Sink In Your Claws and Fly

[AW For One Or More]

POSTED: Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:05 pm

What had brought the crow to this barren waste? Once, this had been the home of a doomed pack, but Dogmeat didn't know who. All she saw were the remains of snow-covered buildings. Around them, there were the scant tracks of some livestock and canines, and scat. Old, moldering scat that marked the ground like many ugly signs. It was a fitting addition to this dead, wrecked place, with black trees so weak the wind snapped them in half.

Dogmeat should've stopped being so curious a long time ago. Especially with winter now here, flying to random places could be the death of her. There was plenty of fresh prey by the ocean; the waves kept the water thawed and the tides brought good fortune. Instead, because she'd never explored this part of the coast, she'd coasted on a storm-led win to here.

Now that storm had turned around, and the temperature ha dropped. Dogmeat had dropped altitude so the moist air wouldn't freeze her wings. Somewhere in this mess of dead flora and jagged rocks, she had to find somewhere to shelter. After that, she had to find a bite to eat, having not fed herself in a day. Between the cold and fighting the weather, she'd never have the strength to leave without it. Nighttime's approach made things even worse - she'd be blind and stuck in that long stretch of dark.

Circling above, Dogmeat scowled as much as a bird, head turning left and right. Her beady eyes searched the ground below, picking out every detail they could.

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POSTED: Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:26 am

Vesper was curled up at the mouth of the cavern when Clover found her, rather than in any of the warmer rooms deeper within the earth. She’d checked them all with mounting concern, but now that she watched the old coywolf, bony and yet seemingly content with frost sparkling on her whiskers, that concern was replaced with irritation.

“You’re real keen on freezing your fucking face off,” growled the dog.

“Shush, you,” Vesper replied in a rasp, not bothering to turn her head. Instead, her mangled ear twitched back in the dog’s direction. “I’m tired of playing groundhog. I need a breath of air every once in a while, even if it means ‘freezing my fucking face off.’ At least remind myself I have a face.” She did look at Clover as she said this, snide.

There wasn’t much left to freeze, Clover thought. Vesper’s narrow muzzle was pockmarked with scars and scabs, thinning around the eyes. The eyes followed Clover with their same cold keenness, seemingly unaffected by the cloudy blue sheen that covered the pupils. When she licked her lips, her tongue brushed yellow fangs, and ground-down teeth, and empty pockets in the reddened gum. The last year had been very unkind to the former Infernian.

Clover sighed and plopped down beside Vesper, leaning her larger, fluffier body against the skeletal old hybrid. Ves didn’t protest, only returned her gaze to the outside world, her good ear pricked. It was only after a while that Clover realized that she was watching something in particular: a black dot wheeling in the sky.

“It’s not one of mine,” Vesper said after a minute.

Clover frowned and squinted up at the small black bird gliding over the barren wood. She couldn’t tell the difference.

“Not many outsiders fly these skies. The flock can get nasty. Too cold for any sensible raven to be out today, though.” Her mouth quirked before Clover could make a remark that the Ravenmaster’s birds were smarter than she was. “I’m curious, though,” she added, and that was all the further preamble before she got up and limped along the narrow trail leading from the caves. Clover trailed her closely, head in line with her spine and her tail dusting low over the ground.
I can feel the thunder that's breaking in your heart
I can see through the scars inside you
Del Cenere Gang
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POSTED: Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:09 am

Dogmeat spotted the mouth of a cavern, small as an ant-hole from where she flew. The dead trees loomed over its maw, skeletal branches like thin bird-feet as they reached over. The crow tilted her head, flying lower as she circled back around the area. A cave could mean someone was living there, and - ah, yes. Now she saw a dog loping out from the cavern. Surprised to find one here, Dogmeat wondered if it was a particularly-resourceful Wolf-Folk. Dipping her head, she spun down for a dainty landing on a low branch.

