Redsand Canyon Said, oh, I’ll never know
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Setting: Early morning — 0645
Weather: 60F — misty.
Location: Territory #9 — Redsand Canyon.
Tags: @Leigh

The massive male is up early this morning. He remembers the sweet, yet playful conversation and planning of a date with a certain wolf. Said wolf being Leigh. They’re supposed to be hunting today — how exciting.

He stands on a mass of rock a hearty fifteen feet in the air, scouting the canyon for any type of prey — preferably ungulates. Might as well get something that can feed the whole pack. Speaking of, he finally spots a small herd of pronghorn in the distance. Hopefully his howl he releases for his date doesn’t scare them off.
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Leigh felt completely unprepared. It wasn't a real date.

They were only hunting but she still wanted to look nice. Her and Donovan were simply friends but it had been a while since the she-wolf had been asked out regardless. Giving her pelt a firm shake to rid it of any dust, smoothing out the thick fur on her tail and straightening out any odd spots on her coat, she decided she was ready. And just on time, her ears raised in alert as she heard the familiar call.

Although the woman had only been in the pack for a short time, she was beginning to build a blurry but understanable mental map of the area and territory. She knew where to meet the alpha, and began skipping towards the Canyon with a bright smile along her lips.

So far Donovan had been nothing but sweet. Perhaps a tad annoying, though it had a certain charm that Leigh couldn't deny. But this she-wolf wasn't going to fall for one of Don's tricks so easily. She would not give her heart to another. Her family was waiting for her up above and she had no room for anyone but them. Besides, although she had never witnessed it, she was sure that the wolf pulled the same charismatic smile on any and every living breathing creature. Heck if he was lonely enough, she was sure that he'd seek the company of a squirrel. Leigh wasn't special, just another average she-wolf that happened to wander into his grasp.

She was getting close, but as she neared, her worries only grew. The female fussed with her fur, as the wind wouldn't stop messing with it. She even took a moment to rest and extend one of her paws to rub her eyes, as if that would change their color into something she thought would be much prettier.

Then she spotted him. He was standing on a rock, and the she-wolf debated whether or not to climb up to meet him. She was a bit quiet and worried that he wouldn't notice her small shadow standing below. But if she went up, they'd only have to jump back down. Leigh opted to at least try calling up to him.

With a deep breath, nerves freaking the fuck out and bouncing around, she spoke.

"I'm here!"
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His eyes dance along the horizon, watching the, now alert, herd of pronghorn. Kynareth isn’t even aware of the dark pelaged female that approached until she barked up to him. He’s swiftly shifting his hues onto her form and instantly a smile is spreading across his maw. 

“Morning, dear.” He calls down to her, climbing down with dexterous skill. 

He’s landing before her in a plume of dirt, heavy paws hitting the ground with a thud. He shakes himself off and tilts his chin to her. “Looking beautiful, as usual.” He hums to her, leaning in and nosing her cheek teasingly. 

It only last a second for he pulls back and turns towards the herd. “Got a small herd of pronghorn over that way. We should be able to nab one easy enough.” He informs.
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Leigh watches as the wolf turns to notice her, and a sigh of relief escapes her lips. The climb wouldn't have been awful, but if she could save the trip she definitely would. Her eyes follow his large form as he jumps down with a thud, and as he approaches her smile widens as a greeting. And as he speaks, she's happy to hear the compliment, but is once again unsure if it is entirely sincere.

The she-wolf listens intently to Donovan's next comments, and nods in response as she matches his gaze and glances towards the herd. The pronghorn are also unfamiliar. Odd looking creatures. But if Don says they'll be easy enough to catch, she wouldn't argue.

"How do you want to do this?"
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He is impressed by her indifference to the compliment. It seems she’s not a blushing bride like he thought before. Still, his easy smile never leaves his maw as he looks to the herd. 

“I’m thinking you go from one direction and I’ll go from the other. We hit one at the same time, take it down. Should be easy enough.” He offers as a quick made up plan.
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#6
Although the plan is quick and simple, Leigh has no trouble acknowledging the advantage in it's simplicity and nods in response. Their first hunt together had been a tad more complex, the two separated with the she-wolf running ahead to slow the goat down. But now they'd be working at once, which she hoped would make this meal a bit easier to bring down. Because despite the woman's fast speed and long legs, she only obtained it by trading in her stamina.

