Black Wings Bring Dark Things

P, Raze.

POSTED: Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:27 am

OOC: Midday. South of The Burnt Church Mountains, on one of the Cambridge Lakes. A heads up, Cherub calls all canines wolves, and Woodsmoke will almost always be in lupus form.

IC:
With her bird in tow, Woodsmoke pressed through the forests south of the Burnt Church Mountains. The wound to her pride she had taken nearly two weeks ago still itched and Cherub could tell, though by now he had learned well enough to not push the girl. She was bitter towards any prying about what had happened. She’d gaze at the corvid who mostly entertained himself when he wasn’t eyeing her right back. He knew something was wrong the moment she passed up a chance to steal someone’s food. When tossing pebbles in puddles lost its luster, the raven hopped over to his companion.

Woodsmoke lazily looked towards him, laying in the sun’s light. The warmth of its rays warmed her to the core and made her a little lethargic. It was a comfort in her moody attitude of late. The two stared at each other for a while in silence. The world around them was relatively still, if not for the cool gentle breeze blowing. “Woodsmoke. Why sad wolf?” He asked, seemingly genuinely concerned about the girl.

She blinked and tilted her head at her corvid friend. “Sad? I’m not sad, Cherub.” She told him, before rolling from her side to her stomach. Dry grasses that clung to her fur fell and rolled into the wind. “I just… I don’t feel right. I don’t think I can explain it.” She said, before yawning wide and licking her lips. She wasn’t content with herself, but she was content with the gentle warmth of the sun and the serenity of the lake at the foot of the mountains.

“No, wolf sad.” Cherub insisted, clearly unsatisfied with her response. He began hopping around her and listed off all the reasons why he thought so. “No more stealing, hunting less. No fun Woodsmoke. No laughs, not much moving.” He stopped, staring her down now. “Wolf is sad. I will find Woodsmoke wolf friend!” And before she could react, the raven took flight.

Cherub was well out of reach when Woodsmoke stood. “No you dumb bird, I’m fine!” She shouted at him, taking chase to the airborne creature. “Come back here now!” Though her demand was futile, as he was well above her and seemed to be searching. She trailed behind him, though the woods, and even managed to keep up with the soaring Raven, though always kept a little behind him. After a while, he seemed to lock onto something and dived into the trees.

“Wolf!” Cherub crowed to the canine he had spotted, circling above them. “Come, follow! Friend needs friend!” The Raven landed on a branch and looked on at them before turning his head to bushes in the direction he came from. “Never mind. Woodsmoke is here.”

“You stupid bird, you never listen to me!” The woman shouted as she burst from the bushes, clearly angry with the raven. Said raven only laughed at her. She let out an exasperated sigh before turning her head to whoever Cherub had found. She said nothing, only stared at them. Her fur was mussed up from the run through the foliage. Twigs and leaves clung to her coat, and she stood on all fours, all giving her a far more wild look than she normally boasted.
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Scott
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POSTED: Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:00 pm

Two things made O'Brien a great hunter: stealth and speed.

He walked on all fours, his lean black-and-tan shape nondescript amid the bark and shadow of the evergreen wood, his head in line with his spine and his chestnut eyes intently staring forward. He stalked not unlike a cat, with the same soft step on the carpet of pine and spruce needles, the short bursts of movement, creeping closer and closer until the strutting grouse was aware of him.

Then, gifted with the long, powerful legs and deep chest of a sprinter, the lurcher galloped forward and caught the bird by its neck.

The unlucky grouse flapped and kicked with its short, thick legs. O'Brien shook his head viciously, killing it, then bit into its mottled dark breast for good measure, his nose pushing against the feathers. He snuffled and made sure it was dead, then licked his chops and grabbed it again, soft-mouthed, to trot back to his cache.

Hunting was easiest in his feral form, but this came with risk as a loner, needing to leave his belongings behind when he shifted. He'd stashed his gear up in a jack pine, hoping the sharp evergreen scent might disguise it (and damn did this needle-eating bird reek of it now). He returned and plopped his prey on the ground, shifting up into his Optime form and pulling his bundle from the branches, shaking out the cloak. He dressed quickly, his fingers flitting to his dagger hilt when he was done, if only to reassure himself that it was there, that everything was right.

He picked up the spruce grouse by the neck again when the raven called out in its tinny, almost-canine voice.

O'Brien startled with a low, Shite! and recoiled, his eyes white-rimmed. He dropped the grouse, scrambling backward until his spine pressed into rough bark, and stared up at the dark-winged bird as it bade him follow.