"Caw!" she shouted at the dog, trying to get its attention. She hopped from branch to branch, twigs cracking as they slapped against one another. The dog might note that Dogmeat was smaller than most, with an odd, ocean-colored sheen to her feathers. She had the nasal voice of a baby crow, but her plumage was too smooth for a youngling. Watching the dog with attentiveness, the crow waited for some kind of greeting. Though she spoke no High Speech, Dogmeat could likely get across she wanted food and shelter.

"Awp awp! Caw! CAW!"

Unfortunately, she hadn't seen nor realized the trees were home to a flock of ravens. If she had, she wouldn't have been so loud and boisterous. The squeakier the chick, the faster the fox would find it should it fall.

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POSTED: Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:00 pm

Only Vesper would wander out into the cold to look at a bird, Clover thought.

She kept pace behind the old coyote, her large paws stepping into the smaller prints the limping female left behind. Walking single file was a skill picked up over the years, though on her own her trail meandered like a proper dog’s. Her head leaned forward in case she needed to nudge Vesper back up onto her feet, too, but Ves was having one of her good days; her joints just locked up sometimes when the cold and wet became too much to bear. It was a good thing, too; Vesper would resent her for helping out.

No, the former Aquila looked confident as she strode out beneath the dead trees, her mangled ears pricked to listen to the caws. When her keen blue eyes spotted the bird at last, she tilted her head. “That’s interesting.”

“What is?” Clover asked. Vesper didn’t answer. Clover squinted at the bird but didn’t see anything interesting about it, other than its size and nasal cries. Perhaps it was a late hatcher?

The old coywolf sat down, wrapping her bushy tail around her bad leg, and called back to the bird with a raspy caw of her own, lower in pitch. Her voice was different than the fish crow’s — a dialect of the large ravens native to the area — but corvid low speech was similar enough at its base that there could be some understanding. Vesper understood food and shelter at least, and hoped to convey in her response that these resources existed here.

Vesper added a low ku-uk-kuk, turning her head to look pointedly at the trees. Clover had heard this sound uttered when the ravens were chasing each other aggressively; maybe Vesper was warning the little bird about them?

Huffing boredly, the dog plopped her haunches in the snow and began to scratch one of the mats forming behind her ear while her mentor cawed.
I can feel the thunder that's breaking in your heart
I can see through the scars inside you
Del Cenere Gang
El Probado
User avatar
Raze
oderint dum metuant You have to love yourself a fire
cave canem
unconditional loyalty

POSTED: Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:44 am

Dogmeat, at first, couldn't figure out what she was hearing. There was Crow-Talk on the wind, but it was all wrong: more guttural, more raspy, more forced. It didn't have the hollow sound a bird's throat made, the bill and wide mouth perfect for long, loud notes. Uneasiness came with the watch-out croak; Dogmeat looked around the trees, anxious. Other birds? Where? She didn't remember seeing any on the flight in!

After a moment's hesitation, the fish crow called back. The sound acknowledged food and shelter, followed by frantic caws to state she was friendly and passing through. Dogmeat scanned the trees once more, and then took off with a rattle of branches. Her blue-green shimmer glinted like jewels: a burst of color in a wintry graveyard of trees. Angling down, the crow stopped when she spotted a pair of canines, landing on the nearest branch. Her beady eyes couldn't help but stare - they looked awful. One had to be almost as dead as the silent woods around them.

Dogmeat cawed once more, the sound careful and uncertain. Had there been sickness? Death? No food? Her eyes didn't move from the pair below.
Last edited by Dogmeat on Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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POSTED: Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:03 am

The crow's throaty caw stirred the coywolf's big, tattered ears. Clover, meanwhile, cocked her head without any comprehension that the returning cries were more than just noises. She knew some of the calls the Infernian flock shouted, like food and wolf, but the dog had never needed to learn more than that handful of sounds on her patrols. It helped that many of the ravens had been taught canine-tongue for the coyotes' sake, rewarded for their mimicry and subsequent understanding – a process the Luperci took for granted. One of Vesper's ravens had had such a broad graps of language, and such a canine-like mind, that she supposed it was natural to pick up on such things. She knew nothing about the real struggles to understand concepts beyond the minimum needed to survive in the wild.

