Larksong Grotto death blossom
Private  February 16, 2018, 02:08 AM
Cypress
Approved Members

@Easy

        The great stone beast seemed to fill the sky, blotting out the sun; it was larger and louder than any bear, and its gleaming fangs whipped above it like a constantly gnashing mouth. Lungs burning, Cypress dove desperately into a pile of underbrush — but the sound was everywhere at once, and as the hulking monstrosity dipped lower, whipping rocks and dirt into his eyes, he burst free. A stinging in his right haunch convinced him that he was about to die — and the knowledge of that caused him to reel; it was dizzying, heady, and he fell to the ground with a stuttered yelp that he was too disoriented to really follow through with. He tumbled to a skidding halt, long limbs flopping like a discarded rag doll beneath the thundering wheels of a speeding truck, a thin whine trickling from between his tightly clenched teeth. Instinctively he struggled to his feet, but he was down again in an instant.

        Footsteps. He heard them dimly, but it was like being underwater. His body twitched at every sound, head jerking up and off the ground, but — ah, fuck — everything was so damn heavy. He just wanted to sleep. “Lemme — sleepin’ — Alya, you — ” he slurred, blood trickling from cuts on his lips and nose and mingling with the saliva that began pooling beneath his chin and cheek. She wouldn’t let him, though. Every time he started to drop off, he thought of those dogs and how they’d nearly gotten him, nearly tricked him into thinking Alya wasn’t there, had never been there — but she was right here. Right here.

        He became distantly aware that something was happening. Someone was talking. The voice went on for a long while, and he didn’t understand any of it. “Specimen 3382, approximately one to two year old intact male black-phase wolf. White chest patch. Poor condition, BCS 2-3/9, tachycardic and febrile, likely due to, oh, I don’t know, being shot with a dart from a fucking helicopter.” Laughter. High-pitched. Cypress’ ears gave a vigorous twitch.

        “Scarring on all four limbs,” the voice murmured, spidery tendrils closing over one sleep-slack foreleg. “Appear to be abrasive wounds rather than deep lacerations or punctures.”

        Stop that, Cypress thought with no small measure of irritation.

        “Heavy scarring on left side of muzz — ”

        I said, stop that.

        From somewhere deep within the sea of black goo, the sedated wolf broke surface. He couldn’t hear the voice anymore — not that he’d been able to understand any of the jargon in the first place — but the white-pink spider-tendrils were touching his face now and peeling back his eyes and putting stuff in them and he was going to bite them if they didn’t stop it —

        “Oh, shit! SHOOT HIM AGAIN, SHOOTHIMSHOOTHIMSHOOTHIM, JESUS FUCK — ”




        When the wolf roused later, he was in a highly undignified state — urine soaked his hindquarters and blood and saliva had frozen upon his mouth and cheek. Moving gingerly, he staggered to his feet and nosed his way to a nearby stream to clean himself up. It wasn’t the wisest decision, perhaps, in the bitter winter cold; but he smelled like something he instinctively didn’t like. It stood out against the scent of everything around him, and he kicked his rollicking pace into a trot to put distance between himself and the Bad Place. When he was finally free of it, he set about rolling in whatever foliage he could find — and when he knocked against a tree with a very solid-sounding thwack! he froze. Flopping down he set about scratching at his neck with his hind leg, his movements getting more and more frantic when he realized he could not get the damn thing off. In vain, he began rubbing it against the tree.
February 16, 2018, 02:19 AM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

The sound had long since faded, but Easy was still running. She wanted to see it when it landed, and she was sure it had landed nearby. It'd taken off again, too, but when butterflies landed, they sometimes skirted only a few feet away before fluttering down once more. Easy didn't know what a few feet was to that giant bird, but she wasn't tired yet. She could find it.

Instead, she found a very smelly wolf doing naughty things to a tree.

"What are you doing?" she blurted, heartbeat picking up. Daddy said she shouldn't think about this until she was older - and what was he doing to that tree? Daddy never said anything about trees. Busy staring at everything but the man and his tree, she missed the strange item affixed to his person entirely.

