Northstar Vale Therapévo
Loner
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#1
All Welcome 
Maybe @Meadow, if you have the space? ^.^

Still young, the boy had grown into a lanky thing with knobby limbs that appeared to stretch too far for his body. The cold that had settled in the vale had thickened his coat. It did little to give him comfort when the nights became viciously cold, and the winds howled with threats of more snow. Antigone wished for the days of sunlight to return.

The boy had been sniffing around the base of thick brush, searching for herbs he had smelled there. He knew little of the greenery and what it could do. The interest had found him when his father had asked what he wanted to be. Antigone had no answer, at the time. It had taken a while for the boy to discover that he did not like messy things. Hunting and sparring were fine subjects, but they triggered a negative response in the young wolf.

Antigone had decided that he wished to heal. Even if he had to teach himself.
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Ooc — Rachel
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#2
Her amber eyes roved the lands before her—winter kissed, now, and much colder than her original arrival to Epoch. Another season had come, and with it, her bated breath—waiting for everyone to begin to disappear, or for tragedy to strike.

It was about time, according to all of her past connections and attempted settlements.

So, as she did when she needed to be distracted—she worked. And with the colder months ahead promising lesser resources, there was still something blessed about the descent of winter—holly.

And so she ran her nose along the leafy brush, a smile curling at the corner of her lips when she noted the red berries. “Hello, beautiful,” she murmured softly, pleased to find the plant in such an abundance.

When the soft ‘swish’ of pawprints upon snow drew her attention, she looked up to see the young Antigone, his presence stirring her smile to widen and her stance to relax, uttering a low rumble of greeting to the boy. "You busy?"
Loner
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#3
The woman was lovely. She wore colors that reminded Antigone of his sisters. Her voice was soft, warm, easy to hear. If he had considered running, it would have been enough to ground him. The young wolf had not met this one, before. He had heard his father speak of a healer and a Meadow but had not connected that the two were the same. Yet there she stood before him, asking if he was busy.

Antigone blinked, drawing his tongue nervously across his nose.

No, ma’am. I am not busy, he offered her in answer. The young figure looked a touch too serious for how gangly his body had grown. The ruff of fur around his neck had thickened nicely, warming him during the snowfall. The world felt cleaner to Antigone, when it snowed.

Are you searching for plants? came his hopeful query. The young wolf’s navy eyes searched her face.
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#4
Antigone seemed curious—his manners at the very least causing him to remain but the asked question hinted at more, and she gave a gentle nod of her muzzle, nose brushing along the holly. “Yes,” she offered, a lingering glance given. “Think you can spare some time to help me collect and carry some of this?”

She paused, a paw lifting now to brush over it. “This is holly. It’s going to be perfect for the next few months.”


Antigone was a face she had seen, of course, but had spent little time with him spare when she had watched over Tamar's brood when they had been younger--it was nice to have his company now.
Loner
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#5
I will help, yes.

Antigone thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more about the plants, even if he only learned about the few she planned to gather. He hoped that she knew a lot.

The golden woman stated that they would be collecting holly and that it would be good for them, in the coming months. The red-hooded pup reached out his nose to sniff at it. He liked the smell that it offered. The color of it was bright. It didn’t seem that something that red should exist. Against the white of their winter backdrop, it was unlike anything he had seen before.

Can you tell me what holly does?

Antigone glanced at her from the edges of his eyes.

Oh, I… I am Antigone. Manners, first.
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Ooc — Rachel
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#6
“It can help with coughs, primarily—but could also assist with digestion problems, among other things.” She paused, nodding to the leaves and bark. “This is the part you want—not the berries.” She cast a look to him, a brow arched in a serious manner. “The berries can cause vomiting. Larger doses and who knows what they might do…”

Perhaps a more sinister turn on this lesson.

“Meadow,” she responded in kind, the whisper of a smile on her lips as he introduced himself—of course she knew who he was. Had sat with him as a pup for moments at a time to relieve Tamar when she could, but he was likely far too young at the time to remember.

She then began to show him how to pluck at the leaves as gently as possible, turfing the berries back into the brush without a second thought. Generally, working in silence was part of the trade, but she was pleased she had a companion in the moment: “Have you been thinking of what you’d like to do as you grow older? It’s kind of fun to explore a bit of everything… See what you really might like or be interested in.”
Loner
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#7
It was misleading that the berries would look so bright and delicious and cause harm. Antigone eyed them warily, wondering what a larger dose might cause. Did Meadow think that they might kill someone? The thought that plants could poison and heal had settled strangely in the young boy’s belly. There must have been others that could cause harm. How might Antigone know which would hurt him or others?

