The Price of a Life

[AW]+ Walker's Unmasking

POSTED: Sun Dec 11, 2016 5:42 pm

OOC: Continuation from Best Day Yet. There is no posting order, so if you want your character be there then that’s cool. The only thing that might be good is if people hold off until a member of the leadership reply and Iro explains what she found

Leadership note: this thread is dated for early-mid December


Walker stood beside Iro in the middle of village. The walk from the stables had been a surprisingly long one, but then he’d never tried doing it before while he was bound in ropes. The southern wolfdog thought he might’ve been able to get out of the knots, or at least given it a good go, but it was difficult with the gorgeous warrior watching him like a hawk. Iroquois had howled for assistance, but none had come, at least not quickly, so here they both were, standing at the heart of Krokaran life, but only he was tied up. Walker’s heart was beating quickly, not because he’d been caught, or at the humiliation of standing like some prize in the centre of a square, waiting for people to throw things at him, but rather because Iro still had his pouch. The southerner had always travelled light, if he or Lady couldn’t carry it, then it wasn’t worth having, but the pouch Iro had confiscated had more than the paper she’d found. It had a long and vicious looking claw in it, a few knick-knacks worthless to anyone but him, and the most important thing of all. Inside the pouch was a much smaller pouch, this one made of supple and soft leather. Inside that supple leather was Walker’s heart, and it was stupidly mundane, a faded red bandana. Luckily Iro hadn’t had time to open it, or perhaps there was still a little respect for him and she didn’t want to probe more than she needed to? Who could tell, the pair hadn’t spoken the whole way down from Aster’s field, and had it not been for a slip and an errant breeze, they’d still be friends and none of this would have happened.

For the millionth time in a very short period, Walker cursed himself for being a fool and thinking that this would last. What was more confusing is that a part of him was relieved, he’d been waiting for this day, holding his breath as it were and now it was finally here. How would this pack react? Would he survive their anger? He’d spent so much time avoiding the pack whose lands he’d come to live in, it was hard to say. He knew a few of the members, but like everywhere he’d been, he’d been so careful to only show the face he wanted. As an old instructor had told him be unforgettably forgettable a phrase it had taken Walker a little bit of time to understand.

He looked up at the sky, somehow the weather seemed wrong for the mood he was in. It had turned out to be a very beautiful early evening, with the comforting scent of cook fires floating between the small homes and the sun glittering prettily off the surface of Sister lake not too far away. He’d been sucker punched in the place he thought he’d walled off, and that’s why he was in this ridiculous mess. He should never have stayed this long, he should have rested, eaten their food, made a little money and disappeared, like so many times before, but…he hadn’t.

”Y’ think Ah’m a bad guy.” He said to Iro, finally breaking the silence.

It wasn’t a question, as he said it, he tried to raise the bound wrists up a little, but as they were tied at his back, it was tricky.
”Y’ think a piece o’ paper completely changes the person y’ were talkin t’?”

Walker didn’t expect an answer, he was just filling the silence with words. He was no fighter, he might be able to defend himself in a bar brawl, but he’d always preferred to talk his way out of a situation, and he was generally damn good at it, of course if that failed there was always the second option, steal something and leave as quickly as possible. In this case though, he was pretty light on options. Still, Walker, despite everything, wasn’t a coward, and if he was going to end up dead then fine, but he was going to do his best to commute that if he could.
Walker took a steadying breath and let it out slowly, no one had turned up yet, thought it would be foolish of him to think that no they wouldn’t. How often did you see anyone standing in the centre of a village tied up and having a very implacable looking Iroquois looking over you? So the southern luperci waited for the leadership to turn up and for the axe to fall.

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POSTED: Tue Dec 13, 2016 3:01 pm

Lucille was out on the southern shore of Black Lake checking out the ice when she heard the call. It was rare that there was a call specifically for a Captain, and even more rare was a call that seemed to be coming from the heart of the pack rather than the border to accept a new joiner. She turned with a frown, looking towards the village. It had been Iroquois. That Iro was calling for help probably meant something serious was happening. Or she was just being paranoid, but she figured it was best to hurry anyway.