Leigh was also planning on using this date to ask some questions about the current state of the pack. Things were changing very quickly, Nyra coming back injured and whispers about Ursus. For now she'd focus on the pronghorn herd, but perhaps they could talk afterwards.

"Which one were you looking to choose?"
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He hums in contemplation to her inquiry. Looking at the shrunken herd. “You see that smaller female beside the biggest male over there?” He asks, glancing to her. “That’s the one we should aim for.” He chuckles, smirk widening.

He hardly gives her time to confirm before he’s trotting off with a quiet, but excited, “Let’s go, peaches. You go left I’ll go right.” He suggests easily, looking towards her on their descend to the herd with a wink.
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Despite Leigh's orage eyes focused on the herd, her ears are tilted towards Donovan as she nods once again to his answer. Aiming her gaze in the direction of the smaller female, it takes her a moment to notice her friend trotting off to the herd until she hears his familiar voice. A faint and short laugh leaves her lips in response to the comment as she follows, skipping across the ground to keep up with the larger wolf's longer strides.

She follows Don until they near, the she-wolf then breaking off and heading towards the left. Although she is fixated on the prey, she quickly glances to Donovan to confirm he too is ready.
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Kynareth trots along the arid land, kicking up dust clouds that are sure to attract the herds attention. Eyes following the ungulates as they watch his approach. Finally he looks toward Leigh and nods, a confirmation to fall into place. 

At first the pronghorn’s are tense, then when Donovan gets as close as fifty feet they start booking it. He wastes no time and elongating his strides and starting into a sprint. His eye on the prize, he follows after the smaller female. Coming up behind her and snapping at a hind leg. Awaiting Leigh to come in and help him, he doesn’t go in for another bite, only hovers alongside the deer as best he can.
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#10
As soon as the pronghorn scramble, Leigh's focus remains locked onto the particular animal as she chases it alongside her hunting partner. Her paws are silent across the ground while she sprints towards her soon-to-be meal, her speed slowly increasing. Donovan is ahead and is the first to snap at the prey's hindleg, though the she-wolf isn't far behind. With the help of her powerful long legs she is able to advance herself forwards with ease, soon catching up to the two.

The woman only has a short period of time to take down the fleeing animal. She had been gifted with speed but in return she had to exchange her stamina. They'd have to make the kill quickly before she'd reach her limit and fall behind to rest. Leigh too attempted a bite to the pronghorn's hindleg, but this wasn't like the goat from before. This animal was larger, and not too excited about the idea of being kicked in the face, the she-wolf missed and promptly pulled back. But with a concentrated expression, she wasn't going to give up this easily. Taking her aim and attemping a second bite, it thankfully landed.
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Donovan is rushing beside the beast. A plume of red dust appearing behind them. The shewolf has finally caught up and now he will not hold back. 

Rushing forward, he jumps and risks a deadly kick to the head. Slamming his shoulder into the animals legs. The beast stumbles but doesn’t seem to be falling to the ground. He goes in again, snapping vicious teeth into the meat of its hind leg and finally it goes tumbling.

He’s skidding his paws along the rough terrain to stop in time. To snatch up the pronghorn, to not give it any time to get up.
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#12
As the pronghorn begins to tumble, Leigh releases her grip and watches as the poor animal collapses to the ground in a cloud of dust. She remains in the background, taking a moment to herself to catch her breath as she watches Donovan make the kill. With a heavy huff escaping her lips, the she-wolf trots over to the scene, taking a seat beside her new friend as she eagerly waits to eat.

But first, there was something she had been meaning to ask Donovan. Perhaps now was a good time. It was private and quiet, a nice place to talk. She needed to know more about what exactly was happening. Leigh didn't wander into this land to end up in a war. She wasn't even sure if she'd be willing to fight.

"I need to ask you something."
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Donovan grabs the animal by the throat, thrashing himself back and forth, promptly killing it on the spot. The break of a neck and the dripping of the ungulates life force onto his tongue. He drops it, the blood seeping into the already red sand. He pants wildly, with his tongue lulling out large and flat, stained red with blood dripping from his maw. 

