home is where you hang your enemy's head

Amherst

POSTED: Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:07 am

(Amherst, April 10, 3:00PM)

Bec had found a suitable spot for a den in Amherst, a house that had managed to avoid crumbling over its decades left abandoned, though it was extremely dusty inside and ivy had laid claim to the walls. There were signs that various small animals had made the building their home, but despite looking rather weather-worn and smelling extremely musty the house was structurally sound and had a fireplace, so it would make a fine residence for the wolfdog. The curtains, bedding, cushion-covers and various other fabrics were all far too moth-eaten to be used, and she set to work at throwing them all out into the back yard.

Next she found a plastic-bristled broom and set to sweeping the hardwood floors, sweeping the dirt and dust out through the back door. The carpets of the second floor were a task she wasn't sure how to handle, so she left it. Instead, she ripped a piece from the discarded old curtains and wiped down all the surfaces before tossing the scrap back onto the fabric heap. It still smelled pretty bad, but at least it looked a little better. The smell would probably get better as the house was more well trafficked anyway.

After the inside was sorted, Bec set to marking the outside to make it clear that this was a claimed den and that other canines should steer clear. She gathered up fallen branches from the tree in the backyard and sharpened the ends into spikes, planting them hard in the ground around the front door. If she had any paint then she'd use it to mark the door, but she didn't. The wolfdog decided to keep an eye out for paint on her travels, and other things to mark her claim.

Determining that she'd done all that she could, Bec left the house to scope out the immediate area for anything interesting or important. While the surrounding houses had been ruled out as homes for one reason or another-- broken windows, missing doors, caved roofs-- that didn't mean that they didn't have anything good in them. There might even be little prey creatures residing in the area, taking advantage of the free shelter like she was!

Bec sniffed at the air, ambling down the street and looking around to pick a target.
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POSTED: Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:37 pm

OOC: Hope you don't mind me popping in c:

IC:

Amherst.
Truth be told, this was one of Inara's least favorite places. With its sprawling streets and imposing structures, the small coydog felt disconnected from nature and couldn't shake the eerie feeling of being watched. But she had to admit that there were little treasures still to be had within the crumbling walls of the abandoned city. And so, with her small rabbitskin pouch packed with a light snack of dried meat and the dagger graciously given to her when she joined Vinátta, Inara started out towards the old town at daybreak with the intention of spending the day collecting items that may be useful to herself or to her new pack.

Inara paced herself at an average walking speed, allowing herself more time to become acquainted with her surroundings. And, she thought with a sharp pang of guilt, make sure I don't miss any evidence Lottie has been nearby. While she knew better than to get her hopes up, the small canine's determination prevented her from accepting the very probable likelihood that she may never find her missing sister.
Padding softly onwards, the little Risna enjoyed the stroll through her pack's beautiful territory, noting with some level of reassurance the viridescent buds dotting the trees and the wash of green splashed strategically against a background of dead grass. It was a dramatic, although slow, display of change that occurred every year yet never ceased to amaze. As pale paws continued to press forward, Inara could see with greater clarity just how much nature had taken over the dilapidated city of Amherst; structures that once housed families were crumbled ruins, tough roots burrowed under once solid streets creating maze-like patterns along weathered asphalt, and vines reclaimed everything from statues to stop signs to swings. It was less than two weeks since she'd last strode the city's cracked streets, but then she'd been hyper-aware the last time she was here, having never ventured this far East before. While she remained vigilant today, she had managed to allow herself to relax somewhat.

Arriving in Amherst at approximately mid-morning, Inara spent the latter half of sunrise and most of the mid-afternoon exploring and looting the ruined city. Having only a small pouch and not wishing to carry anything too cumbersome the distance back into Vinátta, the small coydog was extremely choosy with the items she found, which wasn't a lot to begin with. Regardless, she felt good about the treasures she did find: string from some old blinds she could use for snares and a long leg from an old wooden table she intended to carve into a walking stick. The length of wood was obviously too large to fit in her pouch so she gripped the thicker end in her pale fingers and used it as she intended it to be once she'd stylized it, treading lightly back through Amherst in the direction towards home and familiar ground. Striding confidently down a fissured street, the blue-and-tan sable coydog rounded a corner and ended up nearly face-to-face with an intimidatingly tall wolfdog.
Taken aback, Inara's fur bristled uncontrollably momentarily before she willed herself to calm down and be more respectful.
"Apologies, stranger. I was startled." she explained politely, dipping her tapered nose in acknowledgement. She took in the height of the grey canine before her, in awe at the shear size of her, before continuing, "My name is Inara Naira of Vinátta. May I ask your name?"

