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Project: Prides and packs (open)

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aahhh my babies ; _ ; ))


Kikyo hardly dared to breathe as Deric's hand came up, gently covering her own and bringing her fingers down. His grasp was slightly colder than she was used to, his fingers rough from experience but firm in the way they held her own close, and Kikyo felt her shoulders relax. Somehow, she felt secure in having his hand grasp her own, and collected -- as if her fingers in his own were how things were meant to be. 


Deric shifted then, still holding her hand in his, and then the white-haired shifter stared down at their entwined hands and ... smiled? Distractedly, Kikyo realised that his cheeks rose with his smile, a small dimple forming on one that made her smile in response, too. She wanted to see him smile more -- she wondered what he was thinking, that would cause such a fond expression to grow on his features. 


She shifted closer, arranging herself so that she was sitting down next to him now, instead of kneeling before him, and tightened her grasp just slightly to let him know she had a thought. 


"Do you live nearby?" she inquired, wondering. "Why were you chasing the gazelle?"


Curious, Kikyo wondered if it would be possible to find a notebook somewhere -- maybe that would have to be something she'd ask Sam or Ella about? She could understand him well enough, but Kikyo was curious to see if his thoughts could be expressed easier with an actual utensil to write and draw in. 

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((last one then I wait for everyone I promise these two are just so darn cute!!!!!))


between the lands


He blushed when her hand squeezed his. He met her eyes when she asked him where he came from then pointed in the direction of the jungle, drawing houses on the ground then pointed that way again. Then he patted out the image then did many paw prints, five to be exact and then a what looked like a chicken leg or mutton leg showing he was trying to get food to the people who lived with him. He then got still then squeezed her hand in both of his hands looking scared. He didn't know the others well and they could become a threat if she went there. He pressed a finger to her lips and shook his head. He then pointed to the jungle and The paw prints he drew then bore his teeth looking angry then let go of her hand to cup her face gently and  then pointed to his cuts, then ran his fingers though his hair and shook his head. 


"I was hunting for the others at camp. But I won't tell them about you and don't go there they may hurt you and I don't want that to happen."  He then looked up at her with his blue eyes in the cutest puppy dog look ever as if he was begging her with a long drawn out please?

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Neither of the pair noticed their approach, likely due to the magnificent powers of stealth they possessed. Why, they weren’t even trying to hide and they were clocked so well by the shadows. The dawn had blessed them, and they muttered a quiet prayer of thanks. 


Even if the pair looked a little preoccupied. 


Something seemed off about the scene before them. Kikyo and the other shifter were sitting too close together, and were even in contact. Tenebris admittedly didn’t know much about Kikyo, but she hadn’t arrived long ago and they knew that the strange man didn’t live in camp. They’d never smelled a wolf around before. Had she met him while she and Diego had been exploring? If so, why wouldn’t either of them say anything to anyone else? If she had just met him, why were they sitting so close together? Kikyo had seemed so shy, almost clinging to her brother. There was the scent of blood on the air, too. 


When the strange man reached forward to touch Kikyo’s face, Tenebris couldn’t take it any longer and stepped forward. There was no way she could possibly know the man well enough to make that acceptable. “Who’s this?” they asked, now within a few meters of the pair, trying to keep the accusation and worry out of their voice. They didn’t want to scare Kikyo; she’d been nothing but adorable and deserved the best. 

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Kikyo looked with interests at Deric's drawings, following the movement of his hand with her eyes as he laid out a house -- his residence, then? -- followed by five paw prints. Her eyes widened immediately -- there were more shifters than the ones she knew of? There had to be a reason for that -- and why the pride had been the ones Diego and her only knew of until now. She had to tell Deric of the Panthera shifters, just in case ...

Before she could do so, however, the white-haired shifter suddenly got very still. Kikyo looked up at him, concerned when his grip on her hand tightened, his other hand coming to take hers in his grasp. He looked frightened, and Kikyo thought -- that wasn't a look she wanted to see on his face, when his eyes were so bright and so blue and he had been smiling so handsomely only a second before. He held a finger to her lips, shaking his head, and bore his teeth. 

The other shifters he lived with -- were they dangerous? Her eyes widened at this possibility, uncertain -- after all, Sam, Ella, and everyone she had met back at camp had been so nice. It was strange to think one could be dropped in a foreign land with only enemies, and for that she met Deric's glance with worry and concern in her eyes, wondering if he had perhaps suffered. 


