Qeya River subsistence
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#1
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For @Angler

Veteran had noticed a funny thing this afternoon: the salmon at the Qeya River Mouth were hopping up out of the water, flinging themselves up the series of waterfalls gushing from Meltwater Lake. It was absolutely wild

Fascinated, he followed the Qeya River downstream, wondering if there were other spots on the river where this was occurring. He hardly realized it when he ended up venturing out of Duskfire Glacier territory. He'd been outside the territory before; it wasn't a big deal. He was confident-- perhaps overly so-- in the self-defense techniques that Issorartuyok and Coach Meekah were teaching him. 

Veteran stopped at a smaller waterfall area on the Qeya River. The same thing was happening here: the salmon were leaping up the waterfall in their desperate attempt to swim upstream. Veteran lowered his rump to the ground, fixated on the sight.
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#2
Angler walked along the riverbank, eyes on the struggling salmon, watching as their fat and bright bodies frantically flung against the current. He peered into the water, watching as their powerful bodies thrashed around, propelling forward to find nooks to lay eggs and egged nooks to spray at. Through the clear water's he could even see where these eggs were, and following the massive males led him straight to the eggs.

Not wanting to pass on an easy and highly rich meal, Angler meanders into the water. One male had just got done covering some eggs with gravel , the nest resting behind a large rock that slowed the stream. Angler did make a lazy attempt to get the failed father with a charge forward, but the fish fell back and changed directions.

Content in his loss, he came up and uncovered the eggs, his muzzle dipping below the surface and pushing the layers of river pebbles out of the way to reveal bright orange roe. He lapped them up, breaking their gooey hold, some of the prize falling down stream, but missing a few morsels of the abundant and easy to get catch was nothing for him.

The sated wolf looks up and around, and his eye catches on a small wolf sitting higher up stream. he could not see the eyes, but he was sure the wolf had spotted him walk in. He paused, waiting for an acknowledgement, ready to burst. Stealing from a salmon run was a punishable offense on may of the river's he'd been to this season.

[Image: fs.png]
FEEL FREE TO MISGENDER ANGLER. At a distance he has some more masculine behaviors, at least from his pack's culture, but up close it can be discerned that threes a disparity, if one cares enough to look.

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#3
Realizing that he had dropped his defenses for a few moments, Veteran came to himself and quickly looked around. His ice-blue gaze landed on the stranger, and his ruff came up instinctively. What were they doing on Duskfire Glacier property?! He very nearly called for backup, but before he could utter his cry he realized they they were, in fact, not on Duskfire Glacier ground. He had accidentally wandered out of the territory. Again.

Oops. Well then. At least the stranger wasn't trespassing. Veteran didn't let down his guard, however. He knew that outsiders still could occasionally pose a threat to pack wolves. 

After a few long moments of wondering what to do, Veteran finally called out to the stranger. "Hey! Are you seeing what these fish are doing?!" He was mostly just looking for some sign in the stranger's voice or mannerisms that would let him know whether the stranger was friendly or hostile. From their current distance, he couldn't tell much from body posture due to the stranger's very dark facial features.
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#4
Angler let off a sigh of relief at the wolves calling. A young one, and he wasn't hostile. He looked old enough for pack rules to stick in his memory, so this river must be safe. Although he had to question that, had this pup not been told of spawning? Nature's fishy feast?

He put on a cheery disposition, one that would let the wolf know he was no foe. His tail wagged and his ears sat forward loosely.

"Yes, the river is teaming with fat catches! A sign fall is going out. I've been taking advantage of it all this season, I'm getting some roe right now!"

Angler came from behind the rock and sat down on the banks, approaching seemed too friendly just yet.

[Image: fs.png]
FEEL FREE TO MISGENDER ANGLER. At a distance he has some more masculine behaviors, at least from his pack's culture, but up close it can be discerned that threes a disparity, if one cares enough to look.

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#5
Veteran wandered over to the bank as the stranger emerged from the shallows. "What's roe?" he questioned. He followed his question immediately with, "Can I see?" The stranger seemed friendly enough. Of course the budding Guardian wouldn't drop his guard completely, but some of his mom's lessons on ambasssadorship were getting through too. He knew that he wanted to portray his pack as strong and well-defended, but not so much so that he chased away potential joiners. 