Her chestnut brown eyes were drawn to a shimmer in the sky, an iridescence that rivalled the deep midnight-purple gloss of the larger ravens' dark feathers. The little crow landed on a closer branch that wobbled beneath her weight, and cawed again.

Vesper exhaled loudly enough through her nose that it turned Clover's head. From the look on the old hybrid's face – narrowed eyes that looked more resigned than irritated – she thought the crow must have said something that bothered her. She frowned, looking up at the bird curiously, while Vesper responded.

The bird caretaker had worn out the phrase no food herself, having to confess to her feathered friends that there was little left while the clan wasted away. What she told this lone bird was a little different; she attempted to explain that there was some food that could be spared, and with a wry quork added that they weren't dead yet. She reiterated that other ravens lived in the area, her expression unconsciously shifting with sympathy and reassurance as if her conversation partner was another canine. Whether the crow could understand the minute shifts of mouth and ears was yet to be seen; a bird had few expressions itself, and often the gentle open-mouth smile only frightened them with reveal of teeth.

Grab some of that deer from the cave, Vesper told Clover suddenly.

The dog scowled. Ves, we can't –

She won't eat much. She needs to get out of the cold, and I don't know if she'll believe that there's actually food unless she sees it. No bird wants to go underground normally.

Clover snorted and got up, walking toward the cavern entrance reluctantly. Left alone, Vesper angled her head back toward the little crow, and repeated her explanation of passing with a questioning tilt of her ears. If the crow truly was just passing through, she likely didn't have a proper destination in mind – or she'd gotten blown far off track.

478 words.

I can feel the thunder that's breaking in your heart
I can see through the scars inside you
Del Cenere Gang
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Raze
oderint dum metuant You have to love yourself a fire
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POSTED: Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:21 pm

The other Wolf-Folk didn't look happy to share the food they had. Dogmeat's body twinged with guilt, and her look was sympathetic. Bad winters were hard on everyone, from the birds to the beats to the plants and trees. They could scar the land and make whole peoples vanish. Trees exploded in terrible cold, and unkempt fires set shelters alight. The crow chattered a little, giving a guttural is-sorry croak.

Passing? the elder Wolf-Folk repeated. Dogmeat croaked in affirmation. She cawed of passing, drawing out sounds in a hope to convey distance and many places traveled. She tried to croak that she was hungry, and that she was without... She didn't know how to express her situation. She was something like a lone wolf, no population of fish crows in these parts for her to integrate into. Her kind shared territory with regular crows and ravens, but up here, the locals chased her away. She was no banished creature or flock exile, though--she had gone her own way, on a flight of her own making. How could she articulate what she was, when there wasn't a good word for it?

She tried cawing in negation. No territory, no mate, no flock, nothing. What about them? She glanced from left to right. The little territory here looked pitiful. She expected more bones, a firepit, something to show habitation. It looked like they were squatting, like loners that hid in abandoned cabins from old packs. She cawed in request, hopping down to another branch. They did need things? Maybe food? She could find them food!
Last edited by Dogmeat on Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:25 am, edited 2 times in total.

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POSTED: Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:16 am

Slinking into the caverns, Clover wandered through the little dips and bends. She passed the dens of former comrades and recalled their scents, their snores and whimpers, as if the grotto still breathed with the life of the clan. The reality was emptiness, however, and her footfalls seemed loud and echoing on the smooth stone ground as she searched for their cache – hidden away enough that scavengers (other than them) wouldn't smell it.

The deer haunch had been torn off a frozen carcass already visited by other loners, and Clover had hidden it away to let it thaw. Its scent was tinged with sweetness that hinted at the beginning of decay, but the Infernians had eaten worse over the seasons. She scooped it up in her jaws and padded back toward the tall cavern entrance.

Vesper, meanwhile, twitched her mangled ears at the crow's noises. She seemed to be a loner who'd lost her way – no flock, no mate, no nothing. It made sense. You look very different, she wanted to tell the bird, but she wasn't quite sure how to phrase such a thing without the connotations of different-bad-sick-chase that the ravens screamed when they pursued interlopers. Even Stark, wise and canine-like as he had been, had been vehemently against any bird that didn't seem to belong with the rest of them.

