Snowforest Taiga how can you ever learn what isn't shown
March 09, 2019, 03:18 PM
Cadeau
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She wasn't quite sure how to feel about having a companion to travel on the open trail with but after the lonely nights she'd spent since running away from home she couldn't say she was opposed. Cadeau had always been a social animal, anxious and oppressed sure, but still a girl who wanted an ear to talk to. Cadeau worried she would muck it up somehow by being too mouthy or do something stupid to make Illidan mad, and so she tried her hardest to behave even if she had butterflies in her stomach. She never spent much company with 'the wolf' as the town had called them, spoon fed horror stories raunchy and horrifying enough to make any dog fear the very notion of encountering one.

"They're beasts! Savages and ruthless with no control of their instincts my mom says. You best keep your heritage on the low profile, Cad. You'll get in trouble one day," Cadeau remembered a puppyhood friend warning her once. They hadn't been entirely wrong in that regard, she glumly mused.

Her father had been kind and Illidan seemed like a good reasonable guy so far despite the fact he was still a stranger, Cadeau mused perhaps those old wives tales had been stretched too far the more she let her mind stray. Once she met more wolves maybe she could begin to not fear the fact she shared half herself with them. She shook her head to clear the cluttered ramblings for another time and place. Not now. 

She couldn't call Illidan a friend yet, they'd only just met however Cadeau hoped to bridge that gap in time. The plan so far was to scout out wolf packs to meet so she could possibly find a place to belong. As such, the two canines were on the road, she mostly following Illidan as she had no idea where anything was in these mysterious wilds.

She was fine with that though, Cadeau couldn't embarrass herself if she were not taking charge, her ears burning as she recalled her youth as a bossy boots. There was so much she wanted to ask him, so much to know but Cadeau held her tongue, not wanting to annoy him. Don't mess this up, Cadeau. She told herself with an adamant nod, staring at the back of his head.

Plop! Plop! Plop! She felt something wet hit her nose and blinking, Cadeau lifted her head to the sky where swollen gray clouds floated overhead. The forest had smelled like water all morning and her suspicions that it would rain later seemed correct. The droplets started off light and bearable, quickly though that changed to a steady downpour that made her fur cling to her body like a second skin. It was still winter even if the mild warmth the days recently brought hinted to an early spring, causing her to shiver at the chill.

Not wanting to seem like a baby over a bit of cold air and wet fur, Cadeau braved it with a steady trot, keeping pace with Illidan. If he could walk with those injuries of his than Cadeau could put up with some discomfort too.

"Where to now, Illidan?" She finally said over the rain, brown eyes looking around idly to distract her nerves. Thunder rumbled overhead like an aggressive bob cat, it reminded her of the car engines back home. 

@Illidan
March 21, 2019, 12:16 AM
Illidan
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they had travelled a good distance on spirit and their limbs alone. the further that they trekked, the more that the ghost believed their task to be perfectly achievable. there was a vast stretch of land that seemed to branch out from wherever they stood, but illidan was not intimidated by this. instead, he believed that they had only an astounding opportunity ahead of them. in time, he thought that they would find everything they had set out to. the dark-hooded young man only hoped that the halfling would not be disappointed by their findings.
 
onward they went until the skies darkened and the air came to life with the prospect of a storm. fate had a peculiar way of working. distant thunder threatened to carry out the worst of the weather, but there was something that halted the storm in a single moment of breathless anticipation. just as the first few droplets of rain had started to fall, the entire sky seemed to spark to life with a flicker of lightning that stretched through the dark sea of clouds that swirled overhead.
 
the roar of thunder echoed around them like a blanket that was only sound. in the marrow of his bones, illidan could feel the stirring that had been inspired by the natural phenomenon. he drew his sights upward to peer into the darkness and breathed in the scent of fresh rainfall against the wood.
 
’where to now, illidan?’
 
her voice broke through his thoughts. the ghost turned his sights to her sharply, peering at the differences that he noticed in her features. he did not answer her immediately. instead, he held his tongue while a new wave of thunder washed over their heads; an impressive display of nature’s brilliance. “i think we ought to find a place to wait this out,” he finally returned to her with a thin-lipped smile. then, he gestured with his muzzle toward a high perch and a dark cave.
March 21, 2019, 12:50 AM
Cadeau
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Cadeau didn't move a muscle until Illidan said so, he lived out in the wild far longer than she ever did and would know better of what action they should take. She felt his eyes on her, the halfling cocking her head to the side curiously like a pup in that moment.

She fought off a shiver at the sodden layer of brown fur slick against her body, shifting from paw to paw. Idly she picked a piece of gravel out from between her toes, grimacing. Cadeau couldn't help but flinch when another loud crash of thunder sounded overhead, Illidan didn't seem to mind the noise though.

He suggested they wait out the storm and gestured to what appeared to be a ledging that lead into some cave. Cadeau craned her neck up to get a better look at it, as if to inspect it as a good spot to hunker down. A large raindrop exploding over her eyes reminded her there was no time to be picky.

Anything remotely warm and dry was good enough for her at this point! A scratch of lightning illuminated the sky, more thunder purred overhead. Snow around them turned into sleet and made her paws feel cold, didn't help there was also wet clumps of grass and sticky mud too. 

