endeared to the young male’s presence.

Tor tilted her head to the side as he dropped onto his haunches and began scratching his ear. She wished she was on two legs so she could try and help him; it looked really itchy, and sometimes fingers could reach the itchy spots better than toes. Thankfully, he was able to soothe it himself. ”Not too far away either,” she said, though she was equally hesitant to share specific details. ”I’m from a pack up north.”

Tor was not a paranoid girl, but she was cautious; it helped keep her safe.

”My name is Tor,” she said, figuring that was safe enough too. ”What’s your name?” Tor didn’t expect to know it, but she’d commit it to memory in case their paths ever crossed again. Who knew, maybe the little animal in the spring would be so delicious that she’d have to come back all summer to hunt them.

If she could even catch it in the first place. Catching it would be cool.

Forum Jump: