A bit of rain to keep the spirits away

For O'Brien

POSTED: Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:32 pm

A chill ran up Wally's spine, and it had nothing to do with the cold. The dog made his way through the Miramichi Wilderness with a sinking feeling in his gut as the sound of rain helped to mask any noise. He hated nights like this, where he couldn't feel the wind and everything seemed too still. It both made him feel the spirits weren’t watching over him and paranoid someone was observing his every movement. Even with his fur as soaked as it was, Wally's tired eyes were focused on finding any threat in the area, though he had yet to see anything move aside from the leaves overhead shivering from the rain.

A similar event occurred when he was eight months old, when his old pack was attacked by coyotes. It didn't rain, but there was no wind, and it gave him an uneasiness similar to what he felt now, at least until he stumbled onto a small group of coyotes scouting the area. That was when the adrenaline kicked in, and there was a mad brawl where he was on the ground half of the time.

The rain did give a bit of a comfort as he didn't have to worry as much about any torches, but it also irritated the existent scars on both his arm and his leg. He had already pulled off the wraps and was rubbing his arm, sometimes stopping to do the same for the leg, but it was more of an involuntary reaction. Most of his focus was on the surroundings, either to find an enemy or a place to sleep. He was looking for a cave or an overhang to rest, both to keep his scars from itching and to help hide him as he drifted off.

The dog's mouth opened as he yawned again, taking a quick glance around before continuing through the forest. He definitely felt like he was being watched, and his nerves made his body tense up as he continued, like a compressed spring ready to be released. He muttered a silent prayer to the spirits above as he pushed forward, hoping whoever was looking at him wasn’t malicious.
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Noah
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POSTED: Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:11 pm

He hadn't quite meant to stalk the poor fellow.

Or perhaps he had at first. It was instinct – the curiosity that drew a pickpocket's eyes to a haggard stranger carrying a sack of goods, or if he was being generous with his morality, a guardian wary of a slinking stranger.

However, the longer O'Brien trailed behind the other shepherd-mix, hood shading his eyes and his dirty no-color cloak disguising his form amid the drizzle, two things became clear. This man wasn't a threat to him or the Troupe, and O'Brien wouldn't dream of robbing him when he looked worse-off than O'Brien.

He might have left then, disappeared into the woods as if he'd never existed, but he could tell from the stranger's darting gaze and nervous yawning that he knew he was being watched. He was probably only looking for some shelter, and O'Brien knew of a shallow, if dry, cavern not far from here.

When O'Brien materialized, it was as a specter, naturally quiet in his gait and emerging from the rainy fog that had grown so thick as of late. His husky burr was could barely be heard over the raindrops pattering on the firs. Guid evening?

I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
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here come the ravens

POSTED: Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:42 pm

301 Words

The dog's soft words were barely registered as Wally noticed the figure approaching him. The only thought he had was that the creature was a ghost, and a bone-chilling terror tore itself through his body. Was it possible to fight a ghost? That was all he could think before his fighting instincts took over.

Despite lacking a spear, his first response was still valid in this situation. With a terrified bark, he launched himself away from the figure, losing his footing as he did so. He reacted just as quick, managing to land on his back and rolling back onto his feet, hoping he made enough distance to prevent an attack. With a wild look in his eyes, he realized what the individual said. It was a greeting, and a relatively-relaxed one at that.

Whatever chills he felt in his body were melted away by a warming wave of intense embarrassment. Now able to see the hooded individual as clear as he could in this rain, he could see the raindrops pittering on his cloak and saw that he was, in fact, corporeal. With disheartened eyes, he made a nervous laugh as he struggled to raise himself to a standing position, his distance-making move taking away most of his remaining strength.

"Evening," he said, "Sorry about that, I thought ye were...a ghost?" He hoped that wouldn't offend him and really wanted to pull his bandana over his eyes, but opted to just stare at the ground. "Do ye happen to know of a place to get out of the rain?" His vision began to blur, and he shook his head to stay awake. "Yer not here to kill me, aye?" There was a bit of hope in his voice, since he knew he would be the underdog if the two fought.
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Noah
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POSTED: Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:28 pm

A sharp bark escaping his jaws, the other shepherd mongrel flung himself away from where O’Brien emerged from the mist. He stumbled but found his feet almost as quickly, his eyes flashing fearfully toward the thief before awareness settled into him, and he laughed — that breathy, awkward sound of dissolved tension.

To his credit, O’Brien looked surprised and concerned, his hands quickly raised in signal that he wasn’t a threat. He ought to have known that his naturally sneaky gait would have startled the already on-edge loner. He shook his head and grinned at the apology, his ears pricking at the familiar trace of accent coming from the stranger.

