Whitewater Gorge Floating
July 15, 2020, 02:09 PM
Finley Grebe
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By some miracle her words seemed to work; Colin acknowledged her with a nod, an ear flick, and to Finley it was as though he caved in upon himself again. Tense and silent he carried on, leaving her ever curious as to what had set him off. Born blind, deaf, weak. A death sentence. She turned his words over and inside-out and flat and torn and whole again—and all the while, the idea that his outburst stemmed from a personal wound did not occur to the reclusive soldier. It was a fleeting entertainment if anything; he’d presented his story with clipped words, questioned the assumption his past was “sad.” None of it suggested to Finley the root of his bitterness. Studying Colin now, his walk betrayed nothing.

Maybe she should ask? The cloud of her own thoughts parted; they’d all permitted the conversation to drift. An odd tension hung above them, which also baffled Finley—what were they waiting for?

Derg’s chuff broke the stillness, as he dropped into a play bow. Like a pup. First Donovan, now him; at this rate Finley would give up trying to get a read on any of these wolves. “What,” she said, voice no drier than usual, “are you doing.” She offered a conciliatory wave of her tail as accompaniment, lest the air grow fragile again.
July 16, 2020, 06:25 AM
Colin
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As the silence stretches on, he struggles not to slide back into melancholy-- an unfortunate and detestable habit that he had intended to remove from himself completely. It was proving to be a much harder endeavor than he had assumed. 

He reminds himself of the teachings about pride and despair, while the conversation slides in and out of view like an endangered animal. 

Even so, his thoughts return to his family, and the absence of them, chasing itself like a dog fixated on his own tail. He fears that grieving had already become muscle memory to him. I must pray, he thinks. But for what?

Finley's voice-- flat but incredulous, brings him back. Derg was in a playbow. If he had thought the facial scar and the friendly demeanor had been at odds, this almost put him into the realm of the absurd. Of satire. Colin can't help but smile. "Tag," he muses. "Derg, you're it."
July 16, 2020, 06:51 AM
Derg
Saints Of The Dying Light
The Overseer*
Of course, at his invitation, Finley had some sort of objection. Perhaps she was uptight, still pretty pissed off, or still wary of him.
"I'm lightning the fuckin' mood, Finley."
He replied, a cocky tone to his voice. He tilted his torn ear to her, wondering if she'd take a hint or just sit back and watch him romp about stupidly.

Though Colin seemed glad to join the fun.
A game of tag it was then.
His tail waved high as he lunged towards Finley, looking to boop her with his nose to tag her. Maybe if she was part of the game she'd lighten up.

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July 16, 2020, 10:34 AM
Finley Grebe
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Plot twist: Derg could be cocky. Lighting the fuckin’ mood indeed. Suddenly Finley understood a little more what Donovan had seen in him, even if it was, far as she knew, a rarer mood for the scarred male. Even Colin threw in a smile, and now they were playing tag. Near a gorge. In the middle of a journey to a new home.

But clearly, she was outnumbered. It’d been ages since Finley’s last romp, but surely they wouldn’t get away with straying too long? She was about to confirm permission with leadership when something small and wet bopped up against her nose. Tag.

Her tail kept swaying, faster now but still not quite a wag. Fine. If they were playing games, she’d show her how she “played.” Finley drew in a slow breath, as if exasperated (despite her tail’s betrayal)—and without hesitation ducked towards Colin, as if to nip him on the chin. She kept her mouth clamped shut, however; in her version of tag she might have gone for a real bite, but not here. Not now. Derg’s gentle nose had told her this was going to be a very different kind of game.
July 17, 2020, 04:10 PM
Colin
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When Derg went up and tagged Finley, he knew he was next-- she was already lunging towards him, and taps him firmly on his chin. He flinches up and to the side, but he's half a second too slow, and half a second is a world's difference in a game based on speed and reflexes.

Despite himself, his tail flags up and waves. His crosshairs on Derg, he crouches, gathering tension in his hindquarters, before surging towards him, a paw raised to graze him on his shoulder. 

He had not played like this in a while, save for the tussle with Donovan back in the river. It had gone awry, because he had remembered, and because he had thought for one second too long, and one second is a world's difference in the brain where neurons can transmit signals at up to four hundred feet per second.