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POSTED: Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:45 am

((OOC: you are entirely welcome! ^w^))

Bec was startled by the coydog, but not as badly as the coydog was by her. The little thing was nearly two feet shorter and less than half her weight, and posed little threat to Bec, but after the initial bristling of fur it seemed that she had no intention of initiating a confrontation. Instead, she introduced herself-- Bec dipped her head in turn-- and asked that Bec do the same. Well, no harm in meeting a new face from a new pack, she supposed. Bec's body language remained unchanged throughout this initial exchange, unworried and unaggressive, just passively watching the little coydog.

"Bec Nachtdottir, of no allegiance." She replied, mimicking Inara's introduction. "I haven't heard of Vinatta. Is that the one that's claimed the northern part of this city?" The wolfdog indicated north, towards the packlands that she had caught the scent of but didn't know the name of. She certainly hoped this coydog wasn't here to expand her pack's borders after Bec had done so much work on her new den. But it was best not to assume anything just yet. And anyway, they'd send more than one small female on a mission like that, wouldn't they? Of course they would.

"What brings you out here, Miss Inara?" Bec asked politely, but not overly so. She didn't want to appear overly simpering, after all. No reason to let her thing that Bec was a pushover. But she didn't foresee the other female trying to walk all over her, though; her reaction to Bec's size alone showed that Inara was perhaps a little easily surprised. Bec knew that she would never puff up in surprise at a stranger, at any rate. Then again, Bec had never met a stranger so much larger than herself, so maybe that judgement was a bit quick.
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POSTED: Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:41 pm

Tall, dark-tipped ears funneled in the massive wolfdog's words with some interest while mismatched eyes took in the hulking sight of her. She noted how full the canine's thick fur was, seemingly clean and free from any indication of disarray or disease, though it was a bit shaggier than a wolf's fur ought to be. That, combined with her slightly droopier lips and sheer size, was all the indication Inara needed to conclude the female's blood was mixed. Not that she cared - she was a coydog, after all - but she couldn't help noticing, being the observant type. She found herself wondering why she was on her own. Being a loner wasn't easy, as the little Risna could attest to. Although, despite the hardships, Bec seemed to be doing all right for herself. Outwardly, at least. Even though she appreciated her time alone, Inara enjoyed interacting with her packmates and having people she cared about in her life. She didn't think she could handle the loneliness of being packless.

Regarding Bec obligingly, Inara responded with respect, "That's correct." Her voice was confident but not unfriendly, "We're a peaceful, hospitable people. Have you met anyone else from my tribe?" Depending how long the wolfdog had been within Amherst, she wouldn't doubt it if she'd come across one or more of her packmates. Though knew that the dogs Axel and Grit lived within the abandoned city; what would they have thought about this tall, grey loner?

"Foraging, mostly." She replied, tapping the wooden table leg in acknowledgement. Not yet knowing Bec's intentions, she didn't want to divulge too much information just yet. "Most of Amherst has been picked over fairly well, but there are still a few treasures to be had." She appreciated the wolfdog's polite intonation, though the gruffness of her voice was not missed on the smaller canine. Nor was the unusual accent. "And yourself, Bec? Your accent makes me think you've come from quite a distance away."

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POSTED: Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:45 am

Having gone without her own space for so long, Bec was relishing her time as an independant loner. There was no knocking elbows with other canines here in this mostly-empty city, no shared quarters in her new den. She was her own master, and though she wouldn't deny that it sometimes got lonely it was also much less stressful. As she had gotten older she had been fighting with her parents and shipmates constantly, skin crawling over the lack of autonomy life on a ship demanded. She was a young woman who needed space away from drooling older males and the expectations of her family, and that was exactly what her journey across this land had provided her. She was free and happy, and for now was content not to fix her allegiance to a new group of canines.

Bec shook her head at the coydog's inquiry. "I have not. I am only recently moved into the area, and haven't met many of any pack yet." She replied, rolling her 'r's and pulling on her vowels, accent as jumbled and unplaceable as ever. "I am glad to here of yer benevolent nature, though. Always good to have nice neighbours, aye?" She offered a grin and a friendly tail wag, nothing but pleasant. And why not? What benefit would there be to terrorising this wee little coydog of a pack so close to Bec's door? None, that's what. Much better to establish friendly relations.

