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This was about as far away from home as Ole could withstand. The bitterness that followed him like a shadow had dissipated some miles back, almost as if it had simply given up on dragging him down. Ole didn't mind that, honestly. The sooner he forgot about the little black wolf from his past, the better. Besides, it wasn't like leaving had been out of the realm of possibility forever. There was a wanderlust in his heart that had been there since birth, but with the departure of his siblings in one way or another, the wolf had felt obligated to stay. Someone had to be the good child, didn't they? But his childhood friend had gone and injured his pride in such a way that he felt it necessary to escape, and so he did.

There was another little black wolf in his life, one he had promised the world and intended to give. The traveling had been difficult and slow, but Ole hadn't been in a hurry. They took their time and were finally rewarded with greenery aplenty, with a strangely glistening river running along the ground. Ole's attention shifted to Mauti, a crooked grin dancing along his lips. "Stop here for now?" he rumbled softly, giving a nonchalant flick of his tail.  It seemed nice, almost like the forest they had left behind. They both needed the rest and he was quite eager to flop onto the ground and sleep for hours on end.  Hims was a tired boy.
There was something riveting about being somewhere new and unfamiliar. She was unrecognizable, her face unknown, her past unable to follow along to nip at her heels. It was like a rebirth, to step away from the valley she was born in and begin anew.

The journey had been a difficult one, of course. While Mauti was certainly more used to maneuvering with only three limbs, that didn't make her anything close to normal. She knew she would never return to that state, either — but had she ever been normal to begin with? She certainly didn't think so.

But maybe that was what had driven her to live.

She'd hobbled along at Ole's side for what felt like weeks, but he'd been kind enough to go slow. So she didn't immediately drop when he offered to stop; instead, she glanced to him, a small grin pulling at the corners of her lips. "Let's keep walking," she suggested. It wasn't too late in the day yet, and she was interested to see what the river could offer them a little ways down. She gestured with her nose towards the woods some distance off, "We could explore that?"
There were moments shared between them he suspected no one else was ever blessed enough to see. Mauti was an enigma in every aspect of the word, and Ole delighted in uncovering the few secrets she shared with him. He'd grown accustomed to her quirks (he could only assume the same for her) and those little things that made her who she was, but that didn't mean he appreciated them any less. It was moments like now, where he caught the rare sight of her grinning that made him want to give her the world. She had blossomed from the wolf he'd met in the woods begging to be killed and now stood beside him as an equal, like it or not. The smile was infectious and he quickly found himself mirroring it, pleased to do whatever it was she requested of him in that moment. Putty in her paws was a rather accurate description, but he wouldn't change it for the world. His gaze followed hers as it swept towards the forest beyond.  "Certainly, m'lady," Ole said with a teasing bow. He nudged her cheek with his muzzle and began to amble over yonder, taking in all the strange new sights and sounds. It was incredibly fascinating how similar yet so utterly different every forest could be, but though he did his best not to think of home, he couldn't help but wonder after his parents. Ah, well. He had to grow up sometime, didn't he? And he would be back one day. He just needed to explore a bit before doing so. Right? Right.
He acted chivalrous, but whether or not it was his genuine demeanor or a simple jest didn't occur much to Mauti. She certainly saw it in a more playful light, however, and wasn't opposed to the way her eyes crinkled in clear amusement.

"I wonder," she started, taking a moment to gather her thoughts. She'd glanced at the water that trickled to their left, marveled at how it remained flowing through the colder months. This valley, so far, seemed far warmer than their last. It would make for a nice change. "Do you think there's much game around here?"

There were no scents that stood out to her aside from Ole's, but maybe he had a better nose. And if they could find something, maybe she could watch him track it for once instead of lying around and waiting for a meal. After all, he had agreed to help her relearn the art of it.
For someone with as thick and fluffy of a coat as Ole, warmer weather was a fate worse than death.  Not really, but he was equally as dramatic as he was warm.  Although he despised snow, he enjoyed the cooler weather.  He bloody well had to enjoy it considering it was the only time of year he didn't feel like a polar bear in the desert!  Regardless of how thin his summer coat was, it never seemed to be enough to keep him happy.  Such a diva, that Ole, always wanting to be comfortable in his own skin.
"I'd imagine so," he said with a brisk nod.  "This must be paradise for the prey that migrates from back home.  We're gonna eat like royalty." Hunting, fighting -- these were not his strong suits.  He was more apt at healing and.. sleeping, he guessed.  He'd kept them both alive so far, however, and would continue to broaden his hunting abilities every chance he got.  "Hmm," he murmured, stepping a few strides ahead to scent the air.  "Maybe further in?  It's gonna be hard to grab a deer unless it's already wounded.  We're gonna be better off going for rabbits in the woods." With all the trees around, Ole wasn't terribly confident he had the agility to avoid them pursuing something as agile as a deer.  Be pretty funny, though.
Rabbits in the woods.

She'd been one of those once; soft and supple, innocent despite the shadows that shrouded her form. Small, defenseless. Quick on her feet but none the safer for it. Mauti hummed lightly as he spoke, eyes glittering to follow him as he moved forward. "Do you think I could ever catch a rabbit?" she asked.