His heart hammered out a question: Is this it? Was this a messenger of Lugh come to take his soul?

Then a dark agouti wolf leaped out of the bushes, calling the raven stupid.

His narrow chest heaving with rapid breath, his eyes darting between the newcomer and the bird, O'Brien was silent for several seconds. Then his teeth bared with the sort of nervous, relieved laughter that scarcely made a sound, a light and husky ha ha ha that petered out into a great exhale. His back slid slowly down the trunk until he was seated in the dirt, lolling his head back and shutting his eyes as he focused on catching his breath.

Ye damn near scared th' piss oot o' me.

His eyes opened a fraction, dark with weariness.

This yer pet? the thief asked, his voice breaking on the last word.

I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
The Troupe
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Raze
Luperci
here come the ravens

POSTED: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:39 pm

Cherub was in a fit of laughter at the sight of the dog’s fright. He’d’ve rubbed it in a bit more if he wasn’t laughing so much, and if Woodsmoke hadn’t arrived. He was a trickster, always up to mischief, which was one of the reasons why he liked traveling with the girl. Emboldened by his companion’s presence, and the stranger’s reaction to him, the raven flew down to the ground and landed in front of the man. He hopped towards him, tilting his head and blinking as he got a good look at the canine. It was then where he noticed the dead grouse, and soon all his attention was on the corpse. “Woodsmoke, food!” He cried out.

The wolfdog was stifling her laughter, seeing a man sent shaking to the ground on his rump was certainly a sight to behold. She padded towards him, eyes less angry now and a bit more gentle. She was comforted by the man’s compromised position but remained wary. Two-leggers sometimes traveled in pairs or more, and this one could have a friend nearby, or perhaps hidden and watching. “Cherub isn’t a pet,” she told the frightened male, “he’s an idiot, but also my friend.” She looked to her feathered pal and shook her head. “And that’s his food, Cherub. He caught it. Don’t take it.” She told the bird, who seemed to puff up with anger.

“Wolf dropped it. Woodsmoke always takes from two-leggers.” Cherub plead his case as he turned to look to the smokey-coated woman. “Why not now?” Her bird was a persistent being, looking up at her with pleading eyes as he hopped towards his companion. “Why Woodsmoke, why?”

“I’m not hungry,” she said matter of factly, “if you are, then fly around and find an animal, I’ll get it for you.” Her response made the bird stare at her for a bit. He seemed to puff up even more before taking off. Once Cherub had disappeared behind the treetops, brought her attention back to the stranger. “It would be best you pick up your food, he’ll want some if he sees in on the ground again.”

She glanced to the sky and saw the black form of her friend, circling the area like a buzzard would a carcass. It seemed he had taken to watching her and the stranger, instead of searching for a meal. Woodsmoke felt a bit calmer with that in mind, having another set of eyes was truly a boon. If he spotted anyone else around, she knew the raven would alert her. “How did he scare you?” She asked, laughter in her voice as her eyes fell back onto the man. “He’s just a bird, the most he can do to hurt you is drop pebbles from above.”
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POSTED: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:28 pm

"Cherub," the pickpocket repeated, deadpan. He glanced over at the bird, disbelieving but amused when it began to beg and question plaintively for the grouse O'Brien dropped -- certainly acting more like a mortal animal than a messenger of death. Shining black feathers puffed indignantly, the raven unfurled its wings and left them, though O'Brien was acutely aware of the drifting, circling shadow it still cast on the forest floor.

Thoughtful and silent for a moment as the female -- Woodsmoke -- explained that the raven was her friend and a glutton, O'Brien grabbed the grouse. His eyes continued to flick skyward, until, amused, the other loner asked why he'd been frightened.

"It's jus'..." He exhaled, shook his head, and unsheathed his dagger to make a couple strategic cuts on the dead bird. He made quick, deft work of this, the motions practiced a hundred times. "Jus' a wee bit o' superstition." His fingers worked the skin and feathers back from the breast until he found the heart, small and dark. Holding it in his hand, he glanced upward again, then with a small flick of his wrist tossed the heart in the center of the clearing.

"He kin hev that," O'Brien told Woodsmoke. "Where I coom frae, we offered th' hearts o' our prey te one o' our gods. His messengers 're black birds." He smiled, self-deprecating, and shook his head again. "Thought I was aboot te be taken." Or that something terrible was about to happen. Dark wings and throaty caws always seemed to precede any disaster O'Brien had an accidental hand in.

