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AroaraAngelwolf

Project: Prides and packs (open)

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Posted (edited)

Pride

 

"Good, I'll get to work on that today." He said ignoring the theatrics of the blond it reminded him of the dude from an manga his sister read. The character was called Escanor the lion sin of pride.  "Diego is right, I ment no harm, I simply knew that same look you gave me. My sis looked at me like that after I woke up Iona a couple weeks after she arrived because one of our goats got bit by a rat and the nannie's tet was swollen and oozing. She took care of the goat, but when I got my tail pinned in a rockslide and sis dug me out, I wanted her to set it but she insisted on the mystic doing it. Well, let's just say my sister is hardly afraid of anything and that tigeress absolutely terrified her. 

 

I don't know if others will be brought here... A few have come and go in the past two years..." he said softly like he knew something but wasn't going to say it out loud. 

 

 

Ella smiled. She was fine with just Ella but if it made the girl comfortable to use formalities to be able to adjust to the pride life then she'll say nothing. "One kinda has to be. The scientists only come once every two months to check on our health, bring any supplies we can't get ourselves and do a few tests. If they come more times then that single time, it's to drop off another shifter. So, if I want to keep animals I have to know how to keep them alive, of course I read books about animal medicine, in fact a whole hut here has been converted into my library. I know how to bind wounds, basic medicine and had CPR training. My brother had that too. It got boring with only my brother for company with a shifter here and there but none stayed for too long, so I found other hobbies. I asked the lab coats for goats and chickens for they are the easiest to care for and can live in any climate and I got them. I built this  and the chicken coop too. Oh, this is Edna, the one over in the corner is Margie, the third one by her is Karen and the ram is Cujo... He's somewhere else but you'll see him eventually. As for out new little Billy goat.... Would you like to name him?" She asked as she scrubbed the wood and moved the dirty grass to the side laying down some fresh ones. She caught a whiff of herself and made a face. "I'm definitely taking a shower, and burning this shirt... and pants. Ugh I stink."

 

 

 

 

Pack

 

The sun rose up and was able to shed some light between the trees in two hours so it looked more like dawn.  By this time Kubo had headed back to the camp and started to make breakfast for everyone out of some bird eggs he found on the cliffside. He had stumbled across several nests of parrots and took the eggs, nine of them to be exact and was now cooking them in a big skillet over the center fire. He set a tea kettle over the flame with water along a small tin pot for coffee if anyone wanted any. Sure it was five am now, but he was hungry and it didn't feel right making himself eggs while others had to hunt down their food so early in the morning.

 

-

 

Board. Val was board to death. He had gathered fruits to the spot where he set the trap, tasty grubs had gathered to eat the fruit and he already had to chase off a group of parrots. Stupid birds mimicked the swear word he shouted at them throwing a rock so now at random moments in the forest a bird echoes F*** off stupid! He would find it absolutely hilarious, but he hasn't eaten anything in four days and he was starting to get extremely hangry. The smell of eggs drifted on the wind and he nearly drooled a waterfall at the smell. He missed the preparation of them though, so he wouldn't know if something has been slipped into it. He heaved a sigh as his stomach complained at his picky yet tactical eating habits when he heard it. A snort of a bore. The thought of food made his belly rumbled again and the pig answered. It thought it was another bore! Stupid pig! He sat up in his tree thinking of delicious foods to make his stomach complain in torture as the bore drew closer..... There it is! And it's in the trap! He shot his bow, dropped it and leaps from the tree onto the back of the pig as it was stunned by the arrow sticking to it's thick skull. A nice kill later and Valiant was muzzle deep devouring his kill like a rabid beast.

 

----

 

Deric was awakened by the smell of food. Tired, but hungry he crawled from his bed and stretches outside his tent of sticks and leaves running his fingers through his shaggy silver white hair. Barefoot and in a pair of buckskin pants, a thick bear fur vest covering a well muscled chest and a single tattered up and sun bleached scrap of blue cloth tied around his neck. It had a faint pattern of little ducklings on it, it was once his baby blanket, well what was left of it now, and stiched in it was his name in Russian a faded yellow but tightly done to have lasted that long. A leather strap was on top of the blanket, on the strap was his name, his species, blood type and the word mute like one would find on a dog tag, but  it was on dog like caller that only showed up as a human. It had some sort of latch on it that the scientists who designed it could be the only ones to remove it with a specifically shaped key. It didn't itch at all for it was made from soft hide he's used to wearing and it made telling others his name easier cuz all he had to do was point to it. Not everyone knew the Russian alphabet. 

 

Following the scent he made it to the fire pit and was handed a plate of eggs by the blue haired dog and a piece of metal with four prongs on it that he's seen before but it didn't look very useful. He studied it quizzically tilting his head from one side to the other. 

 

--

 

Eliora Danin was up when she smelled coffee and food. She was still in her tight fitting tank top that had the Irish flag across her chest and a pair of men's pajama bottoms with beer mugs all over them with four leaf clovers on a black background. "Thanks fer the eggs. They smell lovely.... What's with the white lad? He duine mall?" She drawled pointing the fork she received at Deric. When Kubo looked confused she sighed and tapped her temple after sitting and placing her plate on her lap. "Slow here?" She whispers. Kubo shrugged. "I arrived about a month ago, I think he's been living wild for a while because, as far as I can tell, he's easily confused over things like indoor plumbing and electrical things. You don't need to whisper either, he can't fully understand English anyway. " 

Edited by AroaraAngelwolf

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Terra was still in the woods, trying to track some deer in a nearby meadow and found the herd a little while later. She hunched down behind some bushes to hide and pinpoint a weak one. She could just make out a slightly older deer that was limping in the crowd but couldn’t tell where exactly it was in the group. She intentionally stepped on a branch to make a sound and to scare them, causing them to run away which helped her find the weak one she had seen earlier. She ran after it and knocked it down a little while later before starting to drag it by its neck back to the encampment aims where the others were. She was about halfway there when she saw Valiant bring down a boar (if that’s okay and he’s not further away than where I thought he was; I can edit if it’s not) before having her attention be ahead of her again and towards camp. When she got closer to it, she could smell eggs cooking and it made her stomach growl a bit but she figured she’d wait to get there to eat some. She was kind of tempted to start eating the deer but didn’t give into it as she brought it to the edge of the camp for anyone to enjoy before shifting back to her human form and shyly making her way towards the fire afterward to get some eggs to eat. She took an offered plate of eggs and a fork with a nod of thanks before sitting a few feet away from Kubo and Eliora before starting to eat after getting comfortable on the ground.

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Samuel hadn’t even apologized for his actions, instead telling some anecdote that Tenebris little nothing for. Despite being shorter than Samuel in animal form, they managed to look down their nose at him as though he were beneath them. “Either Iona has made no threat of violence and there is no need to fear, or she has made threat of violence and shouldn’t be allowed to remain. A house divided cannot stand, and the same applies here. Should the members of the pride not feel safe amongst these huts, the entire system is rotten and should be thrown out and started anew.” 

 

This was why they couldn’t stand people. There was always some snag, some reason they couldn’t get along, and bystanders suffered in the wake of it. They’d lived most of their life living in quiet dread of returning to their mother’s house, and it was only in the last five years that they’d learned what it felt like to have a safe space to go to. 

 

They suspected that they’d never really managed to find the feeling that people meant when they talked about a “home”, despite all that. They’d had their own apartment, yes, and it had been theirs as much as they could make it, but there’d still been something missing. Building their life had been slow. There were times when they’d go home after a long day and be unable to escape the feeling that someone was there, invading their space. Like they’d been lucky to get a small reprieve, as if their mother was just around the corner, breathing down their neck. They’d light candles and encase themself in rituals and a blanket of music to try to drown it out. 

 

But it had been something, and most days had been good. They’d been able to breathe, to scream their defiance to the world. That had been stripped away from them, and all they wished was to cling to some remnant of that feeling. Their life had no place for people that couldn't even try. 

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Diego blinked in bewilderment. He hadn’t expected Samuel to be so eager to start working on the pillows and blankets, and yet Diego could not help but find himself drawn to it. Diego’s surprise lasted for only a few heartbeats longer before grinned wildly.

 

“I like your enthusiasm!” Diego said, pumping a fist. Not to mention, the way Samuel glanced away when he spoke of other shifters was so… enticing! Oh, he could already picture Samuel headlining in a tv drama. Everything from that low drop in his voice, to the tilt of his head, and the slight smoulder. How mystifying! What a mystery! Briefly, Diego frowned upon considering the implications of Samuel’s softened tone. No, maybe he was upset about something that happened to prior shifters and Diego was romanticizing the difficulties he faced before. Diego assumed that Samuel wouldn’t appreciate that if he voiced his thoughts aloud, but he was unsure. Back on the streets, Diego often put on a show for Kikyo whenever he was making her breakfast or showing her a new toy he had collected from an alleyway to obscure the harsh reality of their situation. It was hard to shake off the initial instinct to compose a spectacle of any given situation.

 

Diego had little more time to mull over his thoughts before Tenebris expressed their distaste for Iona. Diego immediately abandoned all of his concerns about glamorizing things he shouldn’t. Ah, what a fine point Tenebris made! What an excellent choice of words they used! How dramatic! How exciting!

 

“This Iona sounds like quite the character,” Diego said, nodding as he crossed his arms. “I’ve never heard of a doctor who frightened her patients so thoroughly.” Diego rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “It really makes me wonder where her passion comes from.” The sheer fervence Iona must have for her profession must have been incredible, or perhaps she was aggressive like Tenebris suggested. Diego had a hard time picturing Iona’s tiger form in his head. He didn’t recall seeing her more than a handful of times, all of which were brief and while she was human. He could only imagine her as massive with wide, bulging muscles that put most of the other shifters to shame. No one in the camp was more muscular than Diego from what he had seen, but the thought of seeing another large cat share his physique was enough to get Diego excited for a future encounter.

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The scientists came every two months? Kikyo falters at this information, uncertain -- she did not like strangers around their immediate area, even if it was for goodwill. Collecting herself, she files the information away for later, perhaps to whisper to Diego in the dead of night when she couldn't sleep. Not wanting to appear frightened to Ella -- the older woman was so nice, and so cheerful, that she didn't want to ruin the atmosphere -- Kikyo nods in response to the information.

 

However, Ella continues talking -- about all the work that she and her brother had done to the camp in the long time they'd been here. How shifters came and go, along with the steady schedule of the scientists, and, more than anything -- how she and Samuel had managed to build a life for themselves, beyond the monotone existence inside this created arena. A little overcome with emotion at the thought -- after all, wasn't it like everything Diego had tried to do for her? Her big brother, despite the circumstances stacked against them, had always found a way to take care of her. Perhaps it was the same way for Ella and Sam, as well.

 

"I understand," she says quietly, scooting slightly closer so she can view the billy and his mother. "I think ... it's nice to have company. Thank you for being so kind to us, Zembabe-san."

 

Then, she turns her attention to the animal.

 

"Hello, Edna-tan," she says seriously, greeting the mother goat who stares at her with disinterested eyes, having just survived the ordeal of giving birth. At this, Kikyo smiles to herself, the slight ridiculousness of greeting a goat settling in. At the suggestion of naming the new billy, Kikyo perks up in delight, clapping her hands together. 

 

"Really?" Then, without waiting for a response, she turns and frowns at the goat before her.  What to name him -- ?

 

She couldn't possibly name him after Diego, could she? But Kikyo isn't a very creative person, and beyond her brother's name popping into her head she can think of nothing else. Then -- an idea! 

 

"Deedee," she finally says, staring seriously at the billy to see if it fit. He blinks at her in response, conveying nothing, and she decides. 

 

"Hello Deedee," she welcomes, smiling as she looks at the newborn animal. She was growing increasingly fond of him, despite having met him only a couple minutes ago. 

 

"That's a cute name, isn't it?" she wonders out loud, half to Ella and half to the billy. "I wonder if it could be a nickname for someone ..." Perhaps Diego, but her big brother was always so insistent on saying his full name out loud that she didn't want to intrude. Maybe he would like to meet Deedee?

 

As Ella moved around to clean up the area after the sudden birth, Kikyo immediately snaps into action. "Oh!" she says, realising their current situation. "Please rest up, I can clean up here -- you've been awake for a very long time!" 

 

Then, she folds her hands together and turns to the lionness. "Please let me know if there's anything to do, I can take care of things while you shower." She didn't have plans today anyways, and if Ella had no commands Kikyo thinks she might explore the surrounding areas a bit, since it was so easy to move around in serval form and from Ella's description, there didn't seem to be any other shifters -- nor humans -- around apart from the people in the pride. 

 

It is perfect -- an endless plain of grass and water to run through, and no one except a limited handful of people she all knew. This fact alone makes Kikyo bolder than normal, and she is eager to see where her adventures would lead. 