Wiping at her face, she turned to Illidan with a smile. "Where ever you go I follow, Illidan. Let's hurry, I feel like a drenched sewer rat," she told him with something of a chortle, shaking water from her fur.
March 21, 2019, 04:28 PM
Illidan
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the storms would never bother him. he felt as though there was a cluster of them that existed inside of him. every day he could feel the creeping roar of thunder as it echoed in a boom. the sound of it could be felt in his ribs. he carried it with him and did not allow it to see the light of day. all that there was, he believed that the storm was meant to exist only inside of him. should it escape, he feared what would follow. up until that point, he had not seen a reason to lose his head. though he had seen tragedy on numerous occasions, he had not found his breaking point yet.
 
when cadeau agreed to go where he suggested, illidan did not waste any time in leading them toward the high stone. the promise of shelter had picked up his pace. he moved like a lean jungle cat across the sharp stones. even though the rain had created a slippery ground, it did not seem to phase the wild ghost. it seemed that no time had passed before he found himself standing at the mouth of the dark shelter. he lowered his head and breathed in the scent of stale wanderers who had made a stop in the same place. there was no sign of anyone having been there recently, though.
 
behind him, the sky burst with light; thunder followed quickly after. illidan turned his attention over his shoulder to see if cadeau was able to clamber up the steep rock to stand where he did. from where the mouth of the cave sat, he thought he could see all the way back to the sound. the ghost reveled in that moment – the scent of rain and the promise of spring – as he peered out across the greatest stretch of earth that he’d ever witnessed.
March 21, 2019, 04:57 PM
Cadeau
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Cadeau followed after Illidan though she was much less graceful than he was climbing up those stones. Her claws scraped along the rocky surface, slick from the rain. She inwardly cheered when she didn't make a fool of herself, catching her balance and reaching the spot that Illidan chose for them to camp inside of. Though the stones were damp it was much drier than outside in the storm, causing Cadeau to sigh in relief as she flopped onto her rump.

She fluffed her fur up to try and get the droplets out of it, big ears drooping under the weight of moisture. Cadeau watched Illidan sniff about, probably seeing if there were anyone else resting here too. She attempted to copy him, standing and lowering her nose to the ground, eyes poorly hiding she was watching him to make sure she was doing it right. Cadeau eventually returned to her previous spot, spinning in a circle before laying down and stretching her lithe form. More of the storm raged outside and like her companion she let her eyes gaze outside at the stretch of wilderess and the rain that poured down.

"I take it weather like this doesn't bother you much," Cadeau said, turning her eyes back to Illidan. She smiled. "You handle it like a trooper." She took in a deep breath of air, she could almost taste spring. "Guess spring will be coming soon, it'll be nice seeing all the snow melt finally. I forget what green looks like." Her face fell a moment, it made her realize how long its been since she left home. Winter had only just began when she ran off. Cadeau shook her head, putting a smile on once more as she tried to keep positive. This journey she was on with Illidan was about moving forward with her life, not back. 

This was the perfect time to try and get to know Illidan better Cadeau realized, eyeing her companion with open curiosity. She caught herself staring and knowing it could come across as weird and impolite, turned her head away to watch the wide open landscape once again. "So..." She dragged the word out suddenly awkward, trying to think of good topics for small talk. Cadeau fiddled with a pebble between her paws, looking quite comically over thoughtful. Papa always said I talked too much, silence is just too suffocating. Inwardly she pouted at the image of her father laughing, teasing that Cadeau pushed more than she would wait for things. Okay maybe he wasn't entirely wrong on that one. She could recall a lot of stupid things falling through her loose lips as a puppy. Lips clearly still too loose even now that she let the thought linger, considering how much she spilled to Illidan just right after meeting him.

Clearly this loner thing wasn't working out for her.

So she sucked in a breath and held it, not wanting to overstep boundaries with Illidan by speaking too much.
March 28, 2019, 04:29 PM
Illidan
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the perch that had been found was breathtaking. the rough stone overlooked a stretch of land that seemed to go on for eternity before being washed away in the dismal grey of the looming storm clouds. he wondered if there was an end to it, or if it was never meant to stop. he wondered how long it would take to try to touch every portion of the earth that did exist... how long would he have had to be gone in order to accomplish such a bold feat? more than this, he knew that it was a thought that was deeply rooted in fantasy. after all of the time that he had spent away from his family, illidan wasn't sure that he could ever leave again.

when cadeau spoke about his confidence in the storm, he turned to her with a single rust-colored ear that splayed to the side. there was a thoughtful frown that creased his dark features before he shrugged a shoulder. “i understand the storm. it's one of the few things that makes sense to me. and even when it doesn't make sense, it still feels like it's a part of me. things like that are easier to accept,” he answered her quietly, unsure if his words even made sense. the wild ghost wondered if he had indulged too much in his spoken thoughts.

'so...'

the word hung in the air between them, swallowed by the sound of thunder as it echoed through the cave. the haggard young man turned his attention to her curiously. “so...” he echoed in a gravelly voice. illidan nodded his head to her in an encouraging gesture for her to continue – to ask whatever questions might have lingered in her mind. the boy was not always good at starting conversations. in fact, he was rarely good at contributing to them. still, the duo had lasted that long with each other as company.
March 28, 2019, 05:29 PM
Cadeau
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Cadeau tipped her head to the side as she listened to Illidan speak, humming thoughtfully once he was done. She wore a thin smile, regarding him with earnest attentiveness. "That's really deep," Cadeau replied with, brown eyes turning to watch the storm. She fell quiet a moment, brows furrowed as she let the words linger before turning back to him. A flash of lightning illuminated the sky, catching the wolves' fur with a faint white tint. "A storm can be a lot of things, huh? I've seen some wild ones growing up, some beautiful ones too once you get over the scary things in them." The statement was clearly more so poking at Illidan himself, having caught his double entendre. She let it hang in the air, not wanting to press too hard and risk burning a bridge before they could even cross it.