Lucille was not the sort of dog breed that was built to run all day. Although some of her heritage likely was, the dominant sheep dog in her needed several breaks as she ran as quickly as she could towards Fiskebyn. Norah was jogging up as well when she arrived, no douby curious about what was going on. She stopped a few paces back as Lucille continued towards the pair. It was a strange sight, finding Iroquois and Walker in the middle of the village, with the latter tied up. She noted the bag in Iro's hand, but it did not tell her anything about the situation.

"What's going on?" Lucille asked in confusion. She and Walker did not necessarily see eye to eye, but he had given her no reason to think his place in the pack should be at risk, and yet, his current situation made her wonder. She flipped her hair from her face and looked from Walker to Iroquois for an explanation.

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POSTED: Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:30 am

OOC: Draiko gave me the all clear to post before X-tian. <333 EEEE.

With winter among them, the days had grown gradually shorter. Milos glanced up at the darkening sky, its azure hue quickly losing its cheerful brightness and whimsical tone as the sun carried on its hasty retreat. He sighed, lowering his head and finding the bright eyes of his speckled son. Whats'a matter, Daddy?" Logan asked, tilting his head inquisitively. But the Quartermaster only smiled and bent over to ruffle the fur on top of the child's head. "En't nothin', Logan," he assured the youth. "But we outta be gettin' back now. Reckon it'll be dark b'fore we know it."

Logan considered this, glancing about him at the fields and paddocks containing all manners of livestock. "But what about them?" he asked, finding his father's eyes. Milos felt his heart swell. How had he — with his broken past and painful memories — help make something so perfect? "Them?" He offered the Logan the courtesy of glancing at the livestock before finding his son's curious eyes again. "They'll be fine, Gun. See? They got lean-tos'n trees'n such t' go into." He grinned then, bringing his hands up towards his chest and moving his fingers in a repetitive cadence towards Logan. "Plus they got plenty o' others t' snuggle up to!" he continued, lurching towards his son playfully in an attempt to snatch him up and snuggle him.

But the child was wise to his father's ways and leaped away with a throaty laugh, running towards Fiskebyn from Aster's Fields with Milos hot on his heels.

As father and son arrived in the sleepy village however, it was immediately clear there was some sort of disturbance. He had heard Iroquois' call as he chased after Logan but had little time to give it much thought. But now, as he slowed to a stop int he middle of the village, he could feel his stomach clench and his heart race. "What's goin' on?" he asked Iro and Lucille, glancing at his Captain and Defense Outrigger before shifting bright eyes upon Walker's face.

Logan, sensing the change of energy around him, pressed himself close to his father's legs and pinned his ears back uncertainly.

[WC — 374]

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Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
even through the rain

POSTED: Sun Jan 01, 2017 3:01 am

OOC - I’m here, I’m here, thank the Lawd I’m FINALLY here!!! xDWC -+528

An that’s how ya kill yer foe, er in yer case, knock ‘em flat. Ain’t askin’ Aindrea to put a sharpened blade on yer spear jus’ yet---

Daaaaa, you know I ken handle it by now! I’m not a Guppy anymore! The wild haired teen stamped a foot in protest while her bearded father simply grunted in response and twirled his own trusted spear with graceful ease. Nell, it ain’t that I don’ think ya ken handle it, it’s jus--

Just what?! She demanded, kicking the ground while blowing a tuft of the lion’s mane out of her bright honeyed eyes when the howl rang out again. The young Cormier brandished her practice spear, a supple and worn staff of oak, in her calloused hands, looking to her father expectantly. That’s Iroquois again, should we go?

He nodded in response, and wordlessly the teen followed him, taking extra steps to keep up with the brindle mutt’s longer gait. Nellie was gaining on him in height, but still had a few more seasons to go. However, she’d all but surpassed him in fluff, but refused to let the whiskers and fur around her muzzle go shaggy until it resembled a beard. It wasn’t so much more of an aesthetically pleasing choice for the girl, but rather a preference for less hair for food and the hooks she tied onto her fishing lines to get caught in. It was real nightmare trying to untangle anything with barbs from the telltale goatees of her family’s stock, and once she’d begun cutting it back, she’d begun to really enjoy all the extra freedom.

By the time they’d reached Fiskebyn, Nellie realized her Mum and Norah had already beaten her along with her Uncle Milos and Logan. She stayed close to the male Captain’s side, even going so far as reaching for the bag in the Striker’s outstretched hand as the questioned poured from Lucille’s and Milos’s lips.

