Lost Creek Hollow i'm floating down a river / oars freed from their holes long ago
All Welcome  April 06, 2018, 10:03 AM
Larkspur
Lone Wolves

The April sun shone brightly this morning, golden streaks breaking through the sparse spring canopy to highlight the forest floor. A sunbeam struck the surface of the creek, casting a glare that caused Larkspur to squint as she picked her way toward the shoreline. Despite the mild discomfort, a small smile played about her mouth. She could barely believe she was back in the hollow, at long last.

She took a seat and peered down at the gentle ripples, her blue eyes growing misty with memories. She had been so happy, growing up here. It was bittersweet, being here without her parents or brothers, yet the darkness that had weighed on Spur for much of her youth did not burden her now. Time—and it had taken quite a lot of it—was a great healer.

Her mother's pack had also helped her mend, though Spur's attention shifted from the past to the present and her eyes cleared as she tipped her snout upward and gazed into the woods. Slowly, she stood, walking with a barely-there limp as she explored the place where she'd been born.
April 06, 2018, 10:52 PM
Tuathal
Lone Wolves

Sunny, bright, and altogether dry: a fine day for travelling, and Tad wasted no precious time. When first setting out, he'd charted through streams and snowy passes to lose his scent, and he had felt he couldn't go a step without glancing back to search for watchful eyes and the coddle he was sure would follow. But morning by morning, he found he was met with nothingness, and no one but himself, the open road and the promise of a new start. Now a week in, and he had grown certain that none of his kin had followed after him. For once in his life, the Blackthorn was free - completely. His name meant nothing here - his slate, wiped blank. He was his, and his alone, to present, to define, and to establish to be everything he knew he was and could be, and that his family refused to see.

This spring day, the youngblood found himself in high spirits (for himself, anyway) and he set out through the cathedral of a forest keen to exploit the riches he could find. Beyond him, streams tumbled and swelled, and greater water roared a further distance away, promising fish - but no, he was done with splashing around. He focused on the mossy ground underpaw, keen to find something of interest amongst the stale and fading scents - and found a thread of something new, foreign, and leading through the trees - and he followed, keenly aware he hadn't seen another face in days -

- not that he needed to.
April 07, 2018, 08:51 AM
Larkspur
Lone Wolves

She came across a stump overgrown with toadstools. Spur stopped and sniffed, enjoying the bouquet of earthy scents. She then continued, minding the mild pain that sometimes flared in her shoulders and hips, a permanent reminder of the hopeless depression she had overcome, not to mention the Sablemoons' mystical healing capabilities.

Spur didn't actually think on any of that now, her mind very much in the present moment as she sprang atop a mossy log and trotted along it like some sort of balancing beam. When she reached the far end, she hopped down and hit the ground running. She wasn't very fast—it was really more of a shuffle than a proper run—but it limbered her muscles nicely and got her heart beating.

When her blue eyes saw a rangy figure up ahead, Spur abruptly ground to a stop, the giddy smile disappearing from her maw. Aloof, she hung back, chest heaving as she studied the stranger.
April 07, 2018, 01:40 PM
Tuathal
Lone Wolves

He didn't quite know who or what he followed, but Tad hoped he wouldn't regret what he found at the end of the trail. It zigzagged through the trees and open space, beside a river, only to loop back to send him threading in a different direction entirely. He grunted and pinched his brow, but didn't stop tracking. The circuit proved more than enough to keep him engaged - until he felt the familiar press of eyes against his skull, and he swung around with a quick and bristling whirl.

The wolf he saw bore no resemblance to any of his family, but he narrowed his molten eyes. He didn't fail to notice the shock of fur that formed a sort of stripe down the length of her spine, and he jumped to the only conclusion he knew. "Why are you following me?" he took a gutsy step toward her, his voice clipped and on edge. "Are you a Blackthorn? Did they send you?"
April 07, 2018, 01:57 PM
Larkspur
Lone Wolves

The instant he whirled to face her, bristling, and began his interrogation, Spur's ears splayed. Still breathing hard, she took a step backward, tail falling limp behind her even as she bent into an uncertain crouch. She did not flee like she might have as a child. She licked her lips, blue eyes sliding sideways as she turned his questions over in her mind, trying to make sense of them.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," she said in a firm but quiet voice. "No, I'm not a Blackthorn. And I'm not following you." The she-wolf hesitated before adding, "My name's Larkspur Ostrega. I'm just here to explore." Of course, there was more to it than that, though she didn't feel the need to elaborate just now.
April 07, 2018, 06:34 PM
Tuathal
Lone Wolves

She didn't run - but she didn't fight him, either. The girl just sort of crouched into herself, and  honestly, he felt a sting of guilt - but not so much to overpower him into a soft and apologetic mess. He held his ground until she answered him, and allowed himself to feel the satisfaction of finally being the upper man, that at least someone in his family respected him enough to take his threats seriously.

