Onward and Upward

Eliza

POSTED: Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:16 pm

Kado hadn't been back and as the weeks drew on, Ciara wondered if she'd ever see him again. It didn't hurt as badly as it had when he'd first left because she knew his reasons for departure were sound. The male had gone back to his family, to call on them in a time of need and she knew, wherever he was, that he was making someone happy. In the meantime she'd given up on the wallowing and had devoted her time to her training, her eyes still set on becoming high in the ranks of Defense. Outrigger was her first goal, of course, but after that she wanted to climb and climb until the safety of the pack was in her paws -- a job she could very much handle with her years of experience.

It was a cloudy morning, mist hanging around the hills as the tawny Greenhorn made her way across the earth. A patrol of the borders was needed before she went to do anything else, and she enjoyed the routine of it. As an Epsilon in New Dawn it had been one of her principle roles and it was calming for her, giving her time away from her sons and pack mates to think about things and analyze where she wanted to go in this pack. The novelty of it being completely different from New Dawn had worn off and she felt like a true member now, if only she could secure herself a promotion. After a few hours her patrol was finished, and she moved towards a clearing she liked near the barn where Milos was often tending to the animals.

It was in this clearing where she often trained, offering help to her packmates who wanted to learn to fight with tooth and claw, or with weapons -- something she herself was getting better at. When the Greenhorn arrived there she stretched her arms above her head and out to the sides, bending this way and that, working her muscles and warming her body up before the training would begin. At long last she lowered herself to the ground with her hands in front of her, propping her up, and started by working the muscles of her arms and her core -- push ups, something she loathed. Best to get it out of the way now.
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POSTED: Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:54 pm

The Greenhorn was keeping half an eye on the cloud-ridden sky as she jogged through the trees, light-footed and alert. Occasionally a twig caught in Eliza's rich brown fur and she would tear herself away rather than stopping to extract herself from the foliage's clutches. She been on the move in one way or another since her parents had passed away, and this morning was no different.

There was something not far from eerie about the forest when mist clung to the ground, and the snow-flecked dog had to move more slowly than she would usually out of necessity. Liz didn't want to turn or break an ankle – not when the Sink or Swim festival was on the horizon. She did her best to conceal her tongue behind her lips as she moved, lest a sudden bump in the ground or a tree root made her bite through it. By now, the youngest Cormier sibling knew the forest well, but tree roots especially seemed to have their own agendas.

As the trees thinned Liz was able to pick up the sound of breathing, as well as the scent of the labouring canine not far ahead. She finally slowed to a walk, her own breathing heavy, and rounded the last stand of trees in time to see Ciara performing her push-ups. Eliza was used to her brothers wearing most of the muscle in their family, but she was intrigued by the exercise ritual and she called out brightly as she entered the clearing, still slightly short of breath but with admiration in her tone:

“Lookin' good there! I could prob'ly do two of them before I passed out.” Eliza was by no means proud about her lack of fitness; while she wasn't exactly a couch potato she didn't train her body very often. She was honest, though, and said whatever came to mind, as always.

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POSTED: Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:04 pm

Ciara’s jaws had parted and her tongue was lolling out of her mouth as she kept up the exercise, panting to catch her breath after she’d managed to get to twenty push ups. As she was pushing twenty-five, she heard the sounds of a packmate approaching and considered stopping. It might be rude to keep going but she was on such a streak that she didn’t want to break it. When Eliza came through and into the clearing, Ciara’s tail flagged and she swished it back and forth in greeting to let the girl know she had in fact seen her. The Greenhorn’s chocolate eyes remained glued to the earth in front of her as she kept going to thirty, before finally sitting back and grinning at the woman.

“Thanks, and pff, I’m sure you could do more than that,” she teased lightly, pulling one arm across her chest to stretch the tingling muscles. “I train every day and when I first started I thought I was going to die after five. Now I do about fifty each day along with the other training,” she explained, hoping to inspire a little confidence in the other female. “How’s your day going?” she asked, tipping her head to the side. While keeping up the conversation Ciara was also thinking about what she had left in her training regimen for the day. The border patrol had happened, she had a few more exercises and then her plan was to try and find someone to spar with. Those eyes looked over the Cormier girl and she wondered if she would want to spar, unsure if that was really Eliza’s thing or not.

If it wasn’t, maybe Ciara could teach her. They needed more badass warrior princesses in this joint.

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POSTED: Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:07 pm

The tawny female kept on doing her exercise as Liz approached and she found herself leaning against a tree with one hand on her hip and observing – quietly, for once. Far from considering it rude, she found Ciara's dedication to her training a thing she could admire. When the golden-brown female had finished her push-ups Liz danced forward a step or two, wearing her trademark grin and a gently swaying tail.