Nellie, Gus’s tone was low and stern, and enough to stop her hand from taking the worn leather from Iroquois. Her ears, if anyone could seem them amongst the large cloud of hair, drooped in shame and embarrassment for a moment before she padded to her sister’s side and crossed one defiant arm over her chest. Whatever Walker had done, it had been enough to merit Iroquois tying him up, and Nellie would remain ready with her staff should something go awry.

Explain yerself, the following command was gruff and not to be argued with as Gus stepped closer to the Huntress and began to eye the incriminating paper she held aloft in her other hand. ‘Milos’ was penned there, amongst other names he recognized, and yet more he could not recall. That a slaver’s list? His voice had hardened and steel had entered his dark coffee eyes. The brindle mutt had seen more than one in his travels though his family were sternly against the practice.

caught in the undertow

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POSTED: Sun Jan 01, 2017 3:23 pm

OOC: 547 Words


As Iro and Walker stood in the middle of the village, their audience seemed to grow. Despite having held himself mostly apart from them, he recognised them all, and perversely, rather than feeling more self-conscious, he was reassured. Walker had deal with crowds every day, their moods ranging from pleasant to extremely hostile, but all of them had one thing in common, they had him at the centre of them. The southern wolfdog, put his heart in its box, hearing the lid click shut in his mind. He could imagine that box, the oiled hinges and honey coloured wood, it would be a well-used box, it’s cargo often placed inside. The mental exercise had been taught him a long time ago and it allowed him to play a role effectively and put himself through the grossest of humiliations.

By the time Gus appeared, his young daughter in toe, Walker was prepared. There had already been a number of questions called out, or rather a variation on the same one, all of these culminated in the wiry Captain’s question. Perhaps if the small owl that so often nested in Gus’s long hair had been there, the Captain’s appearance might have been softened, but ah well. Walker paused a moment longer , raising his bound hands to push up the brim of his hat a little way, so that he could get a better view of his ‘pack mates’. It looked like Eliza had joined her mate, another one of their nippers very closely in toe, and silent as he always was, Storm was walking towards the party. Walker’s steely eyes turned back to Gus, his tone relaxed, and loud enough for everyone to hear, though he didn’t shout.

”Ah’m thinkin’ what we got ‘ere is a great big misunderstandin’ Hoss.”

His posture was respectful. The start of these things were always the most delicate times, and he didn’t want to appear arrogant or dismissive of their concerns, but gentle downplay was required here.

”Ah’ve been t’ a few bars, some o’ those are ones slavers go t’. Some o’ ‘em like t’ play cards, not many are good as me. One o’ them put up that paper an’ Ah said sure.”

Walker had always found that the best lies were the ones that were absolutely true. The southern wolfdog hadn’t often found it necessary to outright lie, taking the truth and chopping it up and re-arranging it often worked just as well, if not better.

”Ah ain’t no slaver if that’s what y’ thinkin’.” He said this with his gaze turned to Iro. Of course, he didn’t feel the need to let them know why he’d accepted the bet, or in fact to tell them that he’d sought out this particular slaver for those names. Every time he thought of his reasons the box, so firmly secured, threatened to burst open. There was a nagging unease gnawing at Walker though, and it wasn’t the bonds, or the questions, but the small supple leather pouch inside of the rough one that the fat fingered Kokarans might think it necessary to mess around with. The faded red bandana contained within was perhaps his most precious possession, and the leather pouch from which Iro had extracted the paper, only contained treasures.

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POSTED: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:25 pm

OOC: angry momma bear alert

“There’s somethin’ goin’ on in the village!”

Eliza looked up from a mound of herbs to see Bramble on his hind legs, forepaws pressed up against the window. Her head tilted, muzzle scrunching as she thought of the work she’d have to do to remove smeared prints from the glass, but she abandoned the herbs and joined her youngest child to peer into Fiskebyn.

“What the...”

Eliza stood on tiptoes, head tilting, to try and get a better view of what was going on in the middle of Fiskebyn. It looked like a crowd was gathering, but beyond that she had no idea what was happening. It looked like they were all congregating around some central figure, and she wondered if she had missed a howl for a pack meeting, or if they had simply all grown tired of one of the more bolshy water birds and decided to put an end to it.