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Posted (edited)

Pride

 

Samuel looked at the cross bred cat and laughed darkly. "I'm sorry, but you're not King here, I am. We are beasts in a cage, of course we'll fight and threaten each other. That's the beauty of science!" He said in a deep tone. "Do not think you know of the system, you only arrived a week ago. A year ago you would have been given a number, that's it. You won't even be treated like a person, hell, the white coats would even use the pronouns to your actual gender, not the ones you currently prefer because they simply don't care about your feelings. Sis and I changed that. If it is flawed then it's because it's human, but I'm not going to have it thrown out again." He said rubbing his wrist with the number 128 inked into his skin, it was dark like it was inked several times in his life, and slightly stretched out like he received it vary young.  He changed the subject, addressing Iona. "She usually isn't scary, more like a mother really, she's just not used to our early hours yet. She's a Siberian tiger. Plus she's homesick. From my understanding she's been on her own since fourteen and was her village healer. She's older then me too, so she's also considered an Elder of the pride as well as the mystic. " He explained to them starting to get the fire ready to cook the bird. "And she's the best cook!" 

 

 

"Aww thank you for saying that Sam!" Came a kind and sweet voice. Dark curls with frosty tips bounced as she walked twords them in a green plad pleated short skirt, black heels and a red crop tank top. She was gorgeous, a bit of dark blue eyeshadow made her electric blue eyes pop more behind her librarian black rimmed glasses, dark pink lip gloss on and her cheeks lightly blushed. She looked like a professional cheerleader in her outfit. As the sun rose behind her, lighter stripes could be seen on her light toffee colored skin. "I am not sure I like being called an Elder though. I'm only two years your senior. Oh you must be new! So sorry that I missed your introduction last night, I was trying to make a list of herbs and spices I need the next time they come. I am Iona Detri the Mystic. " She held out her hand in greeting.  "Your Diego right? I didn't catch your last name last night. There was a serval next to you though wasn't there? Your little sister..." She looked around for the small cat eager to meet the cute little shifter. Then something seemed to click in her mind. "Oh! Is Edna okay Sam?" She said snapping her look back at the leader. 

 

"She gave birth a moment a go to a little billy, Ella helped her. " He said softly waving to the shack behind him. 

 

 

"DeeDee is cute, a little girlie though, but I like it. It would be a cute nickname too, like Sammy or Spots! " She winked at the girl letting kikyo know she thought of her older brother then listed a couple nicknames Ella herself had for her own twin. "We're nearly finished... There! We're actually done now, just relax and explore a bit, oh and tell me if you like the smell of my new soaps and shampoos! I used lemon zest, peppermint and vanilla this time for my soap and orange with grapefruit for shampoo and conditioner. My brother said it's too fruity for his liking so I make his with aloe, mint and clove. If you like any certain smell, or want a calming one I can make you some you'll like, I've never used Japanese cherry blossom before, that'll be a good one to try."

 

 

 

Pack

 

((That's good sky! ))

 

Kubo smiled at Terra as she came up. "Good morning. Coffee or tea?" He asked both girls. Eliora pointed to the coffee pot and he poured her a cup looking over at Deric to see if he wanted any. His plate was empty, fork unused and set on the plate, the man himself was gone. That guy was very quiet, even with heightened hearing abilities, nobody seemed hear him leave. He was a ghost. 

    Blinking a couple times at the now vacated spot, he got Terra what she wanted to drink, then settled down to eat for himself. 

 

 

-

Val devoured the bore to bone within three quarters of an hour. Still hungry, he always felt hungry, but his stomach was extended on his thin wolf frame so he knew it was a satisfactory meal.  He trotted on back to the camp with a large bone in his mouth to naw on while he laid around today. 

 

-

 

Deric didn't stay long. Putting the four down he ate the eggs with his fingers and left the plate. He shifted and started running to the open plains to explore and find those deer looking things with the funny antlers and run that he saw when he arrived. The only thing he spotted that looked relatively familiar with what he was used to. 

Edited by AroaraAngelwolf

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((okay :)))

 

“Morning and tea please,” Terra said after he had turned his attention back to being on both her and Eliora after seeing if Deric had wanted something to drink but found he was gone. She didn’t know about the white haired boy just that he didn’t talk much, if at all and he also didn’t know how to use utensils or was just not used to them. She took a few sips of her tea in between bites of her eggs until the eggs were gone and then she was just drinking her tea afterward.

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Posted (edited)

Diego’s smile slowly drooped as Samuel glared at Tenebris and began to lecture them. The longer Samuel spoke, the less gleeful Diego became up until his lips were pursed into a tight line and his face was devoid of emotion. He wasn’t sure how he felt about Samuel’s declarations. On one hand, Diego preferred safety above all else. He’d happily take abusive words if it meant keeping Kikyo warm and with a full stomach, and yet he was wary of being called a “beast in a cage”. Sure he and Kikyo had only recently arrived, but he didn’t think themselves as beasts. He had been called similarly derogatory terms when they were on the streets and sometimes back in the Noriaki household, but at least then he had the insurances that such cruel words meant nothing if he could protect his baby sister. Now though? Being grouped together as beasts and claiming that fighting was normal? Diego reflexively opened and closed his right hand, anxious. He wasn’t going to stick around for a fight, but if one came to him then he’d deal with it exactly as he had before. 

 

Caught up in his dark thoughts, Diego barely noticed that Samuel was still speaking to him. 

“Oh, right!” Diego said, his voice jovial once more. “The bird!” He unclipped the bird from his belt and held it up carefully in the air. “Do you have a knife? I can clean it up pretty easily and—"

 

A second voice spoke up. Diego turned his head towards the source of the sound, catching a glimpse of a vaguely familiar shape. That was Iona? Diego recalled seeing her briefly when he and Kikyo arrived. After a quick look over her person, Diego noticed, much to his disappointment, that she wasn’t nearly as muscular as he was. Perhaps she was bigger in her tiger form?

 

“I’m Diego Noriaki,” Diego said, clasping Iona’s hand with his own and shaking it enthusiastically. “Wonderful to meet you! My sister, Kikyo Noriaki, went off to explore.” Diego let go of Iona’s hand before waving his own hand in the air nonchalantly. “She’ll most likely return sooner or later. It isn’t like her to stray for long.”

Edited by Doctortear
zoro told me to go first so i am here

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All of their attempts at calming down were thwarted by Samuel’s next words. They snarled, barely able to keep themself from leap at Samuel then and there. 

 

There were so many things wrong with what he’d said. Every statement incensed them more. “We are not beasts,they snarled. “Are you so enamored by the lies of society that you’ve accepted them into your own heart? Poison, filth, infecting your mind with the virus of conformity? Perhaps it is true, for only a beast would declare himself king, prancing around as though others are beneath him. Does it make you feel powerful, standing upon a false throne? A king is not powerful. A king is weak, pathetic, so unable to rise on his one merits that he relies on tradition and browbeating to retain his place. Democracy has existed for thousands of years, yet you refer to yourself using an archaic and feeble title, hiding behind a facade of strength.” 

 

They took a brief pause to breathe, then continued their absurdly long monologue. 