“I d'nno 'bout that – have you seen my guns?” The Cormier dog flexed one slender arm, grimacing at the lack of muscle there, but her smile didn't fade. "Or lack thereof." She felt energized even after traipsing through the woods. A slow nod gained momentum into an enthused bob of her head as Ciara explained how she had built up the number of press-ups she could do. Liz found it reassuring that a canine didn't necessarily have to be a natural to train. Ciara had indeed inspired some confidence in Eliza.

The smaller canine shrugged, her shoulders all but brushing the ends of her ears. “Same old, same old,” was the nonchalant response. “How's about we spice things up? Y'can train me to train meself, if ya want?” What was the worst that could happen? Eliza needed a change of scenery from worrying, which she found herself doing way too much of recently; she put that down to Storm, and while she didn't resent him for it, she resented the confusion he had sparked in her.

Liz put her dukes up and pranced further into the clearing, dancing from one foot to the other with a playful twinkle in her eyes. “Come at me!”

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POSTED: Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:04 pm

Ciara stopped, chuckling up at Eliza when she talked about her ‘guns’. “You’ll build those up,” she said gently, before standing and stretching her arms over her head. Ciara moved her hips, one way then the next, and then circled them around to really stretch them out. It felt good, and bones cracked a few times as she did so, muscles loosening as well. She’d asked the girl how her day had been and got a rather lackluster response, frowning. It seemed Eliza needed some kind of direction or purpose, at least in terms of training, and Ciara was more than willing to offer it.

“Train you, huh? That I can do,” the fellow Greenhorn said, giving a little grin as she finished her stretching. Ciara had trained many wolves to fight over the years, and her skilled eyes went to sizing the female up to see what she had to work with. “First thing’s first is testing your reaction time,” she said, a hint of amusement in her voice as Eliza danced to and fro. Ciara lunged forward, one hand coming to cut right against Eliza’s jaw without actually hitting her, just hovering the edge of her hand in that spot so she could see how quick the warrior was.

With that Ciara danced back, watching for a reaction before she made her next move and carried on the training.
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POSTED: Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:06 am

“Hmm, hope so! I know I'm puny, but I'll work hard!”

Liz could almost feel the satisfaction which came with the cracking of bones as Ciara stretched – and she wouldn't have been Eliza if she hadn't taken a moment to admire the golden female's fitness. As prone to jealousy as the fiery little dog was, she felt none whilst watching – instead there was a strange sense that this was something she could aspire to. Ciara hadn't put her down for being weedy rather than toned and muscular, which certainly helped with the idea that the other female could train her. Some Luperci might have responded well to somebody who was less encouraging and more harsh, but Eliza would have been prickly enough to talk back had she been mocked.

Liz was on the balls of her feet, floating around like a bee moving from flower to flower, and she mirrored Ciara's grin, giving a brisk nod of understanding to her new trainer's words. She had a feeling that she might be moving too much – expending too much energy. She slowed a little just before Ciara's arm shot out, though she couldn't for a second have predicted the move ahead of time. The dog threw her shoulders back, her upper body angling away from the blow that Ciara made sure didn't land.

She had barely avoided the jab, but Liz did her best not to appear shaken by the speed at which Ciara had made her move. She let out a squawk of laughter before setting her jaw in determination, her gaze flicking from the tawny woman's dancing feet to her fists. She had a faint idea that it was her turn to make a move, but she will still for a moment before her spindly arm thrust forward without any true idea of what it was supposed to be doing. She had probably given the game away with her stillness and she was confident that Ciara would avoid the blow, but it was one of the first punches Liz had ever thrown and there was a tiny spark of pride in her nut-brown eyes.

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POSTED: Wed Jul 29, 2015 1:44 pm

Ciara didn’t believe in putting others down, as that could be a key factor in someone not finding their niche in fitness. The O’Callahan wolf was a fitness guru but she was also accepting of all physiques, and when she looked at Eliza and offered to help train her, she did so because she believed the female had much to work with. Eliza looked like she had fine core strength, and she was quick given how easily she dodged back against the hit that came her way – it was just about building strength and knowledge with the Cormier girl, and Ciara was plenty happy to do that with her.

While she was a kind teacher at the beginning, when the actual sparring began Ciara’s eyes grew hard and attentive, watching every flex of every muscle and judging what her opponent was going to do next. Eliza went still and Ciara bristled, knowing the newcomer to the ring was planning her next move. Though she noted that spark of pride in Eliza’s eyes, she also saw her make a rookie mistake – looking towards the target of where she was planning to hit. That gave her action away and, even though her reflexes would have been fast enough to block if she hadn’t seen it, it gave her the advantage to have her block up early enough to not only stop the strike, but knock Eliza’s hand wide, leaving her chest, throat, face and entire front open to another hit.