Frowning, the dog trailed towards the door and opened it a crack, hoping she might hear raised voices which would clue her into what the commotion was about. Alas, Eliza heard only muffled sounds which couldn’t be identified as words. She turned sharply, about to tell Bram to stay put, but the poor pup looked so confused that she took pity on him.


It was a short walk to the bizarre scene. Walker was trussed up like a turkey, apparently at the hand of Iroquois, who had a shred of paper in one hand held aloft as if it was a beacon their pack mates had gravitated to. Liz unceremoniously pushed her way towards Milos, searching his face for some hint of what it all might mean, with Bramble all but glued to her calves.

Her mate’s face sported an expression she had hoped to never see again. Eliza’s smile died on her lips as she heard the word emerge from her brother’s mouth: slaver.

In an instant the dog had manoeuvred herself within view of the piece of paper. Her heart sank as she saw Milos’s name. It was accompanied by others she might have known, but Liz couldn’t see beyond the name that meant so much to her.

“En’t no slaver,” she echoed. “Ya just pal around with ‘em? Take names from ‘em? And do what wi’ those names, Walker?”

Something was quivering against Eliza’s leg, and she remembered Bramble’s presence too late to shield him from the venom in her tone.


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Luperci Mate to Milos as one we are everything we need
Don't Stop Me Now

POSTED: Sun Jan 01, 2017 6:55 pm


While Walker's heart was safe and secure in its box, locked away in the deepest recesses of his mind, Milos' own fragile organ shivered anxiously from within his chest and watched the scene unfolding with a growing sense of dread. Though the Southern Greenhorn could be a bit rough around the edges, and certainly had moments of questionable judgement, Milos thought of him amicably and almost a certain kinship. After all, the pair shared a love for livestock — or, horses, in any case — and there was a tenderness in the way Walker treated his mare that had stayed with the Quartermaster. But it wouldn't be enough to hold the threads of their budding friendship together following Gus' steel-cold accusation.

"That a slaver’s list?"

And suddenly everything was spinning and nothing made sense. A dream, he told himself as he tried to remember how to breathe. En't nothin' but a nightmare...

Eyes filled with horror and fear, Milos felt himself turn his head and glance at August. The man appeared somehow larger and more intimidating than he had when he'd last laid eyes on the Captain. Unwillingly, his mind dug up past memories from last spring, when Marcella had attacked Krokar to get to him. He swallowed, his mouth dry as sand. That was the last time Milos remembered seeing Gus so angry. The Quatermaster clenched his jaw, masseter muscle bulging beneath dark fur, and found his mate's eyes as she joined him. Fear, shame, and the pain of past memories darkened his own orange depths, feelings made endlessly more scathing when he caught sight of his sons cowering against the energy of the crowd.

Words between them weren't necessary. He reaching out to her, immediately feeling more grounded and hopeful, and bent to offer his sons touches of reassurance and comfort while Walker attempted to explain his way out his current situation.

Milos' mind swam and his heart ached with every mention of the word. Slaver. He closed his eyes and Eliza offered her own words. "What names?" he asked her softly, weakly. A simple man, Milos had never learned to read but now it felt important for him to know. He rose, searching first Liz's face, and then Gus', with fearful, painful eyes until they settled on Walker. "Whose names're on th' list?"

[WC — 394]

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Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
even through the rain

POSTED: Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:08 pm

The entire time Iroquois had been unable to say anything about what had happened, but had brought the man to where he needed to go so that the rest would fall into place. She felt a lot of confusing and conflicting things, feeling herself hurt and betrayed by a man she had actually considered opening up to. That had been hammered down hard though, the moment she had seen the paper fall from his possession and her eyes laid on the names therein. They were her family, some of those names upon that list, and she could not bear to say anything to the leadership when they approached them.

She had silently offered them the paper, unable to explain a single thing, only saying that she had found it on them, softly.

She gazed at them, pain in her eyes as she kept the man tied and in her grasp, unable and unwilling to utter a word as they all took their turn. His lies, though, his lies made her eyes burn and her teeth bare at the back of his head. How dare he consider them so low, so below him that they might believe such nonsense. Iroquois could not trust what he had said, especially by the way he had so casually said it. There was almost no meekness in him, almost pride, and she could not get past that attitude. He was in danger, they could kill him, and she ought to have immediately.

