Hideaway Strath What you give
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#1
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Merc training for @Arlette!

Oh, sweet Arlette.
He hadn't seen her today. He missed her company.
They had business together.
Well, Derg had a determination to train her and ensure she wouldn't be left behind as the Saints moved on.
Plus, she'd want to know. He was almost sure of it.
If she...had children, she'd want to protect them. To protect the families of others.
He sought her out, hoping that the trail he'd picked up on was fresh and true.
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#2
Arlette was really starting to settle in. She had met a few wolves and she made friends with Kynareth which really helped to put her at ease more. She wasn't so afraid anymore when roaming around. She beamed when she was able to so something with Derg. Of course, she had kept him company while he worked. She tried to be around him but she didn't want to be annoying to hover around him all the time. So she was extra pleased that he came looking for her today.

"Derg!," she hummed when's he saw him. She did a little bounce when she stopped before him. "Hi," she hummed, tail wagging. "I made friends with Kynareth," she instantly returned to him, kind of proud of herself. "How are you? No wounds I need to patch up, right?," she asked.
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#3
Her bright eyes and flash of pale coat greeted him, filling his chilly toes with warmth.
He grinned wide.
Arlette never failed to lighten his day.

His tail wagged furiously as he chuckled softly, her excitement was something to behold. How could anyone be so happy to see him?
"Arlette," he mused, stepping closer.
She'd made friends with Kynareth? What a surprise. "I'm proud of you," not many could be friends with the man. He tilted his head. So many words flew from her mouth. "I'm fine. Though I expect I'll be a bit battered soon," a soft smile on his features, "if you'll train with me, that is."
A subtle invitation to let him train her, and she could practice some moves on him.
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She was met with a wide grin and the female couldn't help but return that grin. Her tail was wagging fast. She was just a beaming ball of fluff. She realized she had not been like this for a long time, perhaps over a year. She cherished it that Derg made her feel this way. Along with the compliment her confidence in herself was growing. "Me too! Like he said out of nowhere that I should consider him his friend," she admitted, but very pleased by it.

Her face well worriedly when he said that he would be battered soon. Was something happening she didn't know about? Then the clue dropped. Derg wanted her to train with her? She blinked. "Me? But I am hardly an opponent," she sounded baffled. Or did he mean a different kind of fighting? Play fighting? She flushed at the thought. Bad. She looked at him. "What would you have me do?," she asked.
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#5
He grinned.
He didn't know Kynareth could even consider women as friends.
Though it might just be because Derg was involved.
But...maybe Kynareth realised that women were all trouble for him. Which one of his little harem hasn't caused trouble yet?

His tail mirrored hers, "Wow, well I guess you gotta stay for a little while then." He grinned. He didn't know if she'd even be allowed to leave. But he'd leave with her if she wanted to go...unless he was the problem.

"Of course you are! You've got teeth and a brain." He laughed, slipping closer to her. "Come on, I can take a beating," a softer smirk, a glint to his eyes.
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#6
Arlette was a bit surprised at that statement, because... it was so obvious. Yes she had teeth and a brain! It was really a different perspective that Derg was giving her. Of course, she could bite and attack but she only done so when really needed, in moments where she went to her base instincts to protect. He stepped closer and invited her to attack him. She stepped back and shook her head. "I wouldn't," she breathed, still holding on to that old Arlette.

"I wouldn't want to hurt you, Derg," she whispered and looked a bit pained. She looked over his body, already littered with scars where others hadn't been so kind to him. "Can't you teach me how to defend myself instead of to attack?"
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He tilted his head.
He was so clueless. So stupid.
How did he not realise he was making her uncomfortable? After all that happened with Kaito, why would he think for a second she'd try to spar him.

His ears flagged, realising his mistake. "I'm sorry, love. Of course, I'll teach you anything."
He swallowed. Glancing away for a second, taking a step back.
Idiot.

He turned himself to stand beside her, but not too close just yet. He'd let her make that move when she feels like he'd learnt his lesson.
His tail waved softly.
"If you're facing an opponent, they will look for your weaknesses," he glanced to her, making sure she was ok with a soft smile.
"That will usually be your neck, like on deer. But tucking your chin - like this-" he dipped his chin a little so the underside of his neck is covered by his muzzle. "If wolves like us were to face wolves the size of Nyra and Kynareth, it would be easier for us to reach up under them."

