i will be rocks, i will be water

POSTED: Sat Dec 24, 2016 11:06 am

IF thread prompt wrote:The reindeer herd that travels through the Waste has completed their migration into the heavily forested areas, but a few stragglers remain. Old males are easy to spot from their lack of antlers, and make easier pickings for predators than females.

For Basilio. Midday, maybe pre-dated a couple days.


When she was idle, her mind moved to dark places. The look in Mistral's eyes, immediately suspicious. The pale, ghastly face of a poisoned Saffron; the blood and vomit around her stiff body in the light of dawn. The sounds of twigs breaking underfoot a strangers came for them out of the brush.

Dove closed her eyes, centered herself, and drew back her arrow with hardened resolve. Down to a knee in the treeline overlooking a herd of reindeer in a clearing, she pressed an eye shut and focused, the point of her arrow redirecting with each shift of the elder deer she targeted. She wasn't privy to clan life, but these deer seemed feral, unmanaged; the stables of horses and sheep she had found were a distance away, and she doubted this herd were anything but prey.

She didn't shoot the arrow—not for a while. The longer the anticipation, the studying, the preparation for the perfect shot, the longer her thoughts were fenced from wandering to darker themes. But her arms were becoming weary and she let the arrow fly, aimed for an elder without antlers but sent in an arc far too wide and untrained to hit the target. The arrow buried itself in the snow a couple of yards away from the herd, and the reindeer spooked and shuffled on their way.

Dove fell back onto her rear and sighed, the bow falling into her lap. It was okay, she told herself. She wasn't hungry, anyway. She couldn't get herself to eat.

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POSTED: Sun Dec 25, 2016 11:43 pm

Insidious is blind inception

Since the birth of his children, Basilio had not really ventured that far from Inferni. At most, he'd gone patrolling, only seeking retirement from the pack's lands once during the two weeks that had passed by seemingly free of event other than the wonder that he shared for his children's first steps into this life. The Bellator had spent most of his time going about his duties, ensuring that his family was kept safe, happy and warm through the winter. Ideally, he would have enjoyed the warmth of spring for their birth, just when the snow was beginning to melt so that the girls were able to hold their warmth a bit longer, though it couldn't have been helped. They were both healthy and that was all he could ever ask for.

The day brought him to the fields where the herds of deer were just ending their migration. Most, having already gone, were far away, though the stragglers made for easy prey, especially the older variety, the males who could offer their herds no more protection. Slow from years of running and hiding from predators, they were no match for the bows of hunters, or those that chose to stalk them on all fours. Fortunately, he was one of the few with a bow. While he was there, he did not yet drawl from the black bow slung over his back. His eyes, rather, were focused on the herd itself, small and refined of the older generation that could not move as quickly as their kin.

He ghosted through the branches, keeping lower to the ground, his wine stained eyes fleeting as they caught onto the single male that he'd spotted within the last hour of simply remaining in place. It was something else, though, that had him moving in slow, yet predetermined steps in the direction that the arrow that whizzed through the air had come from.

A few moments passed, the soft crunch of snow the only sound beneath him, even that muffled by his slow steps, in which his gaze rested on the venison that spooked at the sound of the arrow crashing into the snow right behind it, too far indeed to of ever touched it. When he came upon the girl, it was not by surprise. A red snout twitched slightly as he shifted and came to a knee behind her, still glancing now and again between the path and her.

"I've never seen such a wonderful shot. It's almost as if you tried to miss it on purpose," he said, a small hint of apology weaving through his tone, even with a half-smile curling at his maw. "You're new here, to Inferni, I mean."

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POSTED: Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:27 pm

Her stomach growled and hurt, but Dove just didn't care to fill it. She watched the last of the reindeer flee cold and numb into the woods and thought to make chase and willed herself to do so, but the Reverie ended up tucking her knees up into her sweater and hugging them a while, shivering and feeling hopeless.

The creep of her visitor was difficult to hear; he was trained to be quiet unlike herself, and Dove caught sound of his steps at the same time she found his scent in the lifting breeze. He spoke up and the Reverie jumped to her feet and spun, pointing the bow at him poised as if to shoot the arrow she hadn't grabbed. When she realized her mistake she messily reached for one and notched it, golden eyes intense behind curt clouds of breath.

His smile was apologetic and his words less than supportive. She knew he didn't pose an immediate threat, and her ears turned forward and back again a number of times as Dove took in his size and armor and subtle scent of Lykoi, but she didn't lower her bow.

When he finished speaking she returned with a sharp and immediate, "Who are you? What do you want?"

The point of her arrow shook with the tremble in her hands.

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POSTED: Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:05 pm

Insidious is blind inception

Basilio had a habit of walking right into danger. It was no different now that he stood in front of the girl. She had turned without much pause, willing herself to turn her bow on him, an action that gained the gentle rise of a brow and a shift of his weight from one foot to the other. Heedy of any sort of accident that could happen, he watched as she lifted her hand to grab for an arrow, having forgotten that she hadn't had one before. The effect brought a grin curling at the corners of his maw before he dipped his head in momentary apology.