When he repeat her awkward 'so', she couldn't help but sheepishly grin in amusement. She hid her muzzle between her paws a moment, eyes looking up at him. With all the innocence she could muster, she lifted her head back up and casually rolled her shoulders to shrug out the nervous energy coiling there. 

"So... you know why I'm out here alone," Cadeau said, crossing her forepaws to distract herself from fidgeting. "Dumb mistake and all," she added, trying to keep the air relaxed as she quirk her lips ruefully. "Why are you though? You said you got a pack and family but..." She knotted her brows at her forehead, thoughtful as she stared at him. "Wouldn't you want to be with them instead of hitchhiking with a stranger? I mean, I like the company but I'm sure you'd prefer being with your mom and dad more."

Cadeau hastily added, "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to, Illidan." 
April 01, 2019, 07:27 PM
Illidan
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“as beautiful as they are, they’re capable of some terrible things,” he reminded her solemnly. it was not that her message had passed by without leaving a mark on him. illidan understood what she was getting at. still, he had seen the way that lightning had cut across the sky. he had watched it ignite a towering tree and send sparks of fire shooting everywhere. as much as he didn’t want to be a downer on her words, he cut himself short there. the wildling did not feel as though he should have spoken any further on the subject of thunderstorms or the havoc that they could bring.
 
the girl went on to say that she had shared her origins and why he had found her out there wandering in search of answers. she was curious to know what it was that had pushed him to leave his family to venture into the wilderness with a stranger. when he realized how it looked, he thought that was an appropriate question. instead of giving her an emotional answer, the dark-hooded young man opted for a rational one. he felt that it would help to keep his feelings out of all their talk.
 
“i’m a warrior and a scout for my pack, so this will help me hone my skills and become better at them,” he answered her with a ghostly smile on his dark lips. “what do you want to learn or get better at?” he then inquired to her with a thoughtful expression. she had mentioned knowing plants well, but if he could assist her in any way, he figured it would be worth it. they could kill two birds with one stone.
April 01, 2019, 07:43 PM
Cadeau
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Cadeau couldn't help but purse her lips into a small frown, the halfling looking at Illidan. She knew he had a point though it made her feel something sad for him, curious of what he was entirely about. He had said this trip would be good for the both of them, did that mean he too had some shadows following under his feet? She decided she wouldn't push him, if the time came they could talk of such she would be more than welcome to it, for now she would let him have that.

Trying to keep the atmostphere light, she idly nudged his forearm with her paw. "I was trying to give you a compliment, Stormy," she said, tagging a nickname at the end, tone jovial and soft as she smile at him. Hopefully he didn't mind some good natured jostling and humor, Cadeau withdrew her paw away. "You're welcome, by the way." She chanced a playful wink, pretending for the moment her comment desereved the thanks at all.

"Huh, that's really smart honestly." As he told her his reason for being out here, she couldn't help but envy how easily it came out, how professional. He had control, Cadeau mused as she narrowed her eyes at him. "What's a wolf pack like exactly?" She inquired, tipping her head to the side and shuffling closer like an eager student with ears perked high and brown eyes innocently wide. "You guys don't go around in mobs yelling at the moon all the time, right?" That had been what a dog pup called Eva had told her once, saying her mother who'd known a guy who met a wolf explained. "N - not that I thought that!" 

At his mention of improving skills, Cadeau stared at her paws a long moment in thought. "Mama taught me herbs and papa taught me how to track and hunt," Cadeau said, glancing back up at Illidan. "Papa died before he could teach me a lot of it so I never spent much time with... the wolf. I'm rusty, sorry." She gave a regretful smile. "You are so gonna hate trying to teach me anything, papa said I had two left paws and a hard head." Her muzzle curled into a good humored smirk. "I thought I was a quick learner, at least. Guess being eager to learn doesn't equal results all of the time."
April 04, 2019, 05:18 PM
Illidan
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at the impromptu nickname – stormy – he scowled and released a quiet snort. he wasn’t used to nicknames, and he certainly wasn’t used to receiving compliments from anyone. it was expected that he might not know how to properly respond to something that genuine. he might have been able to find his way toward speaking more often and being more open with his thoughts, but he lacked a good deal of what it took to embrace something that kind. it was unfair to say that he was emotionally stunted, but it wasn’t far from the truth.
 
she went on to compliment him again by saying that his reasons for going out there were intelligent. he nodded his head once, stiffly, before perking his ears up to listen to the rest of what she had to say. as it turned out, she had more questions for him. she wanted to know what it was like to be a part of a wolf pack and asked if they were prone to scuttling about and barking at the moon. illidan could not help but to chuckle at this. it was the furthest thing from the truth that he could imagine, but she didn’t know any better… and his laughing wouldn’t have helped her, so he cut it short.
 
