Redtail Rise and in the gunslinger's mind, those words echoed: you dare not
All Welcome  January 05, 2019, 01:03 PM
Illidan
Rusalka
Beta

the young man ventured away from the sound at an easy sway. it took him several long paces before he was capable of moving past his aching frame and into a solid gait that would carry him a reasonable distance. he’d had enough of the ocean for a short while and he wanted to step away from the rolling waves and endless cries of the gulls overhead. more than this, he wished to move away from the eyes of the cliff wolves who loomed above them. it was unlikely that the beasts up there could see anything, but the wildling still felt a strange sickness when he thought of them.
 
the young thing roamed well beyond where he had intended and sought the mountains that seemed to stretch out of nothing. they were smaller than some of the others that he’d seen, but it gave him hope that he could clamber up them easier on his injured frame. the youthful savage reached the base of the rise and drew his sights upward, peering at the jutting stone and snow-capped peaks. it was a good day for a challenge.
February 03, 2019, 02:55 PM
Sarah
Lost Creek Hollow
Stalwart
Sarah had slept peacefully tonight, Osprey had taken watch over her sleep and no nightmares had tormented her daughter's mind. She awoke well-rested, broke through the snow cocoon she had made for herself and breathed in the fresh, crisp air of the morning. It was cloudy, the sun was visible as a round, yellow orb in the sky and it was bitter cold. The areas of her skin, which had been severely burnt and therefore hairless were more tender to this change in temperature, but as soon as the she-wolf began to move and warm up, the unpleasant sensation disappeared. 

She had wandered far the day before and had got a bit lost, but, having no friends at the hollow, who would worry about her too much, Sarah did not mind extending her journey. There was something very pleasant in the solitude, now that her mind was freed from the oppressing darkness that had reigned there for months. She stopped to inspect a spot here and a spot there, thought for a moment to having caught a whiff of a fox, and then with the change of the wind a smell of another wolf was brought to her. 

Quite living, and, if she was not entirely mistaken, not too far away either. Having learned that meeting people and talking to them helped to ease her condition, she set out to find the source.
February 12, 2019, 08:07 PM
Illidan
Rusalka
Beta
the wind favored the woman, and so this left illidan at something of a disadvantage in discovering her. his mind was occupied with the looming structure of the rise. he was estimating just how long it would take him to climb to the highest point. he wondered if he would have had to spend a frigid night hunkered down in one of the caves. while it was a frightening thought, it was also one that inspired a great deal of determination in the young man. there was nothing like the looming threat of death to motivate someone into pushing forward.
 
with a quiet breath, illidan jumped up onto a high vantage point and turned to glance around him. this was when he caught sight of the grey figure that was approaching. his hawkish gaze squinted on her, wondering if there was a chance he could determine familiarity. the wind was still against him, but he did not appear as though he was frightened by the presence of the woman. the dark-hooded young man simply waited to see if it was indeed him that she sought.
February 16, 2019, 02:53 PM
Sarah
Lost Creek Hollow
Stalwart
Sarah did not have to look for the source far and soon met him face to face. Her silver eyes met his golden gaze and she stood there watching him for a while with a somewhat calculating expression. Then she broke off the contact, sat down and tilting her head to the side, gained  the rest of the visual information she could obtain from him.

An unusual specimen and young too - there she had a little advantage over him and she hoped that her age - almost three - would not mean that they would have nothing to converse about. "Hey," she said finally and there her experience in starting and keeping a conversation with a stranger started and ended.
March 01, 2019, 07:32 PM
Illidan
Rusalka
Beta
“hello,” the young ghost returned to her with a small dip of his muzzle toward the earth. in spite of his age, illidan had experienced enough that he could converse with most adults without finding much issue. of course, he couldn’t hear the concerns that floated around in the woman’s mind. he didn’t know that his youth would deter her from speaking to him. he was almost a year old, but he felt as though he carried the years of many underneath the dual colors of his coat.
 
“you live around here?” the ghost inquired with a glance at their surroundings. he hadn’t scented any strong border markings, but that didn’t mean that there weren’t loners nearby who had claimed an area for themselves. she definitely had the scent of others on her coat.
March 03, 2019, 10:27 AM
Sarah
Lost Creek Hollow
Stalwart
Though Sarah detested "small talk" in general, she realized that at this point it was unwelcome necessity of her healing process. And therefore was glad that the fellow she had greeted was more generous in his attempt to keep the conversation going. Looking at him, it felt as if it did not take as much effort as it did for her. But she would give her best though awkward and uncomfortable shot at this.