Once she nailed that, he'd teach her about her stature.
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#8
Arlette looked at Derg and noticed that he tipped his head. She was probably confusing him with her reluctance to fight. It was mostly because she didn't want to hurt him. The male seemed to switch in disposition though. It made her a bit surprised as well. Arlette appreciated that he could adjust to her level. "You don't need to be sorry," she commented. She wanted to do well, so she just hoped he didn't think bad of her now. "I should be." She added.

She watched him and nodded. Her ears fell back as she thought of the cougar that indeed went for her neck like she was some piece of prey. She copied him, feeling the scar tissue on her throat be compressed. Fur had still not grown back where the cougar had held its grip on her neck. She was starting to feel sick, thinking about that moment. She pressed her chin down lower, reminding herself that she had not been protecting herself, recklessly throwing herself in the fight. She-- She just wished she knew before.

She looked at Derg quietly and nodded, that she understood. 'The cougar grabbed me by my throat until my aunt--" she stopped, her aunt saved her and got killed instead of her.
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He shook his head softly.
He didn't need words. They didn't need them to know what each other meant.
Don't be silly.
He was thinking of the next movement he would show her when she spoke.

Her voice hollow, eyes reflecting that pain.
A cougar.
He never asked. He never wanted to see this pain. He just wanted to fix that broken woman he'd found, still mourning her lover. He swallowed, sliding eyes to her. He took a few sideways steps until his body joined hers. Shoulders together, his head, still dipped, reaching to her. To softly touch her cheek, reminding her that he wasn't going to leave.
Not soon. Not later.

"It's ok," he murmured softly.
"Tell me more, if you want."
He didn't want to force her to bring up those feelings. To force her to remember.
But if it was something she wanted him to know, then he'd let her talk.
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#10
Arlette really appreciated his support. She could feel him next to her and touch her cheek. She felt the heat rise to it. The female shook her head. "There is nothing more to say," she let out. "She fought the cougar and failed to save her own life. Kaito and Nanook gave their lives for me to live, and though I try to live my life to the fullest sometimes it is hard," she admitted to him, her red eyes battered at him.

"A heavy burden to bear when two wolves offered their lives for you to live." How did one know they lived a good live? She was happy here at the Saints so that is a start. "I am happy here and forget that it happened. As bad as it is to admit it. But then are the moments it returns and I want to think about it. Because what they did... I can never repay them." She offered Derg a sad smile. She just wanted to make them proud even though they were dead, and these lessons just reminded her what happened.
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#11
He hummed softly, standing by her like a rock. Keeping her sane and safe.
To have those you love lost in a moment like that. To have your soul ripped from your body, he couldn't think of how it must have felt. He'd never suffered such loss.
Yet.

He didn't want to tell her it was ok. It wasn't. Losing your loved ones wasn't ok.
He pressed his nose to her neck, inhaling her scent. Rosewater with evergreen touches, from living in the Strath.
"You've got me," he whispered.
"You've got all of us. Just say the word and they'll give it to you. They all love you," he grinned, pulling back to look at her face.

He didn't want to be another weight on her shoulders.
And he doubted that she wanted another either.
That's what they were doing here now.

"You'll never forget, love. You'll never forget Kaito or Nanook. It will just stop hurting." He smiled softly, his body still pressed against hers.
He sighed, letting he make the next move. Say the next word.
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#12
Arlette offered a soft smile to Derg. She did have the saints, and all of them where lovely. "Those are kind words, thank you," she spoke. She was really glad that she joined the saints. Before she had been doubtful but she really felt at home here. She had made several friends and even a closer one in Derg. She really felt that this is where she should be.

"I don't want to forget them," she admitted, and quirked up her lips a bit. "But I do not want to be held back by the grief. I do want to live. How you met me-- I don't want to be that person. I want to live and enjoy life," she assured him. She wanted him to know she was not a glum and mopey wolf all day long. She looked at him. "Thanks for being there for me," she spoke. "Okay, I think I am ready for my next defense move."
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He met her smile with her own.
She was so warm. So bright. A burning star in his blight.
He felt a bit too warm actually, thinking about it. Maybe it was her heat but...he felt flushed.
He must be developing a cold.