“we do an awful lot, but i really believe that it depends on where you settle. some packs require more of you to be a part of their ranks. some need undying loyalty, some only want you to contribute what you can. it’s important to learn what they look for when they seek new members so you know whether or not you’re going to fit,” the ghost answered her honestly. he wasn’t sure what exactly cadeau was hoping to find in her pack excursion. he knew that it was going to assist him with his trades and skills. he knew that he was going to learn things about the coastal claims that he hadn’t known before, but he wasn’t entirely positive what his travelling partner was seeking.
 
she mentioned that her mother had taught her about the plants and her father had started to teach her about what it meant to be a wolf before he had passed away. the mention of it was enough to cause his stomach to churn. his mind snapped back to the day he’d found his own father’s body on the shores of the lake. he had no control over it – he never did. it was as though he stuffed it down in his pockets until it found a way out again. while he fought down the memories of his own father’s untimely death, illidan realized that he had put himself in a challenging situation.
 
barely having reached his adulthood, he was going to attempt to teach another how to exist. it seemed so folly of him to take on a task like that. perhaps there was a part of him that enjoyed the challenge of it. or maybe he needed the distraction from the thoughts that swirled around in his mind and plagued him. whatever it was, cadeau had a lot to learn. “well, as long as you stay open to what i’ll try to teach you, then there won’t be any issues. you just have to apply yourself, right? make sure you stay on it,” he told her with a ghostly smile and a small nod.
 
lightning rippled across the sky and illuminated one half of his face in shimmering electric light. the thunder followed soon after.
April 04, 2019, 07:50 PM
Cadeau
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Cadeau pouted her lips like a wronged puppy when he laughed at her question, she wasn't irritated though, she knew the question itself was silly and part of her was glad to get the reaction out of him. He seemed like he didn't smile enough, let alone laugh so she would take that as a victory in its own right. Perhaps it was something they both needed more of in their lives, smiles and laughter. She lightly swatted him with her paw, cheeks puffed out. "That's not very nice you know," she quipped over his amusement, the smirk on her face though showed she was hardly really slighted by it. She pulled her paw back.

Her dark brown ears perked up to listen intently to what Illidan was saying, taking in each word with earnest interest. Some of it sounded a bit familiar, Cadeau reaching into the depths of her memory for times her father had explained parts of the wolf style. It was a far cry from the novel of knowledge Illidan knew though, Cadeau shook her head idly when she came back dry. "I think papa once mentioned something like that... I wish I asked him more when he was alive." She furrowed her brows, frustrated at her younger self for not being more nosey. "He only really told me that wolves were tough creatures and that I should be proud of sharing part with them. Because wolves can endure anything out here in the wilderness, they're built to survive."

"I wonder what I could offer a wolf pack, if I've never been in one how can I know I won't drag them down?" Cadeau didn't say it like she was in any turmoil over it, more so as a thoughtful question, a statement that needed to be pondered upon. "Guess I'll find out, right?" She gave him a grin, though inwardly she felt somewhat anxious over the fact this was all really happening, she was going to meet wolf packs. 

Cadeau let her face soften when she saw Illidan fall silent at the mention of her family, she cocked her head curiously at him. She said nothing though, not wanting to disturb his thoughts no matter what they were. Though after the silence stretched too long, she let herself be mouthy again to ask. "Hey... you okay there, Illidan? I didn't say anything stupid again, did I?" Elbowing him as she let the joke hang in the air, she kept her face curious and concerned. If he wanted to tell her, he was more than welcome to.

"I'll do my best not to drive you crazy, I promise," she chuckled before smirking. "Well, maybe not entirely promise. I have a track record if you haven't guessed yet."

Cadeau gave a comical eep when thunder clapped again, striking lightning across the sky. She bumped into his shoulder in a startled flinch before glaring at the sky with a huff. "You know about storms and all, they can be so rude sometimes, I swear."
April 05, 2019, 10:34 PM
Illidan
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she bumped him and made a pouting expression. he wanted to tell her that he wasn’t very nice to begin with and she was in for a rough ride if she had thought that originally. he realized that it wouldn’t have done her any good for him to respond that way. she would learn his nature in time – the more that they spent together, the more she would know. the same would follow for him. he did not know the details of what she thought and felt. he could only guess at what his words might do.
 
it might have been a silly thing to suggest that they go wandering off in the wilderness together. they were still practically strangers, but he did not feel any imminent threat when he was around the halfling. more than this, he was certain that his assisting her would distract him from the troubles that plagued his own mind. if he could stay busy enough, he just might forget all of his terrors.
 
“what happened with your dad anyway? you seem like you were close to him? did he get sick or something?” illidan decided to ask with a thoughtful expression. she spoke fondly enough that he did not imagine they’d had a poor relationship. in fact, he was surprised that the girl’s father hadn’t managed to make it out of whatever predicament had taken his life. from what she said of him, he seemed like a sensible figure.
 
all of the other words and promises didn’t really mean anything to him yet. he didn’t imagine that she would cause too many issues with him. she might have been behind on the learning curve, but he knew enough that he felt he would be able to show her what it meant to survive as a beast of the wild. of course, there was a chance that she would reject what she had to do altogether. illidan figured that they would cross that bridge once they arrived to it. he could only offer her what he knew – she was the only one who could decide what she would do with her newfound knowledge.
April 05, 2019, 11:09 PM
Cadeau
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The halfling couldn't help the longing expression that fitted across her face as she thought back to her father, she wished that she could go back in time to be with him again. Back when her life wasn't as complicated as it was now, it seemed everything had been innocently perfect back then. Perhaps that should have been the warning sign that things were not going to stay that way forever. Cadeau missed her father with a thirst that wasn't quenchable.