The wolfdog made a small affirmatory "mm" sound and nodded at Inara's observation. "Aye, I grew up on a ship that kept to the coasts of Europe, mostly. Norway, the UK, Spain, Russia. All 'round there. But now I've settled here." She indicated vaguely to the house with all the sharpened branches around its door. "Much more room and much less wet, lemme tell ya. I'm just out lookin' for home-y touches and that. Lookin' for anythin' specific? Maybe I can keep an eye out for ye." She offered. Bec was a hoarder of a favours, a trait learnt from her father. Never go without a port in a storm, after all-- make sure to have plenty of folk willing to offer you sanctuary.
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POSTED: Sat Apr 19, 2014 3:52 pm

Feeling her own spirits rise with Bec's pleasant gesture, Inara allowed a wag of her own tail in a show of mutual friendliness. Since leaving her previous tribe, she was becoming familiar with the diversity within the world. Selmaski had sheltered her from dangers and disease, true, but it had also kept her from learning about other customs, beliefs, and ideas. Furthermore, being her sister's keeper had eaten up all her time and caused many a missed opportunity to form relationships with other canines. Thinking about it caused Inara's stomach to clench painfully in guilt, but she acknowledged the freedom Lottie's disappearance had given her. She was making friends - something she'd never had before.

"Truly." She said in agreement with a nod, "Better to build bridges up than to burn them down." While she could be reserved with new faces, it made more sense to Inara to create friendly relationships than enemies. She understood that different personalities were like to clash at some point - having experienced this herself within her old tribe - but even then she was more inclined to coexist than to cause strife.

Mismatched eyes followed Bec's gesture towards the house in the distance with sharpened sticks adorning its yard. It looked so big and lonely to Inara, who had grown up in a tribe that shared one communal den. Of sorts, anyway. It was actually a human structure like the one Bec now inhabited but larger, allowing her entire tribe to share its walls comfortably and sleep together in warmth. Even though the wolfdog seemed brightly optimistic about her current status, Inara couldn't help but feel lonely for her. Thinking about her words about life on the ship and the destinations she's seen pulled the smaller canine out of her thoughts,
"A ship?" She tilted her head just a touch to the side, recalling what she knew about ships. Admittedly, it wasn't much. She knew them to be large boats, based on what she learned in Selmaski. None of the countries the gruff voice mentioned were very familiar to Inara, however. "Where I grew up, we would frequently make foraging trips to a place called Duluth. There was a large ship there, I recall. It was made all of metal. Was that how your ship was? Made of metal?" She doubted her ability to live on a ship, constantly out to see. She'd miss solid earth between her toes far too much.
"Your home looks nice, Bec. I suppose I'm not looking for anything in particular, although... Perhaps someone. You haven't come across a female like myself in your travels, have you? She would probably be in lupus. Or perhaps a young, gold-pelted shewolf?" Though she didn't expect the tall wolfdog to have come across either Lottie or Vinátta's missing golden child Sólieri, Inara felt it wouldn't hurt to ask.

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POSTED: Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:50 am

Bec nodded amiably at Inara's turn of phrase. Bec liked to make sure that she always had more friends than enemies, though she wasn't always entirely benevolent herself. If she sometimes took things from folk that clearly had enough, well, what harm did that do? It was hardly the same as swiping food from the mouth of a cub now was it? It really wasn't. Bec was comfortable and secure in her amorality, excellent at rationalising her own misdeeds to herself. But that was besides the point-- you caught more flies with honey, and that was usually Bec's motto.

"Metal? Oh no, mine was a big wooden thing. My grandmother had it built based on the old wooden ships humans had long, long ago. She had all these books about the makings of ships and sailing and all that. She left it to my mum after she died, and then mum built her own crew. Real seadogs, the both of them!" Bec left out the part where her grandmother had been a terrible scourge for other sailors, having been something of a formidable pirate. She actually quite liked the sea herself, it was just living with so little space under her parents command that drove her nuts. The sea itself? Excellent. Bec loved it, but she was growing to love the land too now.