But his fingers are warm, roughened but gentle as he gently cupped her face, his eyes a blue that encompassed her world. Strangely, Kikyo couldn't help but smile a little, growing into a giggle as she realised -- Deric looked absolutely adorable in this way, staring up at her with big eyes, and she nodded to show her confirmation. She understood -- even if she didn't have all of the context, she trusted his judgement. If the people he knew were dangerous in any way ... she would be careful, provided he was as well.


Before she can verbally confirm this, however, a new voice drew her from her thoughts, and Kikyo visibly reacted, pulling back from Deric's hand in her shock. Too used to her foster family catching her doing things that they didn't quite like, the sudden intrusion makes Kikyo shift out of pure instinct rather than need, quickly returning to her serval form. After the initial surprise faded, and she realised no one was throwing things to quickly dodge away from, however, she relaxed quite visibly.


"Cyon-sama!" she whisked her tail, dispelling her worries, and settled herself. "I didn't expect to see you here. Are you doing well?"


Then, she addressed the second part of their question. "This is Deric-kun, he's ... um ..."


Not quite sure how to describe the situation, she simply looked back at Deric and purred. 

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Chetalla grinned at him and did a half power pose with her other hand splayed on her chest, head thrown back. "Wonderful news! I have finally found myself a worthy opponent that both strong and knows how to preform! Strength is nothing without presentation! Now if you'll excuse me, I must rid myself of this stink of birth. Tootles!" She said wiggling her fingers at him and left to her hut to shower. 




Ionia hummed softly as she made the stirfry rice. "So, do you or your sister have favorite foods? I maybe able to consult my cookbooks for recipes for your favorite dishes tonight. I'm sure your sister would feel most welcome if she had her favorite food and brother waiting for her here. " She said puting a pot on for the curry and started making the broth for the crane.


Between lands


Deric jumped as well but didn't shift, not wanting to reopen his already healing cuts again. On a quick motion he was on his feet, huntched over so his hands where on the ground, and one hand in front of Kikyo barring his teeth ready to protect this kind girl although every part of him screamed to run. 


When it appears that Kikyo knew this strange mix of a creature and addressed it he lowered himself back to a squat , hands flat on the earth in front of him. She told the newcomer who he was adding the kun thing again and then... made a sound he'd heard the maincoon cat do. He had no idea what it was so he tilted his head studying her like he was trying to get where and how she made that sound. 


It was kinda cute, and very relaxing. He wanted to touch her to see if her body was vibrating to produce such a sound but he refrained from doing so. He got the feeling the black animal wouldn't like it if he did that. 





A cloud of dust came as a large truck with two release cadges and a couple bags of clothes approched the jungle from  outside the safe zone passing through a massive gate with holographic tech projecting what was on the outside of the wall, to the inside of the wall so the ones inside can't tell it's even there. 


The truck driver had a rental scan, then was let in driving on a safety path through the jungle to the camp. Once she approched the campfire and saw the others where up she stopped at a distance, got out and went to the back with her partner, a large man to lift off the cadges and bags setting them down in front of the truck.  She nodded in greeting to them and her partner and her slid open the cadges freeing the coyote and red fox shifters. "I'll let you check each other out. We'll be seeing you soon for checkups." She called lifting the cadges and leaving the bags there as her and her partner adjusted their white coats and got back into the truck backing up, turning then leaving all within five minutes. 





Kubo smiled and took the plate and cup from Terra. "I'll wash these in the sink. Thank you, I get lots of practice feeding my tribe." He said softly and then turned to the sound of a truck. Two scientists got out wordlessly, pulled down two cadges and opened them waiting a moment for it's occupants to move out before loading back up on the truck. She said something about checking each other out and then left. 


Check them out? What did they expect them to do? Shift and go sniff their butts? Odd group for sure. The two, a red fox and coyote where small, although the latter was larger than his form. He waved over to them. "You want egg there's still plenty left!" He called to them trying to be friendly.






Eliora had set her cup and plate aside and was heading to the hit to get dressed when the truck came up. All the tough act she put on went out the window as  she saw the cadges, both where roughly her size, and she shifted dashing behind a tree peeking out from behind as a scruffy mutt with green eyes. 


Meanwhile Val ignored the truck entirely still waiting for a response from the medicine man on curing his ear infection.

Edited by AroaraAngelwolf

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Pack, at camp - Rank 4, Medic


He accepted the coffee with a grateful nod. That blue-haired Kubo had a distinctly african name, even if his skin was pale. No one had really introduced themselves to him, but he had some idea of who was who, based on conversations he had overheard. "I'm Jason. My original name is Ye Shao and it means Blazeleaf. It's a nickname of sorts."