 

“Do not speak to me of science as if you know the meaning of the word. This is not science, this is a sick and perverted spectacle. Tell me, do you really believe any useful data could be gained from hurling us into this arena? With no control group? No way of replicating the results? Don’t be naive. The claim of “science” is merely an appeal to ideology because they believe us too stupid to look past their veil and see the truth beneath.

 

“I do not need to know this specific system, for I have seen it often enough before. Tyrants. Appeals to authority, to ideology. Lies. Systems set up for the good of the people at the top, that remain only because the proletariat are too beaten down to think. The draw of security, to the belief that there is any sort of fairness in the world, an afterlife. Do not pretend that any of this is new. It has repeated itself a thousand times throughout human history and will repeat itself a thousand times more.” 

 

They weren’t even going to get into the phrase “actual gender”, as much as it added fuel to the fire of their anger. 

 

“Complacency,” they spat, disgusted. “They give you luxuries and you think that means you get to step on others to remain at the top? You think that’s enough to simply give up? ‘The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions,’they quoted. “If you truly loved the system you created you would be eager to tear it down, to see something new and better rise out of the ashes. The fight is never over. By trying to block progress, you have merely become the very thing you tried to fight against in the past, you despicable worm.” 

 

They took a step forward, teeth bared, fully intending on fighting Samuel then and there. Had they been thinking, they would have realized that such an act was suicide, but their heart was afire with the desire for revolution, for change. Samuel was everything they hated and had insulted them. If nothing else, they would show their conviction to everyone present. Death was not something they feared. 
 

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Posted (edited)

 

Pack, at camp - Rank 4, Medic

 

His name was Jason Liu. He was 26 years old. His apartment used to be in upper east side Manhattan, 77th street where the flats were, and he was not married. He worked as an employee for one of the large banks on Wall Street, and he got home every day by 8pm at the latest. He didn't smoke, but he occasionally drank. He would be in bed by midnight, and made sure he got seven hours of sleep, no matter what. After having a glass of warm milk and doing about twenty minutes of stretches before going to bed, he usually had no problems sleeping until morning. Just like a baby, he woke up without any fatigue or stress in the morning. He was told there were no issues at his last checkup.

Jason reaffirmed that he was a person who wished to live a very quiet life. He did not care to trouble himself with any enemies, or with winning or losing, or anything that would cause him to lose sleep at night. That's how he dealt with society, and that was what brought him happiness.

Unfortunately, the conditions of the last two weeks were a far cry from his ideal routine.

When he was ambushed, he was afraid, but he was confident that he could escape if he were caught by the police. But instead of getting thrown into jail, Jason found himself in a situation that was arguably far worse. After giving some sort of briefing and a dozen undignified blood tests, the kidnappers dropped him into an area he could only describe as primitive -- even despite the plumbing and the electric lights. At first he bared his fangs at them, but it was quickly apparent that he wouldn't be getting anywhere unless he complied. He could do that, yes?

There were others, here, most with schedules keyed to the sun. He too, with deliberate effort, had moved his wake time earlier and earlier. He had to forgo his evening routine, but every morning he would spend some time stretching his wrists and scheming about how to escape, with or without the other wolves in the camp. This morning was no different. 

Not willing to deal with a housemate in an already un-private tribal environment, he moved his things into the medicine hut and stayed there the whole time. For the first few days, he barely came out. But now, as he cracked each knuckle in turn while sitting up in his bed, dressed in simple stripped pajamas, he thought he had an idea of who everyone was. All five of them, making them six in total when counting himself. The redhead got dropped here recently (how could he forget? the singing kept him up some nights if he was still awake when she began) and it seemed that the village still had a lot of vacant space, meaning that it was likely that the scientists were anticipating dropping in more wolves. 

When Jason emerged, most of their ragtag little group was already there and scents of eggs, coffee, and prey weaved through the air. White wolf Deric was missing and that angry looking red wolf -- who he didn't really catch the name of -- seemed to be chewing on the remnants of a fresh kill, though it didn't seem like it was a bone from the deer laying near the camp entrance. Everyone else was human. Civilized. 

Jason offered a smile and raised his hand in greeting as he approached and sat down in the empty spot that smelled like Deric a few minutes ago. "Good morning. May I have some coffee? No eggs, please, I'm alright."

"I don't usually take cream with my coffee," Jason continued, "But would it kill the scientists to give us a fridge and some fresh milk?"

 

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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Posted (edited)

Kikyo blushed when Ella winked at her, her intent on naming the billy obviously discovered. Perhaps she shouldn't have been so obvious with the question ... regardless, the lionness hadn't seemed to mind, so she took that as a win and said no more on the matter, nodding intently as she listened to Ella's next words. 

 

All finished? That went quicker than expected -- Kikyo stood up, waving goodbye to Edna and Deedee.

 

"Soaps!" she suddenly said, surprised. It seemed Ella and Sam took really good care of the area they had made theirs, as well as the people now infringing on their space. It was something Kikyo was not used to -- almost like a fairytale, as if one could intrude on someone else's space and be so welcome.

 

"Japanese cherry blossom ..." she wondered, "I saw many while big brother and I lived in Japan. They're very beautiful, but don't have much scent," she informed, eager to speak of the country that her mother had come from. "If you like to press flowers, we could press some together one day!"

 

Then, she nodded in response to the other shifter's words. "Thank you for everything, Zembabe-san. Please let me know if there's anything else I can do -- have a good rest of your day." Conversation over, and a little flustered that everything that had occurred during their chat, Kikyo shifted back into serval form and excused herself from the shack with a dip of her head.

 

Outside, the air was bright and the morning was beginning to set in. She didn't see her brother or his companions anywhere -- perhaps they had wandered a bit off to the side in their talk? Kikyo hoped it was going well -- after all, after how kind Ella was, she assumed Sam was the same way. Then, there was nothing to worry about!

 

With that in mind, and the information Ella presented in her memory, Kikyo decided to explore a bit from the main camp. She had had quite a lot of interaction for one day, and it was beginning to drain her courage for a little bit. Perhaps a bit of exploration, her favourite hobby, would perk her up once more. Heading towards the back of the shack and into the open woodlands, Kikyo started running, enjoying the feeling of the wind whistling through her fur. 

 

--

 

The new place was so exciting! Kikyo ran past undergrowth and large trees stretching into the horizon, feeling small as she crossed the barren fields. It was strange -- they have lived in the city for so long that not having anyone around was mysterious, but quite reassuring.

 

The serval pauses when she reaches the edge of a wide plain of grass, curious. She could not smell anything in the air -- no, wait, there was a faint something, and the sound of footsteps approaching. Her ears picked up the sound of an approaching something and Kikyo remained still, hidden beneath the grass as she watched a hoard of deer-like animals with large horns pass by.  Those were -- ?