He rubbed his hands on his thighs and brushed away scattered feathers. "How'd ye coom te make friends wi' him?"

I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
The Troupe
Pickpocket
User avatar
Raze
Luperci
here come the ravens

POSTED: Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:40 pm

Superstition was an unknown to Woodsmoke. She had no thoughts of gods or greater powers, as she had no one who taught her. She had lived long enough to know and notice patterns in the changes that some trees and some animals shown. Greens to golds and firey colors, brown furs to white like the snow. To her things just happened when they did, there was no great wolf or god making it so. Though if she could appease a god to make her coat change like the rabbits do, she'd be a devout in a heartbeat. Woodsmoke stuck out in the white of winter, which made things all the difficult for her. She tilted her head as the stranger pulled the heart from the prey bird, and tossed it into the grass and moss.

Cherub descended on the bit, landing near it and hopping towards the heart. He turned his head and blinked, looking the bloody, fleshy bit over. The raven pecked at the muscle, tearing it with his beak and swallowing the tiny meal. Woodsmoke laughed through her nose at her companion's manners. He didn’t even thank the man after he had finished, opting instead to fly up and perch in a tree behind Woodsmoke. She glanced to the bird with her silvery-blue eyes and brought her attention back to the man. “You two-leggers are strange,” she stated, stifling her laughter a bit as she walked towards him. “Believe what you will, but I doubt he’d be able to hurt you, let alone kill you,” she admitted, which garnered an offended caw from Cherub.

The wild woman closed the distance on the man, maintaining a neutral posture as she approached. “It was a test of patience and bravery, I wanted to have a bird who wouldn’t beg for food and one who wasn’t afraid of me,” she explained, taking a seat in front of the superstitious male. “I held a rabbit in my jaws as they gathered around me, watching and waiting for me to eat it and leave behind something for them.” she couldn’t help but grin at the memory. “I sat there for a long time, many of the birds begged for me to eat or called me stupid, but I kept up waiting until Cherub flew down from his branch.” Woodsmoke looked back at her bird and chuckled. “He was the only one that came up to me and I let only him eat. Since then he’s been my shadow and my scout.” her voice carried praise for the winged creature. As much of an imp he was, Woodsmoke loved the bird.
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POSTED: Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:32 am

Brown eyes watched the raven attack the heart, the flesh disappearing into its shaggy gullet before it winged back into the pines. When the female approached, O'Brien glanced to her instead, raised his brows. Two-leggers? If it was an insult, it wasn't one that he'd heard before, though there was little more than a gentle ribbing in the woman's tone.

He smiled lightly as Woodsmoke said her bird wouldn't be able to hurt him. Privately, he believed he was more than capable on his own. Fate had an odd way of finding him, and many creative ways of spelling disaster.

Woodsmoke settled before him, explaining that she had wanted a bird companion: specifically testing them for their cleverness and boldness. Cherub had been the only one to actually approach the wolf. Glancing back into the trees, O'Brien chuckled, able to believe that of the mischievous creature.

What dae ye dae wi' a bird? Does he just watch yer back? The hunter raked fingers through his hair with a snort. An' friten aff superstitious folk fer ye? he added with a grin of self-deprecation.

I'm sorry this reply sucks! ;_; If you need more to respond to please let me know.

I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
The Troupe
Pickpocket
User avatar
Raze
Luperci
here come the ravens

POSTED: Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:55 pm

It wasn’t an insult per se, though if someone referred to Woodsmoke as one, she’d be beyond furious. She had used it with disdain in the past, but that was the past. Now it was just a word to describe the Luperci who lived life upright and off the ground. “It’s what I call those who walk on two legs,” she explained, unsure really what to say. “Folks who wear clothes and carry bows and knives.” The more civilized of Luperci, though she wasn’t sure how to phrase it. Words were never her strong suit, though that was thanks to her upbringing. Had she been born to a pack who wove plants into garments, and shaped metal and stone, she’d likely have a better grasp on conversation. Instead she was just as wild as any creature who dwelled in the woods.

