Moonspear Once More Into the Fray
Joining  May 23, 2020, 05:13 PM
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The feeling of ferns whipping against her coat felt euphoric with the thrill of the hunt. They obscured her vision, but the crash of the rabbit through the underbrush was like a siren's call. Egging her limbs ever faster. Its desperate flee for survival the catalyst for the blood coursing exuberantly through her body. This is what she was MADE for. What she dreamt of- CRAVED during those long winter months. 

She bunched and vaulted over a large log that had fallen over the path. The white tail of her prey like a lighthouse leading her through a storm.

She heard the crash of a large creature  through the underbrush before she saw it. The rabbit equally surprised as it darted sideways witha squeal, from the path of a fully matured bull elk. Senua found herself skidding to a halt before all 800 angry pounds of it. Her eyes looking up at a tangle of antlers that seemed to stretch to the canopy of trees. 

With her rib cage heaving from the effort of her run, it was all she could do to catch her breath and dig her claws in to find traction on the soft earthen ground. No longer hungry and her only thought being that of escape, Senua snarled and launched herself from its path. Its warning chuffs already a distant sigh on the wind as she ran to safety.
May 23, 2020, 10:09 PM
The borderland between the mountain and glen had fallen silent again, but for how long he could not be certain. It would have seemed this year too they would not be afforded opportunities to revel in the idyllic countryside they resided in; for all the good that had come into their world there were notches and pockets that were decidedly bad, unfortunate.

The circumstances surrounding Yama, their newest.

Primafaya and Opalia remained gone.

He thought of Arcturus and his vitriol then, and sighed.

But at least, at least, the borders were quiet. If nothing else no news was good news, and he would have preferred to take back no news at all than sully Hydra's mood. Ruining that was never high on his priorities, especially now; another lurking worry over not one but two sets of infants he had yet to lay eyes on.

These things were pushed far from his mind at the thrashing of not so distant brush—in this wilderness he had learned to be wary of such ruckus, be it bear or malicious beast, but the closeness to his claim gave him little reason to abandon a chance to survey. From a crude vantage point he could not count the tines on the antlers of the elk, but he knew a bull when he saw it, knew the strut and bellow as it fled.

More curiously, though dismaying, was the wolf churned out of the way in the process. A wolf that did not quite blend in with advantageous shadows and vibrant greenery; a wolf who was now standing on the wrong side of a situation easily turned worse than an errant ungulate. In lieu of a proper greeting, he opted to respond how he saw fit, and let a deep warning growl announce error and intent. But Dirge did not do as an Ostrega of the mountain would, and did not charge her for benefit of doubt.

How she would respond would determine the course.
Joining  May 23, 2020, 11:15 PM
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Senua continued at an effortless trot, her eyes and senses cast over her shoulder to indeed confirm she had safely parted ways from the bull.

Though she be small yet mighty... That was a fight too big for even her sense of chaotic venture. 

Her mind was wondering elsewhere when a guttural growl interrupted her thoughts and locked her limbs in mid-stride. A surprised yip escaped the cage of her teeth as her head whipped back around to take in a strange male wolf that stood in her path. With his gaze pinning her in place, Senua had a difficult time forming words. Was he another lone wolf? Was he friendly? Was he from a surrounding pack? Was... She even where she was supposed to be?

With that thought, her gaze darted around to her surroundings. Anxiety rising in her gut when she realized she recognized nothing from what she was seeing OR smelling.

Oh this was bad.... This could turn into something very very bad....

Realizing she had been standing there while the other wolf waited for a response- Senua gave a brief shake of her body, casting off the trepidation that crawled beneath her pelt.
Instead she attempted to replace it with an air of languid ease. Unperturbed and unthreatening.
As a result, she collected her paws beneath her,  gently sitting and curling what little remained of her tail around her. She cast her jade and lavender gaze at the chest of the male. Hoping the deference was enough to curb his aggression. 