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
February 16, 2018, 02:31 AM
Cypress
Approved Members

        “What are you doing?”

        For a moment, the wolf was utterly terrified — though he’d just slaked his thirst, his throat was dry and his tongue was thick in his mouth. “I, uh,” he mumbled, still slurring a little. It was hard to string words together in a recognizable way, but he was just happy he could understand her. His eyes darted down to her paws, looking for the pinkish white spider-tendrils — but they, too, were normal. Relaxing marginally, “Just — gotta get it off,” he muttered, stepping away from the tree and turning his muzzle away from her so she could see the contraption that was probably slowly choking him minute by minute.

        It was with some measure of dismay that he regarded her odd coloring, but at least she was wolf-shaped. Not like the collection of oddities and abominations he’d met quite recently. “Listen. Don’t let ‘em,” he told her, very seriously. “Long noses, flat noses — not natural. Don’t let ‘em.” His baleful brimstone eyes attempted to fix sternly upon her face, but they were diluted and glassy with ophthalmic lubricant. It was hard to focus on anything. “You,” he said, beginning to scratch again with a hind leg, automatically.

        “I don’t want it. Itches,” he said, quite petulantly.
February 16, 2018, 02:48 AM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

"With a tree?" Easy squeaked, momentarily disgusted. She couldn't resist peeking, now, although she'd deny it 'til her last breath if anyone ever asked about it. Upon seeing the collar, however, her sheepishness disappeared. Abruptly, she realized her brain had taken a word out of his first statement - he was just using the tree to try and get his fancy... thing... off his neck.

Easy bounced up to him, eager to inspect the odd article. "What's that?" she asked, goggling unabashedly. A cold, black nose poked insistently at the thing, testing its texture as well as its scent. Cold, almost like stone, and with other scents she couldn't quite place. The man didn't seem to like it and was trying to tell her about its face, but as Easy circled around him, she couldn't seem to find it. Seemed like it just had one big bump. Was that the nose he was talking about?

She startled when he expressed his displeasure with the thing. "Can I have it?" she asked. "If I help you get it off?"

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
February 16, 2018, 11:51 AM
Cypress
Approved Members

        Embarrassingly, the wolf was still too loopy to have caught Easy’s innuendo; but, let’s be honest — even if he’d been clearheaded, he still probably would have missed it. So, “Would a rock — is be better?” he asked muzzily, wondering if he should try smashing the thing against something harder to remove it. “I don’t know what’s this,” he grumped, a little annoyed that she seemed to like it so much. “The stone bird chased me — and spider-vines around my legs,” he told her, having already forgotten her question as his forelimbs buckled and he laid down like a well-trained horse.
February 16, 2018, 02:17 PM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

Easy drew back a measure, bemused by the odd strings of words coming out of his mouth. He sounded, she realized, rather like Daddy did when she woke him up in the middle of the night - and also a lot like Sunny and Adi had while they were at their sickest. He proved himself further to be sleep-muddled when he folded himself down like a fawn awaiting its mother. Easy felt much bigger, then.

"I think you're having fever dreams," she assured him. Geese were mean, of course, and they'd frightened her the first time she'd seen them migrating in such large numbers, but she'd never heard of a goose acting the way the man was trying to describe. Not even a really big goose. The man seemed unharmed, at any rate. Easy doubted he'd actually encountered the bird she'd been chasing. "You're not hurt, are you?" she pointed out, somewhat patronizing. "Just all dumb and sleepy. You're probably just sick."

As for the collar - well, Easy didn't know how to explain that one. Sometimes Lavender wore animal skins to keep warm, but this wasn't like any animal she knew. "Can I have that?" she repeated. "Since you don't want it. I'll help you get it off."

