I Have Been Gone For So Very Long

POSTED: Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:36 pm

OOC: Backdated to the beginning of June 2019, and set around the coast of Timber Cove.

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Shale's rafting stick made a swift dip into the churning water. It hit a rock with a solid, jarring thunk, and the wolf pushed hard off the bit of risen seafloor. Her raft rose and fell with the waves, bobbing like a log in a river. Eyes like embers - burnt red and glowering against a faded-black face - squinted at the nearby coastline. Sea salt and spray speckled and drenched her coat. The hem clicked like teeth as she moved, lined now with pale wooden beads. Seagulls screamed overhead, and pregnant seals bayed on the narrow, sandy shore. The dark wolf's tongue poked and wet her lips, the taste of the ocean drying and heavy on her tongue.

She was warm and cold at the same time. Moisture from the northern waters had soaked into her fur, chilling her as it slowly warmed with her body. The noonday sun dried the top of her skull and gave a mantle of heat across her shoulders and back. It would be good to reach the familiar shore and dry off, catching her breath before the tides swept her out. Her arms and back would hurt when she stopped her vessel, but she wasn't keen on traveling further down the shore. She'd worked hard to cut and haul the trees, weave the bindings, make a pole from scrap timber.

If only Krokar could see her now. How she glided tightly down the Atlantic coast, working with the currents as they spun and wove the waters. How she aimed her raft between rifts and sandbars, taking care in keeping it straight. The trip back to them inland was ready in her head. It would be a few miles to strait between Prince Edward and Acadia, then a boat ride and a hop across the islands to the tip. Shale could rest there, hike north of the Wildwood, paddle back to Acadia and follow the coast. There was a small river into Gaspesia she could take - she could ask the local pack's permission there - and then there would be more hiking. The Miramichi Watershed wasn't far after that -

No. She almost stopped rafting at the thought, her stomach jumping into her throat. They might not recognize the former Greenhorn, and how could she explain herself if they did? Shale had walked off in the middle of the night with what meager possessions she had. The wolf had even gone to the trouble of covering up her scent, not wanting to be followed; Krokar had grated on her. Pack life had grated on her. It hadn't helped when that...that piece of shit from the slaving-pack had somehow tracked her down, wounding her just shy of the border. Shale hadn't been sure if he'd been watching or following her, or how long he'd been doing it. The incident brought up too many bad memories, and couldn't imagine herself answering to any authority for much longer, and not let herself be confined in a territory's boundaries, Making everything worse was being surrounded by so much water.... Something she didn't fear now, at least.

A high wave almost spilled into the raft, showering Shale's muzzle with white foam. Shale grunted and began working her pole again, having drifted off course by several feet. A few hard strokes later and she was headed for the cove, licking the salt from her lips. The she-wolf impatient for a drink. As soon as she found a cave with storm-water, or dug her nose into the corpse of a recently-dead seal, she was going to gorge. Blood, rainfall, it didn't matter - anything to slake her thirst and get the Atlantic off her tongue.

She had been gone for so long - long by the standards of a wolf, at least. So much could have happened in two years, or maybe even three. At least nothing had changed here, and she still recognized the rocky, thin shores of Timber Cove. Her journey out of these lands had taken her across its cliff-sides, puffins and seabirds darting in and out of their nests at her feet. She remembered all this, and yet Krokar and its people, its generosity, remained hidden in the back of her mind. The Labradorite village brought everything flooding back. She realized journeying back why she'd stayed in the settlement in the first place: it reminded her of home.

A home she hoped was still there.
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