Black Bird In the Black Ice

(Backdated to 4th April)

POSTED: Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:09 pm

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4TH OF APRIL, MID-MORNING
The Pictou River, Across From Salsola

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The sleet had frozen Dogmeat's wings to her back. One of her eyes refused to open, and it took effort to wrench her beak open. The metal band around her leg chafed and rubbed at the skin, and the pine beneath her swayed and groaned. Peering out into the growing wall of white, the fish crow gave a miserable squawk, clacking her beak. She turned her head and stuck her beak between her feathers, the sharp hook working them apart. The interwoven needles were like a protective quilt, but it was still cold and she wouldn't thaw.

She'd been trying to scout near some sort of Luperci territory, smelling fish on the wind and wanting for a meal. The wolf-folk always had the best scraps - cooked meat was good, juicy and succulent. Better than trying to pick apart carcasses stuck in place by the cold, Dogmeat figured. She had been gutsy, trying to ride the northern wind and get ahead of the storm, but it had overwhelmed her. That high up, the wet had sunk into her like fangs, and her body had almost locked in place. Diving for a tree was more like a clumsy plummet, and Dogmeat'd almost skinned herself alive. There were still pine needles stuck in her skin, in her frostbitten legs and around around her beak.

"Awp!" went the bird, tired and frustrated. Fluffing and shaking, Dogmeat hunched over, trying to peer between bushy twigs. How long would this storm last? Hopefully not more than a day. By then, Dogmeat hoped to thaw out.

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OoC: This was originally posted in Northern Tides, but it's meant to be in Sticks and Stones.

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original table setup by Virue
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Dale
Creature

POSTED: Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:06 am

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The morning was frigid and the weather unpleasant, causing him to draw his coat close around himself and hunch his shoulders against the chill and the dampness that threatened rain. Why in the hell was he out wandering when the weather was so atrocious? Because the best shelter he could hope for was whatever filthy abandoned hovel he could find that reeked of stale piss and vermin. At least outside, he could hope to stumble across some other signs of life.

That was how Hugo found himself trudging along near the bank of a river, his pale fur soggy from the moisture in the air. He could smell the hints of many other individuals nearby, but this was not their territory, perhaps just a bordering land they passed through. He knew virtually nothing about the groups and politics of this region, save what he could glean from eavesdropping on conversations in taverns along the way. What was life like in a pack around here? Probably not as pleasant as his life at home, he guessed, but almost anything was better than slinking around as a vagrant on the periphery of society.

The man's introspection was interrupted by a sharp sound off to the side and slightly behind him. "Awp!" His ears pricked when the noise reached him, head whipping around to search for the source. He was gazing toward some bushes, with no apparent source visible at first. He turned and slowly moved closer, not wanting to startle the creature. It had sounded like a bird, which meant it probably would flutter away when he approached. Why not see what happened, though?

Hugo reached into his satchel and rummaged around, seeing if he had any food to spare from his traveling rations. He found several small morsels of venison; those weren't remotely close enough to a meal, he could waste one on this pointless venture. He held the chunk of meat out toward what he assumed was the right bush, bending lower and clicking his tongue enticingly before tossing it on the ground and taking a step back to wait.

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Izzy
Luperci

POSTED: Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:20 am

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Dogmeat's dark bill twitched. Eyes as open as her frosted face would allow, she waddled over to the edge of the branch. The cold of the sleet sharp felt through her beak, Dogmeat parted the needles with its hook. She'd heard that familiar, enticing click below, and immediately knew what it meant: Come. See here what I've brought you. Careful to not be obvious, Dogmeat looked down and made out a shape in the white. The edges were sharp and soft at the same time, like the outline of frozen fur.

Dogmeat debated her options. Food was good, but this could be a trap. Her wings were stuck and she was near-blind, and her feet were numb. But, she hadn't eaten for a while, and fighting the weather had stolen her strength. She had intended to sleep, but might end up stuck to the tree. A lot of animals that way: huddling somewhere for warmth, the cold draining the last of their strength. If one was patient, it made for a good meal.

Dogmeat didn't want to be someone's snack, but the need to feed nagged at her. Shaking off as much ice and snow as she could, withdrawing her beak before it froze shut, she made a compromise. Aching from winter's frigidity and exhaustion, the fish crow hopped down a few ranches. Now she saw stranger better, and it was definitely a Luperci. Perhaps some kind of tundra- or arctic-born wolf? They weren't unheard of this far south, and had come to Freeport before. But with Freeport gone, was there a reason to?