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
February 16, 2018, 02:41 PM
Cypress
Approved Members

        She sure did talk a lot. As much to stop the running of her voice as to placate her, “Okay,” he said meekly, trying to keep up. He had been running a fever, but being overdosed on sedation and being left to recover in the snow had made him a little hypothermic. He hadn’t picked up on the patronizing note in her voice, but he sensed her question had been rhetorical — and anyway, everything was moving way too quickly for comfort. “Course you can have it,” he told her, feeling suddenly very fond of her. “Was I asleep?” He already didn’t remember that she’d walked in upon him having what she thought was intimate congress with a man named Douglas Fir.
February 16, 2018, 02:54 PM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

He was agreeing with her, now, which was good. She warmed up to him immediately after that, glad that this man, too, had seen that it was best to just let her take the lead. You've got a funny smell like you're sick, too," she added helpfully, finding more and more reasons to believe that the man was simply fever-mad.

Now that she had his permission to take the collar, she figured he couldn't be mad at her if she broke it. "No, you were snuggling that tree," she replied, circling the resting male and edging closer as she did. "Maybe I can chew it off," she suggested, looking doubtfully at the man's scarred muzzle. But you can't bite me, alright? I'd be real mad if you did that."

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
February 16, 2018, 03:05 PM
Cypress
Approved Members

        “Won’t bite,” the wolf promised with an air of carefree agreeableness. Then, with the chivalry that characterized him when he was of sound mind, “I wouldn’t let you get hurt,” he said, sounding alarmed that anyone might even suggest such a thing. “I’m been tryin’ not to make you mad, Alya,” he added with a flicker of mingled guilt and resentment. The name at the end popped out utterly without his realizing it, and he dropped his chin to his forepaws for a moment before thinking back on what he’d just said. Alya. Alya. It felt like the syllables ought to mean something, but he was so tired. His head was so heavy. “Sssorry,” he said hesitantly, drawing out the first syllable with a modicum of confusion.

        “I don’t wanna make you mad.”
February 16, 2018, 07:44 PM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

Easy was assured by his words at first, but quickly grew concerned as he went on, calling her a dumb name and actually making her angry, thanks. What did he think she was, some sort of harpy? Or maybe this Alya was - either way, Easy didn't want to be associated with it.

"I'm Easy, not Alya," she said firmly, shifting to follow his bobbing head and hold his lantern-lit gaze. "And I'm super nice, in case you forgot." She gaze doubtfully at the slurring male, and realized that she couldn't do anything with him until he was feeling a bit better.

Supposing he wasn't like this all the time, of course.

"Okay, new plan. Your funny necklace stays on. I'm going to get you some food, and you... just focus on being less crazy, alright?" she said sternly, being more careful now of the man's personal space.

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
February 16, 2018, 07:56 PM
Cypress
Approved Members

        Oh, he’d done it now. The wolf wasn’t sure why the idea of angering Easy-not-Alya filled him with such dread, but he’d managed to do it anyway. Pinning his ears against his narrow skull, he meekly replied, “I’m sorry,” still barely hanging onto the conversation. “Sorry, Easy. You’re nice.” Honestly, he wasn’t really sure if he believed that — not when she was angry with him. For whatever reason, hearing the stern note in her voice triggered a pathetic desire to roll over and beg her forgiveness — but it also drained him of hope that he’d find any kind of absolution. Was this the first time they’d met? Or had he known her before?

        “You’re leaving?” he asked her, swallowing all of his pride in one hard gulp.

        “Please,” he begged, “Don’t leave me here alone.”
February 16, 2018, 08:46 PM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

She was frustrated by his cowering even as it made her feel strangely empowered. Mostly, she just realized that there was no way she could leave this guy on his own. Not for a while, at least. Especially not when he began begging her - there was a broken quality to his voice that she found both endearing and repugnant.

"Okay," she said uncomfortably, feeling a bit like she was being bullied into this but seeing no way out, either. "Okay, fine, but you have to stop acting so weird. I'm not going to hurt you or anything." She shifted awkwardly, not sure what to do with herself if she wasn't going to go on a hunt. Although now relatively certain the man wasn't about to attack her (and, come on, she'd probably win that fight), Easy still wasn't quite sure she should trust him, or that she even wanted to. He seemed like a weirdo - the only thing that kept her around was the possibility that maybe, just maybe he was only acting this way because he was very sick, and Easy was a girl. Girls were supposed to take pity on dumb, sick boys.

