Abundant and not for you, you with a hook

POSTED: Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:35 pm

Nostalgia was a double-edged sword, but Willow was not as discomforted in seeing the fireswept ruins as she had been. Nearly a year had passed since her return to Krokar's abandoned territory, and the seeds of hope had blossomed since then – just as she could see new growth amid the charred foundations. She and her younger siblings had a new life in New Caledonia, and she knew her parents and brothers would do well retired at Old Ironsides.

Her smile was still bittersweet at the sight of it.

Sensing her mood, Toklo rubbed his cheek against her thigh, and she dropped her hand to stroke back over his small ears. She signed a suggestion to him, and with a low wuff the sturdy male trotted through the overgrown paths, keeping an eye out for strangers or prey. There was no telling who else might have come to scavenge the area, especially now that the Shoal's scattered scents had faded.

The Cormier woman made her way to the Tuktu Lodge, hoping to find some supplies that others had looked over. Most of the weapons and more valuable tools would have been taken by Shoalmen or pilfered by loners, but Willow had smaller things in mind: hooks, shuttles for net-making, perhaps spearheads if not full spears. Most of the goods here had been for tanning specifically, but she held out hope, and wouldn't turn her nose up at anything with value.

She'd entered the lodge and was moving broken shelving aside, crouching down to search the floor for scattered hooks or skinning knives, when Toklo barked from somewhere outside: he'd spotted someone.

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I took the time to breathe
among the rootbuds and the weeds
but the peat moss and the leaves took turns with both my feet
New Caledonia
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Raze
Luperci Piscator II, Priest II, Heartward I druid the wilds where the caribou call
feather, fur, & fin

POSTED: Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:27 pm

The water level around the rivers wasn't as terrible as first believed. Once the hurricane's remnants had passed, Shale found the basin's waters were even. Only the ground around the Watchtowers was sodden and uneven, and a few inches of water was inside the Lodge. In recent days, what remained of warmer times had drained the last of the flooding. Shale had swept leaf litter, branches and other things out with a pine branch, leaving only any rotten boards to replace.

This is how she found herself dragging a log with one hand, teeth gritted as she heaved through the wet brush. It was an older, dead tree, but some of the wood didn't look too louse-ridden and she was sure there was an ax somewhere. A few tools and old nails remained in the lodge from earlier times, and Shale was hoping to try her luck there. She hadn't checked all the nooks and crannies in the old building, and she was certain that, in older times, she'd seen one hanging off a wall -

The wolf stopped as she heard a loud bark. The wind wasn't blowing her way and she hadn't been expecting company. Dropping the old, wet, worn rope she'd tied around the log, Shale crouched in the grass and sniffed at the wind. Whoever was there beyond the tree line smelled familiar, but someone unfamiliar was with them. The dark bitch's eyebrows furrowed.

It can't be....
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POSTED: Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:33 pm

Cautiously, Willow looked toward the doorway, then wrapped her fingers indecisively around a shelf fragment. Though very tall and well-toned, she didn't have a violent bone in her body, and wasn't sure whether she had the gall to even swing a wooden board in self-defense. The Cormier woman had yet to need to fight for her survival, but she was cognizant of the fact her luck in that regard might run out – and though they hadn't seen any sign of the cultists who'd razed Krokar's village to the ground since before she joined the Shoal, the possibilty loomed in the back of her mind.

She stepped outside, ears pinned and nose thrust forward to sniff, her blue eyes landing on Toklo several paces ahead: triangular ears set high, fur bristling in a ridge down his broad back, his tightly-curled tail wagging.

She followed his gaze into the pines, creeping closer. She spotted black fur and a long tan coat, one sleeve of which was tied-off. Another inhale brought with it familiar details, though ones she struggled to recall. Slowly, she came to her friend's side and set her hand on his back, dropping the wood to the ground as her bushy tail began to sway uncertainly.

We met before, en't we? From Krokar.

Image
I took the time to breathe
among the rootbuds and the weeds
but the peat moss and the leaves took turns with both my feet
New Caledonia
Aear
User avatar
Raze
Luperci Piscator II, Priest II, Heartward I druid the wilds where the caribou call
feather, fur, & fin

POSTED: Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:15 pm

OOC: 9th October Word of the Day: "lambent".

______________________________________________


Shale was slow to rise. It was more like a dark flower was rising from the grass, unfurling with leaves of tan leather. Her expression was hesitant, then guilty, then pained. Her ember eyes pinched at the edges, glinting like hard stones as her ears fell. A whine escaped - ragged and raw - as she struggled to keep her eyes on Willow's lambent face.

"...Yeah," Shale croaked. "Yeah, we did. You were just a little pup then...Willow, wasn't it?"

The dark wolf stepped out of the foliage, her feet trying to find a place for themselves. Dazed, she stumbled toward the Cormier's daughter and her friend. Her mouth was dry and her lips wouldn't work - how could she explain herself? What could she say that wasn't an insult to the Cormiers and the pack they'd worked so hard to build? All her anxieties flooded back, thrashing about in her skull as her heart was in her stomach.

My name. Willow must've not remembered her name. "I'm...I was Slave," she said, "but it's different now. It's Shale."