 

Gazelle? She recalled seeing them before in a nature documentary. Strange to think that the shows she used to watching for hours on end, cooped up in her room, were now her reality. Thinking to turn back -- after all, she doesn't fancy being trampled, and this place would be much easier to explore if Diego was by her side, Kikyo was just about to head back when her sight caught something.

 

There is another animal in the distance, running after the hoard of gazelle -- was that why they had fled so quickly? Kikyo paused, uncertain -- she takes a second to make out the shape, and it is ... a dog?

 

No, dogs were not nearly that large. A wolf? Suddenly, Kikyo felt a chill run through her body. There were other predators here? That was strange -- Ella hadn't mentioned anything of the sort. The wind blew in her direction, and she sniffed -- the wolf had a strange scent that she couldn't quite place.

 

Uncertain if the wolf would notice her as easily as she had noticed him -- the white fur was really obvious, and she wondered if it was maybe a winter coat -- Kikyo crouched down. Maybe the wolf wouldn't bother -- why hunt a small cat when there were larger prey? Admittedly, she didn't know much about wolf behaviour, nor that of any large predators. She had just assumed Diego would be able to knock them all to the ground. 

 

That reassuring thought in mind, Kikyo crept slightly closer, curious. This was like a nature documentary in real life -- without the pains of having to hunt anything herself. Although she supposed she should?

 

"But there's nothing your size, Kiki," she reminded herself out loud, the sound of her voice comforting in this unknown space. 

Edited by Eto
thanks aroara!!

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Posted (edited)

pride

 

Samuel was furious at that long winded retort. Did they not see that this was a science experiment? Did they not know what they were saying- if this system he practically begged to be put in place goes to a more human democracy they will all be killed like the animals the scientists believe they are?! A snarl erupted from him and he moved to shift when his sister slammed into the both of them standing on Sam's chest  with one back paw and her front paws where pinning the black cat. 

 

 

"You're right. A king is weak. However in a game of chess, the Queen is the one who is the strongest. Forgive my brother.... Or not.... He doesn't know how to articulate things properly. Let me explain. " Chetalla let them both up and shifted human, still crouched down, she set a hand on Ten's check, firm but gentle. 

 

"Humans only recently descovered the shifters two centuries  ago. However things have been observed in the wild, and mostly those who have claimed to see us where called quacks until fourty years ago when DNA samples where taken from a dead lion, now extinct  that showed up human blood in a animal body. The group that brought you here made this discovery. They don't see us as humans with a ability, but animals with an ability, thus beasts and we are classified by our animal counterpart. As for us not knowing about science.... Well we never known a mother or father, we never had friends. We were born in a faux womb and grew up in a lab. We are science. We are the control. We have seen others who thought like you be taken home before. However, we know that you are human that can become animal. All of you are. This 'system' is based loosely on what is in the wild. Anything more human.... Well, I don't know what will happen, but I don't want to be separated from my brother again. I don't like being alone.  This 'system' you hate so much and have such destain for is for your safety and well-being. Accept it. Unlike you, we don't know anything about the outside world, it's good and bad things, it's Joy's and sorrows. I ask you to please play along. Hummer them. To be safe. Okay?" She said softly rubbing their chin before standing up again. 

 

 

She pulled a knife from beneath her pajama bottoms and handed it to Diego so he could clean his bird. "No more fighting, we will only fight when ordered for rankings, however with the amount of people we have here we probably won't have to unless one of you challenge one of us." She looked at each member quietly. "Iona, would you like to cook the crane for us for breakfast? I need to shower desperately. " She asked the tigeress, hesitating to move away in case her brother may be attacked or challenged so soon. 

 

 

-

Iona nodded although she too seemed to anticipate a fight with the two. She put her hands on her hips and spoke in a motherly tone. "Now now! Everyone is tired and hungry, let's not do anything rash until you both had something in you and besides, this is no way to welcome a new member of our family! Tenebris I do recall that two weeks prior to today we held a good feast to celebrate your arrival. Today we'll have another to welcome two members! Of course I'll be making the dishes, I hope you like spicy food, I make a mean curry! " She winked at nobody in particular. 

 

 

Pack

 

Kubo handed Jason the coffee he wanted. "We do have fridges in our huts, but I think the medical one doesn't have one or a kitchen because it was only for temporary stay. If you want milk I have some. You have to ask for it. I have the milk powder, not like the real thing but it's what I'm used to. I moved a lot so milk was hard to get and keep fresh. Travel light you know? Oh, I believe we haven't met yet, I'm Kubo Mbwa Mwitu ((Mmm-ba m-we-too)) an African wild dog. I'm used to these plains. You see one you see them all." He said sipping his own tea. 

 

-

 

Valiant nawed on the bone as the medic finally left the medical hut. Huh, he looked different than he remembered. Not that he cared, the man worked with the medicine and that was reason enough not to trust him. But he did need a little help, his ear was getting a little infected and man did it hurt! He drops his bone in favor of scratching his ear wildly.

 

-+++++++

 

 

Deric followed the river out of the jungle and to the grassy plain. He crouched low spotting a herd right away, getting drinks from the river. Eyes locked on one he sprang forward at a sprint to take it down but the dry grass rustled loudly and spooked the .... deer things. 

 

They turned with a stranger sound and started that weird jumping thing in a stamped. Great, time to give chase.

 

The gazelle went further away from the jungle and the river twords the flat dry lands he hadn't noticed nor explored just yet. He was in hot pursuit closing in on one that was lagging only slightly behind the rest, the wind giving him a boost in speed. He snapped at the leg of the gazelle when a soft voice came from nowhere. He got distracted only briefly, but that instant a sharp hoof connected with his muzzle and another to his eye and he stumbled rolling to a stop in the grass as the gazelle left him in the dust. The connection of hoof and head was audible, yet no yelp was made from him, just a mouth opened in pain.

 

Stunned and thinking he heard that voice he lay there chuffing like he was crying- he was actually crying- as the world swam and made his stomach feel sick from vertigo. He missed his woods, his tundra, his siblings and pack. A wolf isn't ment to be alone, at least he wasn't anyway. More chuffing, louder as he closed his eyes and tenterly lifting his head exhaled into the morning, mouth formed into a silent howl. The crying turned to sobs, now sounds came out of him, a loud honking noise like he struggled to get his breath. He hated this wretched place! It wasn't what he was used to, far too hot, he can't blend in, too many people and all so nosey and try to ask him things, and they said such hurtful things in front of him! He understood English, the mountain bear speaking to him in English but taught him Russian alphabet so he can read too if he ever came across a road he could see where he was at and avoid highways so he doesn't get hit by a car. Just because he couldn't speak doesn't mean he's slow!