"I don't think anyone fishes much in my pack, Duskfire Glacier. Fish don't keep well in the caches," he explained. "But they make a pretty good snack, huh? There's a lake in our territory-- it feeds this river upstream. I think that's where the fishes are going." But why were all the fish trying to get upstream to the lake? What were they running away from? What purpose did this frenzied fish-stampede serve?
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#6
Angler tilted his head. A pack that sat on a lake seemed to be the perfect place to fish all day, yet they had a cache, it made sense why they weren't interested in something that could take all day or in food that spoiled faster than most wolves cared for. yet he still could not wrap his head around sitting on a lake and not knowing about salmon and roe, good old roe.

"Fish make up the bulk of my meals, they're my snacks to end all snacks. And it's true that they are heading up to your lake, these fish go to a lake to mate and die, and their bodies feed the scavengers as the lake freezes over, and than - Ah, but I get ahead of myself."

Angler turned around and sat again, eyes over the water, he would let the pup sit as close as they needed.

"Your pack would do good to feed off all this roe, found on the shores of your lake, up and down your river. Roe is fish babies, their soft and squishy, and a little like bird eggs and a little like wolf wombs. All you need to know truly is that they are delicious, easy to forage, and a hardy meal if you know how to find the hidden nest."

Angler went on, one that sat and listened figured out quickly he was a fish fanatic and a guide.

"You can find these salmon's bounties in places the water lulls, where they can rest and lay the beauties. But if you follow those hugelings, those ones are the males, t=you'll find their noses are soecced for the water and will pinpoint these eggs. They'll cover them, and you just have to come up and dig it out."

[Image: fs.png]
FEEL FREE TO MISGENDER ANGLER. At a distance he has some more masculine behaviors, at least from his pack's culture, but up close it can be discerned that threes a disparity, if one cares enough to look.

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#7
Veteran listened intently. The fisher began describing the life-cycle of the fish, although when he got to the part about their contribution to the wider ecosystem, he cut himself off. Veteran very nearly protested, begging him to continue, but the man had already begun speaking again. The boy continued to listen in fascination. 

Veteran nodded at the stranger's suggestion that his pack feed on the roe. They had the harvest feast coming up soon-- well, assuming it was still happening, given his dad's condition-- and the roe would probably make a good addition. 

"Can you show me?" Veteran begged, sweeping his gaze out over the river. Where were the "lull" spots? If he stood in one, would he be able to find a hugeling? He was dying to go look, but he wasn't supposed to go into the river without an adult. At four months of age he was still fairly small, and a quick swell in the river could easily sweep him away.
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#8
Angler nodded, he felt a swell of pride at being able to teach a pup how to see the water and it's contents. The wolf got up and walked along some slippery rocks, feet familiar with such a surface. He came to stand where the rocks and earth bent and curved such a way that a split occurred, fast and rapid water hiding a slower spot. Many fish gathered here, bottle necking into the area.

"Look at how to earth below the surface drops right here and here, the water wants to get here faster because there's more room, so it speeds up. This section of the bed is flat, so the water moves away from it rather than to it. This spot will have many fish come through to get up stream, but if you look down stream-"

Angler gestured his head forward with a nod. There were salmon slowing down, hugging the gravel and rocks, and darting off, leaving fat clumps of eggs.

"You'll see the salmon take advantage of this fact, they will stop and rest, and as they rest they leave behind roe. Just remember where it is if a male mates and covers it, than you can swim out or walk over and get yourself some roe."

[Image: fs.png]
FEEL FREE TO MISGENDER ANGLER. At a distance he has some more masculine behaviors, at least from his pack's culture, but up close it can be discerned that threes a disparity, if one cares enough to look.

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#9
Veteran followed excitedly as Angler directed him out into the river. After wading in several steps, the pull of the river was such that Veteran stumbled a bit. He steadied himself against Angler's legs, grateful for the seasoned fisher who was so sure-footed upon the slippery rocks. He could see now why his mom insisted he always have an adult with him in the river. 