"Yes, but understand," Jason continued, "powdered milk doesn't beat the real thing. Ideally, we would be able to go to the corner store and buy a carton. What are they expecting us to put in those fridges anyway, if all we're doing is hunting and scavenging?" Strangely, all the buildings here had all the amenities, like lightbulbs, toilets, sinks, a small stove, and now fridges. Jason hadn't ever really gone out to a cottage before, but he could imagine that it wasn't much different than this. The even let him keep his phone, as some sort of hilarious joke, though there was no service nor data.


The red wolf barked a retort as the group discussed among themselves, with the redhead sounding like she was going to cry. He took a sip of his coffee. My, my, they would get along quite well; Mr. Red's reactions echoed a lot of Jason's own internal thoughts. Him calling them idiots was almost endearing. Jason tilted his head and his close-lipped smile widened.  "I have a life to get back to, too, outside of this camping trip. But, I guess I have no choice but to do what the lab guys told me to do. Let me see what I can find in the medical hut, but you might need to just chew some garlic and apply it."


The scientists told him that he was to be the group's healer, despite no formal training as a doctor. His knowledge of herbs was extensive but natural remedies weren't as effective as some gold old penicillin. Well, the group wasn't going to stop bothering him until he did something. 


"Well, speak of the devil," Jason said, when he heard the sound of tires stopping. The lab guys were here only for enough time to dump two new bodies. Jason cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled as they were driving away, "Hey, could we have some cows?"


Sighing and dropping his shoulders, he retreated to the medical hut to grab some ointment for Valiant, coffee still in hand. He thought he remembered seeing a first aid kit, but he could have been wrong.

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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“My apologies,” they said, dipping their head to Kikyo. “It was not my intent to startle you.” Kikyo relaxed and started purring. A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one. A warm feeling swelled within their chest. Gratitude wasn’t the right word, but it was something similar. It wasn't often that people trusted them, and they’re surprised by how happy it made them feel. 


I’ve known Kikyo for less than an hour and if anything happened to her I would kill everyone in this savannah and then myself. 


They probably wouldn’t actually do that, but they did want to protect her. She’d called them Cyon-sama, which was ridiculous, adorable, and so nice to hear. A grand title, perfect for one as grand as themself. 


They didn’t want to bring down the mood, but lying wasn’t acceptable either. They couldn’t just tell Kikyo their feelings, of course, but they wouldn’t lie. “The day has barely begun, and I know not what challenges we will face over its course. Yet, I am confident that we will be able to get through all of its trials and emerge through the other side.” 


Their eyes moved back to the Deric person, suspicious. They hadn’t missed his possessive baring of teeth. Would he let Kikyo leave, if she wished? 


It was entirely possible that they had misinterpreted things. Kikyo certainly seemed calm enough. Still, the way Deric moved was uncanny. Too stiff, too low to the ground. “Where did you and Deric cross paths?” 

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Kikyo tilted her head, listening to Tenebris' words. They spoke so interestingly, in a manner that she has not heard from anyone else, and the way their words flowed together made her wonder if they were perhaps employed in the storywriting industry before all of us, or at least in that field of study. Actually, they resembled a lot of the stories she liked to read when she was little, of gothic horrors and Victorian ladies. 


"Okay," she replied, tail whisking once more; she wasn't quite sure what Tenebris meant by challenges throughout the day -- after all, most of her days were preoccupied with whatever plot Diego had thought of to entertain them, and that certainly wasn't anything like a challenge, but perhaps life was different for them? It would be a hard existence, though, to life constantly expecting hardship after hardship in each incoming dawn. 


Then, she looks back -- Deric seemed tense, ready to bolt, his eyes watching their interaction in a concerned manner. He had lifted a hand earlier, immediately springing to his feet once an intruder was sensed, ready to protect her, and although she appreciated the gesture Kikyo did not want to see him hurt again. "It's alright," she said softly, trying to reassure the wolf shifter, "Cyon-sama is one of the members of the place I live in. The scientists introduced us on the first day." 


That said, she put her paws down on his skin, climbing over his outstretched hand so that she was between Tenebris and Deric, like a sort of buffer. Sitting down, she folded her paws before her. 


"We met just now," she chirped eagerly, the conversation having moved onto topics she better understood. "He was hunting. There are gazelle in the fields!" 