"I am Basilio but you can call me Basi. I'm one of the Triumvirate, a bellator," he announced as if proud of himself, eyes glancing almost immediately toward the notched arrow.

"Can you turn that away? I don't mean you any harm." He could disarm her. All it would have taken was a reach of his arm. Sure, he'd gain injury but it was worth the blood to not be killed in some freak accident with a bow and arrow, especially from an untrained hand. Instead, both hands lifted in mock defeat, amusement glittering in his gaze.

"Were you hunting for food or just for the sport of it? I brought some dried meats with me in case I got hungry. You never know.. You can have some if you'd like?" He reached behind toward his quill, the opening large enough that he often stuffed something, this time a small bag of dried meats, in so that the arrows wouldn't fall out while he was running, if he had to do any running at all.

With the bag in hand, he bent down, setting it on the ground in front of her, quickly slipping away a foot or so before speaking again. "You have a strong arm but it's shaky," he offered in momentary advice, moving to step behind a tree, peeking his head out from behind it just in case she decided to loose the arrow. "With a little bit of training, we could fix that, you know."

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POSTED: Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:40 pm

Dove knew she did not scare him, especially not after the initial panic resulting in a forgotten arrow. She felt stupid and thought she must've looked stupid too. Her face turned hot and scowling, the girl humiliated to point of irritation when he smiled and turned away at the display.

But the pygmy introduced himself as a clan member using a number of foreign ranking terms she hadn't learned yet, and as result Dove showed no consequent signs of acknowledgement for his level of authority. The Reverie realized she should consider herself lucky to be dismissed for turning a weapon upon a fellow Infernian. She lowered her bow as requested and relaxed, but the arrow remained notched and her hands poised as it pointed down between her feet.

She said, stiffly, "I'm Dove. I don't know what a Triumvirate or a Bellator is." And neither did she quite understand how a ranking system worked as a machine, aside from a solitary leadership role. But her eyes followed the stripe on his nose and the scent in her nostrils and she confirmed what she did know: "You're Lykoi."

Acknowledgment of the fact didn't appear to sway her interpretation of him, and neither did his offering of food. "I'm not hungry," Dove lied, and gave him no better answer than that.

His observations on her potential as an archer were left to hang awkward in the air, unanswered; her golden eyes affixed on him cold and stern and unreadable in response, and they slid with him as he went behind the tree. Dove removed the arrow from the bowstring and gripped both in her fists, leering as if there was a humor in his actions she simply couldn't grasp.

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POSTED: Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:12 pm

Insidious is blind inception

While there was certainly reason to be afraid of a newcomer with a weapon, Basilio had no interest in making anymore enemies within the pack he'd grown up in. It only invited danger to his pups and he wasn't willing to be a bane in their existence, though he always felt the chill of fear run down his spine when he thought and considered the possibilities of what could happen now and between the moment of his death that he hoped was way into the future but probably wouldn't be with how often he got into fights outside Inferni with loners and other packs.

It was fortunate enough that most of them happened in his dreams but most of them were so realistic that he knew by now that they were memories. Quiet, intrigued, actually, he watched the girl as she lowered her bow and spoke out something that almost made him chuckle to himself. "The triumvirate is Inferni's counsel. Think of it as a noble rank where immunes are the working class and tirones are the newcomers," he said with a nod of his head.

"There's three ranks in the triumvirate. Magister (the advisor), Regulus (a commander or manager) and Bellator (Inferni's best tested warriors, knights or soldiers)."

It wasn't necessarily a long list of information but he'd explained it before so it was easy enough. "Yeah. I'm a Lykoi. The only dwarf one aside from my mom, wherever the hell she is," he said with an upturn of his nose before inching from behind the tree to face her. "I think you are. Unless you're also wasteful," he managed, turning his gaze toward the icy slope of land where the deer had been before. "You were hunting the old ones, the stragglers."

He inched closer, grabbing hold of the bundle of food, cracking part of it open to grab a sliver of the dried meat. He caught it between his teeth before glancing away toward the trees. "I can smell more. I don't think they were all scared away. I could help you if you're interested?"

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POSTED: Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:02 am

The Lykoi explained at some length the Triumvirate and responsibilities of Inferni's higher ranks, and Dove's ears turned forward and back repeatedly as she struggled to absorb how such ranks could exist. Juniper Peace boasted her father as its unofficial leader if only because he was willing to bear the mantle, and momentarily she considered her grandfather Nimbus the pack's advisor if anyone, but commanders? Knights and soldiers? The fire-clan did not purposefully bathe itself in blood, it seemed, but poised itself at a constant in preparation for bloodshed at a moment's notice.