He inhaled her scent again. It curled around his nose, drawing him into her like a phantom embrace.
She didn't want to forget, and neither would he. He tucked the names of her loved ones away, so he could thank them upon Yuelmas.
"Always," he mused.

She perked up a little, asking tentatively for the next move.
He stepped away. Only just enough. Their long furs still charged with static reaching for each other across the gap.
"Next," he shifted into the position he showed her first, "you lay your weight on your hind legs, ready to spring up or to the side, and it will keep you anchored in place."
From head-on attacks, from being dragged forward. 
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#14
Arlette looked at Derg as she exampled the next part of her defense session. She tried to put her sad thoughts away and focus. It did help that she could shamelessly watch the male. How the muscle moved under his skin. The lite female followed example and moved weight more on her hindlegs. She jumped to the side, but felt that it wasn't quick enough. She felt a little slow.

As she did it a few times she noticed the muscles in her hind legs started to burn a bit. Guess she didn't have much practice with this, and so did her muscles. She kept her chin tucked in as well and tried to move from side to side. "Alright, so when do I use this?"
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She copied him and gave a few practices.
Shifting from side to side before remembering to keep her chin down.
It was hard to remember everything but...in battle, it just flowed. There was no time to think when there was no time to save your life.
You just did.

He moved before her, ready so they could start mirror practice. It was the best thing to train those new to the trade. They could see how a warrior moved, could see all the pints they needed to remember, all the tricks to help them survive.
"When someone is charging you, so even if you can't move you won't be thrown down."
He smiled softly, a few paces before her.

"Mirror me," a flash of a smirk before he flicked his body to the left.
His chin dipped and hind legs lingering a second after his front half moved.
He paused, letting her catch up and think before moving back to the right with a grin.
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#16
Arlette watched at Derg stood before her. He stood there quite threatening but instead of inducing fear she was kind of liking the display. Her eyes took in every inch of him, under the excuse that she had to study his movements. She nodded when he told her to mirror him. She also moved her weight back to her haunches again, and moved her body while keeping her chin tipped down. She realized it came quite natural to her, holding her chin down. She never had been the dominant type, so perhaps she had been protecting her throat all along.

She mirrored Derg's motions, only moving when he did. She was quite the obedient girl after all. She even mimicked his grin as she was enjoying herself. She could see how this could work when someone was charging right towards you. She hoped it would never happen again, but she had realized that there would always be someone out for her. "Do I get a reward if I did well?," she asked, feeling more confident around Derg.
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#17
She kept up well.
Her position was stronger with every movement, her body flowing as she let herself get lost in the moment. She even seemed to be enjoying herself.
After a few more bounces to the right and left, they paused.

Arlette asked after a reward.
He quirked a brow.
"Of course," he took a step closer, letting his posture become fluid and soft, "what do you want, Lette?" He smirked, touching his nose to her muzzle. Moving up her cheek, stepping closer again.
He really wanted to know her answer now.
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#18
Arlette didn't expect him to stop right away. She also had not expected to have him really ask what kind of reward she wanted. Shit. Shit. Shit. Panic. Her ears flopped back and she hummed softly. She playfully dipped through her front paws when he touched her muzzle. She felt rather playful, her tail wagging. She playfully nipped his neck and did the jump to the side she just learned.

"You will have to try and catch me," she decided and turned on her heels. She kind of liked him chasing after her. She would never really do this with Kaito. They usually talked medical stuff or kept low key because of her parents. Now she could be playful and perhaps a bit trying to flirt with him. Though she just went on instinct with the latter. She kind of expected Derg to catch her really, since she was not a mastermind with escaping.
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#19
Her ears flicked back. Uncertain perhaps, or just a little nervous.
But she certainly wasn't scared.
She dropped into a play bow before him. His tail wagged, flicking with curiosity for what she'd ask of him.
She nipped at his neck and lept to the side.
Derg dropped to a play bow too then, watching her.

Catch me.