She was more than a little excited about this discovery, being that she loved to watch animals hunting -- it was her favourite part of her nature documentaries, and when they were little she would frequently ask Diego to shift and 'hunt' her stuffed animals. Something about the thrill of a predator taking down its prey -- it made her admire the hunter so much, her heart beating in her chest as she worried for its safety during the hunt, and the marvel that came from a successful catch. 



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Terra heard what Kubo said in regards to him washing her plate and cup in the sink and turned around to give them to him just before she had made it all the way to the steam nearby. “Thank you for washing them but I wouldn’t have minded doing it in the stream,” she said when she had gone back to them campfire. She was about to sit back down when she heard a truck drive up. She had her full attention be on the two scientists that came out of it and what they had taken out of the back of it which was a cage but the looks of it. She could see two forms inside it but couldn’t quite tell what they were until they were taken out of the metal prison which is what she referred to it as. She then was able to see that they were a red fox and a coyote after the scientists had left and also after the dust from them driving away had cleared. She then heard Kubo offer them some eggs to eat since there were some left over and hoped that v they would come over and eat them so that she could meet them properly.

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“Ah, I see you are cultured as well,” Diego said. With a grin, he pointed his knife at Chetalla. “You are absolutely correct! Performance is a skill all on its own and it’s a shame so few people understand the importance making a show!” With a final wink, Diego waved Chetalla farewell and set the knife down on a nearby rock. With the inside of the bird now hollow, Diego grabbed a third basket to place the main meat into. Picking up the knife once more, Diego retrieved a small rag from his pocket and pinched the end of the knife before scrubbing it thoroughly on both sides. 


Hearing Iona speak up from the fire, Diego glanced over at her direction, head tilted slightly in wonderment. 


“Her favorite food?” he echoed, frowning slightly. He wasn’t sure if Kikyo actually had a favorite food. When they were still on the streets they had to rely on the food from shelters, soup kitchens, or whatever they scavenge. They couldn’t be picky when they had such few choices, but even when they were adopted Kikyo never really stuck with one food. She’d eat anything Diego made with gusto and would often beg to share even when they had separate meals. Diego couldn’t really blame her; they shared often prior to adoption and any chance Diego had to show off his brilliant and unrivaled cooking skills was an exciting event for the both of them. 


“She’s not very picky,” Diego admitted, smoothly sliding the knife into the crane to cut out a deposit of excess fat. “She’ll eat anything that I will. Although,” Diego added after a moment of thought. “I think she has a particular fondness for vegetables. Well seasoned or in soups.” When they got adopted, Diego took it as an opportunity to cook as many fresh vegetables as possible. They ate soups filled with a variety of vegetables weekly. Diego recalled there was a period of time where the Noriakis insisted that they put more kale in their diet because it was a “superfood” and they needed it because they were just “skin and bones”. Diego had begun making kale chips he seasoned with olive oil, shredded ginger, honey, and a reasonable amount of salt. Diego remembered fondly how Kikyo would sit in front of the oven and wait for the chips to come out so she could gobble them down as soon as they were ready. 


“You wouldn’t happen to have an oven around here, would you?” Diego asked, looking up from his work to meet Iona’s gaze.

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Pack | Veronica


I think I'm going to be sick….


Veronica's head bounced, hitting against a hard surface that left her ears ringing. She panted as she came-to, eyes tracking slowly. She almost didn't recognize the cage in her disoriented state. Her stomach tightened as bile coated her throat. What had happened?


It took a moment to realize she was in her fox shape, tongue swiping across teeth and lip. She tasted flesh and blood; not hers. Someone else's, then. A memory flashed, just a flicker of an arm, a hand. Gradually, recollection returned and as her body bounced again in the cage, her ears twitched. They were filled with the grumble of a moving vehicle. 


Thriving, humid, life filled her nostrils, cutting under the exhaust. 


Stumbling to her paws, Veronica began shaking off the cloud of sedition. Now she remembered taking a bite out of a man's arm when he thought he could shove--


Her ears perked up and her fur bristled. "Anthony?" Her call came as a sharp yip. When she focused, she could smell him, barely. The cages weren't designed for easy viewing, only safe transport. She pressed her nose against the metal side, searching for where her son might be. "Anthony, answer me." Her stress began to build, causing her to pant more.




It was faint, nearly consumed by the roaring truck as it traveled over rough terrain. She felt her fur flatten with relief. Her panting ceased when she heard a soft string of curses. Anxious laughter bubbled up, almost breathy. She couldn't help it.