“I dinnae feel like a ghost,” he said, patting his own cloak. His voice gentled into something as low as the patter of rain as the dog continued, his tail wagging behind him in reassurance. “Aye, it’s no’ far fae ’ere. Shallow cave, we shuid be able te just squeeze in.” He stepped closer to the other loner and offered an arm should the dog need help keeping his feet.

“I’m no’ ’ere te murder ye, either. I’m no’ guid at killin’.”

He smiled, a little solemn, but added: “Name’s O’Brien.”
I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
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here come the ravens

POSTED: Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:32 pm

Wally was rather relieved the dog wasn't offended by his ghost comment, and was even happier when he mentioned a cave. Maybe he'll be able to sleep without the rain messing with his scars. He considered himself lucky this dog was rather friendly, though a voice at the back of his mind told him he was too comfortable. Was it the dog's accent, or was he just too exhausted.

Wally was quick to accept the offered help, muttering a "Thank ye," as he grabbed onto it. He knew very well he wouldn't get back up if he fell down, and didn't know if the dog would just leave him out there or carry him along. He'd rather neither outcome occurred as he used his free hand to rub his eyes to try to stay awake.

"Me name's Wally. Nice to meet ye." Wally liked the name well enough, it was easy to remember. From his "killing" comment, Wally wondered if he was a bad fighter, or just didn't have the stomach to kill someone. The thought didn't last long, since his attention was on the accent. Even without his quieter voice, the accent would be rather hard to understand, but it was an accent he was used to. The healer of his old pack spoke in a similar matter, an odd dog who came across the ocean. Was this dog similar? If so, maybe he could ask a few things of his home. The healer didn't speak much of his past. "Yer not from here, aye? I mean, not from this side of the sea. Yer accent reminds me of someone from me old pack, and he came here by boat."
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Noah
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POSTED: Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:23 pm

I apologize for the terrible wait. :( I don't have a real excuse beyond being unfocused and scarce these past few weeks. I'll try to be a better thread partner!

223 words

The shepherd dog introduced himself as Wally once he was on his feet, and despite his tired expression was quick to peg O'Brien's accent. His question made the pickpocket fold his ears back with a hint of discomfort; he felt vulnerable when others picked up on his Scottish burr, if only because it was the most distinct thing about a man who otherwise preferred to fade into the background. But he wasn't on a job; it didn't matter if Wally asked about it, did it? It was just friendly conversation.

O'Brien did relax and tip his head curiously when Wally added that he'd known someone with a similar accent from overseas, and he managed to smile and nod. Aye. I coome fae Scotland originally. He gestured for Wally to follow him into the trees, his cloak settling back around his lean frame as he led the way to the cavern.

I dinnae ken many others who made th' trip. What was yer auld packmate's name?

He probably wouldn't know the fellow, because the region was broader than the humble islands where the dog grew up, but he was curious – and slightly unsettled. Reminders of home comforted him, but so often he found himself looking over his shoulder, anticipating a pair of black wings to follow.

I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
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here come the ravens

POSTED: Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:55 pm

It's fine, I'm just glad you responded!
246 Words


So he was from Scotland? It was the first time Wally had heard of the place, but he was pretty sure he was telling the truth. Either that, or his exhaustion was messing with his skepticism. It was hard enough keeping an eye open as he stumbled along. At the very least, it seemed his ears and feet were working well enough.

"Me packmate's name?" It took him a bit to remember it. Has it really been that long since he heard his name? "His name, or he called himself, was Suther. Is that familiar? A few of me other packmates thought it be a fake name." His gaze wandered around aimlessly as he was led along. "He never really talked about his home, other than he'd rather not talk about it. By how he sounded, it was like the place bored him." A bit of an irritated look crossed his face. "He always said he would tell me a bit more 'bout it when I got older. Fat chance of that happenin' now."

A bit of mild shock crossed Wally's face when he felt himself leaning away. Trying to regain his balance, the dog felt a foot go into the air as his arms flailed, until he found himself standing straight up. Letting out a breath, he groaned; he couldn't continue too much farther like this. "Are we close to the cave. I'm not sure how much longer 'till ye need to start draggin' me."
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Noah
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POSTED: Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:48 pm

He kept an ear pricked toward his companion, heeding his words as much as listening for fumbling footfalls in case the shepherd-mix's exhaustion toppled him like an old walnut tree. Suther was not a name O'Brien was familiar with, but then again Eilean Cù but was one of Scotland's isles.

The thief's lips twitched when Wally alluded to fake names.