"Papa was killed by a human," Cadeau told him in a quiet voice, brows furrowed as she recalled the event. She had been a pup then. "We weren't popular among the town but papa always tried to make it his goal to show everyone we were not dangerous to anyone. The man sought us out one day and shot papa." In the moment she could recall hiding in the bushes as the man came seeking them out with his gun drawn, Cadeau begging her father not to go out there when Snowy calmly told her he would convince the man to go away.

Snowy hadn't been a fighter but he was no coward. His kind nature had been his biggest flaw, as the man didn't see a friendly wolf with his tail wagging but a vicious beast on the prowl getting ready to strike. His gun had raised without hesitation and with a thunderous blast the grass had been stained red...

"He was my hero." She closed her eyes to suppress the gorer parts of the memory, returning to the present. "We were close as close can get, really." She gave Illidan a smile as she let the old pain slip away like waves on the ocean bed. Cadeau cocked her head curiously. "You close to anyone in your family?" Cadeau asked him.
April 05, 2019, 11:37 PM
Illidan
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ah, so he had been killed. while there were several words that the girl used that illidan was not familiar with, he was able to come to the conclusion that her father had died unnaturally by the hands of someone else. that was something he did not imagine he would share with her. the wildling did not want to be compelled to share his own tragic story. he had locked that tightly away. it would not have done her any good to hear about the loss of his own father, would it? he tried and tried to convince himself that it wouldn’t until he had forced the idea out of his head.
 
“your father shouldn’t have done that, then,” the ghost remarked in a quiet and serious tone. his brow was furrowed, and he shook his head, as though he was trying to remove the image of her papa’s deceased figure. gritting his teeth against the thought of it, he almost missed her inquiry altogether. she had asked him if he was close with anyone from his family.
 
instinct told him to respond with a positive yes, but he wasn’t entirely sure. he had not really felt as though he was a real member of his family. he had done what he could to grow close to them, but there had been so much time that they had been apart. he wondered if raleska even trusted him. he wondered if his mother was pleased that he had returned home, or if she had wished he would have left to return to kavik and liri. “kind of,” he lied to her with a shrug of his shoulders. “we spent a lot of time apart, so there has been some catching up we’ve had to do.”
April 06, 2019, 12:12 AM
Cadeau
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Cadeau couldn't help but feel a bit slighted at the remark at her father, that he shouldn't have done what he had. If anything, the dogs and humans should have shown them kindness instead of punishing her and her family in such awful ways. She gave a sigh, knowing he was right though there was no point lingering on what Snowy should have or shouldn't have done. In the end he was dead, she couldn't change that no matter what hindsight told her.

"There's a lot of things that he shouldn't have done but its too late now to change it," she replied in a even tone, even if the subject of the past made her frustrated due to that fact alone. She pushed the negative feelings way back until they touched the depths of her toes, unable to make her blabber stupidly like she was prone to.

She let her eyes drift to gaze out at the storm, listening to the calming pitter patter of the rain as it drummed against the roof of the stoney cave. It helped quell her mood, returning back to the more positive and friendly personality Cadeau was more so known to have. Cadeau returned her attention back to him with a polite smile. It soon turned sympathetic as she lightly bumped his shoulder with her own.

"We can go back one day if you want, Illidan. Sides, I probably need to meet your pack eventually anyway on our little wolf quest." She lowered her head to rest it on her forepaws. "You got any siblings? I got a brother myself," Cadeau said, letting her eyes look at Illidan though her head remain comfortable on her front legs.
April 06, 2019, 11:55 AM
Illidan
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well, that was the truth. they couldn’t go back to rectify the mistakes that were made in the past. illidan had more than a few that he would have done for himself. he understood just as well as the next person that you couldn’t reverse a choice that was made and sometimes it cost you everything. he had not meant for his comment to make her feel anything in particular. he had only learned that you simply do not trust another creature to keep you safe – that was how you lost your life.
 
it seemed that she didn’t want to linger on that subject for very long, so illidan allowed for her to move past it. he was sure they would mention her father at some other point in that great big journey. until then, he put aside his thoughts on what he’d heard of the man and focused on the questions being asked of him. she mentioned that they could return to his home – a plan he’d already made before agreeing on their trip – so that they could see rusalka.
 
“yeah, i’m sure you’d be welcome in our pack, but you should have options to pick from for yourself,” he said absently. she then mentioned siblings, saying that she had a brother. illidan wondered why her brother had not ventured out with her. he squinted his eyes and glanced toward the girl with a small frown on his dark lips. “i’ve got a brother and sister,” he answered her, referencing svalinn and raleska. he did not want to explain the difficult subject of ephraim or rhakios in that moment – they were no longer family to him.
 
“why isn’t your brother out here with you?”
April 06, 2019, 12:26 PM
Cadeau
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"What's your pack like? I feel silly not asking that sooner, all things considered," Cadeau said with a woof, the halfling raising her head up again. She made a thoughtful face, nodding. "I appreciate the options, I don't think I've gotten the chance to pick from such a vast amount of well... anything before. Its either you're one thing or the other." She was obviously referring to her mixed heritage, the halfling absently gesturing with her paws like they were weighing a scale. Cadeau twisted her face like something tasted bad before sheepishly scoffing, "I prattle on too much, sorry. I should carve this stupid tongue out sometimes." She grinned in good humor.