 

Edited by AroaraAngelwolf

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Tenebris moved forward to fight Samuel, but before they could react a blur of tawny slammed into their chest, pinning them to the ground. They snarled and struggled, but long black claws easily dug through their fur and kept them from wriggling free. 

 

Wait. ‘Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.’ 

 

They stilled, tension thrumming through their limbs. Chetella was a fool to shift back, but that she underestimated Tenebris was in their favor. Her words only told Tenebris more about the delusions she and her brother shared, and her touch made them want to tear off the offending limb. The contact was anything but calming, making their skin crawl and their stomach twist with the sheer audacity and arrogance of it. Chetella must have thought she owned them, for there was no other way that she could think her actions acceptable. Like they were a pet, acting up, but ultimately harmless. 

 

They hissed, harsh enough that flecks of spit flew at Chetella, hatred in their eyes. 

 

They stood, not for a moment letting their glare lessen. “Do not patronize me. There is no future in which I ever submit to you or your tyranny, and one day you will fall.” 'Not a promise, not an oat, or a malediction or a curse. Inevitable.' “You cannot win me over with petty gifts, and I grow weary of your attempts.” 

 

They turned and left, flicking their tail for maximum dramatic effect.
 

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With great effort, Diego restrained himself from transforming on the spot. Seeing Samuel quickly spin around, a growl lodged in his throat, made Diego instinctively curl his hands into fists. If a fight were to break out then he’d be prepared, just as he always had, but the tension in the air melted down to a simmer when a newcomer suddenly appeared and pinned down both Tenebris and Samuel. Diego’s mind quickly registered the stranger as Chetalla, Samuel’s sister who Diego had only met briefly before. In lieu of trying to defuse the situation himself, Diego watched silently and took the time to digest everything Chetalla said. 

 

He wasn’t sure he understand the amalgamation of feelings bubbling in his chest as she spoke of laboratories and obeying the system for the safety of everyone. Diego had traded his freedom for safety once before. He willingly took the abuses from his adoptive family in exchange for keeping Kikyo off the streets. His heart ached knowing just how much Kikyo despised their new home, but Diego wasn’t sure how long he’d contemplate giving up everything again if it meant keeping her safe. Tenebris on the other hand had their mind made up. They spat colorful curses at Chetalla in such a mystifying manner that Diego was temporarily distracted by how impressive they were up until Tenebris haughtily turned away. Diego watched them go, fazed by their sudden disappearance for a few heartbeats before he felt something slide into his open palm.

 

Hesitant to show strangers his inner turmoil, Diego turned towards Chetalla and smiled. 

“Thank you!” he beamed. “I, Diego Noriaki, appreciate you letting me borrow your treasured weapon!” He walked towards where the fire was being started and sat down on a nearby rock. Nearby was a collection of empty, simple wooden bowls. Diego grabbed one of them and set it in front of him. Putting away the knife (where did Chetalla keep a knife in her pajamas anyway?), Diego began to quickly pluck the bird and deposit the feathers into one of the bowl. 

 

“I don’t believe we’ve spoken much,” Diego said in an attempt to clear the air. He momentarily glanced up at Cetalla. “It’s great to have the opportunity to speak with you, brief as it might be.” A pause. The feathers felt small between his fingers. They were thin, easy to break. “You wouldn’t have happened to run into my sister, would you? She went off exploring and while I, her great older brother, encourage her to do so, I don’t want her straying too far.”

Edited by Doctortear

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Kikyo gasped audibly when the white wolf, who had seconds earlier been majestically running through the undergrowth, closing in on his prey with a sharpness that made her almost want to cheer for his success, suddenly fell. What happened? She was drawn from her thoughts at the sight, and perhaps --

 

Had he .., heard her?

 

But only shifters could understand other shifters, right? Puzzled, and a more than a little frazzled, she watched as the wolf made a series of noises -- first a quiet, gasping shock, followed by distinctly human-like sobs, until finally he howled in a desperate, unusual way she had not heard from wolves before; although, to be fair, it wasn't like she spent her free time hanging around wolves or anything. 

 

The sound tugged at her heartstrings, and, concern for the rough fall the wolf had taken only moments prior took over from her paranoia. Kikyo approached slowly, making sure her footsteps, as light as they were, were still prominent on the soft grass, and her scent easily sniffed out. Bright green eyes watched the wolf in his cacophony, until she took a breath and made herself known.

 

"I'm sorry," she immediately said, hoping -- that perhaps she wasn't dreaming, that it had been her words that had pulled the wolf from his focus? -- "Are you hurt?" She blinked into the other's gaze, hoping to find recognition. Even if the other animal was shy -- she needed to know if he could understand. 

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((I'm going to post Deric now and edit later))

 

between the pride and pack lands

 

Still laying on the ground he heard and smelled her in between sobs. The scent of the creature unknown to him as well as the size, he curled up in a tight ball and rolled over to show his belly to be less threatening. He jerked when his head rubbed the earth. 

 

The voice happened again. Quiet, timid and concerned. He was used to the rough voices of Russian people and the not so kind words of the others he lived with who spoke at him and about him but not to him. 

 

When the steps stopped and the scent was close he slowly rolled back to his belly and looked twords them, sky blue eyes meeting green. 

 

Female, a little larger then the maincoon cat the bear kept and far less fluffy, thinner and more graceful. The colors of her fur where pretty, eyes reminding him of the northern lights he'd watch so often in the winter. Golden green. 

 

However, above his eye scarlet stained his snowy fur along with under his chin.  

 

" I'm sorry, are you hurt?"

 

She was concerned about him? This pretty cat was worried about him? Nobody ever did that, unless it was his pack mom who only fussed over him when he was a puppy.  Without breaking eye contact he nodded to show he could understand her. He looked away and scratched at the ground trying unsuccessfully to draw a picture with his paw. He can draw if they didn't understand Russian, but how will he let her know that he couldn't speak? She obviously was a shifter, he can understand her but he can't speak in either form. Should he shift and point to his collar? He looked at her again shyly, shoulders hunched so he wouldn't frighten her with his size. 

 

 

Pride

Chetalla let the black cat go and turned to Diego. "Yes, she helped me out with cleaning Edna and her kid, she named him DeeDee and asked if I needed anything else done. I told her she could go explore, we're the only ones out here anyway and they don't let in dangerous wild animals after the ostrich incident So don't worry your pretty head about it. Besides, we got a gun show here so she's quite safe! She said playfully smacking his arm although her strength was a little too much then she flexed her arms in body builder poses the tank top showed well defined arm chest and stomach muscles. "Am I right or am I right? So glad I got someone I can arm wrestle with, my brother is a wimp. I love him to bits but he's a wimp." She said with gusto.