She didn't comment on it, in the end, knowing the limited "language" of corvids would obfuscate her intentions. Instead, she sympathetically remarked that the bird came from "far away," then contemplated how to explain her own story.

In a few short noises, she explained that they had a great big flock, and sickness killed them. They only had a few left. It was a sad tale, but simplified for the crow, no more tragic than other stories played out in nature.

By then, Clover came out with the deer leg in her jaws. A great part of the thigh was still attached, dragging through the snow as she padded up in time to see Vesper wag her tail and croak back at the smal bird. Her head tilted before she deposited the meat, glancing Vesper's way for some explanation of what they were talking about.

Sweet thing offered to find food for us, Vesper said. I said if she wanted to, she could stay in the cave where it's warmer.

Oh. Clover wasn't sure how this strange raven could find food that Vesper's remaining birds would overlook, but she didn't want to be negative. Instead, she nudged the deer leg closer to the tree, her chestnut eyes peering up at the bird. Um, here you go.

[454 words]

I can feel the thunder that's breaking in your heart
I can see through the scars inside you
Del Cenere Gang
El Probado
User avatar
Raze
oderint dum metuant You have to love yourself a fire
cave canem
unconditional loyalty

POSTED: Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:21 am

Emotions flashed in the eyes of the crow. Sadness, sympathy, regret - these poor Folk. They had lost almost everything, and the coyote-looking one didn't look too well. Dogmeat gave her a season, maybe two, before her voice would join those in the sky. The crow's shoulders slumped, beady eyes fixating on the elderly female.

Before she could think of a response, the scruffy dog came back with a leg full of deer. Hunger eclipsed every other thought, and Dogmeat dove on the carrion without hesitation. The crow stabbed her beak hard into the meat, little talons digging into its rotting pelt. Several hungry mouthfuls disappeared down her gullet, gore gluing together her facial feathers. The crow had to breathe for a moment before she opened her beak again.

She made a content sound as she finished her meal, and stepped away to show fullness. Not much had been taken, all things considered. Once again, she tried to croak and caw she could find them food, that she knew how to do things other than scavenge. (She could fish, for one!)

Puffing out her feathers in pride, the crow shook her whole body and scratched at her face. Another couple of shakes, and she scratched at her bill. Dogmeat had a plan, and she hoped the Wolf-Folk would agree.

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Dale
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POSTED: Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:22 am

🍀 Sorry for the wait! :< We can wrap this up soon since it's older!

The crow alighted on the stiff carcass, pecking at what bits of thawed meat had softened, her claws digging at the ragged fur. Several chunks slid down her gullet, and Clover noticed that her throat was not as shaggy-feathered as a raven's. Another might have been unnerved by the way the bird ate, but the hungry canines devoured their food in much the same way -- if with shearing incisors rather than a sharp, clever beak. Even in times of plenty, neither Vesper nor Clover had been ones for manners.

Plenty of the haunch remained when the bird was done, and Clover glanced expectantly in Vesper's direction; since she'd brought the food out, the elder might as well eat, too. Tearing her blue eyes (narrow with amusement) from the bird, Vesper glanced at her guardian and sighed, then slid down to her arthritic elbows. She draped one small paw on the jutting bone, pulling the food toward her to nibble at what remained.

The shiny crow began to make more noises, scratching dried gore from her facial feathers, and Vesper laughed in delight. She can get us fish, she explained when Clover frowned, then wagged her tail and croaked back at the crow -- praising her, calling her clever, and agreeing that, if the bird brought them food, they would keep her warm and safe from the ravens in their flock. She explained this to Clover as she spoke.

We won't stay here forever, though, Clover said.

Shrugging, Vesper swallowed a small morsel of half-frozen venison. I don't think she should stay here forever either, for her sake.

I can feel the thunder that's breaking in your heart
I can see through the scars inside you
Del Cenere Gang
El Probado
User avatar
Raze
oderint dum metuant You have to love yourself a fire
cave canem
unconditional loyalty

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