"A brother and sister, you the youngest of the bunch? I was the firstborn between Lumikki and me in our litter." At his question about why Lumikki wasn't out here with her she stared off into the distance in thought. "He's safer at home, he didn't screw up his life like I did so there was no point dragging him through my mess." Cadeau turned her attention back to Illidan, a clap of thunder shaking the land once more.
April 06, 2019, 12:50 PM
Illidan
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she asked about rusalka and what it was like there. it was a challenging thing to explain. it was just a normal pack, like most of the others out there. at least, that was what he’d wanted to say to her. she didn’t know much about what pack life was like, though. more than this, illidan wasn’t entirely certain that it was a normal pack. all he knew was that it was his home. he had been born there and he had never hoped to see the place again, but life had given him another chance. the dark-hooded young man would not squander this one.
 
“it’s nice. it’s protected by huge cliffs with only a single entrance that leads you down to the sand and the beach. we have caves, a dark pine forest, and you can sit and watch the ocean for days and days,” he explained the sound to her as well as he could. it was almost like he could scent the sea air as he did so. the sound of thunder reminded him of where he was, and he breathed a quiet sigh. “we don’t ask a lot of our members and we give plenty of opportunity to those who join and prove themselves. you would probably like it there.” at least, he imagined that she would have found some peace of mind. he did not want to discuss that they had gone to war. he did not want to tell her about the potential dangers of having the drageda wolves right above them. he wanted her to believe that rusalka was as perfect as he’d described it.
 
“i actually have two other brothers, but i don’t talk about them and i don’t want to… they ruined a lot of things for our family,” he admitted in a cold tone. “i was the first born. the rest came after. i don’t think being the first to be born actually does anything for you. i certainly don’t feel like it gave me an advantage.” and all at once, he was frustrated with himself for having shared details about ephraim and rhakios. illidan didn’t want to give her answers to his backstory. he didn’t want to discuss the cold feelings that he harbored for his brothers.
 
he didn’t want to face the idea that they weren’t actually to blame for any of the things that had gone wrong.

"don't you miss him? wouldn't he miss you?"
April 06, 2019, 01:11 PM
Cadeau
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"It sounds like a nice place to live, I've always liked the beach and sea. I probably would like it there if we ever visit again." Cadeau could recall spending days alone by the beach at her old home, playing in the ocean, climbing cliffs and chasing crabs and seagulls along the sandy shore. "Sand gets everywhere though. You can't just lick that stuff off but you probably already know that. I've nicked my tongue more times than I'd like to count." 

Cadeau perked her ears as Illidan went into more detail about his siblings, now tacking on two other brothers to the list. Four siblings was quite a lot for Cadeau who had only gotten Lumikki growing up, she wondered what having that many siblings was like. Though for Illidan it seemed to have brought him more grief than happiness.

She rested a paw on his in a comforting gesture, hoping the display didn't bother him. "You don't have to talk about them if you don't want to. I understand there are things in the past that hurt. Don't feel like you need to delve deeper than you want to." Cadeau's voice implied that she didn't mean just his hesitation over going deeper into his brothers but as well as other things that his past troubled him with. If there were boundaries he didn't want crossed, Cadeau would respect that. She could tell his intentions werenot to bear any soul shattering history and it was not her place to force it out of him if he was not comfortable delving into it. Cadeau knew she wore her heart on her sleeve but it did not mean Illidam did as well, especially if he'd been hurt deeply before. If she wanted his trust she would earn it with kindness and patience. 

"If you do want to talk about it, whether it be now or someday much farther along the line, my door is always open to it. We will be depending on each other and its important we be there for one another in the trying times. Its what partners are for," Cadeau added in a gentler tone. They weren't friends yet but they at least had a partnership, so she felt it was the most appropriate wording. They would get there when they got there. Perhaps one day they could develop a companionship where he felt comfortable enough to want to tell her of things that ensnared his heart. "I just want you to know that. Okay, Illidan?"

She pulled her paw away after several moments to let the words sink in first. "That's probably true, though in my case it seemed like it just gave my brother the excuse to cling a lot to me and mama," Cadeau chortled, in the past she had played defender and provider for Lumikki, often protecting and leading her brother during their youth. "He found his own wings eventually."

She shrugged her shoulders at his inquiry, the girl trying to keep the emotions out of the words to come. Cadeau would take a page from his book and try to keep it factual. "I complicated his life, I sorta hope he doesn't miss me. He's better off without me there. What's important to me is that he's safe with mama." She did miss him but she couldn't realily do much about it. Especially when how much their relationship degraded near the end because of their wolf heritage and peers.
April 11, 2019, 04:09 PM
Illidan
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more than anything, his entire life had brought him more grief than happiness. it was not a subject that he often reflected on. he believed that if he were to allow himself to wallow in pity, he would have only been creating a monster out of whatever remained of him. the taste of his own bitter emotions was like swallowing chalk. he had learned his own ways of coping with the heavy fog that had settled in his lean frame. he had learned how to continue living in spite of the misery that had washed over him.

he appreciated what she was saying about his need to share, but he also believed it was entirely unfair to her. after all, illidan had asked her an array of questions about her life before she had arrived in the teekon wilds. he had pushed a little too far and had caused something of an emotional break in the first time that they'd even met. if she was going to offer him answers to his questions, he should have been able to do the same.