 

 

"Great, you're bonding. I'm too tired for this..." Sam grumbled and went back to his hut flopping on his bed. 

 

-

Ionia hummed and softly sang in Hindi as she put on a pan and oiled it adding spices to some rice she was making as a side dish for the crane. 

 

 

Pack

 

"Eliora." Said the red head. "Sorry I've been bothering ya'all with my singin. I miss home. Brothers are probably worried sick and mum probably is. I hate my form! I was brought to the stinkin pound, the pound! This is stupid, why can't we just go home?!" She pouted and threw down her empty tin cup looking like she was fighting back tears and was furrious at the same time. 

 

 

-

 

"We all had lives, deal!" Valiant said trotting to them. "Oh and Deric understood you. He draws pictures if you don't know Russian. Idiots. " He huffed then scratches his leg. "Medic, I got a ear infection. Got anything for it?" He said  still digging at his ear. 

 

 

Edited by AroaraAngelwolf

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Terra nodded at Jason in acknowledgement when she saw him come sit with them before having her attention go to be on Valiant when she saw him return with a bone that he was now nawing on. She was a bit tempted to go over and talk to him but would wait until he was finished with the bone to do so. Her attention was pulled back to being on Kubo and Jason when she heard the African wild dog introduce himself. She figured he knew her na

e but in case Jason didn’t she said a bit softly, “I’m Terra. I also caught a deer earlier and left it at the edge of camp for anyone to enjoy if they’d like to later.”

 

She then listened to everything Valiant said when he joined them at the fire, bristling slightly when she heard him call them idiots. She hadn’t said or indicated anything in regards to Deric not understanding them so she thought that she shouldn’t be called that but didn’t say anything. She finished drinking her tea before saying to Kubo as she got up, “Thanks for the eggs and the tea. They were delicious.” She picked up her empty plate and carried both that and the empty cup and walked towards a nearby stream with them to get them washed after she had said what she did.

Edited by SkySong278

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Kikyo held her breath as the white wolf rolled over, raising his head so their eyes met. The other shifter was larger than she was used to from wolves, his snow-white fur fluffed up in the green grass. Had this been an arctic tundra, she thought, the other one would have fit right in. Although he was much larger than she was, he wasn't threatening -- she didn't feel in danger, even approaching him willingly like this. There was a certain gentleness in the way he gazed at her from mournful blue eyes, communicating in a realm beyond what words could do.

 

And she appreciated it. Kikyo wasn't much of a talker, and she wasn't very elegant with her words at the best of times. 

 

Concerned, she held her breath as she gazed at the wolf's features. His silhouette against the morning sun stroke a handsome image, marred only by the crimson blood above his eye and under his chin, close to the neck. She waited patiently as the wolf met her gaze and nodded, once.

 

He understood! Kikyo breathed an internal sigh of relief -- it was much more comforting to know she could communicate with the larger predator. Like this, she didn't have any doubts about her own security. The wolf scratched at the ground with his paw, perhaps a sign of impatience -- or, something else? -- but did not respond.

 

Maybe he was shy -- something Kikyo understood very well. 

 

"It's okay if you don't talk," she said, trying to reassure the other shifter. He seemed a bit confused, as if internally debating something, but his piercing gaze never left her own. "You're hurt," she added on, voice slightly upset as she gazed at the blood. "I --- um, there's a stream near here, if you would like? I can help you clean a little bit ..." 

 

She took a step towards the wolf, staring up at him. Raising a paw, she gestured to the general direction, tail flicking. "I'm Kikyo." 

Edited by Eto

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((just posting as Deric until others get theirs in, he's in a separate interaction anyway. It's too cute I can't. 😍))

 

Between the lands

 

An ear folded the other one remaining up as she said she didn't mind him not talking. He sighed internally in relief at that, then she asked to help him and told him her name. It was pretty and can be 'said' with a couple clicks of his tongue while he inhaled and a sharp exhale. He felt like she should know his but if they were going the stream to clean his face up, she'd see the collar on his neck. 

 

He nodded to her inquiry of helping him and moved slowly to the stream nearby in the direction of her paw and sat down by the stream. With a couple deep breaths, he shifted from wolf to human a sharp inhale when finished the cut had widened and now blood was going in his eye and his chin stung the cut being just below his lip curving under the jaw just a bit. 

 

He sat there looking at the ground as blood dropped down his face, cross legged and hands on the earth. Did he scare her off by doing that?

Edited by AroaraAngelwolf

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bless you this is so pure ; _ ; ))

 

Kikyo followed the white wolf towards the stream, and although he was much bigger she found she did not have trouble keeping up with his steps. He walked slowly, watching the ground, almost as if this area -- with branches scattered around the grass and vines tangled into the forestry -- was something he wasn't used to, and she wondered once more about his origins. 

 

Upon reaching the stream, she strolled up to the water, watching her reflection across the clear surface of the stream. The water seemed okay -- it was bright and bubbling softly, peacefully, and she dipped a gentle paw in to check the temperature. All good!

 

Turning back to the white wolf, she was going to suggest that he dip his muzzle into the water, but didn't voice her thoughts as the other shifter suddenly transformed back. He was very quick at shifting -- she had barely registered that he was shifting before he completed the change, and she took in a breath as she registered his human form.

 

He was dressed distinctively, and that made her all the more curious -- where could he possibly be from? His hair was white, framing a well-sculpted, defined face, with a sharp jaw and delicate eyelashes. Although the vest he wore seemed to be thick and warm, as were his pants, he was barefoot and didn't seem to be wearing anything under the vest, a fact that made Kikyo suddenly blush internally. It wasn't as if she hadn't seen a male chest before -- after all, Diego was well-muscled and prone to oiling himself before bed every night -- but it was strange when it wasn't her brother. And he was very tall, taller than Diego. 

 

Trying her best not to appear flustered, she stared at the other shifter. He didn't look at her, instead looking at the ground, and the blood from his cuts dripped down his chin and into his eyes. Concerned. Kikyo took a deep breath before shifting as well.

 

She appeared, in a white blouse tied with a black ribbon, a pleated skirt that reached to her thighs, with black stockings and heeled oxfords. Fumbling, she reached into her pockets and drew out the handkerchief she carried with her just to wipe up spills, and quickly wet the corner in the stream.

 

She took a seat down on the grass, legs tucked underneath her as she came closer. Holding up the handkerchief, she gave a slight smile to try and relax the other shifter. This close, she could see that he had another item of clothing -- a blue fabric of something tied around his neck, with a leather collar, but as his head was tilted down she couldn't quite see the tag on it. 