Anthony stopped swearing. In the next breath came "Why are you laughing? I don't think this is funny."


"Neither do I b--"


Tires skidded as the vehicle stopped moved, the jerky motion causing her to lurch into the front of the cage. Anthony groaned something. A woman stepped in front of Veronica's cage as it lifted and settled on the ground. Her pupils adjusted with the change of light. Jungle trees flooded the space behind the human. 


Veronica stared at the woman, watched each movement as she unlatched the cage. The moment there was a gap in the door, she bolted out, making a quick snap at the human who was, unfortunately, ready for such a gesture. Her teeth smacked against metal instead of gripping into flesh. She still wasn’t happy about how the humans roughed up Anthony when her son didn’t agree to being forced into coyote shape.


She backed away from the cage and humans, Anthony’s larger figure coming close so they both could watch them leave. She wondered if the tranqs had been because blindfolds and burlap sacks wouldn’t work on captives that could shape shift or because they were more than a little snippy. Perhaps both. It wouldn’t do a human any good for either of them to score a nasty hit or memorize which way was out.


Her stomach was still churning with nausea. 


The truck receded from sight, letting Veronica obtain a better view of where she and Anthony were left. Her ear twitched at the sound of distant voices. “There are others here,” Anthony murmured. “I suppose there’s no hiding at this point.” She heard him take a sharp breath in before his body changed. Fur melted away and blended into the uniform color of his skin. A small grunt left his lips as a joint popped into place. It never took longer than a few moments. His sneakers scuffed the ground and Veronica looked up to see his shoulders roll out any remaining tension. He looked down at her.


For a heartbeat, her throat tightened and swallowing was difficult to do. The fox wasn’t letting her shift back. Shaking out her body, Veronica flicked her tail. “I just need a bit to relax. I think those darts were a one-size-fits-all case and you know how those are; always bigger than I need.”


Her son clearly wasn’t pleased, his lips pressed into a thin line. Beneath his displeasure, though, she could see his sadness, that near constant shroud that hovered over his shoulders. It bothered her. She wanted him happy again, unrestrained as it used to be. “Run?” He meant ‘are you going to run off the stress?’


“Yes,” she replied. “I won’t be long.” He was going to protest, or at least suggest tagging along in the unfamiliar territory. But she trotted, and then sprinted, away before he could.

-- | Anthony


Anthony watched his mother disappear, rubbing at the back of his neck. His jaws clenched together for only a second before he forced his body to loosen. It wouldn’t do any good to meet unknown beings while tense--they might mistake his intentions. Inhaling deeply, then exhaling slowly, he stooped to gather the bags the humans so graciously left them and started walking towards the group of… homes. Someone had mentioned eggs but he presently had no appetite. 


At the edge of the encampment, he came to a stop and studied the gathering. He saw four people, heard four people, and he couldn’t trust his nose to detect if there were only four scents. “Hi, name’s Anthony,” he started, letting words roll in his thoughts as he organized how to approach this. It was, frankly, the only thing he could control for the time being. “The vixen’s Veronica.” Whether to explain that she was his mother was a toss up; it could prove a useful thing to keep to himself for the moment. 


However, there wasn’t any doubt that the strangers might be able to scent that they were together in some form--family, or at least the same household. Well, he supposed he just reasoned himself out of the half-baked secret. Though maybe it currently didn’t matter. 


“Safe to assume everyone here is a shapeshifter of some species?”

Edited by ValidEmotions

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Kubo nodded and held out a plate of breakfast. "Good morning to you too." He said a little sarcastically.  "I'm Kubo. Over by the medical hut is our healer, Jason and the red wolf is Valiant I believe. I'll let the others introduce themselves. You assume correctly, here, food will take the feeling of the sedatives away faster along with water or something to drink. We have coffee and tea too. After breakfast you can pick a cabin for you and Victoria." He said waving him over. He smiled bit it didn't exactly reach his eyes. Did Jason really think they'll get out of this place? Does he think others have not tried everything in their power to get out? His tribe thought him dead by now. Alliah moved on. Nothing was out there for them anymore. 




Valiant followed the medic to his hut, but sat outside the hut looking in and watching him carefully. Inside the first aid kit was a key to a locked cabinet with no door handles, just one of those magnet ones where you press in to open. In the cabinet had cold medicine, penicillin, morphine, rabies vaccines, syringes, sedatives, defibrillators and epi pens all organized in a large cabinet. These where all labeled with bold red letters, Emergency only! Along with a booklet containing info on what each medicine is used for, the correct way to administer it and how much to use. It was only a month supply of each medicine, obviously something that can't be used often and was a limited resources. The expiration dates said they where good for the rest of the year and log in the booklet showed a chart of usege, the last time they were switched for fresh ones and the one who switched them. 