Clearing her throat she said demurely, "Merry meet, traveler."
May 24, 2020, 12:36 AM
She was a homely thing, not free of scars borne out of trials and tribulations; it echoed in every moment she made, even down to the nonchalance she tried to muster up. Yet for all her relaxing and clear deference, it did little to quell the uneasy tide that had risen in Dirge, and did less to soften the shrewd, sharp gaze he had cast on her.

Where and when exactly he had begun to feel a wariness towards outsiders was a hard thing to pinpoint; he attributed it now to the fact that Moonspear had young within its keep once again, that the wolves he relied on most of all to help defend their borders were either absent or indisposed.

“Traveler is a title long stripped from me,” he told her, “and you’ve cut a dangerously close path to my claim with your hunting.” More than dangerous, had any other number been there with him. The fact that Lyra hadn’t come bursting out of the foliage to snap and snarl was fortune smiling on the both of them.
Joining  May 24, 2020, 12:52 AM
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An embarassed cough erupted from her chest before she could stop it. She licked her maw in an effort to recover her composure. Senua had always been a wolf of genuine expression and intent. And the fact that she be suspected of nefarious activity did not sit well with her noble spirit. 

"Yes, uh.... EHEM... To say that bigger prey had caught me unawares and unprepared is an understatement... I-I...well, I do sincerely apologize. I've been traveling consistently from the East and this is only my second day exploring within the Glen. I've tried to steer clear of the boundaries I've been able to sniff out... And it was not my intention to disrespect them without good cause. Let alone to have someone bear witness to my blunder....", Senua trailed off as she realized she had began to ramble. It had been a good moon since last she spoke to someone else. And her communication skills were rusty at best.

Senua made the effort to smooth the hunch in her shoulders and the unconscious fluffing of her tail fur from the level of ernestness in which she tried to explain herself. Her ears were twitching atop her head with anticipation, the voice--THAT enthralling voice of hers whispered in the back of her mind which about opportunities of family, and belonging, and adventure.

Could this be it? 
May 24, 2020, 01:16 AM
A humored note left him as she backpedaled; the stumbling and start of her words implied that they were genuine but it was far from the first time recently he had someone stumble along. Wherever Larus had gone off to was beyond him, but the addled wolf had not graced the borders since, and thankfully this stranger seemed a tad more put together.

Genuine, at least, perhaps not too unlike Helios and wherever he had gone off to.

“I suppose avoiding being gored and hoisted skyward is as good of a reason as any,” he offered. “Though the glen is also our hunting grounds by extension. A wonder that you managed without being found before now, but perhaps the elk had other plans in mind.” Or perhaps she had indirectly served them up for them, not that he had many plans on acting on it. They’d stay corralled, in a sense, but the numbers were bolstered well for the season, ripe for reaping when summer would hit its peak.


But while he still had her, he would get his pound of flesh by of information.

“And how are things in the east?”
Joining  May 24, 2020, 01:53 AM
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Senua gave an amused chuff that was accompanied by a friendly thump of her tail. 
She glanced down at the carnage that was her healed appendage and with a good natured grin said,

"Yes, well I am indeed no stranger to goreing. Zero out of ten, do NOT recommend. It is part of the reason I have traveled so far from my home. The humans were expanding and building their community of dens ever bigger and seemingly without end."

She paused...caught in a memory that left her gaze fixated to a point above the male's head, oblivious for a moment to his presence.

"In fact, they were so focused on expanding that they gave no heed to the balance of nature and began to hunt us. Driving us from our homes and our ancestral territories. So many stories and memories, now lost."

The light in her eyes rekindled anew and they snapped to stare within the eyes of the stranger. Searchingly. The air of uncertainty had left her visage and in its stead stood a noble creature, one of ferocious pride and  hope.

"So I find myself traveling with a tenacious purpose, a need to honor those lost and make sure their stories carry on. Wherever they may land."
May 24, 2020, 02:08 AM
He could not have claimed to be privy to the hazards of man and their ilk, but he could not have said he was a stranger to them. Once upon a time Dirge too had laid eyes on them and thought better of his curiosity—a wise decision now, it seemed. It wasn’t worth dwelling on, that venture long behind him. So long as they never graced these lands, he would not burden himself with the worry.

