Luneshale Pass Doors opened
Loner
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#1
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For @Machiavelli <3

Next to a slowly dwindling river, a small, shadowy traveler paused within a world unknown. Born within mountains that now stood far beyond the horizon. The cold stone that cut beneath and the thick woods that climbed the slopes. Water that fell from heights above and pooled into vast lakes.

This desolate patch was no such place.

The sun sweltered over white stone. Some of which fragmenting under pressure and clattering across the more durable terrain. Shrubs made their mark as they clung to life. Yet as the sky darkened, the very ground seemed to glow. A quiet buzz turned into a steady hum as insects began to rise and flit through the air.

Rooke blinked his eyes fiercely against the persisting glow. Eyes rounding once he opened them again. Twinkling with awe as a travel worn expression brightened into a smile. Folded ears perked and a tail began to wave.

A small flash passed across the stone and Rooke started after it with a gleeful bark. A rodent? It didn't matter! He let loose a laugh for none but himself as he ran.

This was the prettiest place he had seen since leaving home.
Muat-riya
Fellahin
Do I disgust you?
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#2
As bats wove their nocturnal tapestry through the whimsical hues of twilight and the sun descended with a graceful sigh, cradling the world in the embrace of slumber, Machiavelli prowled the lowlands. The journey had commenced at dawn, a silent stalk through sands and scrub, fueled by an unwavering purpose—a quest for botanical treasures.

His quest had driven him toward water, and the pass it sculpted, tracing its banks with a discerning gaze for flowering shrubs and clay deposits, each holding the promise of future utility. Thus, his evening unfolded—bobbing and weaving between all of the interesting things that had captured his attention.


When the day's enchantment waned and the notion of rest tiptoed into his contemplations, Machiavelli altered his course homeward. Pretty ideas of future projects pirouetted through his mind, and he intended to savor the luxury of daydreaming all the way home. However, the delicate sanctuary of his fantastical musings was abruptly split by a cacophony of ear-shattering barks.


An annoyed expression etched across his fair features as he surveyed the surroundings, only to soften into a mildly irritated countenance upon identifying a familiar impish figure frolicking in the distance.

Only after the first syllable of her name escaped his lips did he realize his mistake. The scent was not hers, but that of a stranger. Who was his entertaining acquaintance's doppelganger? Machiavelli gracefully pivoted on his heel, leaving the serenity of his path to venture toward the unknown.


Nails clicked on the glimmering earth as he navigated through the pass, bathed in the radiant glow of mica-laden surroundings. The shimmering particles caught the twilight, transforming him into a specter—each step a captivating play of light and color on his glossy fur.
Loner
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Rooke ceased his current act of terrorizing the local fauna. Dust kicking up beneath his feet as he skid to a halt. A tilt to his head. First to the left, then to the right. There was a sound just now, wasn't there? A voice?

No. He was mistaken. Surely—

Click. Click. Click.

His heart fell into his stomach.

The click of nail against rock. Pebbles scattering as shale was loosened underfoot. The hair on Rooke's neck rose as the drone of desert insects and squeaking bats fell silent. Only the sound of an approaching creature mattered.

Whirling around, Rooke's head swiveled erratically to pinpoint who or what was following him. Eyes widening as his gaze landed on a man—wolf. His head dropped immediately, eyes looking to the man's feet.

His tongue flashed between his lips as he dared to steal a glance up to the stranger's face. A lump catching in his throat to see the man had been turned ethereal. A trick of the reflected light perhaps, but Rooke found himself frozen. Locked onto the cut opals set in the man's face.
Muat-riya
Fellahin
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#4
Hues shifted from the comforting touch of dusk to the silver brilliance bestowed by the moon's tender gaze, leaving an otherworldly landscape that drowned the two silhouettes in the embrace of nocturnal ink.

Click, click, click, went the tide against the shore.
Click, click, click, as the man danced nearer, the elegant sway of kelp in the ocean's delicate embrace.

His steps were guided by thousands of glistening mineral plankton to where the figure stood waiting. Words rippled through liquid air, Have I frightened you? The seadevil inquired, his head cocked inquisitively as he leaned down, a fluid gesture that brought him closer to meet the seafarer's gaze.
Loner
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#5
Adrift in an ocean of distilled moonlight. Silver shimmering as the darkness descended, horizon coalescing into the unknown. The looming abyss in this sea where no ship could sink. But even here, Rooke learned the fear of the open water: to look into the abyss and find it looking back.

The seadevil spoke, drifting closer.

Spell broken, Rooke regained himself. Averting his eyes, but he could not fully escape the stranger's gaze. Opalescent eyes brought closer as the devil pressed into his space. Rooke's ears pulled back, tail passively wagging between his hocks.

He is expected to answer.

Rooke attempted to clear his throat with a weak cough. Voice meek as he replied, I didn't see you there, sorry.
Muat-riya
Fellahin
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#6
The unexpected voice jolts him—evident in the blink of his eyes and the subtle step back, eyes almost aglow in the refracted light. What had been attributed to mere genetic form now unraveled as the lankiness of youth, a boy in the midst of claiming his own body.

A soft curse escapes under his breath as the siren changes once more into a man, the demeanor undergoing a subtle transformation, a shift toward the soft and protective.