it was the thought of opening himself up that caused his skin to rise with goosebumps. the ghost looked to her with a forlorn expression and frowned. “thanks,” he offered her in response. it was the best he could do under the circumstances. with all of the thoughts that swam around in his head, it was a surprise that he hadn't sputtered something foolish and then further infuriated himself with his own idiotic jabbering. illidan was not sure that the day would ever arrive when he wanted to talk about his missing brothers. he could not imagine how different his life would have been in that moment if they had never vanished. the longer he festered on it, the more it pained him to think about.

your father would be alive. your family would be whole.

the voice didn't seem to belong to him, but it echoed through his mind like the sound of the waves echoing in the caverns of the sound. he hated it; he hated to imagine what might have been if tragedy had not devoured his home and his family. the ghost could not help but to wonder how much better he would have been if they were together. even the small reunion he'd shared with his mother and raleska and svalinn had been enough to inspire some change of character in him.

“wouldn't your mother miss you? you're her kid, after all,” illidan asked of her with a tilting of his head. even though you made a mistake, even though you left to be on your own, you're still her child.
April 11, 2019, 05:03 PM
Cadeau
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Cadeau took what she could get and despite his frown it encouraged her to smile. She would just make sure to smile enough for the both of them until Illidan could, she decided. She didn't know how far the two would go but it was clear they would be together for awhile judging by how massive the Teekon Wilds were. She doubted they'd even made a dent yet but she didn't care, it would give her time to get to know him. Perhaps even help him like he was helping her. They had no reason to assist one another but in a way that made it the perfect reason to try anyway, as ironic as that was. It was a nice thought that would be a lot of work to see to its end.

Cadeau liked a challenge, even if her record of hiding away recently spoke otherwise. She had to make up for her lost character she supposed. Illidan would get to learn more about her own self as she would him it seemed, the concept intrigued her. At his question about her mother, Cadeau gave a sigh, shaking her head as she collected her words. She needed to ground herself, Cadeau didn't want to seem overly emotional about everything. But damn was that hard...

She supposed adding context would help, it was a bitter sting of pain and relief at being able to just talk about the past with someone. "I know mama misses me and I hate that I've hurt her but... I had to leave, Illidan. They gave me three days after... you know... to give myself up but of course mama wouldn't let me go. She fought tooth and nail to keep me." She paused, wincing at the memory as she recounted the event. It wasn't a case of her mother not loving her but of her love not being enough to quell the flames caused by Cadeau's fatal error. Cadeau looked at his face, her egg-shaped eyes sad. "They would have driven her and Lumikki out, it was better I go before the dogs did anything to the rest of my family." The halfling turned her attention back to the forest and storm outside the cave. She looked thoughtful suddenly as she focused back to him, brows burrowed close to her brown gaze.

Dogs...

"Illidan, can I ask you something?" She cocked her head. The mentions of home made her curious about something and she wanted his input of the matter. Even if she had a hunch it was probably a weird question to ask. "And promise you won't laugh, okay?" Pouting as if to make her point, the halfling regarded him with a mixture of caution and curiosity.
April 23, 2019, 05:01 PM
Illidan
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he listened intently as she recounted parts of what had happened to have driven her away from her family. it sounded as though cadeau's mother had loved her very much. she had fought to keep her child safe from harm. illidan wondered how hard his own mother had fought when he had disappeared. he wondered how badly it had hurt her that it had taken so long for him to be found. the reflection hurt him in ways that he would never have been able to vocalize. he held the thoughts within him and did not share them with her; she had enough to battle with.

cadeau then asked if he would be willing to listen to a question without laughing. the ghost furrowed his brow and frowned thoughtfully at the request. he was not certain that he could uphold such a promise, but it had been a long time since he had laughed genuinely. she might have been safe, no matter what she had planned. so, after a moment of thoughtful contemplation, illidan nodded his head to her to encourage that she ask without fear of being judged by him.

“sure,” he spoke quietly.
April 23, 2019, 08:04 PM
Cadeau
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"Do you think I look good for a wolf?" The question all but tumbles out from her mouth, Cadeau making a face when she realized how the words may have sounded. Ears burning in embarrassment, she quickly added with a slight shrill squeak to correct herself, "Not in THAT way. What I meant was, am I weird looking?" She sounded a touch scandalized. Though she wouldn't lie, with her self esteem a compliment wouldn't be completely unwelcome. That, however, was inappropriate all things considered. "I'm not looking for a score number of one to ten or something. Just... Do I look like a wolf?" Cadeau's face was confused, concerned and comically overly exaggerated as she kept on talking, clearly rambling by this point. She realized now more than ever that it was a stupid question, recalling their first encounter. "I don't really feel like one, that's for sure."

["What are you? You just don’t look like the wolves I’ve seen."] Illidan obviously knew she wasn't a true wolf at first glance, it was how he first slipped through her terrible lie after all. Perception was something everyone had when they really set their eyes on something, it caused Cadeau grief. If only everyone were born blind, it would make her life much easier.

Despite how hardy looking she was for a dog, in wolf terms she was clearly visibly different with her lithe frame and softer features plus a tail that curled on occasion. She had the eyes at least, golden rimmed and sharply shaped. "Back home the dogs and humans could tell I had wolf in me and I wasn't a pure dog so I'm wondering if the wolves will be able see I'm part dog." She paused to cast him something of a smile, subtle at the edges as if to speak that she knew what he may say next. "I know you said it doesn't matter what I am but back home it sure did. So why wouldn't it here too?"