Veteran peered through the surface of the water, listening to Angler's instruction. "Wow! You can't even tell from the shore that all this is here, right below the surface." Veteran's eyes scanned the water, searching for the tell-tale shadow of a hugeling.

"I see it!" Veteran voiced excitedly, eyes following the fish that the stranger had pointed out. The large-looking fish was angled downward toward the silt on the river bottom, nudging at it with quick, downward darts.
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#10
Angler crossed a paw over the young wolf, partially blocking him off in case he fell in. When he cried out, Angler looked up and could see a large male covering some roe. It approached the two, following the ebbing of the water, and Angler could tell that it's size was gigantic, too large for it to dart around the rocks like the other salmon, this one would have to jump over the rocks they stood on.

Seeing a learning moment, Angler pat and rubbed the pup's head with his chin.

"Good job. Now, you can notice that that guy is really big, it'll have to jump over the rocks were at. When it comes forward, I want you to watch it hard, and follow it with your eyes, it will jump up in the air, between or beside us, and you have to snap at it. Even just a nick will slow it down enough to buy time to swim and chase it, but your maw looks big enough to grab it"

Angler leaned down, eyes settled on the powerful salmon as it came closer and closer.

"If you can't get it, you can at least go up and get the roe it covered."

[Image: fs.png]
FEEL FREE TO MISGENDER ANGLER. At a distance he has some more masculine behaviors, at least from his pack's culture, but up close it can be discerned that threes a disparity, if one cares enough to look.

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#11
Veteran wagged his tail at the praise. As the stranger described what would happen next, he tensed just a little, realizing that a big moment was about to come. He felt all the more pressure when he realized that the fisher was going to allow him to do the honors. He set his gaze on the monster fish, icy stare following its every movement.

No doubt the seasoned fisherman could tell when the salmon was about to jump, but the movement took Veteran by surprise. He snapped, and his teeth scraped against scales as the giant fish smacked against his face. He didn't quite get a grip on it though, and it bounced off his face and plopped back into the water just below the rocks. Since it fell back in the water downstream of the rocks, it was possible that the pair would get a second shot at catching it.. that was, if the fish was stupid enough to try the same jump again. 

"I almost had it," Veteran lamented, wrinkling his now wet nose. It was smarting a little-- that fish had been strong! He looked up at the stranger. Maybe he could show the neophyte fisher how it was done?
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#12
The salmon retreated, circling helplessly as the water tinted red from its torn scales and flesh, it was too injured to take the fast paths, but it would not jump by the pup again. Angler watched as it began to charge forward, now moving to Angler's side.

"You did great, you were in the right spot, but your problem... is you need to go..." Angler trailed off, the fish was right there and he would catch it.

The giant salmon lept forth again, it would arch right next to Angler's shoulder, so he thrust his head forward well before that, and the upward momentum of the fish snagged it in between his waiting jaw, and he crunched down hard. The catch struggled in his grasp, heavy in his mouth and weighing and throwing his head around. Angler took the fish and smacked it's head hard into the rock below him, and with a few wacks it stopped.

He turned and held the fish out to the pup.

"Oo gneed kuh guh koo eh" He spoke through the catch. Realizing he was incomprehensible, he put it between the wolves feet and spoke again.

"You need to go to it, the fish has to jump into your mouth with all it's force, do not let it come to you, or else it will loose that ensnaring force behind itself."

[Image: fs.png]
FEEL FREE TO MISGENDER ANGLER. At a distance he has some more masculine behaviors, at least from his pack's culture, but up close it can be discerned that threes a disparity, if one cares enough to look.

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#13
Veteran leaned in as Angler's instruction trailed off, waiting with baited breath for his advice. But the fisher was focused on the salmon once more. All Veteran could to was watch and wait. 

The fish jumped again, and the fisher was ready. Veteran yelped with excitement as his companion's jaws found the fish easily. With a few good whacks of the fish against the rock, the fight was over. Veteran wagged his tail as the fish was placed at his feet. 