 

"Would you mind if I ... ?" she moved the handkerchief slightly, to indicate that she wanted to help clean his wounds. 

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between the lands

 

He looked up at her a blush coloring his cheeks. He nodded a little, wincing when the cool cloth hit his wounds but then stayed very still. Everyone and everything grew large in the mountains, so her being so little was.... adorable. What interested him the most was her hair. It looked like the gold vains that lie deep in the mountain caves that where in parts too cold for human greedy hands to reach. 

 

He lifted up his chin when she went to clean the wound there and he pointed to the metal name band that said his full name, his blood type, animal type and that he's mute. Once she saw it, he pointed down to the dirt where he had drew a cornucopia and a turkey like the ones shown for the holiday and pointed to her then drew a cross on the ground with a building under it that looked like a hospital, pointing then to himself. 

He was trying to convey the words: Thank you for healing me. 

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"Ah, I'm sorry," Kikyo said when the other shifter pulled back, wincing in response to the feeling of the water against his cuts. She worked as gently as she could, leaning into the shifter's space as she wiped the blood from his face. For his effort, he was very compliant -- easy tilting his head and lifting up his chin so she could have better access. As he lifted his chin, however, he pointed to the tag attached to the leather collar. 

 

Interested, she scanned the contents and realised -- ah, so he was mute. That was why he hadn't responded at first, although it hadn't bothered Kikyo in any way -- she found it almost surprisingly easy to communicate with the white-haired shifter, despite all odds. 

 

Before she could think to introduce herself more formally, Deric drew her attention to the ground, where, during her thoughts, he had drawn images into the dirt. A turkey, and a cornucopia? She was just about to ask for clarification before he finished his final drawing, a cross-aligned building. 

 

"Thank you ..." she said out loud to herself, trying to figure out the images. "For the care." Realising what he was trying to imply, she immediately looked up, meeting his eyes. 

 

"You're welcome, Deric-kun," she said shyly, flustered. She looked down briefly, folding the handkerchief into a neat square before she leaned forward and gently, with only the tips of her fingers, tilted his head slightly to inspect the cuts. 

 

"All good," she said, giving a small smile. "Do you feel okay?" 

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Once out of sight (as speeding up before that would make it look like they were fleeing, when of course they were storming out dramatically) Tenebris burst into a run. Their lengthy strides easily consumed the distance below them, many times faster than they would have been able to move as a human. Their mind cleared, their thoughts swept away like dust in the wind. They wanted to push themself faster, but that would have forced them to stop sooner, and they couldn’t afford that. 

 

Despite their attempts at pacing themself, they couldn’t keep running for long. They stopped at the side of a stream, chest heaving, and lapped up the water. 

 

They were still angry, of course. There was no reason for them to stop being angry, and they were perfectly capable of holding a grudge. Rather, the anger had less of a hold on them. They could summon it, stoking the fire, but until it was necessary it would smolder in the pit of their stomach. Another weapon.

 

They should have controlled themself better, back at the camp. It’d been weak to show such anger, as justified as it had been, and they should have been able to think. Rationality was a virtue, and to let themself be controlled by their emotions like that was a sin. 

 

‘If one makes a mistake, one should do one's best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused.’

 

Was there anything they needed to rectify? They’d made a mistake, yes, but their reasons for their actions and the lack of effect their actions had had were the only things they regretted. They had been the only one physically harmed, so far as they knew, and they had done nothing to cause mental harm against anyone that didn’t deserve it. It would have been better to have a calm conversation than to bring in aggression, but that had never been possible. Chetella and Samuel refused to listen to any amount of reason. Was it their duty to try to educate fools? At what point should one give up? 

 

Deep in thought, it took them a moment to notice Kikyo and a man they’d never seen before on the side of the stream a distance away. They tensed, ready to run to the small serval’s defense if necessary, but for the moment things seemed calm. Kikyo shifted to match the man a moment later. It was fortunate that Tenebris had seen her before she had shifted, or they wouldn’t have known whom she was. 

 

They started to approach, trying to appear unhurried, but their ears were pricked forward and their eyes didn’t leave the pair. What was going on? 
 

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Diego’s shoulders sagged with relief when Chetalla began to explain that she was with Kikyo momentarily before arriving to stop the upcoming fight. Diego’s nose scrunched, snorting at amusement at the name Kikyo had given the kid. Kikyo had a strange fascination with naming inanimate objects, and sometimes animals, after Diego. He had tried to encourage her to find different, interesting names, but Kikyo seemed persistent on naming her dolls or random farm animals they encountered or pretty rocks a variety of different Diego’s such as: Diega, Deego, Dio, and, Diego’s favorite, Big D Man. They were all wonderful names, but how could they not be? They came from the greatest sister on the planet.

 

Diego smiled to himself, amused by memories; however as Chetalla continued speaking he found himself growing wary. It was slightly concerning to hear that Kikyo was exploring on her own, especially considering all the danger she could run into in the wilderness, but, no, Diego couldn’t fret over her constantly. As hard as it was for him to fully grasp, she was an adult and he wanted her to be independent no matter how much his heart wanted him to run off and go search for her. Later, he promised himself as he plucked off the rest of the crane’s feathers. He could check up on her once the meal was later. Finishing off an adventure in the Savannah with a filling meal sounded like a perfect way to help Kikyo become more comfortable with their new (perhaps temporary) home. 

 

Chetalla was quick to tear his mind from his thoughts by pushing up her sleeves to show off her biceps. Diego perked up immediately as she began flexing her muscles, shifting her body as she moved from one magnificent pose to another. 

 

“The feeling is mutual!” Diego said. With the elegance of a practiced act, Diego stood up and struck a pose of his own. His legs were spread apart and he leaned tilted his torso backward before raising his free hand and holding it in front of his face, his open palm facing him. “I would be more than happy to spar with you at any time!” Diego grinned at Chetalla and, with a wink, pivoted towards the rock and sat back down. With the feathers taken care of, he grabbed a second wooden bowl and began the tedious process of cleaning.

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between the lands

 

She understood him! However that last kun bit made him tilt his head. Was she trying to say his last name?  He was going to tap his first name so she'd know just to call him that when she leaned twords him and lifted his chin so.... tenderly. Physical contact wasn't something he was used to, the only kind he remembers is the kind that hurt or from rough rugged skin. He completely froze in shock. He had no idea a touch could be so gentle. 

 

He barely breathed for a moment and nodded slightly. Slowly, his hand touched hers and he then turned over her hand, calloused long fingers of his own running a nail along the lines of her palm. How was her skin so soft and warm? His own felt like his father's, rough hardened and a little chilly. 

 

He moved so her palm was against his, his hand dwarfing hers making him crack a small smile at how tiny it looked, a little dimple indenting on his cheek. 

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