Watching it all spin a little slower

POSTED: Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:40 pm

Freezing rain fell in the evening, and lingered as frost and narrow, dripping icicles hanging from branches of oak. Come sunrise the light would melt this, but as the nights grew longer they grew colder, and Clover knew that it would be a matter of time before winter proper found them unguarded.

Her fur had grown in thick, but the dog had never worried about herself. She fretted instead for Vesper, thin and shivering in the caverns. She thought about how terrible the last winter had been, how much it had taken from them. She didn’t think that the old coywolf could survive another one here.

Her big paws crunched through frost, and she shook out her coat. It was probably time to return home, start a fire, but she wanted to stay out just a little while longer. November was cold and cruel, but the way the trees encased in ice glistened intrigued her. She could almost pretend that this wasn’t suffering.
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POSTED: Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:35 am

They spent a quiet life in the shadow of the mountain as winter set in. Otillie couldn't remember the last time she had stayed in place for so long - her life had been spent attempting to out run a curse that had followed her for most of her life. It had found her even in Inferni, the dead-clan of coyotes and fire, and now somehow it lingered just out of reach in the hoary frost that came with winter.

Their food was still scarce, but somehow they were happy.

It was a simple life but a good one.

She rose with the dawn and hunted as she usually did, her thin frame weaving between trees that cast long shadows against the cold. Soon snow would be upon them and the hunting in this region would become even more scarce - a fact that she continued to remind Vesper in her thickly accented voice. Night came earlier than she remembered, and the birds that usually twittered and bounced through the trees had begun to head south.

She sometimes found that she dreamt of the warmth that came with summer, the memory of honey sunlight caught up between her dreaming feet. Sometimes Otillie spent her nights curled against the dog, her head resting lazily across a scruffy haunch.

She barked when she saw Clover standing against the frost dappled landscape, her ears pricked eagerly forward as she trotted towards her.

"Clover!" She yapped, bowing playfully with a wagging tail, "It is too cold to stand still."

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POSTED: Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:33 pm

Yet even on the cusp of a cold, cruel winter, one could find some solace.

It was the simplest things: a belly full of rabbit after a successful hunt, a good scratch, the coughing laughter of her mentor on days she was not hurting, the scent and warmth of a friend trusted and increasingly adored. Most hours she was with Otilie, patrolling in the wood, chatting over gnawed bones, sleeping in a pile for warmth -- they were peaceful, and warm, and left Clover with a longing sated and unsated at the same time.

Clover did not bother disguising the smile that crossed her soot-smudged muzzle when Otilie's yap echoed in the crisp air. She turned and shook frost from her thick coat, dropping down into a playful bow to mirror the lithe coywolf.

"You're right," she said, and made a lunge forward. Her claws skidded across ice-hardened earth, and her teeth clicked gently on the furry tuft of Otilie's cheek, before she whirled around and kicked up snow with her heels. The large dog began to run then, surprisingly fast for her size, though she knew her companion would be able to outspeed and outturn her. She didn't care; she ran slowly enough to be caught.
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POSTED: Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:52 am

Otilie splayed her large ears as Clover greeted her, the curl of her fluffy tail shuffling from side to side against her haunches. "Ha! I am always right." Otilie chuffed as the woman nipped at her cheek and took off through through the trees, and with a glint in her eye the slovak threw back her head and kiyi-d the sound of her kind, a coyote call that signalled the hunt.

She trailed Clover easily, dipping around the shaggy dog and nipping at her heels.

"Where I come from-" She huffed a breath through her teeth as snow was kicked up into her face, "They say snow brings good."

She yapped and bucked, pulling teasingly at the longer fur that grew along her friends shoulders. They left great big whorls in the snow and Otilie bounced back and forth beyond Clover until she at-last made to tackle the girl to the ground.

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POSTED: Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:20 am

The coywolf’s returning yap made Clover laugh as she ran, her breath frosted in the air. Yes, Otilie was always right — she had a wisdom about her, a quality down-to-earth and calming, and that was much of why Clover liked her so much. Inferni had been full of intense characters, but the dog appreciated simplicity. These things had drawn her to humble Cartier, to loyal Antioch, to feral Vesper. Life was already oh so complicated; she wanted to settle down, was part of it.

Simple pleasures like racing through the snow, the lithe Otilie on her heels, kept the darkness at bay. They chased and spun and leaped and barked, flurries of winter in their own right, and while Clover didn’t believe that snow brought good — how could it? The world so frozen and the winds so cold — she could believe that, in this moment, it did. Frost sparkled on Otilie’s fur, and when she pounced, the snow cushioned the fall.

Clover laughed as her shoulders hit the snow. As part of her training, she could fight ferociously when pinned, but she let her muscles relax and her paws hang in the air, brushing Otilie’s shoulders where the coywolf stood triumphant over her.

She lifted her head to lick Otilie’s muzzle, her tail wagging.
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