Bec thought back on her few encounters with other luperci, but remembered no one by either description. No, sorry, I haven't seen either of those." She shook her head regretfully. "But if I do, I'll head up to your border and let you know, aight?" She suggested. It wasn't a long journey anyway, and what better way to ingratiate herself? She wondered what the story was behind these missing luperci, but felt it would be rude to ask. "What names should I keep an ear out for, ey?"
Bec is in Optime form unless otherwise stated UwU
I'm so up for every thread just ask me okay
Reply speed: Very Fast-- Fast-ish. I've got some stuff going on right now, but generally reply within 24 hours at the latest.

POSTED: Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:38 pm

OOC: Feel free to decline Inara's offer and I'll edit my post appropriately c:

IC:

Listening curiously to Bec's description about her old ship, Inara felt a sudden sense of respect for the towering wolfdog. She'd been born and raised out at sea, had never known anything more stable than her large wooden ship, and yet she had the courage and strength to set off away from all she knew to seek lands unknown. She supposed she saw a little of herself in the massive loner, although Inara had had some remnant of home in the form of the tribemates that traveled with her. But tragedy had dragged the little coydog away from her comforts... Was there something deeper that had caused Bec to leave?

Inara smiled softly, meeting Bec's brown eyes momentarily before looking back towards her home. " My tribe could make small canoes out of birch bark and we'd use them to fish the river." It was a fond memory and one of a very small collection of things she could honestly say she missed. "But those were nothing compared to a ship. It certainly wasn't advisable to sleep in them, for one. They allowed for decent travel, though."

Having traveled in search of her sister for two full months now, asking numerous strangers the same question she'd posed to Bec, Inara was getting used to the same answer. She didn't feel disappointment any more, because she didn't have much hope left. Instead, the stone in her stomach became heavier as she swallowed the next bitter pill of despair. "Thank you, Bec. I appreciate your kindess."
Mismatched eyes rose a flicker before settling on a patch of greening grass a short distance away. Inara nodded to the patch pointedly before patting her small rabbitskin pouch, "Would you like to have a seat with me and share a snack? I'm sure you've still got things to do, but I've got some dried meat from home and I know I could use a little break."

Padded softly onwards, Inara lowered herself to the cool earth, relishing the refreshing feel of it on her skin. Pulling her little pouch around to her front, the small Risna pulled out a couple of strips of dried venison and offered one to Bec.
"The female I described first is my sister, Lottie Gwynn. She's actually the reason I'm here at all; I've been searching for her since December. She's... a bit different... mentally, I mean. She didn't shift for the first time until she was almost two and I guess she just... didn't know what was happening. She disappeared after she shifted and I haven't seen her since." Her voice was quiet, but strong, as she explained the circumstances surrounding her sister's disappearance. Taking a small nibble of her venison, Inara chewed it thoroughly before she swallowed and continued, "After joining Vinátta, I discovered my new pack was missing one of their own. Her name is Sólieri Stormbringer and she'd been missing since the beginning of the year. It's unlikely they're together, but it feels wrong searching for one without looking for the other also." She paused, looking back up at Bec thoughtfully, "Do you have siblings?"

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POSTED: Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:32 am

Bec was a touch baffled at how birch bark could be made into a workable boat, and felt a sense of respect and curiosity rise in her for Inara and her old tribe. What a feat of engineering! She raised her brows and nodded thoughtfully at this new information, making a mental note to remember it. Canoes and little boats didn't interest her like ships did, but it was still fascinating to hear about all the unique ways different groups made their vessels. "Wow, that sounds really cool! I wouldn't know the first thing about building a canoe like that." Big vessels were kind of self-explanatory to Bec; build it from floating wood, tar it to keep it waterproof, make it a sturdy structure. Boom, done, but how the hell did birch bark even work? Did you need to treat the bark with something first?

"Oh, yes, thank you." Bec nodded agreeably, brown eyes following Inara's pointed nod. The wolfdog had nowhere to be or anything pressing to do, so why not? She had some sliced smoked fish wrapped in wax-paper (what sailor was ever found without wax-paper?) tucked into the pocket of her toolbelt, and she would be perfectly willing to share some with Inara in exchange for the offered dried venison. Bec lowered herself gently next to Inara on the grassy patch. She accepted the profered venison with a word of thanks, gripping it in her teeth as she pulled the wrapped fish from her pocket, offering a slice to the coydog. "Do you like fish?" She asked, slightly muffled as she chewed a little on the meat held in her jaws.