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
February 18, 2018, 03:50 PM
Cypress
Approved Members

Hi. Cypress is a super attractive wolf. I promise.

        “Okay,” the wolf agreed meekly, using her name to see if that would appease her any. “Okay, Easy.” He watched her with brimstone eyes that were more bewildered than baleful, turning to scratch at the collar again. Maybe he was sick. Dumb and sleepy, that’s what Easy’d said. “She used to give me medicine,” he remembered suddenly, sitting bolt upright and stopping his scratching with one hind leg cranked awkwardly in the air. “I’m sorry — I thought you were somebody else before, but — ” He ought to have put his foot in his mouth but it was too late, now. He sounded crazy and he knew it, but he couldn’t stop. “It’s because I’ve been — I’ve been injured and sick. That was wrong of me,” he said earnestly, embarrassed and ashamed.

        What was wrong with him? The wolf got to his feet and shook his head, trying to clear it. He was cold and sluggish and dizzy and confused, and now that he had a picture of Alya in his head he couldn’t imagine how he’d ever made such an idiot mistake. “My head is killing me,” he managed to say, before his stomach rolled and heaved and he promptly threw up. Unfortunately for Specimen 3382, his malnourished and vastly overdosed body decided this was simply too much to deal with and triggered a vasovagal response. Gracelessly, he faceplanted directly into the puddle of pile, twitched once, and stopped moving.
February 19, 2018, 12:38 AM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

Sometimes he was surly and cute, sometimes he was weak and wormlike, and sometimes he was earnest and brave in a way that reminded her a bit of her brothers and a bit of her father. She knew which one she liked best.

"Medicine?" she repeated, doubt crossing her features. If the man needed medicine, there was not much she could do for him. She and Aditya had no knowledge of herbs (as far as she knew) and bringing him to Dawn would likely get him killed - Easy had never met someone less nurturing than Dawn. "I don't know anything about medicine," she admitted, but that didn't mean she was going to stop taking care of him. The girl had some vague notion that if she took care of him, she'd get to keep him. And while she wasn't sure yet whether or not she wanted him, it was good to have that option in her back pocket. She could always ditch him later on.

And then he vomitted. She was leaning more toward the ditching all the time. "Get up," she urged, attempting to roll the man over and clear the vomit off his face. "Urgh. You're really gross, you know that?" she said with an air of resignation, her tongue darting out to test the pile sick he'd left. Not edible, she decided. It didn't seem as though he'd had anything in his stomach worth saving.

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
February 23, 2018, 12:50 PM
Cypress
Approved Members

        Outwardly, the wolf was stiff and unmoving, his eyes glassy and staring at nothing; but after a beat, his legs began to pedal slowly as he instinctively began to right himself. He groaned softly, having missed the entirety of Easy’s commentary during his brief period of unconsciousness, and turned away from her ministrations. “Hang on,” he said, feeling disoriented and vaguely embarrassed. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what’d happened, but his memory was so damn spotty he was having trouble coming to terms with this. Right about now, he remembered that a bird made of stone had swooped down, and —

        Well, it sure didn’t feel like he had any wounds. With bile forming a crust on his chin and forelegs, he looked himself over. Nothing seemed amiss apart from the thing around his n — oh. He remembered the creepy spider-vines now, the strange pale walking trees. And Easy. He remembered Easy. “Easy?” he said, testing the waters. Her expression looked utterly disgusted, and it wasn’t hard to tell why. Grimacing at his bedraggled, fouled state, “Do you know where I can find water?” If he could splash some water on his face, maybe wash the sour taste out of his mouth, he reckoned he’d feel a hell of a lot better. He felt vaguely like he owed something to this Easy girl but he didn’t remember the details.

        “Thanks for helping me,” he said muzzily.

        He could worry about the neck thing later.
March 01, 2018, 01:04 AM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

He seemed to comply at first, but Easy realized quickly that he had simply drowned himself in his own vomit or something. That was worrying, but before she could think too much about what to do with the body, he was stirring once more, muttering things and being an asshole again.