Eliora watched as the coyote and the red fox where realised from their cadges and the two scientists loaded them back up again. Upon seeing the fox dart off part of Eliora wanted to give chase, however her long legs carried her after the disappearing truck. She gave chase for a few feet baking how it was all a mistake, she must be brought home, her family is probably worried sick about her when a piff sounded from the back window of the truck and something hit the ground a couple feet in front of them making her yelp, legs with oversized paws tripping her up and she summersaulted to a stop as the truck vanished into the foliage. Did they just.... shoot at her? She turned back and smelled the hole she tumbled over. The distinct scent of gunpowder filled her nose. Holy carp they did just shoot at her! What the hell?! Shifting back she got to her feet and shouted after them, now long out of sight and earshot. "Imeacht go fánach ort féin is ar do chnapán miúlach! An áit thíos atá ceapaithe duit, a dhiabhal!"  She swore after them in geltic trembling violently in fear. They could've killed her! She turned slowly and walked back to camp in a daze fighting back tears. How was she going to get home now?



(( Translation: Off with you and your lousy lump! It is the place below that is meant for you, you devil!))



Between the lands

Deric saw Kikyo get in between him and the other shifter in a way he found quite amusing. Was she trying to protect him? He smiled a little bit at the thought, but she knew this other creature and he didn't, so he'd let her do what she felt right. He looked at her when she spoke reassuring him.


He tilted his head. There's another place with shifters too? Are they small like her or larger creatures? Questions flooded his mind but he had no way of asking them so he just let her speak. When she told this shifter how they met, his inner wolf wagged it's tail happily at her joyous tone seeing him trying to get a meal, although he failed miserably and the herd was now long gone. 



"There's a little oven in the huts, apart of the stove but it's not very big. So the twins helped me make bricks and I made my own oven behind my hut so I can roast chicken and bake bread. I always add lots of veggies in my meals since we eat a lot of protein as our shift forms anyway, the only time we can be omnivores are as a human. The garden is chalk full of veggies and fruits. " She said proudly adding another onion to the mix. 


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Tenebris tensed when Kikyo told Deric about them, but soon forced themself to relax. Unlike Samuel, it was impossible to be angry at Kikyo. She was so eager to be helpful, and none of her words came from a place of malice. 


She did, however, remind Tenebris of another strange part of the equation. If all of the other shifters had been released at the camp, what was Deric doing out in the fields? Had he somehow managed to run off without being seen? Were some shifters released outside of the camp, and if so for what reason? Not that there seemed to be a rational reason for any of what conspired, but even in madness there must be some method. Was he dangerous? Kikyo certainly seemed enamored with him, but that wasn’t much of a point in his favor. She was too trusting, if she believed him so readily. 


“For what reason does he not speak for himself?” they asked. Deric had been completely silent the entire time they’d been there. Was it some ploy to attempt to gain their trust, by making the far more trustworthy Kikyo explain things?

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Between lands


"For what reason does he not speak for himself? 


Deric chuffed and he fixed the shifter with a cold icy stare. He didn't want this thing knowing he was a wolf so instead of pointing to his collar he undid the cloth around his neck moved it so it covered the collar yet exposed the line that ringed his neck like a noose, a scar that was as wide as his finger and was straight over his Adams apple. 


He jabbed a finger at it with a snarl on his face. That's why he can't speak stupid! He slammed his palm on the ground. High and mighty just because he can speak fancy words and stuff. They wouldn't last two days in the real wild where it's kill or be killed. That's it! He's done! Everyone was so mean to him because he can't speak! He slapped the earth again with both fists covering the drawings he did on purpose and stood up towering over them. He bore his teeth in a snarl at the black cat and stomped off further into the grass rubbing his eyes as he cried, stalking a little further downstream twords the Savannah and sat on a rock near a small pool. He looked at his reflection for a moment, smacked it several times then covered his face with his hands  holding the cloth in his hands like it was a security blanket. 

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Terra watched the coyote come over to them to get some eggs and then listened as he introduced himself before also hearing that he’d let the others introduce themselves to him which included her. “I’m Terra. It’s nice to meet you. I’m a black wolf with some blue in my fur which matches my hair,” she said with a small smile in greeting to one of the new shifters that had joined their little ragtag group. She then started to wonder when they’d be able to get back to their lives and when they did, if they would be able to keep in touch with the other shifters they met while here.