The wolfdog watched the little coydog with appropriately saddened eyes as she told her of her missing sister and her pack's missing one. Bec had never given much of a damn when her litter-mates had steadily jumped ship one by one, but every family was different and maybe she would have cared more if one of her siblings had a funny brain. All her siblings were strong, competent young wolfdogs, so she'd never had reason to worry, but what if one of them had been vulnerable? Bec tried to imagine it, and even the imaginary scenario made her stomach knot up. What a terrible situation for the little coydog.

"Oh, yeah." The question brought her thoughts back to the real world, and it took her a moment to gather her thoughts properly. "Yeah, twenty-four of 'em. But I only ever knew eight, the rest jumped ship before I was born so I never met my older siblings. My parents don't like to talk about family once they've left, so I don't know a lot about them. My sister Gretel runs a merchants guild or something, but that's the most I know. Don't even know what happened to my litter-mates after they left." Bec shrugged, not really touching on the vague sense of resentment she had towards her parents for damn near pretending their absent children didn't exist. There would probably be litters yet to come that would never know Bec's name.

"Uh, what about you? Other than Lottie, obviously, I mean. You got any others?" She asked a little awkwardly, taking a bite from her venison.
Bec is in Optime form unless otherwise stated UwU
I'm so up for every thread just ask me okay
Reply speed: Very Fast-- Fast-ish. I've got some stuff going on right now, but generally reply within 24 hours at the latest.

POSTED: Thu May 01, 2014 7:01 pm

OOC: many apologies for the delayed response! Normally I have time at work to post but it's been hella busy lately! D:

IC:

Angular head nodded understandingly to Bec's statement about building a birch bark canoe. Inara hadn't fully grasped the particulars of canoe-making herself, having only ever participated a handful of times in the production of them. Early springtime was ideal for collecting the bark, and making a birch bark canoe was the last thing on her mind this year.
"Honestly, I can't recall a lot of detail about it off the top of my head." She began as they padded together towards the patch of grass, "But it isn't easy. I think the trickiest part is peeling the bark from the tree. After that, so long as you have a frame, you can just bend it over that to shape it as desired."
The little coydog squinted in consideration as she sat down, trying to recall the finer components of building a canoe. "There's also collecting roots for the seams and heating up sap and animal fat to waterproof it. Oh, and cedar planks for the ribs and gunwales." A fond smile played at the corners of her lips as the memories of canoe-building came back to her. "It was actually a lot of fun."

Inara looked over at the larger canine as Bec sat down next to her and accepted the offering held out to her, "I do. Thank you." She lifted the fish up to her mouth and took a bite, crunching the dried meat happily. It tasted good and reminded her of her home pack again. Her old tribe would do a lot of fishing in the summer months and occasionally in the winter if land prey was scarce. It had been quite some time since she'd last eaten fish so she enjoyed every bite.

The revelation that Bec had twenty-four siblings caused the little coydog to pause abruptly and glance up at the wolfdog in awe, unable to contain an exasperated, "Truly? Twenty-four siblings?". She listened as the dark pelted canine explained about her family further and felt her mind wandering. She couldn't imagine having so many siblings! Children were generally highly valued within Selmaski, being the future of the tribe, but most of the litters born within the territory were small, averaging about 2 pups at a time. That, combined with the elders' desires to control the population of the tribe so it didn't get too large, made for a relatively small pack. The elders would never allow a single couple to produce so many offspring, so the concept of having such a large family was quite shocking to Inara. What would she do with so many siblings? What if they were all like Lottie? She felt guilty for thinking how awful that would be for her, but the accountability of one special needs sibling was enough.
"That's incredible! I can't imagine having so many... Is it common in your tribe? I mean... to have so many siblings?" She turned her eyes away respectfully and lowered her ears apologetically, hoping she wasn't being rude with her question.

"Oh, well... I did have a brother but we lost him to a flood when we were still really young." Inara's soft voice explained, "I don't know if my parents will ever have any more children. The elders in my old tribe were displeased with how they handled Lottie's situation, so they may not grant them another chance." She shrugged apathetically. They had been good at raising the two girls, despite Lottie's strange behavior, but once the realization of her sister's disorder became better known, they failed at being as responsible and nurturing as they had been before. As far as Inara was concerned, they could only hold themselves responsible for what the elders decided.

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