Then such a soft voice greets his ears, he turns towards her and laps at his whiskers with his tongue. “Yes?” He answers back simply.
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#14
It was a relief to know that the animal didn't suffer, and that the kill had been quick. Looking down their meal, Leigh's eyes followed the trickling blood as it merged with the sand. In a way, it looked like they were standing in an ocean of blood with the sand being so vibrant in color. But the she-wolf's attention swiftly shifted as Donovan spoke, and the woman turned her neck to face the wolf once more. There was no holding back now.

"What exactly is going on here? The pack seems distant from one another, and just the other day Nyra came running home soaked in blood and laced with wounds. You've all been kind to me and if it ever came to war, I might be willing to fight."

There was a pause in her words. Leigh didn't want to sound ungrateful, but she wanted to stress the importance of her questions. She'd have to word this correctly.

"But I also spent an entire year of my life ridding my mind of violent thoughts, and I won't willingly return to that without a good reason. I won't fight for something I don't fully understand."

Now there was only one final thing to ask.

"Who are you really?"
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He is not surprised when Leigh finally questions him about the packs endeavors. Truly he wondered when it would happen. For he has no qualms with informing her, she deserves to be informed as a member of the pack and such.

He will answer her truthfully. He smiles, a sweet ‘please don’t hate me’ smile. “That’s not a horrible request. There’s no reason not to inform you of everything.” So he begins. “Ursus — our ally — has gotten it rated over the thrashing of their disrespectful child. Their child attacked Nyra knowing that she was an allied wolf. That’s blatant betrayal and therefore he deserves what he got. Child or not, one must learn from their mistakes. So the alliance is no doubt shattered and non existent at this point.” He sighs then, liking upon the shewolf. “You have a right not to fight along side us. We would just appreciate the help is all.” He chuckles. It’s not meant as a jab only a friendly jest. 

“As for who I really am? This is who I really am. I am a monster as some call me. I will not think twice before killing. I haven’t lied to you about anything but my name. My name is Kynareth Deagon.” He steps towards her as if she might run away. With bated breath he awaits her reaction.
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Leigh does not interrupt.

She sits, completely ignoring their new meal as she listens to the wolf speak with a neutral expression forming across her features. The she-wolf doesn't give any indication of how she feels, for she doesn't want to influence Donovan's words or the way he'd describe things. She wants to hear the complete and honest truth, unfiltered and unaffected by anything she says or does.

The woman is glad that her friend is so willing to share. There was nothing she hated more than being left in the dark, especially about something so important and potentially dangerous. When Don finishes, a moment of silence passes between the two. Leigh thinks of her next words carefully. It is only when Donovan takes a step forwards do her eyes soften.

"Well... I suppose to start I'll say that, if I may, I'm still calling you Donovan. Unless you want me to sound like a complete idiot trying to pronouce your real name, which I advise against."

There is a small pause as she shifts her tone to address the other matters.

"I won't fight over a petty argument between two wolves. Now, I don't know the extent or reason for the incident, but from what I heard it seems rather... ridiculous and it'd be even more ridiculous to risk my life going to war over such a thing." Although a heavy sigh escapes her lips, there is also a faint smile lifting them. "But, if things escalate, I might be willing. Though based on how you treated me during our spar, I suppose I'm just far too delicate to concern myself with such things."

Leigh speaks in a teasing tone, giving the wolf a dose of his own medicine in a way. Deciding she had waited long enough, she dips her head before taking a bite from the pronghorn.

"I doubt I'd be much help, don't you think?"
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Donovan is surprised to hear such soft words from the woman. Perhaps he truly does not know her as well as one thinks. Perhaps he prepared himself for her to leave as well. Yet, it doesn’t seem like will turn tail and run for the hills immediately, so that’s good enough for him.

First he laughs at her comment of his name. Nodding his head, he agrees. She can call him whatever she wishes. He’s never been too interested in what others call him anyhow. Yet her desire not to fight isn’t surprising to him, but it seems she’s reluctant to do so. There’s room for work there, so he nods once more agreeing with her. “That is fine, we will need someone to survive to tell the tale.” He chuckles sadistically. He loves battle so he can’t quite relate to her statement. “I’m sure you’d be able to help in some way darling. Everyone has their own unique set of abilities.”
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As the she-wolf chews on her mouthful of food, her head rising and focus returning to Donovan, she nods in response. If war ever did arrive, perhaps she could remain away from the battlefield and instead help in the healing department. But then she'd need training, and she at least had some background with physical fighting. What a mess this all was.