"No, not really. I live further down South, a place called Lost Creek Hollow," she answered. "What about you?"
March 11, 2019, 08:22 PM
Illidan
Rusalka
Beta
it was actually shocking that he had been able to convince her in his ability to carry on a conversation. now, it wasn’t that illidan was particularly bad at chatting it up with strangers, but that he ran out of friendly and bubbly things to say rather quickly. it was almost as though his mind naturally devolved into the darker portions of what it had gathered. he couldn’t stay peppy for very long, no matter the company.
 
when the stranger mentioned that she came from a place called lost creek hollow, he nodded his dark head and then – almost foolishly – searched the distant stretch of trees, wondering if he might have been able to see it from where they stood. the girl returned his question and he pulled his hawkish gaze away from the woods that stretched outward. “me? i live right by the ocean, actually,” illidan answered with a shriveled smile. it was there that he motioned toward where the sound was, or where he remembered it to be.
 
“have you run into anything interesting on your trek this far?” he thought to ask. it would accomplish two tasks, he hoped. first, he might get an idea just how far she had traveled before running into him, and if the young ghost was going to be wandering out and about, it would be worth it to find something cool to retell to raleska or wyatt when he got back.
March 13, 2019, 03:36 AM
Sarah
Lost Creek Hollow
Stalwart
Sarah had not bothered to burden hir mind with "interesting", when she had left the hollow and walked this far. Either the finding or observation was of practical use or it did not spark her interest at all. But it was important to the fellow of the coast, therefore she gave some effort to come up with anything particular. 

And when all she could recall was snowy fields, trees and mountains in the distance, which was pretty much the same landscape one could observe here, she smiled and said: "So far you are the most interesting creature I have met."
March 13, 2019, 11:42 PM
Illidan
Rusalka
Beta
well, that was flattering. he had hardly done anything to be considered interesting, but he accepted the words with a fleeting smile and a small nod of his head. then, the dark-hooded young man cleared his throat and returned his sights to the woman at his front. she was kindly enough, and she carried herself with an assurance that he almost envied. she did not prowl in the same way that he did. she moved as though she intended every step and there would be no one to stop her.
 
“well, that’s awfully kind of you when i haven’t done much of interest,” illidan remarked with a crooked smirk. “what’s your name and… your favorite scent?” the young ghost then inquired with a curious look. he thought that it might have been a good place to start, even if he wasn’t the best at conversation prompts. he was hoping that it would lead to something with a little more substance.
March 14, 2019, 04:40 AM
Sarah
Lost Creek Hollow
Stalwart
The name part was easy, but favorite scent? What the hell? As brief as this mental exclamation was in her mind, the bewilderment of her expression lasted longer. But instead of ignoring that part of the question, she suddenly pictured Gannet and later Nikai both of whom had said that talking helped. So talk she would, even if the inquiry made no sense to her.

"My name is Sarah," she said steadly, paused, her eyes darted from left to right, while she came up with the smell she liked particularly. "The smell of rain. Forest in spring after the snow has melted. What about you? Who are you?"
March 21, 2019, 05:26 PM
Illidan
Rusalka
Beta
alright, so it wasn’t a common request. illidan knew that his meeting with her was unorthodox in that sense, but he believed that it would help to ease the troubles of formally introducing themselves before awkwardly shuffling away. he wasn’t expecting that he would receive the look that he did from her, but he also wasn’t expecting that she would answer his question with a legitimate response. it brought a small smile to his dark features and a steady nod of his head.
 
“my name is illidan… it’s nice to meet you, sarah,” he returned his own moniker with a stiff sort of bow of his torso. “it’s hard to pick a favorite, but i think my favorite scent is a pine forest,” he then answered her honestly. his mind drifted back to the blackpine in the sound. he wondered how long it would take for him to trek back to the towering cliffs and the sound of the ocean. “are you a scout for your pack, or just adventuring?”
March 25, 2019, 01:34 PM
Sarah
Lost Creek Hollow
Stalwart
"Pine is wonderful. So is spruce," Sarah nodded, recalling the sweltering lazy evenings in summer, when the smell of these trees had been the strongest. Or wild rosemary near marshes around the same time. 

Illidan helped to move the conversation along and she was glad for it, because talking with people she hardly knew was an entirely new territory for her. Or rather a labyrinth - she would hit dead ends every time the fellow did not offer a thread to grasp on. 