“Not bad!” she said to her, all the while driving a jab that would connect with Eliza’s side unless she was quick enough to stop it. After the initial strike Ciara would circle again, looking for a weak point but also trying to intimidate Eliza into making a mistake. Sparring was one part speed and skill and another part body language and manipulation. The Greenhorn took on all the visage of the Epsilon and Beta she’d once been, appearing dominant, aggressive, lips pulled back to bare her fangs as she stared Eliza down. If it worked, she’d take advantage and come at her again – but she’d do that regardless, with enough speed to show her how quick opponents could be but slow enough that Eliza had a chance to stop it.

One important part of training was building confidence, after all.

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POSTED: Tue Aug 04, 2015 12:27 am

The prancing dog did her best to stay light on her feet without meting out too much energy to the act of dancing around. It didn't go unnoticed that Ciara's eyes had hardened to a focus which – had it not been for the other woman's encouragement and friendly demeanour beforehand – might have frightened Eliza a little. She was no stranger to that kind of deep focus, but it wasn't usually applied to physical activities. Now she needed to be on the ball; Ciara's offer to train her had been a generous one and although she still wore her trademark grin, the Cormier dog intended to take this seriously.

She knew she was going to make mistakes and moves which Ciara would be able to take advantage of, but if she had the capability to fight a perfect spar then there would have been no need for Ciara to train her in the first place.

Liz was channelling her own focus now, her grin never leaving her, but she didn't pepper the face-off with unnecessary words. She was still wholly unable to predict the other woman's moves, but she was starting to see that for Ciara this was simply preparation for something bigger – the reality of defending a pack.

Ciara was able to pick up on what Eliza intended to do next, knocking the diminutive dog's arm wide of her front. Instinct more than knowledge told Liz to protect her chest and throat. She pivoted, turning those key parts of her body away from the oncoming jab which connected with her side. Liz wasn't quite winded by it, but the fact that a blow had landed shook her for a moment. Determined to push through the surprise, she tossed strands of fire-orange out of her brown eyes - and still that grin was on her muzzle, immovable.

The tawny female began to circle her, her own teeth being exposed in a very different kind of smile. This was the first glimpse Eliza had gotten into Ciara's former life in New Dawn and although she wouldn't have been able to name the pack itself, she felt the difference. Liz was fairly confident that Ciara was just playing with her, presenting a face designed to throw her off, but the snarl was enough for her ears to draw back, her eyes widening for a second or two. Enough for her to momentarily remove her mind from what her next move would be, leaving her wide open again.

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POSTED: Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:15 pm

Protecting the pack was the core reason Ciara had the goals she did – wanting to become the Magnate of Defense. The woman had been Beta in New Dawn, charged with being the enforcer and protector, the second-in-command alongside her mate and it was the happiest she’d ever been. That experience gave her the purpose to reach that level again, but not for selfish reasons. Sure, there was a bit of glory involved but for Ciara it was more about gaining the respect of her pack and teaching them to protect themselves, and in turn help to protect the pack as well. Just because Krokar was a peaceful place didn’t mean danger couldn’t come to it – something she’d learned the hard way in New Dawn.

With Eliza, Ciara could see herself becoming the girl’s teacher. She wanted to see her succeed and knew Eliza had the raw talent to make an excellent fighter. Even if Eliza wasn’t interested in fighting in the long run, the skills Ciara could teach would help her in other areas, such as hunting. All of these thoughts ran through her mind in between studying Eliza for her next move, but whenever it was her turn to act absolute silence came over her. Complete and pure focus on the task at hand, as Augustus and Zalen had taught her. Once she’d successfully blocked Eliza’s attack she watched closely to see how she’d react. Ciara had seen some trainees get upset when their attack didn’t land, and she hoped she wouldn’t see that in the Cormier dog.

Eliza turned protectively to block any attack on her vital organs, and Ciara grinned in response. Good instincts. The surprise registered and Ciara waited to see if she’d see that disappointment in her eyes, but what she saw instead was focus. The girl even kept the grin and Ciara was pleased to see it. Not wanting to only show her the physical, but also the mental side of battle, it seemed that Ciara’s trick change of expression had worked. The girl’s ears went back, eyes widened and the former Dawner saw the pause, the slight lack of focus – and she pounced. This time it wasn’t a hand coming at her, but the full weight and force of Ciara’s body aiming to knock the dog to the ground – but she’d make sure to catch herself with a palm, so Eliza wouldn’t be forced to take her full weight.

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