At least now she had her confidence, even if he hadn’t anticipated a story of such detail; it told him nothing about the eastern lands he sought and left him wondering. This too was for naught in the intensity of her gaze that held him. Hopeful and certain as it was, it only served to earn her a flicker of contempt that was tempered and keening.

She wanted something, the blatant obvious so many others had.

But he had never offered it, nor offered a more gentile introduction to such.

“Seems man took your manners with them—you didn’t quite answer my question with your story,” he rejoined smoothly. “I can forgive your trespass but I do not tolerate disrespect. How about you give me a reason why I shouldn’t call my kin and chase you off for disturbing our herds?”

Perhaps a more pointed discussion would be the route to take.
Joining  May 24, 2020, 02:40 AM
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Senua took no insult to his comment. She was aware that her nature could be crass and forward to many. Her parents had tried unsuccessfully for many moons to instill a more meek demeanor in her. But the fire within her burned too hot, too brazen with altruism and curiosity for the world and it's mysteries.

Briefly she closed her eyes, suddenly weary of this silver tongued sparring. And with eyes still closed, she breathed deeply. The crisp smell of flora and the rich soil of the earth unfurled in her chest and helped to center her with memories of a different land. 

With an effort to speak past the lump that suddenly appeared in her throat, she whispered in a raw tone, "...because I am tired....tired of... running, of hunger, of-...' She opened her eyes, her brilliant gaze both ancient and youthful, '-of being lonely and afraid."
May 24, 2020, 03:17 AM
Oh, he had heard this story before.

He had lived it, too.

And perhaps if the timing had been better, if the present state of the world itself had been better then perhaps he would have thought better of her plea. Instead it felt like the ugly twist of a knife unseen beneath a sleeve. He didn’t like playing the role of the bad guy; Dirge was a wolf suited for perceived suave and knavish things, not sifting through questionnaires and all the political intrigue they may have involved.

He knew he would be happier when Hydra was able to attend to these things, when all he necessarily had to do was enforce and play voice of reason. But until then, it was a tiring process and as of late, there were many tiring things that had wore into all of them.

“So those are your only talents then? A pity,” and a ploy off a tongue that felt more a cruel whip than a saccharine morsel. “And here I had hoped you were more than the last lot I’ve had to run off, all of them with the same spiel. Tired, hungry, lonely—none of them suited to thrive here if they can’t thrive out there too.” They couldn’t afford to keep holding hands and guiding wayward souls. He believed they needed something more substantial than that, and now.

“Last chance,” he prompted her.
Joining  May 24, 2020, 04:10 AM
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Her delicate ears laid tight with anger against her skull at his tone. Pity? Pity?! How dare he. She-a proud and strong female, an object of pity. It was enough to make her spit like a viper. 

Senua barked harshly at his question and stood with the force of her indignation. "Do I look as if I have failed to do anything BUT thrive from the fruits of my labor? DESPITE the odds stacked against me."
She promptly stepped forward until a golden ray of light from the broken canopy above fell upon her frame. Her coat onyx and sleek, broken by smokey grey fur along her scruff, legs, belly, and stubby tail. She was comparatively short to many of her kind, but her legs were strong and her chest deep and built with muscle from her travels. In few words, she was compact, quick, capable, and handsome. Not a lithe form of beauty as other females. But alluring in her own right, usually due in part to the magnetism of her spirit. 

Her ears swivled forward in earnest. "Granted, I did not mean for an introduction of this magnitude to occur like this. But seeing as we are here, as in all things, I shall make the best of it. Pray tell, why would I disrespect you and your family's survival by offering anything less than the very best version of myself?"