"Is there any way the packs could avoid a battle? If your ex-ally is upset because Nyra nearly killed one of their younger wolves, going to war would only put that child right back into danger." The woman can't help but release a frustrated huff.

"Fighting over an injured wolf, the fight only increasing the chances of that very wolf being injured again. Perfect reasoning. Absolutely perfect. Ten-out-of-ten, fantastic logic."
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Donovan watches her eat, not tending to his portion yet. “Of course. I’d rather not fight them. But they don’t take no for an answer. That raven, Merrick’s little guard dog, will hunt us down.” Comes his casual response. 

Then he scoffs, not necessarily at her, rather just the situation as a whole. “Darling, I agree. It’s a shit show. Our Alliance is dead over a fucking squabble because of their disrespectful kid and their pack.” Then his golden hues meet her own intensely. “They want to play by their own rules. Just as we do. Yet where we are down for a convenient agreement, they are not.” Then a sneer makes its way onto his maw. “They attacked an allied wolf knowing they were an ally. That is unforgivable and should be punished; only to be forgiven by blood.” 
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Oh boy, what had she gotten herself into?

The woman listened intently as the wolf spoke, her bright eyes meeting his own, only momentarily breaking contact when she dipped her head to tear another bite from the carcass. She restrained herself from taking more than her fair share of the meal. Although Donovan hadn't specifically mentioned, she assumed such a large kill would be taken back to the pack and shared among it's other members.

But returning to the conversation, Leigh was unsure how to respond. This was definitely a difficult ordeal to handle. The she-wolf understood her alpha's frustration, despite not agreeing with his approach. But this wasn't her decision to make. Pulling her gaze away from Don's, she angled it downwards as she took a moment to silently think to herself.

There was no way they'd get around this situation without bloodshed, was there? That was out of their control, but perhaps who's blood was shed was their choice? Leigh glanced back up to meet the now familiar golden eyes, hoping her idea may be taken into consideration.

"Nyra spoke to me and mentioned both a black wolf and a brown wolf. At first I though she was mentioning a leader of Ursus and a pack member, but Nyra said that several wolves attacked her and I don't see a reason why she'd single out one particular follower out of the bunch." The dark-furred female took a pause as she regained her breath.

"You said 'that raven, Merrick's little guard dog'. Nyra said to look out for a black wolf with violet eyes specifically, and she mentioned this wolf first above all. Now that you also mention a 'raven', I'm assuming you were both talking about the same individual."

Leigh was beginning to put the puzzle things together, and it was only fitting that a puzzled expression overtook her features. The woman wasn't raised to be an observer. If she had stayed in her birth pack, she would have ended up a lot more like Donovan. But the family she had lost taught her far more than her pack ever could have. And her mate just happened to have been the local 'detective'.

"As for the brown wolf, I can only assume that this is Merrick. If Nyra was going to pick two wolves to discuss, it makes sense that she'd choose the two pack leaders. Recognizeable, distinct, and well-known wolves. Easy for a newcomer like me to spot."

As she spoke, she nodded to herself at a steady pace, her thoughts bouncing around. She was sure that this was all information Don already knew, but to explain her plan she needed to explain her thought process.

"But despite them holding the same rank, it seems like this 'raven' does most of the work. Tell me Donovan, does Merrick actually love his mate? If she were to die, would he refrain from taking another or would he quickly jump to finding someone else?"

A certain pain struck her heart as she contructed her next words. But it was necessary.

"I know this 'raven' has a family. And if she were to pass, a mate would lose his partner and children would lose their mother. But if a full blown war were to start, countless more wolves would perrish as well. Who says they don't have families too?"

Leigh's eyes turned away from her friend and settled to look in the distance instead. It was all such an unfamiliar world that she still needed to figure out.

"No one should have to die, no matter how awful they are. This is about Nyra and a child right now, not some petty fight. Merrick is also a leader of Ursus. If he doesn't actually love his mate as much as he may claim to, or if he at least disagrees with her methods, perhaps you should redirect your aim and attempt to speak with him instead."

Something about her talk with Nyra had sent a spark flying. And that spark just happened to fall into a pile of old wood that hadn't been set aflame for a very, very long time. But maybe, just maybe, that little spark would reignite a fire.

"This 'raven' seems unreasonable and unlikely to have created your alliance. So I'm guessing it was Merrick who agreed to the deal. If Ursus is this willing to start a war, it wouldn't surprise me if they got on bad terms with some of the other packs around this area."

