Throw Water on this Fire, Liar

{Plot thread #4}

POSTED: Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:57 am

Set April 12

In the waning evening hours, the sun sat half sunk into the horizon, stretching red fingers between the trunks of the Dampwoods. The spring sun had been warm throughout the day, but as its light faded, the cool of a resentful, usurped winter rushed through the woods to pull up tendrils of fog. A figure moved quietly amongst the mist, a black and white shuttering of motion between trees. With the confident stride of one familiar with the area, the specter moved along the borders of the tribe’s land, pulling wisps of fog into a swirling train. She should have been home by now, but the scout was uneasy. There were too many unfamiliar scents on the borders as of late. She restrained a body eager for an evening run and moved deliberately slow along the western edge of AniWaya’s land, allowing new thorn growth to comb through her fur and retain her scent, adding to the pack’s boundary markings. She paused from time to time and leaned on her spear to draw in scents from the cool breeze and study the natural paths of the land, but the light was growing dim, and paw prints no longer stood out at a distance. The she-wolf crouched amongst a thicket of spring grown bramble, examining the tracks and ground scents just as the sounds of approach became audible through the forest.

Falling as still as the stone angels she remembered in Halifax, Genova waited in the cover of greenery, peering between tangled vines as an unfamiliar Luperci appeared along the border at an almost wandering pace. He seemed unhurried, bored almost if not for the furrow of his brow and his distracted expression. A stranger near the territory was not entirely disturbing to Genova. There were many members of the tribe she had yet to meet, a fault of her recent withdrawn mood, but what troubled her were the smells ushered downwind of the young male. He carried threads of the scents she had found lurking near the border. Bandits observing the pack perhaps? An odd excitement infected the hidden female suddenly, a cold and joyless sort of rush that filled her limbs with energy and raised the charcoal fur along her spine, giving the impression of lifting wings around the fresh, red scars of her back. The survivor in her begged to turn toward home and leave this matter for someone else to handle, but if she had learned nothing else in Halifax, Genova knew she could not wait for someone else to make the first move.

“I’m not scouting for him…I’m just taking a walk,” she heard the stranger mutter resentfully, and used the cover of his voice to move quietly around him. A soft, husky sounding laugh followed the comment. Nova chanced a glance as she passed between two trees and saw a yellow eyed cat trailing behind the outsider. “Along their border. That’s convenient,” she heard the creature answer in passable, sarcastic high speech. When the two were between Genova and the territory, she broke their conversation with a strong, clipped howl, alerting any nearby packmates to a disturbance at their door. With the stern notes still filtering through the mist and twilight, she stepped from cover with the obsidian point of her spear leveled at the unwelcome guest. He faced her with wide, startled eyes, a softer yellow than his feline companion.

“Who are you scouting for?” Genova asked, her voice hushed and composed, at odds with the intensity of her bruise colored eyes and the threat of a weapon she wielded with familiarity.

“No one,” he swore, holding his empty hands up. The tabby cat yowled and hissed between his feet, drawing a snarl to Nova’s dark lips. “I was just restless and went for a walk. I didn’t realize where I was.” His words were likewise quiet and even, but he shifted anxiously before the tribeswoman. She watched him silently, listening for any packmates or even reinforcements for the male. Now that she was closer, she realized he could hardly be called more than a boy. He didn’t look to have seen a full year. He was young and nervous, and he was a liar.

POSTED: Fri Jun 13, 2014 3:46 pm

674 turning this into a read-only so we have a conclusion. :) NPCs Aranck and Seven.

See Wiki for credit.

…Didn't they tell you when you joined, dog? Spirits are all around us, the elderly wolf slowly stated as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. The fire crackled between them, casting dancing light against the gathering shadows. AniWayans are blessed with the guidance of spirits. One may choose you, in time. I've seen you around. Surely by now you've felt them.

Domovoi shuddered involuntarily and rose from his seat. The old man believed what he said, though whether Dom accepted it was a different story. He had been raised on all sorts of tall tales among the gypsyfolk (and indeed, had been named after one) – but he was an adult now, too jaded and bitter for fantasies. If ghosts were real, vengeful ones would have torn him to shreds a hundred times over by now.

Still… the feeling of being watched persisted, and he clapped a hand against the nape of his neck to stop his hackles from rising. Aranck chuckled knowingly, and Dom glared. Donadagovi, he muttered in dismissal, turning his back on the fire.

More nasal, say it through your giant nose, the tribe wolf corrected, pulling his colorful poncho more tightly around his frame. Dom snorted in annoyance and jogged off, unsettled. He didn't want the guidance of a poltergeist, if they even existed. It was just the ramblings of an old man.

The shadows were long as the sun set. He fell into his familiar routine, jogging alone in a loose arc along the borders of the pack. It was quiet, picturesque, and lonely, and he followed the repetitive trail to push thoughts of spirits from his mind. The paranoia lingered.

Dusk had set in when the sharp howl shattered the air nearby. Dom's heart leaped to his throat, and he immediately broke into a sprint, impossibly long legs eating up the distance in great strides. He crashed through a tangle of vines, ignoring the branches that scratched and tore at him, and burst onto the scene.

The AniWayan female had leveled her spear squarely at a gangly stranger, who held his hands up disarmingly. The agouti male blanched visibly at the sight of Dom's arrival, and instinctively took a step backward. The yowling cat at his feet puffed out its fur and sprang up, clawing its way onto the stranger's shoulders where it adopted a defensive stance. Domovoi snarled, immediately standing at the side of his packmate despite not knowing her name or station.

You're with those others who keep harassing the borders, aren't you? You spying on us? he barked. The irony was not lost on Domovoi, whose scars from Inferni had barely healed, but the hypocrite was in no mood to be forgiving of trespassers. He wielded no weapon other than balled fists, though they were raised menacingly.

The boy stammered some sort of denial, however unconvincing, and took another anxious step back. Didn't realize where I was, he repeated finally. Seven suddenly dreaded telling his parents of his latest screw-up, and his shoulders hunched uncomfortably.

Dom caught a flicker of movement in the darkened landscape, and his pale eyes narrowed. There was a second interloper nearby, he was sure of it. They could be armed with bow and arrow, and though visibility was poor in the waning light, a fight was undesirable. His gaze flicked back to the Luperci and cat pair, and his growl thickened angrily.

Well, you damn well know now! So you and your buddy get out of here, and next time you 'forget' where our border is, I'll draw a map on your hide with my claws!

The Ayastigi took a threatening step forward, but the young hybrid was already stumbling awkwardly in his haste to leave the scene of his blunder, and did not look back. Dom snorted, adrenaline coursing, and resisted the urge to chase after the male. That scare should be enough to repel them for a while, whoever the group really was. He would remain on guard through the night, though — just in case.

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