In a sudden burst, the black wolf would jump forward, reach out her one arm, and try to pick up Willow in a bear hug. If allowed this gesture, Shale would hold her tight to her scarred chest with a strained, tight-lipped keen.
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POSTED: Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:35 pm

Rising hesitantly from the foliage, the black wolf stared at her, voice escaping in a rough whine – whether from emotion or disuse, Willow didn't know. The smile she gave in return was a little shy, recognition muddled by years despite the impression a one-armed woman left in her memory, but when emotion contorted the wolf's face, the smile warmed with empathy. She might not know how she felt about seeing the woman again, but Willow never failed to want to comfort those who seemed upset.

Will'a, yeah, she confirmed, her fingertips brushing along Toklo's ears as he curiously watched the stranger approach. Her hand dropped to trace a gesture into the thick fur between his shoulderblades: I know her. He eased at this, tongue lolling from relaxed lips.

The woman gave her name – what used to be her name, what conjured up so many uncomfortable feelings for Milos Parhelion's adoptive daughter – and said that she was Shale. Lake blue eyes softening, Willow almost whispered, Good.

And then Shale rushed toward her, her dark arm hooking around Willow's middle, crushing her in an embrace that, despite Willow's considerable height, lifted her paws just off the ground. A comforting and happy whimper vibrating from her speckled throat, Willow wrapped her arms around Shale's neck and pressed her cheek against the other woman's.

Glad t' see ya again, Shale, Willow said, genuine.

Image
I took the time to breathe
among the rootbuds and the weeds
but the peat moss and the leaves took turns with both my feet
New Caledonia
Aear
User avatar
Raze
Luperci Piscator II, Priest II, Heartward I druid the wilds where the caribou call
feather, fur, & fin

POSTED: Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:45 pm

Her whole body shook with wiggles. Her tail could've cleared the brush behind her for how wide and hard it wagged. Words failed her as she whimpered into Willow's hair, nuzzling with unbecoming affection. It didn't matter that her memories of Willow were as faint as the pup's was of Shale: Willow was family. Krokar remained in this place so long as there were those who remembered it.

Once she managed to compose herself, Shale found her voice breaking. She released the younger woman before she ended up crushing her spine. "I - I can't b-believe how big you've grown, pup!" Shale said, smiling and wiping at one eye. "And you're as pretty as the prettiest lake trout." She looked down at the girl's companion, ears perking a little.

"Who's your little friend?" The dark wolf held a hand out for the wolfdog boy to sniff. "He looks like he's from the north. I was up there for a time, not far from Baffin Island. I was on the mainland's coast just across from it." She could explain what she was doing up there later unless Willow or her company asked.

"What about you? What...what happened here? I came back a few weeks ago and the village's been razed to the ground." Shale had heard the rumors from traders and passers-by, but wanted Willow to speak for herself if she could.
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POSTED: Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:30 pm

The embrace was tight and bracing, which Willow did not mind – nor did she mind the affection, undue as it might seem between mere acquaintances. They were connected by virtue of Krokar, still pack mates in spirit. Warmly, Willow hummed and offered one last squeeze around the dark shoulders before her paws settled back down to earth. Once there, she burst into laughter – genial and a little self-conscious – as Shale complimented her.

Oh, that's – She gestured to the wolfdog; she would be amiss if she didn't let him introduce himself.

'm Toklo, the stout male said with a grin, caught up in the women's energy. His voice was a little flat, but the rest of him wiggled happily, and his almond-shaped eyes glinted with intellect – focusing with ear-pricked interest as he read a few of the words on Shale's lips and gathered the rest from Willow's idle gestures. 'm from Iqaluit!

That's on Baffin Island, said Willow. I stayed with Toklo's pack for a while! We might not have been very far from each other.

Her bemused grin faded slightly when Shale mentioned the destruction around them, and her blue eyes swept solemnly over the regrowth. Happened 'bout a year ago, she said. I wasn't here, but my family was. Said madmen set fire t' the place. We lost a couple folk, but most of 'em are back at Old Ironsides. We – Ma 'n' Milos 'n' my siblin's 'n' cousin – we stayed here a while. I'm in a pack now, though. New Caledonia. She fidgeted with a braid.

Image
I took the time to breathe
among the rootbuds and the weeds
but the peat moss and the leaves took turns with both my feet
New Caledonia
Aear
User avatar
Raze
Luperci Piscator II, Priest II, Heartward I druid the wilds where the caribou call
feather, fur, & fin

POSTED: Sat Nov 09, 2019 4:57 pm

"Well it's a pleasure to meet you, Toklo of Baffin Island," Shale said. "The folks I was with did lots of trade with yours, probably. We had wolves coming south always to get things like wood and stuff from the mainland. It looks like you found yourself some good people to rub shoulders with, Willow."

Her expression darkened as Willow explained what happened. Shale set her teeth at the mention of deaths, but relief was quick to sweep over her features. The Parhelions had survived whatever the marauders had wrought. Old Ironsides lived on, even if Krokar didn't - Shale took comfort in that. "I'm going to have to visit them next summer," she said, "and tell them that things are well here."

She looked over her shoulder at the pack's former home. "Well, I ain't got much of anything, but I've decided to set up here. It's a good place full of food and shelter, and it feels right staying and coming back here. Your pack need anything? I can help you fish up something or gather something to take back with you. Might win you some favor with any higher-up folk if you bring back a bite to eat or something to work with."

The dark wolf then looked at Toklo. "If not that, then you and Toklo can stay as long as you'd like. Home is home, after all, and the Lodge has space to sleep in."
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