Rising to her feet, she shot a sharp look back towards Donovan. She would stand her ground, even against an alpha. Right now he needed some fucking guidance and common sense and she'd beat it into him if she had to.

"Get your shit together, Donovan. To be a real leader you need to start acting like one. Gather more wolves, build this pack and train them all in useful skills. Make this pack valuable. Make the Saints of the Dying fucking Light so valuable that even Merrick wouldn't dare lose this alliance knowing how much we'd be a help in a real war. And if that fails, you can figure something else out. But don't make Merrick or his guard dog bleed. Make them fucking cry."
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Donovan feels better getting things off his chest to the female before him. Though as he continues listening to her, he watches her slowly connecting the dots and making a spider web of various information.

She has questions, ones he won’t answer until she’s finished. Does Merrick love his blackbird? Perhaps. Though her idea of going back to Merrick is one that has been floating in his mind for sometime now. But how to get to him without alerting the guard dog. Borderline impossible unless he magically catches Merrick outside of his borders. He can’t risk howling for him. He’d have to get lucky.

Then as she suddenly stands, her soft, cute features become sharp, intense as she gazes over to him.

Get your shit together, Donovan.

White brows raise and he’s looking at her with a morbid curiosity, surprised by her words. It sounds like something his father would say. Or it is something his father would say. Fuck. She’s not wrong. At that fact alone he sighs. Golden eyes watching her, meeting her own vibrant pumpkin colored ones.

He has no other choice. He nods, curt, soft. “You’re right, dear.” Is all he says. 

He’s sure in his words though. Eyes holding a fire of determination. He would like Ursus to be an ally, he would like Ursus to suffer. He would like a lot of things, yet logically, the alliance will not survive. So he must make them cry, not bleed it seems. Yet, this shewolf — Leigh — seems to have piqued his best interest. He’s feeling jovial today, compliant. He will listen and take in what she has to say, but almost just as importantly, he’s realizing how god damned attracted he is to her. Especially when her usually timid, sweet nature slips away to the assertive woman he sees here. 

He grins, a heat in his sparkling eyes. “We’ll do it your way then, yes?” Comes his sly reply.
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She simply waits.

For a moment the she-wolf regrets speaking up. Although Donovan doesn't seem angry about her little speech, it was only until after did she realize how blunt and rude it may have sounded. Leigh had a good filter, one of the best. But often times she'd end up filtering every word and thought, leaving her with nothing to say. She wasn't quiet because she was shy. It was because she ruled everything out as being unecessary or unhelpful, so why bother talking?

However, things were changing once more. There are times where everything is good. There are also times where everything is bad. And everything eventually comes back to the middle. But Leigh's time in the middle was coming to an end. Soon, the scales would shift.

War changes a wolf. So although the woman wouldn't usually speak up, she felt that in this particular situation, it was vital that she gave Donovan a little push in the right direction. And it seemed she made the right choice, as despite being surprised, her alpha agreed.

She knew that what Nyra did was wrong. But she also knew where the line needed to be drawn. The raven didn't seem like an ordinary wolf who went mad with rage because her child was injured. No, it seemed like this wolf had always been vengful. And feeding that habit would only make things worse.

"We will try my way. And if it doesn't work..."

Shit, what would she do? If Leigh was participating in any war, it was a war with herself. The she-wolf could either continue on her steady path to lead a simple and calm life. One of reason and knowledge. Or, she could decide to go back to a time when she was much different.

There was still an unseen rage inside of her. It was beyond tempting to accept the invitation to a battle. But this time she wouldn't have anyone to help her crawl out of that hole.

Leigh didn't meet his eyes. For now she could only stare down at her paws as she thought silently.

"If it doesn't work... I might be able to help, but, I won't fight."

Not unless something serious happens.
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She seems reluctant yet willing to help. That will do. She seems genuine in her desire to assist him and his pack. Or so it seems. Who knows at this point. He won’t let his previous experiences distract him (well maybe he will a little bit). He’s beginning to want to trust her but he won’t be letting it happen so willy nilly.

So he nods his head languidly at her in a nonverbal type of agreement. “Yes, your way.” He hums with a smile. “We will get together with Derg. I’m sure he’d like to hear all about it. Until then,” he adds glancing to the body. “We should drag this to the cache.”