Sure, she was used to it; the slow, meandering walk; the adjusting to a new equilibrium; the subtle pride she felt as she grew more proficient at staying upright. And she'd run before, too, but she hardly thought it was anything close to what was needed to catch a nimble animal in the underbrush.

"By myself, I mean."
Nothing if not optimistic, Ole was eager to plunge into the woods to see what treasures lay in waiting.  Would the meat taste differently? Logically he knew there was no reason for it to, but hey, the guy was excited. Being away from home was both riveting and terrifying, but while he was out he had intentions on experiencing everything. Ole wanted to sniff every flower, drink from every stream, climb every rock. He wanted to do all the things and with Mauti by his side, he felt capable of doing every single one.

He glanced to her from the corner of his eye as she spoke a subtle self deprecation. Ole doubted she'd meant it as such, but he took it to heart considering how feelings for her. Even if he wanted to hunt for her for the rest of their lives, Ole knew there was a strength in being independent. Mauti needed that independence and he would help her every step of the way.

"Yeah, of course.  Hale could hunt pretty well, I think.  Nothin' huge but none of us went out of our way to bring him food.  He was gettin' it from somewhere." He would have been quite an asset in helping Mauti learn, but being dead certainly put an end to that.  "I think stealth is gonna be your ticket. They can't run if they don't know ya comin'." Ole moved to bump her shoulder with his muzzle and flashed a reassuring grin.  "First let's try trackin' somethin', doesn't matter what.  Can you smell anything?" He'd picked up on the faintest scent of deer in the distance, but he wasn't sure how trained up her sense of smell was at the moment. Ole gave a few encouraging wags of his tail, hoping he had any talent whatsoever in teaching someone to hunt.
The lack of hesitation he held when replying to her took her by some measure of surprise. She'd been expecting the same general answer, but perhaps with more of a lilt, maybe a crack in his voice that would tell her he had just as much faith in her success as she did in herself. But there was none of that. He was quick and direct, even used Hale as a very, very good example that yes, she'd be capable of providing for herself some day.

She thought about it for a moment, her eyes lifting whenever he spoke. Then, "Was that how Hale did it, you think? Stealth?" Because she could do that. She was nothing if not quiet and careful, meticulous in where she placed her paws. It had never occurred to her that she could use that natural disposition for anything other than sneaking around, but hunting was definitely a start.

Ole asked if she could smell anything, and she paused to flare her nostrils, test the air. But she was so out of practice, her senses dulled by the stuffy air of all the dens she'd rested in, that she could only smile meekly at him. "Only you," she admitted.
Oleander was nothing if not enthusiastic, if that was even the appropriate word.  Denial would have been more fitting, if he was being honest with himself, but when had he ever been that?  Shit, he was hundreds of miles away from his home and his family pretending like he didn't miss his mother like crazy.  The only thing keeping him moving forward as acting as though everything was fine and dandy; denying that anything was wrong seemed like the safest way to live.  Deny, deny, deny.  Did he genuinely think Mauti would be able to hunt for herself one day?  Yes. Maybe.  He didn't know, but as long as he kept ramming full speed ahead without thinking negative thoughts, he assumed things would be fine. "Yeah, which is pretty impressive considerin' how big he was.  Moved like a ghost." Actually, he moved like a bumbling, three-legged disaster.. but those were quiet sometimes.  Mauti was more lithe and agile, so he had hope she would succeed wherever Hale had failed. His ear twitched at her admittance.  "Well, do I at least smell nice?" he asked with a crooked grin, hoping to God she would at least pretend.  Oleander was a very clean wolf and took his hygiene very seriously, so any criticism would send him straight to a lake to bathe.  Maybe after he would roll in some flowers.  Anyway.  "There's deer out there.  You know what a deer smells like, think about it.  Let's walk until you smell it," he encouraged with a nod. 
Okay, stealth was definitely how Hale did it. Mauti nodded shortly in agreement to Ole's words, recalling briefly that the other man was quite large. But if he could do it, that meant she could, too. That she'd have a better time of it, too, because she had less body to maneuver and smaller paws to place between the undergrowth.

Ole jested at her next words, asking if he at least smelled nice. And she cracked another grin, followed by a nod that was slightly more enthusiastic than normal. "Yes, yes, of course," she reassured him. But maybe they could both roll in some flowers?

He went on to explain that there were, in fact, deer in the area. And that she should be able to smell them, if only they walked for long enough. So she went back to sniffing, quiet, trying to make it seem like she was doing more than just enjoying his presence.
She seemed satisfied enough with his answer to go along with it for now. Ole hadn't a clue how the man had actually survived for as long as he had, but looking back.. well, there had been quite a few near misses throughout his short life.  Maybe it had only been Witch that had kept him alive? He didn't know, but the kid was gone now so it was out of his control. @Mauti reassured him that he smelled fine, bless her heart. It brought up another tactic, however, and Ole was nothing if not in teacher mode.  "Disguisin' your scent would also help. Like if you're huntin' in the woods, roll in some leaves or mud type of thing. Just gotta get creative, yeah?" He hoped so, because in reality he was grasping at straws. What other wisdom could he impart on her?  None, and what he'd already said was likely detrimental to her learning. Ole did his best, but oftentimes his best was severely lacking. "We're gettin' closer, smell anything?" Because honestly, he didn't know another way outside of laying out every prey item for her to sniff and scent.. and that would take quite a bit of work.