"Neither, really," her answer was honest. Neither wanderlust, nor practical matters. Walking just had seemed a good alternative to thinking too much. She added hastily, when she realized that she had not asked a question herself: "What about you?"
April 01, 2019, 08:26 PM
Illidan
Rusalka
Beta
he smiled when she agreed and then again when she offered that spruce also had a delightful smell to it. it was so peculiar to him that he was born of the sea but felt more at home in the woods. perhaps it was why he had occupied a majority of his time in the blackpine of rusalka. it felt like he had found a way to feel at home in his pack and he coveted that. of course, these were things that he would never dare share with the woman he just met. instead, he kept silent about the subject of scents and moved on to the conversation that had been carried forward.
 
“i’m a scout for my pack on the coast and i’ve ventured out this way in search of someone, as well as to improve my ability to learn the lay of the land,” he answered her with a quick smile and a humble sort of nod of his head. there was nothing too special that had caused him to venture in her direction that day. he supposed it was just one of those things. “have you met a wolf named kavik? or one called liri, by chance?” illidan felt it was important to ask.
April 02, 2019, 02:00 PM
Sarah
Lost Creek Hollow
Stalwart
"No, never heard about them," Sarah replied as truthfully as she could. She hardly paid any attention to, what happened inside or around the pack, so, even if the two wolves had been part of the hollow for months, she would have not known their names.

"Why are you looking for them? Are they family?" she decided to ask.
April 05, 2019, 11:22 PM
Illidan
Rusalka
Beta
he was a little disappointed that the girl had not heard of kavik or liri. it reflected in the downcast expression that washed over his face. the dark-hooded wildling breathed out a soft sigh before offering her a thin-lipped smile. she asked him if they were family. he wasn’t sure how much she really wanted to hear about his backstory. they’d only just met, after all, and he had already thrown her off with his peculiar questions about scents.
 
“just about,” he responded to her honestly. “they took me in when i was very young and separated from my family. they took care of me.” then, illidan cleared his throat awkwardly and flashed her a ghostly sort of half smile. it wasn’t her fault that she hadn’t run into the dark man and his pale mate. there was a good chance that the two had taken off and found something else out there – something better.
April 09, 2019, 02:47 PM
Sarah
Lost Creek Hollow
Stalwart
"Why were you separated from your family, what happened?" Sarah inquired with more intensity in her voice than earlier, revealing that for a particular reason this piece of Illidan's personal history was important to her. Up until now she had thought of her lost family as either dead together or alive together. No middle ground. But anything could have happened. Little jays had been quite young then and incapable of surviving on their own. What if the group split up and got lost? What if they had had to rely on mercy of other people? 

Her heart ached, as she thought about this, a new wave of guilt and regret washe over her, but she contained herself and waited to hear the young man's story. In order to find some consolation that - just maybe - her youngest siblings had met good people along the way too.
April 23, 2019, 05:32 PM
Illidan
Rusalka
Beta
her question surprised him. perhaps it was because her tone had changed very quickly. there was a new intensity to her words that he hadn't been expecting to hear. one ear swiveled atop his head as illidan averted his gaze away from her grey features and fixed his sights on the ground instead. he was not certain that he wished to share his life with a stranger. he was not certain that he even wished to confront his own trials and tribulations on his own. instead of declining, though, illidan breathed a quiet sigh and returned his gaze to her own.

“the beginning of my childhood was difficult. we lost our home. we were turned away by a pack because they believed new children would be a risk to their own blood... and then my brother disappeared,” he told her honestly. his tone was somber and his features became very tired. “i was too young, but it didn't stop me from going out to look for him. my father followed and lost his life. i must have been lucky because someone found me and gave me a home...” but it did not fully sound as though he believed his own fortune.
April 26, 2019, 03:24 PM
Sarah
Lost Creek Hollow
Stalwart
In short - Illidan's life had not been a bed of roses. He seemed to be nonchalant about his past and therefore Sarah did not pity him the least. She listened to the facts and memorized them as such. No emotions attached, which made it difficult for her to keep the conversation going. She did not wish to pry too much in the boy's past, at the same time she was not in a haste to end the conversation either. He was a pleasant chap, because he made her forget her troubles briefly and feel almost normal. For a person, who was either drowning most of the time or drifting indifferently through life, this was like reaching an island with a palm tree. At brief pause in the mundane existence. 

"I see," she finally said. "Where do you live now?"
April 26, 2019, 04:15 PM
Illidan
Rusalka
Beta
there was something to be appreciated in the fact that sarah didn't pry into his emotions and attempt to delve further into his mental state regarding his separation from his family and home. while she was well-aware enough to understand that he might have been behaving nonchalantly about it, it was really a subject that caused him considerable grief. he simply didn't know how to handle those types of emotions when they were so powerful inside of him. regardless, illidan felt relief in her reaction and follow-up question.