I cannae say I know th' man, he said with a glance over his shoulder, his expression sympathetic when Wally's face darkened with frustration. He might no' hev wanted te remember hame. He thought of how he spoke of his own origins, glossing over his humble childhood, barely touching on his stay in the Valley; taken at face value, others might have surmised that O'Brien, too, found the places boring. The truth was a little more complicated than that – and maybe so too was Suther's truth. Maybe Wally's packmate was running from his own past?

I'm sorry ye ne'er got te hear aboot it, O'Brien added. From the past tense, it sounded like the man was dead.

Wally's footsteps stumbled as he found himself off-kilter, his groan alerting O'Brien as he found his balance. Aye, close, he promised, his ears lying back as he attempted a reassuring smile. He scoffed lightly at the prospect of dragging the man, but thankfully the cavern was close – just around a bend, sheltered by pines. It lay in a valley, the shallow cave resting in a short cliff-face – the same place, O'Brien recalled, he had hid from a mountain lion with Willow.

Warm nostalgia softened his features, but he did not forget Wally. In 'ere, lad, he offered, gesturing with a swish of his cloak. It didn't protect from the elements like a real cavern, but three Luperci could fit in its shadow pressed together; the two mutts could squat there comfortably for a time.

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I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
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here come the ravens

POSTED: Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:06 am

296 Words

There was a sense of joy as O'Brien said they finally arrived at the cave. With his shifting eyesight, he could tell it was small, but it was definitely better than the elements. Wally fell against the cliff face a bit hard and snuggled against it, making himself comfortable. Sure, he was probably caked in mud and he'll need to wash it all out at some point, but at this point, he was too tired to feel it. With a sigh of relief, Wally started drifting into a deep sleep...

eventually...

any minute now...

Cracking open an eyelid, Wally grumbled at his bad luck. Even with his exhaustion, there was a part of his brain that seemed to be hard-wired to be alert. Was it just the rainy environment, or was O'Brien the culprit? He pulled the headband over his eyes, hoping it would help him sleep...at some point tonight. How was O'Brien? Wally doubted he could be asleep. "I know yer probably tha' better off of the two of us, but are ye all good?" After a moment, he added, "Thank ye very much fer gettin' me here. I don' know what would've happen if ye didn't come thru."

With the insomnia still persisting, Wally felt a few question come to mind relating to this side of the world. He might as well ask them, since he had nothing else to do and exhaustion had robbed Wally of any consideration of O'Brien trying to sleep. "O'Brien, what packs be here? I know of Mistfell, I be plannin' to join...are there others?" Wally yawned, his mouth snapping at the air. "By the way, if ye ever come by Mistfell, an' I have string, let me know. I'm good at sewin', so I can patch somethin' up..."
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Noah
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POSTED: Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:46 pm

Wally all but crashed against the stone, curling up for comfort, or at least what he could get in the dreary weather. O'Brien snorted at him, but he sat down too, deciding that he could at least wait a couple hours to see if the rain let up. It hadn't been his plan to camp out anywhere – dreich weather was common where he was from, so it bothered him less than most – but the thought of unceremoniously abandoning Wally here seemed cold.

He flipped his hood back, running fingers through his messy brown hair, and leaned his back against the stone, watching the rain fall.

Then Wally grumbled softly, and the lean mongrel's half-flopped ears twitched back at his words. I'm guid, aye, he answered, then hunched his shoulders up slightly when the dog thanked him. Nae bother, mate. The gratitude made him uncomfortable, but really any positive attention did; the thief didn't feel like he deserved it. Sometimes acts of kindness felt like he was repaying a debt, and to acknowledge them was to lessen their worth somehow.

O'Brien began to fiddle with his dagger, spinning it through his fingers. Gods knew he had many debts.

Questions were simpler to deal with than thanks. He hummed thoughtfully. I've heard o' others, but I coudnae tell ye much aboot them. Packs, for the most part, didn't matter to the loner. Were he a trader, he might have sought out their members to barter for goods – but O'Brien was a pickpocket, and not a fan of taking risks. A gang o' coyotes lives on th' north shore o' Moosehead Lake, 'n' another pack – a big yin – near Amherst. He hadn't had dealings with either, though he might have met their members without knowing it. Having not gone farther southeast than Amherst, however, he was ignorant as to what packs might dwell in Nova Scotia proper.

I dae know a little more aboot New Caledonia, but it's far northeast. They're a court wi' a king 'n' everything, the mongrel said, grinning slightly.

He chuckled a little as Wally offered his sewing skills. I might take ye up oan that, he said, lifting a corner of his cloak demonstrably. 'Tis a tad threadbare. Truth be told, he doubted he would come near Mistfell Vale on a whim, but it was a nice thought.

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I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
The Troupe
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here come the ravens

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