Always one step behind

Tessa | Ethereal Eclipse

POSTED: Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:18 am

Lupus | Ethereal Eclipse | Fore-dated: March 19th; midday (+427)

[CdM] When the Tide comes in

Scouting thread! Feel free to PP them finding the campsite in your post!

She didn’t like it. She didn’t like it one bit. Ever since Chaska’s murdered body had been found, Issola had been wary and, secretly, fearful. Her first thoughts had gone to Ciprian and Ruckus, and if they had returned to finish what they had started. None of the adults had brought up his name though, not concretely anyway. She hadn’t smelt his stench around the pack’s lands either, which would have comforted her…had the Court not still been under attack by an unknown aggressor.

Whoever they were, they had tainted the Court’s waterways in secret; their lakes, their rivers, their streams, and the dark Haskel had nearly gagged upon finding out what it was that they had all been drinking out of. She was a wild predator at heart, but, when she went to quench her thirst, it was not to dirty her tongue with water flavored by the bodies of the dead.

Chaska and Mottle were both dead. And, as if that had not been enough either, there had been more and more instances as of late of active acts of aggression. Strange sounds in the night, noticeable and frequent scents of the same individuals at the borders, tampered with buildings that made them unsafe, and, recently, Ascher had been outright attacked. The attack on the Stormbringer had been the last straw.

The Reine had set out two parties to sweep the immediate areas beyond the Court. With the frequencies of the scents, mysterious events, and attack, whoever it was was, no doubt, close by. Issola had gone with Tessa, with whom, she was more familiar with than the Seigneur, Yvonne, or Viscomte Tora. Issola had followed the older woman’s lead, trusting Tessa to be more knowledgeable about their task.

Issola padded along in her Lupus form, sniffing at the budding new growth; early signs of the spring season that was to come. In the wake of the melted snow, the land was quite forgiving in what was left behind. The soft, moist soil made tracking easier, and held onto scents longer so long as there wasn’t any bitterly cold rain to wash any evidence away. The forest around them was alive with activity, yet another sign of the warmer weather to come.

“Do you think we’ll actually find something?” She asked over to Tessa. Issola had never actively searched for a Loner out in the neutral lands before. She knew not if their mission would be fruitful, or, if it was a fool’s errand.

POSTED: Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:27 pm

WC: 326

Tessa was already in over her head. She did very little tracking and had no real idea of what they should be looking for other than signs of loners near their borders. She was here because she felt like she should do something more than wait and let everyone else figure out what was going on.

She was also angry. Tessa may not have been close with Mottle, but, she had liked the odd looking canine, if only begrudgingly. Mottle had been kind when she did not need to be, and it had left an impression on Tessa. Given the apparent dangerous nature of what was going on, Tessa wondered if she and Issola should have brought someone else with them for this little excursion. Tessa was definitely of no use in a fight. All she could do was swing a stick with mixed results, and that meant she would have to actually find a stick first.

"I sure hope so," Tessa said. She wanted to be useful for something now, wanted Kalypso to notice her, respect her. Sure she had decorated for the ball, but that was a while ago now and Tessa knew she needed to do something to keep herself on the Rein's radar. If she (and Issola) found something that led to figuring out what was going on? Well, that would just be perfect.

Unlike Issola, Tessa was in her Optime form, figuring one of them might need hands for something. That was mostly an excuse to avoid her Lupus form since she did not like how small she felt in it. Besides, Issola could catch scents closer to the ground, and Tessa could use the bit of height she had to spot things from a different angle. And speaking of...

"Do you see that?" Tessa said, pointing ahead to a break in the trees. It appeared to be a small clearing. "Looks like there might be a campsite or something."
Last edited by Tessa de la Croix on Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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POSTED: Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:04 pm

(+###)

Make up whatever you want! The group does not have horses/anything for transport, and they’d be traveling rather light as a result. Feel free to reference the sled [M] that they used to haul the dead bodies to the waterways!

She nodded quietly in acknowledgment. Tessa hadn’t been able to give her a promising answer, though, she also hadn’t expressed explicit doubt in their success either. Issola supposed being in the middle was better than calling their mission a fool’s errand. It meant that there was a possibility that they might find these troublesome Loners rather than none at all. They just had to see what they could come up with.

Issola picked her head up from what she had been sniffing at, padding over to Tessa’s side so that she could see what the older Courtier was pointing at. Sure enough, she could see a little clearing of sorts in the distance, and what looked like a pile of kindling that would have been a campfire. She took a few inquisitive sniffs at the air, but it yielded little in the form of any fresh, Luperci scents. Her pale eyes looked around the forested terrain around them, and, finding nothing, she padded forward warily. “Let’s check it out,” she whispered over her shoulder.

It didn’t appear that the rogues were in the area, or, at least not in that moment in time.

The Haskel kept low as she neared the site, her senses strained to their limits and her heartbeat quickening. She sniffed, snorting sharply at the familiar scents that had been found around the Court. The smell of them was strong there, even if somewhat stale.

Issola carefully paced out into the middle of the camp, nosing at the long-dead fire pile. The wood was mostly spent, blackened and charred as it was. Likely, whatever had remained burning had been doused with water. “How long do you think we missed them by?” Issola asked, looking over to her partner.