“it's a pack on the coast, guarded by tall stone on either side. it's called rusalka,” he answered her, offering a ghostly sort of smile. “you would be welcome to visit, should you ever venture that far,” illidan then offered with a more eager nod. he enjoyed the company of the woman, even though he was not the best at talking through his feelings. “i'd be happy to give you a grand tour.”

“what about you, though? what's your home like?”
May 01, 2019, 01:34 PM
Sarah
Lost Creek Hollow
Stalwart
Sarah was a little taken aback, how readily Illidan invited her in his home, without knowing a single thing about her. She nodded in response, but wondered, whether this kind of naivety (and recklesness) had something to do with his young age or was it simply the way he was. Being an introvert by nature, she had a difficult time letting people in, even less so, when it came to dealing with the occasional strangers at the borders. She had preferred to see them gone to any diplomatic relations.

"A lot of trees, a river," Sarah struggled to describe her home, because to her details and looks had never mattered. With her ongoing depression it was a wonder that she had managed to squeeze out that much. "I am not good at this," she apologized.
May 02, 2019, 05:44 PM
Illidan
Rusalka
Beta
her description was brief, but it allowed for his imagination to fill in the blanks. he nodded his head to her with a soft smile, hoping that she did not feel discouraged. when she seemed to apologize in her tone, he shook his head and his dark lips spread further. she did not have anything to sound apologetic for. he did not want her to feel as though she owed him anything.

“oh no, you're just fine,” illidan assured her in a soft voice. “your home sounds beautiful. sometimes i miss the smell of the trees. the scent of the ocean is pretty over powering. do you have family that lives with you?” he decided to ask her next. he was not certain if family was a subject that she wanted to approach or if she was more like him in that regard. she struck him as an independent type, but he wasn't certain.
May 08, 2019, 08:35 AM
Sarah
Lost Creek Hollow
Stalwart
Although Illidan had only good intentions, when he encouraged Sarah, she felt more intimidated and embarrassed. Two emotions that had never belonged to her usual spectrum and now they were here to remind her that this - talking well - was yet another area, where she had failed. Completely and utterly. 

She was glad that he was more at ease talking about himself than prying her for more information. Happy that there was something to listen to, something to ponder and try to imagine. To his next inquiry her first instinct was to say "no", but on the second thought - it was not true. "My brother lives there," she said in a way, as if she herself was not sure, if that counted. "And his friends," she finished.
June 01, 2019, 03:36 PM
Illidan
Rusalka
Beta
i would really like to have another thread with these two someday <33

the dark-hooded young man would not have felt confident in himself if she had been verbal about her feelings on their conversation. it might have seemed humorous to him to think that someone thought themselves to be worse at speaking than he believed himself to be. it was not kind to laugh at the insecurities of others, though. the young ghost did not wish to disrupt the life of this woman anymore than he had. he was tired, anyway, and he felt as though he had occupied more than enough of her time.
 
illidan smiled softly at the mention of her family. “it’s good to have family close by,” he told her in a soft voice, thinking about his own relatives in that moment and fighting with the realization that he missed them. glancing back over his shoulder toward where he had come from, the wildling breathed a soft sigh. “sarah, i don’t want to take up much more of your day… but if you’re ever by the sea, send out a howl. i would be happy to share my home with you for a short moment,” illidan offered to her with a small bow.
 
with that, he bid her farewell and slipped away into the woods so that he could continue his hunt for kavik and liri.
June 02, 2019, 02:47 PM
Sarah
Lost Creek Hollow
Stalwart
Do you realize that Illidan has managed to charm the second Redleaf-DiSarinno sister in a row? :D Now, he needs to meet Wraen to complete the circle.

Sarah did not say anything to Illidan's invitation and watched him take his leave with the same somber expression she had worn the whole conversation. It was not likely that she would ever go that far, less even that she would make any call. She did not understand his motives for extending a welcoming paw to a literal stranger and thought them quite reckless. From the brief interview they had had, he could have hardly drawn an accurate image of, who she truly was. His luck that she was not something very bad. 

At some point during her walk home she decided to write his decision down to his youth and lack of experience. And with the final thought of wishing that he never had to learn about the great evils of this world, she put the memory of him on the shelf, where she had placed other people that had come and gone in her life. Meant to gather dust and cobwebs, never to be pulled out in the daylight again.