Before he could ask, the healer inquired about his interests. She said it was rather fun to explore the options available, settling after trying an array. It was complicated, he felt. Meadow seemed as though she would be easy to confide in. The red-hooded boy glanced up at her, mouth set in a thin straight line.

My father is a fighter. Antigone had not missed the gleam in Arsenio’s eye when they discussed the boy’s future. I think he would like for me to learn that, too. And he did want to please his father and mother. They had raised him lovingly and had built a home for their family in a beautiful place. I don’t like fighting.

Antigone looked at her intensely.

I like when my mom teaches me how to clean. I like the water. I like plants.
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#8
While the topic had meant to be light, the emotion that played upon the boy’s face seemed anything but. His lips thinned in thought, he offered her what was on his mind, and she thought of the jovial Arsenio—trying hard to place him as a fighter the same as she would both Reyson and Germanicus.

“Have you talked to him about it?” It was a casual question—she continued to work, every so often her eyes straying to look at the boy. This was navigating new territory for her—she had never had parents to disappoint and so she could only imagine the turmoil he felt. “He’s very eager for Epoch to become a place of learning.” Perhaps that would help ease his anxious heart.
Loner
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#9
I have not.

Even though Meadow spoke of Arsenio’s plan for the future of their home, the boy could not quite see that far into the future. The Arche had shown interest in Towhee’s ptero lessons. There was a chance that Antigone would not be met with disappointment, if he were to confide his true feelings to his dad. The red-hooded boy was not certain that he wanted to risk it, though.

When did you know that you wanted to do this?

The dark blue of his eyes flickered back and forth between Meadow and the leaves that they worked to gather. Antigone moved gingerly in his assistance. He waited for her to tell him if he was doing something wrong, or if he needed to adjust his collection technique. The earth beneath the plant was hard with winter cold.
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#10
Antigone confirmed her suspicion—and rather than continue on about it, insisting the boy ask his father, she instead let the comment linger in the air—believing he would direct his thoughts there on his own if given a chance. She continued to rummage—plucking the leaves from the berries, and soon, when they had gathered more than enough for now, she began to look for something to carry their cargo to where it could be safe.

He asked her a question, and she paused, thoughtful for a moment. “I… took an interest when I was a little older than you,” she noted, tail giving an idle sway in the winter air. “I was in a pack of… peacekeeping wolves, of sorts, at the time. It became natural to assist others. And then I realized I wanted to do something to help make the world better, rather than worse… and over time, I learned.” She smiled, almost shyly at that, before turning to a tree, some rough bark sticking out. “I think I will always want to keep learning,” she confided.

Then, as she nosed at the tree, the silver wolf cast the youth a warm glance. “Think we can tear a strip of bark big enough to carry the leaves?”
Loner
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#11
Antigone was lost in thought after listening to what Meadow said.

It made perfect sense that she had come from a place of peacekeepers. She carried the air about her, wore it on her coat with ease, and he knew that her upbringing had likely turned her into the kind woman that she was. Curiosity urged him to ask her what might have happened to her peaceful homeland. It was better for him to imagine that they were still there, that Meadow had simply craved the knowledge of something new and it had carried her to Epoch. Whatever it was, the young wolf was pleased that she was there.

She spoke aloud, asking if he thought they could peel bark to carry their goods. Antigone eyed the trees with a shrewd glint in his dark eyes. He thought it was a clever idea. The red-hooded boy would never have considered it, if he had been tasked with collecting herbs on his own.

Hold on. I will find one.

Without waiting, Antigone turned and trotted into the brush. He emerged several minutes later with a thin wrap of tree bark that could carry their wares.

What do you think?
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#12
Meadow had envisioned something simple—a thick strip of bark that curved, perhaps, to hold the precious leaves. Antigone returned with something far more clever—a problem solver already, and her appraising look was practically radiant.

“Perhaps you are an engineer, as well, hm?” She crooned the words in praise for the youth, eagerly beginning to nudge the leaves toward him, dropping them upon the malleable bark. “We can take these back to the healing den,” she murmured, pleased at the amount they had collected, taking a pace back to sweep her eyes over their hard work with satisfaction.
Loner
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#13
The woman’s words made him warm.

Antigone found the subject of healing to be endlessly fascinating. Even in his revulsion, he had found a means to focus his obsessive tendencies. If he did not wish to look at the harm that was caused to others, he would need to fix it. It would be dirty, but he felt that it would have endless reward.

Placing the herbs on the bark, he wrapped it up and secured them. When he was satisfied with the gentle wrapping, Antigone picked it up in his teeth and looked to Meadow. She could lead them back to the healing den. He would follow and carry their goods. The boy hoped that she would share more information with him, as they walked.