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OoC: Not a worry, this is perfect for Dogmeat!

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original table setup by Virue
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Dale
Creature

POSTED: Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:22 pm

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Keeping his arm extended, the snowy wolf watched as the branches rustled and then a dark shape partially revealed itself from within the cover of the leaves. His blue eyes fixed on the small, round black gaze of a crow. This crow was smaller and more dainty than most others he had encountered, and the bird's appearance was made more pitiful by the frozen, disheveled state of its plumage: quaking slightly with the cold, huddled into itself, an inky blob with jagged spikes of dark feathers frosted into little peaks.

Hugo crouched down slowly, bringing himself close to level with the bird and making an effort to appear as non-threatening as possible. He spoke in a low, soothing tone, unsure whether the corvid could make any sense of spoken words but thinking it better to try, "It's okay, this is for you. I won't hurt you." He inched his fingers that held the morsel nearer to the poor creature's beak, wondering what exactly he was planning to do when he did feed his own snacks to this little beast. It was a wild animal, and a shivering mess of one at that, so what use was the bird when he was doing well to survive himself?

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Izzy
Luperci

POSTED: Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:53 am

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A flash of iridescent feathers signaled the crow's dive. The morsel plucked from his paw, Dogmeat flew in a rough circle before landing in front of him. Snapping down the treat with vigor, Dogmeat's head and neck jerked with the swallow. The bird shook free of some of the ice, and she looked at Hugo. She ruffled her feathers again, waggling her square tail.

With a caw, she launched at his shoulder. Little feet grasping like a child's hands, Dogmeat sought to find warmth and comfort on a living perch. She wanted to bury into his snowy fur, warm herself with the heat all Luperci radiated like a fire. It was better than waiting out the storm in a tree, and he might give her more snacks, or bring her to shelter. All this likely betrayed that, at one point, she'd been someone's companion or pet.

"Unh!" went the crow, trying to pine at the wolf. She hoped he wouldn't swat her away, but was beyond caring about worse - she liked company of the wolf-folk. They had raised her and trained her, fed her and loved her. Dogmeat would leave him once the weather was better, but wouldn't forget his kindness. If he treated her well, there was a chance she would find him again.

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OoC: --

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original table setup by Virue
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Dale
Creature

POSTED: Wed May 09, 2018 10:29 pm

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The bird burst from the bush all at once, a flurry of black feathers swirling around him until it snapped up the treat and landed before him. He was startled at first by its sudden motion, but quickly calmed down. The crow shook free the ice, then ruffled up again; he found it remarkable how tame the creature was, and he couldn’t help but think that it was almost like a young pup in its behavior.

The little creature launched itself into the air again, this time finding its perch on Hugo’s shoulder. He felt the crow snuggle into his damp fur, searching for a source of warmth to find some relief from the cold. He decided he wouldn’t begrudge the poor thing such a small kindness.

Since the bird displayed such an affinity for Luperci, he decided it would be safe to give it some affection. He reached his hand up and gently scratched its chest, feeling the soft glossy feathers ruffle beneath his fingertip. As his hand slipped away, he felt the distinct cold burn of metal against the sensitive pad of his finger. Brows furrowing slightly, he nudged his hand against the crow’s feet to encourage the bird to step onto it. “Shhh, don’t be frightened. I’m going to put you right back, I just want to see something first.”

He brought his hand with the bird perched on it around to eye level. The band around the spindly leg glinted in the light, and he squinted to make out the engraved text. “Dogmeat,” he mused aloud. “Is that your name?” he asked, looking into the crow’s shiny, intelligent dark eyes. He put his hand back to his shoulder and allowed his companion to hop back into the warmth of his fur. "Well, Dogmeat, if it's perfectly alright with you, I'd like to get in out of this chill. You're welcome to come along." He had intended to roam further and survey the area, but the inclement weather made that seem quite unpleasant. The Luperci turned and headed back in the direction from whence he came with Dogmeat perched on his shoulder, wondering if the movement would scare the bird away. Even if he was spending his morning with something that couldn't even respond, it was nice to have a companion he didn't have to keep up appearances for.

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Izzy
Luperci

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