POSTED: Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:35 pm

WC: 308

Tessa crouched down as well, copying Issola as they moved forward. She felt a little foolish, but she supposed it was better than making themselves really obvious. Tessa eyed the campsite as they neared it, sniffing the air to see if there were any scents that were of interest. She was not a particularly good tracker, having never been taught more than the basics, but she knew enough to be able to tell that the scents were not fresh. Tessa couldn’t tell how old they were, but part of her was relieved that it seemed like the were not just away from the site briefly, intending to return soon. That could be bad. She hadn’t actually thought too much about what would happen if they actually found the troublesome loners, rather than just signs of them.

“Well... maybe a day or so?” Tessa whispered her guess, just in case. She moved into the campsite more, looking over the things that were left behind. There wasn’t much here, which she supposed made sense if they were traveling. They’d want to travel light to move quickly. She and her father had not brought a lot with them since it was only the two of them traveling, even if they went from one pack to another.

There was no telling when they would come back, though, and Tessa knew that it was possible that it could happen at any moment. The thought was pretty scary with everything that was already going on.

“There’s a sled,” Tessa said, nudging it with her foot. It was really the only thing that was of note that she could find, other than the scents. “Looks sturdy enough to pull heaving things on it.” At least, it didn’t seem like it was about to fall apart when she nudged it.
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POSTED: Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:16 pm

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A day? Issola could have cursed. They needed to find these troublemakers now. Who knew where’d they strike next, who’d they target, or what they would destroy. The loner group seemed to be moving rather quickly, and, to think, they had only camped a short distance away from the pack’s borders too. The next attack could have proven deadly for the Court.

“Why do they insist on hiding?” The teenager growled, frustrated.

Issola turned her attention back to nosing around, hoping to find something that give them a clue of where the group had moved off to, maybe even a hint of who they were. That was the thing. Nobody knew anything other than the individuals spoke Spanish…which didn’t help at all, particularly since Ascher hadn’t been able to understand what they’d said before they’d beat him senseless. What kind of bone did these rogues have to pick against the Court?

She found a patch of soiled dirt, but it smelt like little more than where someone had eaten a meal. Her assumption was confirmed when she found discarded bones tossed off to the side. It made her angry. These…these criminals were eating and drinking just fine, meanwhile, the Courtiers were left to clean their waterways of spoiled animal carcasses and being harassed by an unknown enemy.

Her ears flickered as Tessa found something on her side. Issola raised her head and padded over, taking a sniff at the sled. She let out a sharp exhale at the smell of old blood and stale scent of decay filled her nostrils. “They were here alright.” She let out another snort and shook out her fur. “I bet this was how they poisoned the lakes. It still stinks like rotten animals.”

After a thought, she looked up at Tessa. “Should we burn it so they can’t come back for it?” It didn’t seem like they needed it if they had abandoned it here, but, on the off chance that they might return for it, perhaps it would have been better to thwart any further attempts to poison the Court’s water supply.

POSTED: Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:32 am

WC: 306

Against her better judgement, Tessa leaned down to get a sniff of the sled and immediately she wrinkled her nose at the stench. That was a bad idea. She should have just taken Issola's word for it. She straightened up, breathing out sharply through her nose, hoping that would help get the smell out of it. It only helped a little bit, and there was not really anything around that she could sniff to make it better.

Tessa glanced down at the sled again when Issola suggested burning it. She looked around and then shrugged. She felt so out of her depth with this scouting thing, but it was the best way she could think of to help the pack right now.

"Maybe we should bring it back into the pack lands before we burn it," Tessa suggested. "Then we don't have to worry about attracting them back to this camp with the smoke." She supposed there was also an off chance that someone else might want to look at the sled, although she was not sure what use that would be. The scents on it seemed pretty overpowered to her.

"Do you see anything else worth bringing back?" Tessa asked. She started to move around again, picking through some debris. Scavenging was something she had gotten good at, at least, and to her somewhat practiced eye, there did not really seem to be anything useful. It made sense, she reluctantly supposed. If they were traveling around, they would not have much with them. Tessa figured the sled had served its purpose and was probably more of a burden now to drag around rather than helpful with nothing heavy to pull. It would also leave pretty distinct tracks through the snow. These loners were cruel, but they did not seem to be especially stupid.
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POSTED: Sun Mar 31, 2019 7:53 pm

(+###)

Suppose we could wrap this up either with your post or mine?

“Good point,” Issola nodded, finding sound reason behind Tessa’s suggestion. If the Loner Group that had been attacking the Court saw the smoke, they might come to investigate, and if there were a lot of them… Issola snuck a glance at the ivory-haired woman. Tessa didn’t strike her as someone with exceptional fighting skills. She seemed too refined, to pretty to be someone that might get her hands dirty with a brawl. And, though Issola had been taught by her family how to fight, she had never been as good as her brother or Galilee.

If they were found by those Loners, they’d have no choice but to run and hope to make it to the safety of the Court in time. The two of them would stand no chance in a fight, especially if this group had left Ascher in such a state as they had.

Issola, too, looked began to look around at Tessa’s prompted question. There didn’t seem to be anything left of value. Spent firewood and kindling? Some chewed on bones of their last meal? There was nothing there that the Haskel could see that might help find where the hostiles had gone or what their true purpose was for being there and harassing the Court.

With a defeated sigh, she shook her head. “No, let’s head back. Maybe someone can figure out something from the sled.” The darkly-furred Madame moved back to the smelly sled, her lips pressing firmly into a grimace at the thought of just touching the foul thing. “If nothing else, I guess we know that they’re traveling light, and there can’t be more than maybe ten of them total.” The area they had found was not large, and there was not enough displacement or waste in the area to suggest a large group on the move.

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