Her words, however, felt like they poked a hole in his side and sizzled him out, and he felt a hot rush along the base of his ears. Not a Blackthorn. "Oh." He wasn't so naive to believe every wolf - but he could tell from everything written through her face and her words that she wasn't lying. "Well... uh..." he stammered, ears splayed and voice edged with hesitation, before he hardened and stabbed forward again, "you still shouldn't creep up on people like that." But he held little punch. She'd turned his anger dull, and now he mostly felt a rush of irritation he'd managed to make a fool of himself again. "You could, uh, get yourself into trouble."
April 07, 2018, 09:19 PM
Larkspur
Lone Wolves

He stood down, only to berate her again a moment later. Spur's ears flattened at the next heated indictment. She hadn't crept up on him at all. She had been running, for goodness's sake; there had been nothing stealthy about her approach. But the mention of trouble gave her pause. He was being entirely disingenuous, though perhaps it was best if she didn't try to argue with someone who made accusations and threats out of hand.

With no desire to further engage him, Larkspur took another step backward. Her ice blue eyes remained fixed on him watchfully as she made a move to turn and depart back in the other direction.
April 07, 2018, 11:22 PM
Tuathal
Lone Wolves

He didn't really know where he was going with his words. In the heat of his ire, they always just came - and here, just as ever, he realized - perhaps too late - that he should have just backed down and stayed there. Tad couldn't tell what ran through the young woman's mind, but if her motions spoke anything, she was, by the turn of her body and the stay of her eyes on him, just wanting to get the heck away from him.

So much for making yourself into something better. "Wait." Half of him wanted to bid his whole mistake good riddance and spin around to leave first, but what good would that do? The way she looked at him - it burned sharper than the fire in his chest, and well, that was the last thing he wanted his name to mean here. "I'm sorry." Tuathal found himself sinking down again, ears splayed as he tried to figure out how to salvage the situation he'd bristled and bit himself into - and if the stranger would even chance him a second try. "Can we just... start over? I'm just not very... good at this."
April 08, 2018, 08:37 AM
Larkspur
Lone Wolves

When he told her to wait, she froze apprehensively. She thought she heard a note of apology in his tone. Larkspur didn't look at him directly, instead peering at a spot in the middle distance as her ears pricked atop her sandy crown. I'm listening, her body language said. Her face twitched when he apologized verbatim. Spur turned to look at him again, watching as he slumped to a sit.

She didn't move toward him, though Spur corrected the angle so she was fully facing him again. And I thought I was paranoid, she thought dryly. Aloud, she said, "Who are you? And who exactly did you think I was? A Blackthorn? What's a Blackthorn?" It sounded like a name, perhaps, but she tilted her head ever so slightly as she anticipated an explanation.
April 14, 2018, 11:52 AM
Tuathal
Lone Wolves

He took in and let out a slow draw of breath, in and out, in and out, like he'd been taught to do to control the blaze of emotions, as Larkspur turned to face him. Her barrage of questions did little to help his agenda to stay calm, yet he managed to subdue his wildfire to a contained burn - something he could press down and control until she left him. He couldn't quite discern the thoughts and conclusions she drew with her mind, but he knew he had her audience, and he planned not to squander it again.

"Tuathal." He answered, tight and controlled. "The Blackthorns are a family," his lips twitched and he corrected, "uh, my family. That red shock down your back made me think you were one. We all have one - see" he eased to his paws and turned so she could see the dark line that made its way from the crown of his head to the tip of his tail. And now the heat of his paranoia burned his cheeks. Of course Larkspur wasn't a relative. Despite her russet mark, it hardly stretched the distance of his, and her's wasn't black. Obviously. "But uh, I guess yours is different. Red, and short, and stuff... so, um, yeah..." and he lapsed into a thorough uncertainty of what more to say. He finally concluded with an awkward shrug.
April 16, 2018, 08:48 AM
Larkspur
Lone Wolves

There was an edge of anger even as he haltingly explained, which made Spur realize there was no salvaging of this particular encounter. As soon as he finished, she said, "I see." She paused, then repeated, "I'm an Ostrega, not a Blackthorn. And I'm going to go back to my sightseeing..." There was another, very brief pause before Larkspur turned away from Tuathal and bounded away through the hollow, eager to put the altercation behind her and get back to enjoying her old homestead.