The woman’s eyes shifted to her companion after O’Brien asked his second question. Cherub was useful and had almost become a crutch for Woodsmoke. He was able to warn her of dangers ahead, and find food far away. Things she would have run into, or miss completely. “He’s good at keeping me safe.” She replied, moving her eyes back to the once-startled man. “Other than keeping watch he likes to search for food, sometimes I’ll have him fly around to see what’s nearby. Usually so I can avoid others,” the wolfdog then let out a sigh. “Lately he’s been a fool. Flying away to find me friends that I've never met.” she added, a tinge of annoyance in her voice. She knew Cherub was just trying to help her, but she didn't need any more trouble in her life than she already had. The man she found before this one was certainly trouble, the good kind, however. “Though I admit, it’s been… pleasant, meeting new folks. I just hope he doesn’t find someone who would try to hurt me,” her tone softened as she turned her head to her feathered friend.
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POSTED: Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:53 pm

“Ah,” the thief said, glancing down at the dark fabric hanging off his lean frame. He smiled and gestured to the feathered thing with his dagger. “I killed that grouse oan four legs, ye ken. What does that make me?”

His tone was light and amused; it did not challenge her way of categorizing things in any real sense. He’d known folks who lived as he did, shifting into whatever form suited the task at hand (or paw), but also those who enjoyed running as wildlings, and those who scoffed at touching the ground or baring their fur for others to see. He thought himself a simple man, however, who had the best of both worlds.

Woodsmoke explained that Cherub kept her safe by scouting for food and dangers, though as evidenced by how he approached O’Brien, the raven seemed to want Woodsmoke to run into others.

The dog smiled at her last remarks. “‘Tis natural te want friends. Ravens are social animals like canines.” He remembered trees full of black flocks, until there were more feathers than leaves. It had always haunted him. “I feel like ye would be a guid judge o’ that,” he added. She seemed like she had a good hand on her shoulders and wouldn’t let the raven steer her into danger.

”I’m O’Brien, by th’ way,” the thief added, working on tying some string to the grouse’s legs so he could carry it back home easier. He knew the female’s name from the raven’s obnoxious cries, but there hadn’t been a proper introduction, and he was polite enough to offer that even though he found himself longing to return to the Troupe now.
I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
The Troupe
Pickpocket
User avatar
Raze
Luperci
here come the ravens

POSTED: Mon Dec 23, 2019 4:22 pm

“Sensible, more than most,” was what came to Woodsmoke’s mind at O’Brien’s question. She spoke as the words came to her, it was a compliment of sorts, from her anyways. The two-legged lifestyles that many luperci were less inane to her since she had let go of her inhibitions with Phantom, though she couldn’t see herself making too much use of her more vertical form. Her legs were enough to carry her, and her teeth and claws were far more useful tools to kill with than her hands.

The man's words were true. The comradery she felt long ago with her brothers when they were all youngsters had been felt once more when she had hunted with the stranger she met prior. The wildling missed the feeling of friendly eyes and the surge of adrenaline that came with running beside someone, chasing the same prey. A meal was assured when more than one hunter was in play, more so than when it was just her jaws trying to sink into the flesh of the unfortunate animal she wished to become dinner. It was better with others, though her past self would fervently disagree, out of fear or misplaced pride. Presently however, time with others seemed like a good idea, though naturally it would depend on who the others were. Woodsmoke already had a handful with her in the form of Cherub; she wouldn't be able to handle another.

“I am Woodsmoke,” she replied. “I’m sorry Cherub scared you, and thank you for not being angry with him, or me.” This time her bird hadn’t gotten her into too much trouble, and she hoped it would stay that way. “What are you doing here out on your own, O'Brien?” she asked as her bird watched on from his perch. He was your average raven when it came to his looks, though the corvid seemed a bit dimmer than most, given how he spoke. Perhaps he was just young and thusly hadn’t adopted a more clean and concise high speech, whether just young or a bit dim, he kept an eye on the dog.
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POSTED: Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:12 pm

We can wrap this up soon, probably? :>

212 words

Na bother, O'Brien replied with a shrug. He knew that his fears came across as ridiculous and irrational to others; there was no reason to be mean about it, especially if it wasn't an intentional scare. Despite his predisposition toward avoiding others, the pickpocket was a friendly enough man – just one with few chances to show it.

He tightened the knot around the grouse's legs with one last glance upward at the beady-eyed raven, then slung the dead bird over his shoulder. This, he said, indicating his kill with a point of his muzzle. I'm no' really oan my own, he added with a smile. I've a small group o' friends – 'tis my turn te bring back supper.

They didn't really organize responsibilites in a formal way, but O'Brien considered any time he was "out" as "his turn." Providing for the Troupe provided him with purpose, and service had always been his way of showing care.

Mibbe ye can join us sometime, the thief said, though it wasn't an offer he expected her to take him up on, and he wasn't prepared to follow through with it now. He laughed. If ye can stomach the company o' some pure streenge two-leggers.

I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
The Troupe
Pickpocket
User avatar
Raze
Luperci
here come the ravens

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