Cadeau squared her shoulders and let out an exasperated sigh that felt heavier than rocks. Dejectedly, she mumbled, "They made fun of me and called me names and stuff, like bigfoot and heavystep." She lifted a wolf-like paw and waved it absently as if to make the point clearer. Cadeau lifted her previously pinned ears, now standing erect upon her skull. Cadeau made sweeping gesture with her forepaw, as if to physically make herself cut to the chase. "Okay, long story short, maybe if I look wolf enough I won't need to tell anyone I'm part anything. Just be a completely normal wolf who has really bad survival skills instead." Cadeau swallowed down the tension in her throat so instead it sat inside her belly, stewing uncomfortably as she shuffled her weight. "I mean... does anyone else really have to know? I could shuck everything I am away for once in my life."

She regarded him with honesty now and wanted his input. "Do you think I should tell the packs, Illidan? Lying to the ones who are gonna shelter you maybe probably isn't a good idea... distrust breaks people apart if they sniff it out." So much for trying to keep her emotions out of it. Cadeau made a frustrated huff, dropping her head between her front legs to pout. Part of her wanted to say forget she said anything because she sounded so pathetic and whiney.
May 02, 2019, 04:51 PM
Illidan
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her question was surprising to him. it fell from her mouth rapidly, but was followed by an even faster follow up that included a full explanation regarding what kind of an answer she was seeking from him. he pulled his head back a few inches and peered at her with a curious expression on his face. he had never been asked to offer his opinion on how someone else might have looked. in part, he felt guiltily about how he had approached her in the beginning of their interactions. it had not been kind of him to remark on her differences.

surely, if he noted that she was not the same as the other wolves he had known, others would notice too. he listened as she told him of how she had been teased when she had been younger. the nicknames that she had earned were humorous out of context, but he could not imagine her receiving such criticism in the wilderness. out there, the only thing that mattered was how well one could survive. he doubted that most packs would find issue with her abnormalities.

a thoughtful frown creased his features and he shrugged his shoulders lightly. “you don't look like a full wolf, but that shouldn't be seen as a weakness. we just need to shape you up so that you have something to offer the pack of your choosing,” he suggested to her plainly. “if we turn you into a powerful hunter, that will look good to any pack. their members all need to eat, after all. if you want to focus on your healing skills, those are valuable to have as well.” it was all about marketing, he realized.

“but you should be honest with any pack that you wish to join. if they turn you away because of your mixed blood, you will always have a home in rusalka. i'd be sure of that.” if he could promise her anything, it was that she would have a place within his pack. the more he thought about it, the more illidan had realized that she needed a great deal of help with personal growth. he would do what he could for her, but she had to want to learn in order for it to be successful.
May 02, 2019, 05:27 PM
Cadeau
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Cadeau listened to his feedback with earnest ears and round curious eyes, intent on taking whatever she could so she wouldn't burden anyone, even herself, again. She couldn't help but wince a bit at how he confessed she didn't look like a pure wolf, it lead into something more positive though which was a comfort. Instinctively though she couldn't ever really see herself with positive eyes. Cadeau felt ugly, she was just... too different and it growing up left a emotional wound no amount of licking would clean up. It only festered as all she did was pick at it. Pick, pick, pick...

She really needed to start listening to Illidan instead of ghosts from a distant past, this ghost before her in the form of a dark wolf knew better. She put her trust in him and hoped she could do what he told her, Cadeau was willing to try but the fear of failure trailed in her shadow. It left a bitter taste in her mouth and she wanted it gone for something sweeter. "I'm game to give it all I got, Illidan. Just... are you okay with me needing a shoulder to lean on sometimes?" She looked at him, feeling like a pup seeking out a hug after the bad dream has passed. "Its all so new and scary, I'm kind of overwhelmed here." Cadeau let out a nervous string of laughter to try relieving the pressure. She worried about burdening him, that it was a mistake he was taking her with him across wolf country and a mistake she was letting him in close to her walls. She was afraid of being hurt again, that he could displace one brick and send her downspirling back to the abyss she pain stakingly crawled out of. Worse, what if something on this journey hurt him because of what weight she carried? 

When Illidan told her she would always have a place in his pack, she couldn't help the surprise plastering across her face. She was touched, Cadeau giving him a wide smile and nod of her head. It seemed so little in the grand scheme of things but knowing she could have a place to possibly belong meant so much to her. She never belonged and it was something that smarted in her heart, even home had never felt like it. 

"Thank you... that means a lot." Her voice cracked the smallest bit near the end with emotion and embarrassed she looked away. "I wish I had something I could offer you back. I feel like I'm taking more than giving here." She paused when she realized she really had nothing she could give him, not a single thing. He would be playing escort and something of a teacher for however long they felt like doing this, Cadeau didn't know if he would have a fair share in this arrangement.

Cadeau turned back to him after she got control of the uncomfortable emotions swirling in her chest. "Just... I'm glad, that's all I want to say. I know gratitude is rotten payment but it's all I got."

I'm sorry you're putting your life on hold to help me. She knew it wasn't mutual comradery bringing them together, only a mutual goal, but she could let herself pretend she had someone who cared about her well being.