Was this land tending more towards violence and trauma, or were the people of Juniper Peace naive and heading towards a disaster they were not prepared for?

She shivered, faltering, as Basilio confirmed himself Lykoi and caught her in a shoddy lie regarding her hunger. Dove glared at her feet and expected a scolding, looking up only when Basilio offered his help instead.

He popped a piece of meat between his teeth, but she looked on without desire in her eyes. Dove was hungry. But willing to eat? Less so. Telling this to him begged for more questions Dove couldn't stand to answer, and so the Reverie straightened her bow.

Dispassionate, she nodded. "Okay."

Without waiting for him Dove started through the trees, her arrow ready to swing up and fire though she knew it would miss its target without better instruction. Assuming he was behind her but without looking she asked, "What do I do differently this time?"

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POSTED: Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:42 am

Insidious is blind inception

Any pack that had a peaceful disposition was leading toward a tragic end. In a world where things were dictated by war, there needed to be warriors, knights, whatever one wanted to call them. There needed to be those that protected others and offered their services and lives in turn for the pack they lived within. He knew nothing about the girl aside from what she'd shown. Perhaps she was rebellious and prideful. He didn't know. He didn't really care. She was a danger to others, though, in her current situation if she was so willing to turn a bow on someone like him who was probably, decidedly, pretty funny looking with his eye tattoos, his scars, his size.

He was not the typical coyote or warrior. He had his specialties though teaching was probably one of the lesser skills than most of the others he boasted like swordplay or archery, as she seemed fit to learn. She would probably be better at it than he was or ever could be.

Almost disinterested in his offer, she conceded without much thought and turned around almost instantaneously to carry on in the direction and path that led to one such grouping of venison or a wayward straggler. It was hard to tell, really. Irregardless, he was quick behind her. "Don't think so much when you're lining up the shot. Wind does matter when you're firing the shot but I think you could have had it before if you would have made the shot sooner rather than pushing the line up of the arrow. The time it takes to do that can be used to notch another arrow and fire it if the beast is getting away."

He offered. "Arms relatively straight but also somewhat loose. Aim with your shooting arm, rather than the one holding the bow."

Things she probably knew already. Their path to the next was not very eventful. There were stragglers but they still needed to hunt for them, to find tracks, a scent trail.

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POSTED: Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:51 pm

Don't think so much, he said, and Dove rolled her eyes. Wouldn't that be nice.

She adjusted her form with the bow as he directed once they came upon grazing stragglers among the wood. She minded the wind yet resisted letting free the arrow without more time spent aiming, and what resulted was a long span of inaction during which Dove frowned and repeatedly rearranged her back and arms with the arrow at the bowstring.

Aim with your shooting arm. That was obvious, and yet—and yet, as she anaylzed her own posture, she wasn't doing so. There was a visible shift in posture as her mindset adapted. A moment's targeting later, Dove breathed in and out once and set free the arrow from the string.

It buried not in the reindeer's chest as she had targeted, but skimmed its rear enough to tear a superficial layer of skin and draw blood. The trio of reindeer groaned and spooked, and with a surprised "Oh, shit," Dove scrambled for a second arrow and sent it with little aim. Just as he said.

It missed completely. The reindeer were gone.

"Well, I actually hit it," she said, delight replacing the ice and resignation natural in her voice. She glanced at Basilio, though she did not smile. "That's... something. Thank you, I guess."

Feeling as if she was obligated to say something more, Dove asked, "How did you learn?"

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POSTED: Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:13 pm

Insidious is blind inception

There was always time for mistakes. The blow she struck after taking his lead brought her blood. Blood could be followed wherever the deer roamed. In the cold, it would take a while for the blood to stifle itself. The deer itself could probably smell the blood. It would be panicked which gave them time to catch up to it, to find it and seek purchase of the meal they'd missed before. All of this was part of being a hunter and it wasn't like Basilio had never made these mistakes himself.

He watched from a place of advantage, only pausing when she took each shot to see where it went and how she handled herself. He doubted, seriously, that she lacked the talent or skill to become a suitable archer. After all, he was so small yet he could still wield a bow and he was still one of Inferni's huntsman and an archer at that.

It was only when the deer were gone and she turned to look back at him that he noticed some sort of change in her, though he did not make note of it. While there was something about her voice, she still did not smile. He didn't push it. He was not a shrink or someone suited to give others advice about things. He had his own things to deal with. Instead, he gave a nod of his head.

"You did," he started. "Now we can track the blood to where the deer goes. It'll likely stay with the group so you can get another chance to take it down," he offered finally, glancing down to his feet, scooting closer to the dual colored coywolf. "I learned most of what I know from my own trial and error. The rest from Daeva Lykoi. I think she is still around. If she isn't, well, you can learn a bit more from me," he answered.

"I think you have it from here. Unless you'd like me to follow you further," he offered as a suggestion, "though that's completely up to you. I don't want to impose anymore than I have to."

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