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Kikyo hesitated at Tenebris' question, unsure if Deric would have wanted her to spill all of his secrets all at once. Regardless, she felt that the black-furred shifter deserved some kind of explanation --


Before she could come up with a way to explain the situation delicately, Kikyo's thoughts were interrupted by Deric's movements. Attention focused on Tenebris at that particular moment, she turned back just as the white-haired shifter stood up, face set with angry lines as he glared down Tenebris, posture tight. Unsure, Kikyo curled the tip of her tail, feeling the tension in the air between the two surmount to the highest peak as Deric reached up and adjusted his blue scarf, revealing --


A scar? Kikyo's eyes widened at the suddenly exposed mark, a thick white band of healed, rough tissue that curled around Deric's neck, like a snake. Was that why he couldn't speak ... ?


Before either of them could react, Deric bared his teeth at Tenebris, his message clear even without words, and stomped off. The silence between her and the black-furred shifter was stifling, and Kikyo stared at them in shock.


"I should go check on him," she said softly, whisking her tail to make her intentions clear. "I think everyone is a little on edge." She didn't think Tenerbis intended to offend Deric, but they had a certain way of speaking that didn't align with everyone. Kikyo was familiar with fighting, and de-escalation -- she had seen Diego do it before, numerous times, either between the forgotten people that filtered through alleyways and backstreets when they had been living on the streets, or when they were adopted and miscommunications came up. Kikyo felt that Diego spent most of his time knowing how to convert people towards his liking, using himself physically to prove a point, whereas she had more learnt how to read others. 


And as far as reading others go, she couldn't pass judgement -- or fault -- on either of them. 


Clearing her throat, she dipped her head towards Tenebris. "Please excuse me, Cyon-sama." Words said, she turned and began to run towards the direction Deric had headed off in, nimbly passing through the undergrowth. 


To her surprise, she found him -- the white hair really was obvious, and slightly endearing -- near the place where she and Diego had rested earlier, where she had sprayed water on her big brother when he attempted to get her to walk again. Thinking of this, Kikyo realised -- it has been a long time since she had seen Diego, longer than they have been apart for a while. In an unfamiliar place, no less -- she hoped Diego wasn't too worried. She trusted her brother to keep himself safe, but it was still slightly disorientating not to have within arm's reach.


She halted in the bushes, eyes watching as Deric threw his frustrations into the water, causing a large splash and splay of water to rush up. Then, he buried his head in the cloth around his neck, as if it comforted him to have it close, and Kikyo softened. 


Perhaps he would like to be left alone -- after all, she knew that some people required time by themselves to go over their thoughts and internal feelings, as she was exactly one of those people. However, she also remembered how Diego would always come bursting through the door, cheering her spirits regardless of her internal thoughts. Even if Deric didn't wish to discuss the past -- or what just happened -- she could cheer him up, could she not? 


With that in mind, she stepped from the bush, rustling the leaves as to make noise and alert Deric of her presence. Approaching the white-haired shifter, she meowed to draw his attention and then rolled onto the grass, belly exposed and paws up as she flicked small droplets of water in his direction harmlessly. 


Without speaking, she met his eyes and meowed once more, just a simple pleasant sound, inviting him to play.


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Tenebris snarled back in surprise, fur fluffing fluffing out in reaction to Deric’s sudden aggression. He was taller than they’d expected, something that they didn’t appreciate. They had merely asked a question, and could see no reason for such a reaction to be justified. A sore point or not, it was clear that the man was volatile. 


They’d made their own mistakes, let emotions control themself in a similar way. It wasn’t that they didn’t understand, for they’d been there. If anything recognizing that feeling of having one’s body gripped in the talons of emotion, uncontrollable, led them to be more wary of Deric. They didn’t think that anyone should trust them, either. Why would they? Tenebris gotten into fights before and had the scars to prove it. They knew they were a bad person. Every step forward was matched by a step back. 


Everyone was some level of bad person, they figured. That was why they couldn’t trust anyone and no one could trust them. The world was cold and lonely. 


They clicked their teeth and flicked their tail nervously at Kikyo’s words. They certainly didn’t think that approaching the man, who had displayed aggression so suddenly, was a good idea, but Kikyo had her own ideas. She sounded so certain, and Tenebris knew that they couldn’t stop her. She was an adult, and her choices were her own. They couldn’t assume that they were right in this situation. “Be careful. I will remain close enough to assist you, should you call for my aid.” 