He is determined to enjoy the romp, as if it is something that can be won through sheer force of will. To Colin, it might as well have been.
July 17, 2020, 04:59 PM
Derg
Saints Of The Dying Light
The Overseer*
Finley dove for Colin, and Derg spun away, bounding a few steps out of the way so he could gauge who Colin would go after next.

But he seemed to have his sights set on him, and Derg knew sprinting away would just ruin their small game, so he barked, dropping into another play bow.
Come get me.

His tongue lolled, tail waving high. This was heckin' fun! He could do this all day, he really could. Though doubted his packmates would want to.

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July 18, 2020, 06:55 PM
Finley Grebe
Approved Members

Game, set, tag. Colin marked successfully.

Finley skidded back, as if dodging a raging elk, but “it” had a new target. Derg stayed close, dropping into another play bow; right, of course, no need to run far. They were still on a journey after all; of course the back-and-forth chase would barely resemble a cross-plain hunt, as the “game” had in Finley’s youth.

It was as though they were but dumb, romping pups. Look at Derg, tongue lolling and tail wagging! at Colin, all his sad miasma nowhere to be found. The invitation for Finley to do the same extended its hand; she took it with the formality of a business meeting, but took it nonetheless.

And so Finley dropped to her elbows with the grace of a poorly-rigged 3d model. Should she raise her tail? Her focus darted from Derg to Colin to the lead couple—oh sweet sun what would they think, their subordinates running around like children like this, but this wasn’t about them—to Derg to Colin again. The best Finley could do, for now, was mirror their gestures, in her feeble attempt at what was cordially known as playtime—and avoid being tagged, yes. That too. Who knew a game could be so harrowing.
July 19, 2020, 10:50 AM
Colin
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we can fade here and assume they play until they tire out?

The last time he had played like this was back at Word of Life-- they'd had a youth camp back there and sometimes he would sit in with the children. As he played with them, all he could think was how young, how full of life! So much change left for them, but then try to tell them that

So how strange it was, to romp around with people old enough to be his colleagues, with people his senior! Before, most of their interactions orbited around the next ceremony or when the choir was ready to sing at a funeral, and have you gone to the doctor about your pain yet. Somewhere along the lines everybody had moved into their own glass houses, and he had obliged.

Much to his relief, Derg doesn't run away-- he isn't sure how fast or how far he could make it, and he doesn't want to test his limits. In the corner of his eye, Finley gathers herself into an awkward play bow, looking cagey. 

He aims a paw at Derg's shoulder to tap him lightly, then recoils back, satisfied. The wind, it feels good in his hair.
July 19, 2020, 02:19 PM
Derg
Saints Of The Dying Light
The Overseer*
Sure thing
He cocked his head at Finley.
She didn't seem sure of herself.
She wanted to join in, it seemed, but she also seemed to think too hard about the situation.

He shook his head, flies coming to bug him for being stationary, and then Colin came and tapped him on the shoulder.
Alright, game on!

Derg bounced towards Colin, aiming to make him give in to a short game of chase whilst Finley came to tag them.
He glanced to her, checking how she was doing now.

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July 19, 2020, 02:53 PM
Finley Grebe
Approved Members

works for me :>

From nose to chin to shoulder the title of “it” was bestowed upon each in turn, and as it returned to Derg a light breeze swept around the trio. Was this “fun”? Finley felt more silly than anything, less lighthearted more wondering what in night’s name she’d gotten herself into, but here they were.

With a spring in his step Derg bounded for Colin, perhaps looking to return the tag, and with a sidelong glance towards Finley as not to let her escape their game. What, was he looking for more participation? Ah, what the hell. She’d offer her tag on a silver platter.

For the first time with a stroke of genuity, Finley wagged her tail, then surged at them with the most playful romp she could muster—and not as forced as expected, at that. Tag me next, the move seemed to challenge. If you can!
July 19, 2020, 05:14 PM
Colin
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wrapping this up B)

Colin tags Derg, Derg tags him, an ourobouros of giving and recieving tags. Finley joins in, her tail wagging, an image which seems as incongruous to Colin as an ocean on fire-- but he welcomes it nonetheless. 

He lunges toward Finley, accepting her challenge with a flick of his ear which could almost be described as jaunty. Inside, he's smothering wellsprings of doubt as they break through into the front of his brain. For now, he remains as playful as anyone like him can get, smiling with his eyes.

The distant figures of Donovan and Nemisis recede into the distance; for a brief span of time, nobody else exists but the three of them.