"Just hold still," said Easy, following after him even when he tried to pull away. "Let me help, okay?"

Her stern look was not as effective as her father's, but Easy thought she did pretty well. Of course, she couldn't really argue with his need for water. It felt better - under control - while they were just sitting there. "I there's a stream a few minutes back the way I came," she said reluctantly, glad at least that he'd suddenly learned her name.

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
March 10, 2018, 07:44 AM
Cypress
Approved Members

        “Just hold still,” Easy told him. Meek and mild as a lamb, “Awrrright,” the wolf slurred. The world was swimming again; it seemed that when he sat still for too long, a strange and heavy haze weighed down on him. There was something important, he thought — something nagging at the edge of his mind and the tip of his tongue — but he was helpless to pull it from the depths of his mind. His legs shook as he stood there, sickened by the sour smell of bile and the lightheadedness he still felt. Damn it, he just wanted to sleepthe fuck won’t she let me sleep? Vaguely he wished she’d go away, forgetting utterly that only a few minutes before he’d begged her to stay. He did remember that biting was bad — and he pinned back his tall ears as he kept his expression loose and neutral. No biting. No biting.
March 12, 2018, 07:49 PM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

Finally, his face and chest were mostly-clean. The necklace, she'd found, smelled a special kind of awful, and there was no way she was putting her tongue all over that. Perhaps she didn't want it after all.

"There," she said with a flourish and a grin, pulling back to survey her work. He looked much better, but still like a dope. Affection-pity-possessiveness gripped her for a moment, but the feeling eased when he swayed a little. "What now?" she asked, forgetting that she was the adult in this conversation, currently. And then, "Oh right - water. Can you walk?" she chirped, head tilting to the side.

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
March 23, 2018, 09:30 PM
Cypress
Approved Members

        Could he walk? He wasn’t sure. Gathering his long limbs beneath him — a tenuous infrastructure at best — he rose shakily to his feet. He didn’t even remember sitting down again. Shaking his head like an irascible colt, Erebus’ scion forced his brimstone eyes to focus on the mottled girl. He nodded, prepared to follow wherever she wished to lead him, tall hellhound ears stirring faintly atop his battered crown. A roll of broad shoulders produced one unsteady stride, then another, and finally he walked himself through and out of the miasma — though his hindquarters seemed hardpressed to enter into a working relationship with his forelimbs, and his gait was overtly ataxic.
March 23, 2018, 11:14 PM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

He wobbled like a fresh fawn, and Easy - feeling the urge to romantacize once more - moved to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the older wolf. Unlike most, this stranger towered over her, his unassuming lankiness unfurling into a broad-shouldered bulk that she'd been entirely unprepared for. But he was a good wolf - she knew this to the depths of her bones - and he was under her care.

"I've got you," she chirped. A fond gaze was shot in his direction, but she didn't dare look at him for long, for fear that he might catch her staring. She was, however, wholly enamoured with the idea of being, simultanteously, both the knight in shining armor and the princess who got to keep him. "The stream's not far - just through these trees," she encouraged, going as slowly as she would let him in order to provide the most support. Finally, though, they broke through the treeline, and the stream was revealed to them along with the large herd of elk that was visiting. They hadn't been there when Easy had last looked, but they were far enough away that she was comfortable leading the man to the banks for a drink - although, she did not appreciate the flies that they drew. She could hear the droning even from where she stood.

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
March 26, 2018, 02:52 PM
Cypress
Approved Members

        Specimen 3382 lowered his muzzle to drink once they reached the stream, tall ears twitching at the buzzing drone that seemed to grow louder and louder the longer they stood there. “Easy,” he entreated, turning toward her with a thankful half-grin. He felt worlds better after a long drink, and was about to say so when the droning became a roar and the elk herd began to scatter. Not flies, but another of the stone birds! “Run!” he cried out, hastily dodging the huge herbivores as they thundered past. He couldn’t tell whether she’d gotten away, and he hated to abandon her — but he could not stay and face the nightmare-creatures a second time. Feeling wretchedly helpless, he dove into the underbrush and fled.