He let out a short bark, signalling the start of their game as she took off. He gave chase as they sprinted through the trees. He had to admit he hung back a little, wanting this to draw on. The rush of adrenaline, the joy of being so free.
Then he pushed on, aiming to draw alongside her hips to nip at them.
He wondered if she'd stop and turn on him, or spur on even faster.
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#20
Arlette watched the male before she dashed off. She heard his bark and was eager to show her worth by rushing through the trees and trying to be as fast as she could. She thought she was pretty fast but soon the male was nipping at her hips. She was not going to let herself be caught that easy. She made a dodge around a tree and was shift in making a u-turn.

She grinned as she looked at Derg. She kind of liked being chased by him. The pale female jumped gracefully over a little creek. She was not as familiar with the territory but then again, Derg had not been living here long either. She continued towards the Chambers. She felt that would be a nice thing to show to him when he caught her.
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#21
Gosh this was hard to keep up.
He wasn't made for stamina, but Arlette surely was.
He'd keep up though, even if it meant his blood bursting from his veins.
She hung a U-turn around a tree, and Derg nearly lost himself to the dirt. Only sheer luck had his paws bouncing off a tree root to push him around after his pale counterpart.

She glanced back to him, joy filling her eyes as his teeth grazed her fur.
He let out a breath of a chuckle, because that was all he could give.
She lept, and he lept with her, starting to fall behind a bit more now.

Her direction turned towards the chambers.
Perhaps she was going to stop soon. Christ please stop soon.
The thought made him laugh internally. But her tail streaming behind her was so tempting he couldn't help but make a nip towards it.
If you're gonna get there, do it quick.
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#22
Arlette realized she really loved being chased by him. It made her feel really wanted and she kind of liked the adrenaline of the male chasing her. She felt that he managed to do quite well to keep up with her. Her tongue was also lolling from the side of her mouth now. She was running with a thick winter coat so she did get hot pretty quickly.

She ran into the Chambers, and then made a turn into the dark tunnel she knew so well. It let to Gaia's altar she found with Nyra. She laughed, and it echoed off the walls. She knew it, even if it was darker. She followed the natural light at the end of the tunnel and then made a plunge into the water. Instantly cooling off. She turned to see if Derg was following.
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They passed into the passages, slowing for the dipped roofing and tight turns and squeezes.
The stone and dirt floor was even colder on his paws, but his thick coat too suffocated him with heat.
He wanted to roll in the snow outside.
But he was too curious to turn back.

But Arlette really had to turn down the deepest, darkest tunnel.
His eyes hadn't yet adjusted to the light, and soon enough her pale pelt was swallowed in the darkness. Derg fumbled and slowed, trying to listen for her breathing.
He followed her soft pants into the darkness.
Trusting her fully.
"Arle-" A splash of water.

"Arlette?!" He rushed forward a few more steps, shoulder banging against the walls, until he was blessed with the pale sunlight bouncing off the pool of water Arlette now bathed in.
His heart lurched at the sight. Beautiful.

He moved forward, feet light on the dusty floor.
He smiled, dipping his head as he too stepped into the lake.
He pushed out, swimming after her. There was no rush, just joy.
He moved to her side, softly reaching to nip her fur.

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#24
She was aware that Derg probably didn't know about the altar and the underground lake. You could walk around it to the altar. But Arlette hadn't minded cooling off. Where she had plunged in, he had stepped in gracefully. She saw towards him. "You clearly didn't manage to catch me," she grinned, perhaps a bit teasingly. Since well, she really liked him.

"Nyra and I found this place, isn't it cool?," she hummed swimming by him. "I wanted to show you." And perhaps get him in a more private setting...

should we close this thread since well this is from December? haha And I think Nyra and Arlette didn't find these caves at this moment lol
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Gonna close up now! Sorry for being so damn slow aha, you can post last if you want


This place was beautiful. How had he not found it?
Well, he might've if he cared to look.
But he was glad it was Arlette who showed him here now.

"I'll get you next time," he grinned, tail dragging lazily through the water (which was a bit chilly).
He smiled, looking up, "I love it. Thank you." For showing him. For breathing life and joy into this place.
For being Arlette.

He wasn't sure what they'd do next. He'd probably go back to his duties after they'd dried off and warmed up.
But for now, Derg just swam slowly, enjoying this time. 
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