"Oh," Veteran emitted, realizing his mistake after it was explained. He'd been too hesitant, waiting for the fish to jump towards him instead of reaching out to meet it. That was why he'd gotten smacked in the face. 

"I want to tell my parents about you," he said, "..And about roe." Of course. "What's your name? I'm Veteran Duskfire. My mom's the alpha of Duskfire Glacier." He swung his nose up to point toward the glacier, which was just visible on the horizon, peeking out from behind the edge of Frostfire Ridge.
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#14
Angler followed the pup's point to the tower of ice near by, it was an imposing force on the landscape he found himself glancing to often with his time here.

"It's nice to meet you Veteran. My name is Angler Roewater, I was in that tribe but I'm a lone wolf now." He nudged the fish.

"Go on and eat, or carry it off home, I'm full." He had had his fill of salmon and had topped off a mild hunger with the roe he dug up earlier.

"Now about meeting your parents..." He paused. An invitation to a pack? This, well it's what he'd been looking for, but he had to slow down. Tailing a pup home was a bad sign, he remembered adult wolves following pups to his birth pack and how they had a sleazey air about them, trying to use the innocence of a child to wiggle into a pack, probably after burning bridges at an old one. A wandering wolf was hard to trust, and many saw through the facade of a child.

No, if Angler joined, he needed an adult to invite him. And besides, it looked chivalrous to turn down a child.

"I'm afraid I'll have to say no. Perhaps if we cross paths again? I'm still deciding if I want to make my way down south or not, I'll be heading to the coast soon to gauge how far south I want to head. If I don't head down, I'll come back and ask for an adult."

[Image: fs.png]
FEEL FREE TO MISGENDER ANGLER. At a distance he has some more masculine behaviors, at least from his pack's culture, but up close it can be discerned that threes a disparity, if one cares enough to look.

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Veteran was delighted when he was given permission to take full ownership of the fish.

"I'm going to share it with my sister," he told Angler. He might also fudge the truth a bit and imply to Wayfarer that he caught it himself, but Angler didn't have to know that. 

Angler didn't want to see Duskfire Glacier? Why not? It was the best pack in the world!

"Oh-kaAay," Veteran said, drawing the word out in a sing-songy way, just the way his mom would when she thought that he was making the wrong choice, but she was going to let him make it anyway. 

"I'm still going to tell my mom about you," he decided, wanting to make sure Lane recognized the man if he did show up at her border. "--Her name is Lane. And.. just so you know, we have SO many of these fishes in our lake right now. Way more than out here..." Veteran grinned, figuring that he was offering something pretty tempting. 

He didn't understand why Angler wouldn't just come with him now, but adults were strange that way. They were always doing things for reasons that made no sense, and if you asked, they would say "you'll understand when you're older." So Veteran had just stopped asking.
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The wolf's persistence was admirable, perhaps he'd make a good scout with some experience.

"Fish are very tempting, it'll keep your pack on my mind." Angler said. He than turned to the water and jumped in. His body immediately started moving down with the current, but his powerful legs and good timing let him stay parallel to the pup.

"I'll keep you and your mother in mind, I'll ask for her if I come through again."

He came to shore and shook his body lightly, dark coat still laden with water, his body was shivering against the chilly autumn air, but he did like the piercing of his skin at times. He turned to the pup.

"Should I go? Do you want an escort back to your pack?"

[Image: fs.png]
FEEL FREE TO MISGENDER ANGLER. At a distance he has some more masculine behaviors, at least from his pack's culture, but up close it can be discerned that threes a disparity, if one cares enough to look.

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Veteran was proud of himself, and he felt pretty confident that he had just recruited a future pack member. 

"Nah, you stay. I'll be fine," Veteran assured the fisher. He looked like he was enjoying himself here, and also... the guardians at the border could sometimes be a little jumpy. If they saw a stranger with Veteran-- a pup-- they might act first and ask questions later. 

"Thanks for the fish. And the lesson." He smiled at Angler and wagged his tail. He then turned his attention to the monster fish, which took a considerable amount of strength to lift. Once he had a good grip on it, he started in the direction of home, making his way back upriver.