She ventured another step forward, but angled her body parallel to his so she didn't seem to be approaching him head on. "Of talents, I have many. My best being that of willingness. For I am keen to aid in any way I can for a place among you. I understand trust is earned. And earned with hard work. For which I am no stranger to,' she cocked her head in an inquisitive fashion, 'What more of me can you ask if I am already offering all that I am in exchange for family?"
May 24, 2020, 05:02 AM
Oh, well wasn’t this interesting.

She ventured into a tirade against his judgment and finally Dirge spied something he had been looking for. A spark, an ember, something that suggested that this wasn’t just another wayward soul looking for charity in a place where charity was a hot commodity none of them were graced with.

In that moment she had the same fire in her that burned in many of the women he was acquainted with, though he could not help but wonder just what she would do it with; her tongue seemed suddenly barbed with ire and as animated as her movement. It tempted him into offering her a brief flash of his teeth, the prickling of his own hackles in a lukewarm camaraderie that eased towards an arrant, unbecoming smile.

The knave in him enjoyed this, even if he was supposed to seem kingly and just.

“I can ask plenty of you, but all I wanted was to know your skillset,” he remarked coolly. “Are you a hunter, a healer? For all I know your use to us could be a nurserymaid to my children. Or perhaps with your gusto you fancy yourself a warrior.” Or perhaps none of those things, only now hoping to strongarm her way in with a sharpened tongue.

“Righteous arrogance is unflattering of the nameless with no place to belong to; do not presume we are in need of you to aid our survival. Your nose should tell you that our numbers are rather sufficient enough to hold this land and its bounty—you were after all wise enough to avoid our claim until now,” and the descanting curtailed itself, “though we are particularly fond of those with a certain temerity.”

Of which, he believed by now she had no doubts.

Like the towering mountain to his back, Moonspear projected stability as much as it did vainglory; the latter of which was no doubt prevalent in their dealings and by mouth. And though he had long sought to temper it to be more guile and smooth, arrogance meeting arrogance would always bring it out. He had learned as much from Hydra and her kin.

“But perhaps you are more inclined to show your worth through action over words, and who I am to deny that opportunity,” he surmised at the next breath, “though I must warn you that an inability to temper your pride will have my kin drive you out long before I.”
Joining  May 24, 2020, 05:47 AM
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Senua gave an indignant sniff at his poorly veiled reprimand. She peered at him beneath hooded eyes. Calculating her answer. How much of herself was wise to give? Yes. She had been a warrior. Once. But the shame she felt for failing so resolutely in her oaths had left her bare and stripped of all her fanfare and desire to try again.

Curiously, she found her unease abating as the male continued through his speech. His rhetoric was familiar to her in fashion. And it was comfortable to spar against. Easy. 

His speak of action sparked an almost frenetic energy within her. She wanted, nay, NEEDED to prove her worth through deed. Instead, for the moment she settled for the benign thrashing of her tail. Its movement almost feline with its agitation. 

When the last tendrils of his warning faded in the breeze, it left only the colors of the wood to dance mischievously in her eyes as answer.

A heartbeat passed. Two.

"A hunter,' she replied in a level voice, 'I have the endurance to outlast most prey." A click of her tongue. "And I presume nothing,' she continued coyly, 'Albeit what say you on presuming that everyone else will find my righteous arrogance unflattering, save you?" Blinking innocently and allowing her tone to become warm yet wary.

"Senua... My name is Senua Stormborn."
May 27, 2020, 09:47 PM
Stormborn may have been the right name for her, he thought, foregoing the obvious bait she had laid out just before her grand introduction. He wouldn’t push the matter any more than he had—he had warned her and knew that time would sort her out one way or another.

“This is Moonspear,” he said with a gesture to the sprawl of forestry and towering peak behind him. “I’m Dirge, and my wife Hydra and I keep claim over it with our family.” His gaze turned back to Senua then, this time gesturing for her to come along with him as he turned away from the borders.

“You’ll not want for much here and though I’d give you a run down of what you could find here, I suspect you would rather see for yourself.”