"Liar," she muttered under her breath, looking up to see Milos speak and felt her heart ache. His name had been on that list, and she found her voice at last. "Yours was there, Milos. You were on the list. I saw it all.. Elias, Ilse.. they were there, too." Her eyes turned to Walker, and she realized her gaze was full of an anger she could barely explain.

DID NOT KNOW THIS THREAD WAS A THING so I am late :B sorry everyone

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Luperci Huntress of the Arctic Lights

POSTED: Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:53 pm

OOC: small PP of Iro approved by Gen. WC: 507

Although she was the first to arrive, Lucille stood back as the rest converged and began asking questions. All she knew is that Walker had done something that upset Iroquois. When Gus arrived her gaze went to him; this was not the sort of thing they had ever dealt with before. Thus far, arguments and such within the pack had been dealt with privately, largely without the intervention of the leaders. If the whole pack was involved, it was because of things that happened to them as a group, rather than one member angering a lot of the others.

Her eyes narrowed when Gus stated what was on the paper, though the expression remained hidden behind the hair that fell in her face. Although Walker was not her favorite pack member, he deserved the same chance the rest did to explain his side of whatever it was that was going on.

The others seemed less interested, though, and Lucille could understand why. Slavery was a terrible thing, one she would not allow to happen within her pack, nor would she actively seek trade with someone that she knew kept slaves. If it turned out that Walker was indeed a slaver, the best he could hope for was to be thrown out of the pack. The worst... well, Lucille might not be the one to dole out that punishment if Eliza's was any indication.

Walker claimed it was a misunderstanding Lucille was willing to believe that it might be the case, but her train of thought was the same as the question that Eliza asked. If he truly was not a slaver, why have the list in the first place? And if he won it in a bet and did not want it, why keep it at all? It did not make sense to her. It should be worthless to him, not worth keeping and hiding, only to act as though it was not a big deal. She hoped he could at least understand why it would matter to the rest of them, given the pack's recent history with slavers, and the much longer history some of the members had.

"That bag his, too?" Lucille nodded to the one she had noticed Iroquois was holding earlier. It was not one Lucille recognized from the communal storage, so maybe it belonged to Walker. She reached out and Iroquois handed it to her. Lucille knelt and swiped at the snow to clear some space before emptying the contents of the bag for all to see.

For the most part, there was nothing of interest in the bag. Some beads, a large black claw, some shiny stones, dice made of bone, and then out came another smaller leather pouch. She frowned, pushing the rest back into the first bag and then stood up, holding each one separately. This bag was of a much better quality than the larger one, and she carefully opened it. Inside was a red bandanna, which she pulled out with a confused frown. What did this mean?

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POSTED: Mon Jan 02, 2017 6:16 pm

((*shuffles sem in late* 8U))

Semini had been at the far end of the territory, investigating the newer areas that had been reported on but had not yet fully examined, and it had taken her some time to make it back to Fiskebyn. At first she began to return to the village without hurry, because she was the type to savor fair weather while it was there, but as she thought of how it was rare for the huntress to summon a meeting, her pace had quickened and then became a full on sprint when she passed Aster's fields.

There was a group in the middle of the dirt path that ran through Fiskebyn's heart, and she came to a halt at the back of the gathering and caught her breath there. Her gaze darted across the heads of her packmates - all familiar faces, all trusted by the Navigator, and her mind swam in confusion even as she finally laid eyes on Walker's bindings and the note in Iroquois' hands. It didn't make sense until she heard him speak, the noncommittal drifter, that troublesome Walker, who Semini had started to like despite all his sweet talk.

Her mouth felt too dry for words, and she swallowed to lose the sensation of her fear.

There was a time she might have been filled with the same righteous fury as her packmates, and in the places of her heart still in love with this home and these people, it burned hotly for justice. But greater than this was the thought of how unclear it all was, and that even she could not deny the hypocrisy of her own judgment (for what had Walker done except keep a slaver's list?) when she herself was secretly in love with a man complicit in slavery.

So she stood, one among many, to witness the unfolding and silently lend her support to her friends. Her heart panged dearly for Milos and his family, but if it came to it, she would speak for Walker's mercy if they were going to punish him.
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