Dear me, I must have given you quite the shock emerging out of the shadows like that. Please, my darling, there's no need for apologies. It was I who failed to consider how frightful my sudden appearance might be, Machiavelli reassured, a wave of his forepaw accompanying his words, I should be the one begging your forgiveness. 
Loner
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The surprise is mutual. Rooke's manifests with a step backwards, a wariness to his eyes as the demeanor of the man before him changes. Rooke's ears flashing forward briefly to try and catch what words left man's mouth. Only understanding the hiss of air as the man kept his voice close to his chest. His ears turned back once again.

Then the stranger spoke. The veils of the unknown cast away as a discarded shawl of shadow. A creature of flesh and blood and bone and sinew. No devils or sirens to capsize his vessel amidst moonlight ocean.

Rooke squinted at the man, a slight tilt to his head. Wetting his lips his mouth hung slack without a sound to answer. He did not know how. It was the common language he knew yet the extravagance of his speech—fitting of his appearance— and almost doting tone that was foreign to him.

He didn't need to apologize? A test? It must be.

Tentatively, Rooke replied,It's okay. The gentle, low wag of his tail continued.

Head ducking low, Rooke retook his step. Leaning closer to introduce himself to the man's scent. Round, chocolate eyes glancing to the man's face in case he retaliated.
Muat-riya
Fellahin
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The boy, although just a child, was still an unknown creature with sharp teeth and a powerful jaw. The man, beneath the veneer of nonchalant care and politeness, coiled tighter than a spring, heart quickening as the stranger leaned near him. His anticipation hung thick in the air, awaiting the sweet eyes to turn bitter, for the endearing nervousness to turn to hostility, and the imminent spill of blood.
It did not come.

So as the syrupy gaze flicked to Machiavelli's own, he casually averted his head, redirecting his attention to the wonders of the celestial bodies above. It was a subtle agreement, a small gesture of trust—the very foundation upon which societal bonds are built: if no teeth bare down upon my throat, none shall be bared upon yours.
Loner
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#9
He was not rejected.

Rooke's tail beat faster. Ears pulling forward as he investigated the stranger with his nose. Sniffing intensified. His scent was akin to the surrounding environment. Limestone and road dust. Yet beneath the earth Rooke probed a contrasting scent. Water? He could not be sure.

Bouncing back, Rooke attuned his ears to the stranger. Demeanor brightening as his nerves eased, somewhat. His eyes quickly followed the opal gaze skyward. The darkness too seemed to change. The void above having been covered by a blanket of stars. Twinkling lights floating overhead in massive clusters that trailed across the sky.

Rooke's eyes fell once again to the stranger. Was he a stranger anymore? Could he even be a friend?

Was there something you were looking for out here?
Muat-riya
Fellahin
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#10
Machi's eyes were the first to return to the stranger, his crystalline irises conducting a swift and discerning scan from head to toe before his head followed suit.

Ah, leaping into the dance before the music has even begun are we? Machi asked, a playful glint in his gaze. Please, indulge me first, won't you? What moniker might I attach to your most charming countenance?
Loner
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#11
The stranger corralled his earnest intentions with his response. Tutting and instead presenting Rooke his own question. Rooke held his gaze wordlessly, before shuttering his eyes with a slow blink. Even with the curtains to his soul drawn, his expression was an open door. Befuddlement etched across his face and his brow knitted. Comprehension came slow to Rooke, who now understood the basic question hidden within the strange man's extravagant speech.

You mean... my name?

The steady beat of Rooke's tail, that had been as certain as waves lapping against the shore, ceased. A still surface came across his mind as all currents of thought halted. The vessel of his identity sank long ago. A creaky little thing that now sat in the depths of his ego. Scuttled.

It hadn't been needed. It was never wanted. It wasn't asked for.

Why was it important now?

Rooke regarded the foreign man. Skeptical. Wary. Hopeful. Taking in the man from head to toe. He wanted to regard him as a friend. Did this man want the same?


It was good that words were just as effective as any salvaging equipment.


The sound that came from his mouth was almost as foreign as the man it was directed to. Clunky, despite how short it was.

Rooke. It had been given to him when he was born. My name is Rooke.

Now he would share it to those who asked.
Muat-riya
Fellahin
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#12
Oh dear, It was Machi's turn to be confused now, I've upset you again, but I'm not sure I know why, he said, with what could almost be described as a genuine tone, his head tilted thoughtfully to the side.

Rooke is a lovely name, very fitting, I think. He regarded the boy with a discerning glance before speaking again, Where do you live, Rooke? I don't believe there are many packs other than my own nearby. Your family will surely be worried if you don't return soon.
Loner
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Oh, I'm not upset! He was quick to reassure the man. Taking a half-step towards him Rooke's head dropped slightly. Submissively. Cheek turning up to the strange man's chin as he canted his head. He wasn't upset. Why would he be? It was what it was. Rooke's tail started to wag once more to appease the other.

See? Not upset!

He did not alter his posture as he was presented another question. A wince to his eyes to hear of the man's pack. A licking of lips.

I don't live anywhere. Not anymore.

My family is not worried about me. He couldn't remember if they ever had.
Muat-riya
Fellahin
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#14
The man quirked a brow, a lingering hint of skepticism coloring his expression. If you're absolutely certain.

However, it was the boy's next words that seized the man's attention. Don't live anywhere? he repeated, scrutinizing Rooke's scent for any traces of familial ties.

It appears as though the two of us are more similar than I presumed. I've only recently arrived in these lands, Machiavelli remarked with a grin, his tail swishing casually. Well, I suppose us half-breeds need to stick together, don't you think, my dear? You are welcome to accompany me back to my pack for the evening. I can't promise much beyond a meal and a comfortable place to rest for the night, unfortunately.