They didn’t think that they would be able to win, should there be a fight. There was a heavy scent in the air, similar to a dog’s. Wolf, potentially. Winning wasn’t what was important, however. What was important was ensuring that Kikyo could escape, and they believed themself capable of at least that. 


They trailed a distance behind Kikyo, close enough to remain in earshot while far enough to not seem like they were trying to approach as well. 

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Pack | Anthony


He stared at the offered plate with its mound of eggs. "I don't have much of an appetite right now. When she gets back, my mom might. I'll take some tea, though, thank you." Two wolves. Possibly more. If only his nose wasn't as weak as a human's, it could tell him so much more. Being surrounded by wolves was not his ideal, let alone a situation he wished for his mom. Letting his gaze scan the campfire setup in the center of the camp. Then he studied the cabins that nearly surrounded it. There weren't many, but certainly more than the number of individuals he had been introduced to, presently. It meant either the group here was bigger and simply out of sight or there was an expectation for future arrivals. Anthony didn't know if he favored either possibility over the other.


He swallowed down a sigh before it escaped, stepping closer to the campfire and taking a seat upon one of the wooden benches. "Well, guess it's like school all over again; first day equals icebreakers. Okay,  you likely saw me as a coyote, if not, now you know that. I'm twenty years old, grew up among humans in the city. I was thinking about college. What happens now that all of us are here?" Reaching a hand up, he combed his fingers through his two-toned hair, letting a light chuckle brighten his face. His worries were his own to keep, his anxieties to grapple. There wasn't much that a couple of strangers could do, so what would be the point in showing just how somber he felt?


And the last thing he needed were wolves smelling fear. But coyotes were good at adapting and he knew how to keep himself relaxed, barring any sudden aggressions from the wolves of course.


-- | Veronica


When she had run far enough away to not be disturbed, Veronica came to a stop. Bile slicked up her throat and filled her mouth until she couldn't stave it off anymore. After a few minutes, she was left only with a small fit of coughing and tremors that rippled through her frame. Her body was chilled despite the layers of fur that bristled against the morning air. Shaking out her body again, her ears flicked as she listened to her new environment. A jungle of sorts, she picked out the early activity of birds and other diurnal creatures within the trees. 


She kept her head and tail low, trotting through the dense vegetation, Veronica struggled to push her way past at first. She already greatly missed running in the woods or being surrounded by busy city life. Panting, she slowed her pace and quickly licked down a portion of her fur. The humidity was going to wreak havoc on her beautiful pelt, she just knew it. 


An older scent of wolf touched her nostrils and she halted. Ears erect, she sniffed the air more thoroughly to sort out its directionality. She promptly went the opposite way. Veronica wasn't a fan, sure, but she could see some of the appeal of the jungle. It was green and lush. Alive. Inhaling deeply, Veronica crouched close to the ground and shifted. She felt skin pull tight and muscles strain. The change took much longer than it usually did on better days. But it was good enough. She sat on the jungle floor for a few moments to rest before shifting back. It would be faster to return on four paws than on two feet. Given the thickness and overwhelming presence of underbrush, humans clearly wouldn't have an easy time traveling through without a way to cut it all away. 


Fox again, Veronica picked a steady but quick pace and backtracked along her own scent trail. She wagered she hadn't gone far. After all, it hadn't been long since she left Anthony alone with strangers. She figured she might have to apologize to him for that later. He was grown, though, and capable of handling people without her so long as no one tried to get violent with him. Before she could start to worry about that likelihood, she returned to her starting point. The encampment was in sight and only a brief distance away.


The scent of several wolves lingered in the air, thick from their regular presence.


The awareness of it slowed her pace, even caused it to hitch for a step. Sort it all out. Keep it slow. She drew nearer, taking her time to separate each individual scent until she could count the five. One was recognizable already. Veronica could see her son, his face cheerful and his body loose. Good signs. She passed through the camp's boundary, stepping within at last. She thought about shifting then, but that would leave her too vulnerable.


A knot formed in her stomach again. 


Flicking an ear, she tracked the trio who weren't at the campfire mostly through sound and partially through scent. She could shift when she reached Anthony's side. That seemed best. It helped to ease the tension in her gut. 


"Hey. Good run? Did you see anything you like?" Anthony, bless him, was giving her something to focus on. 


She gave him a slight nod, coming to rest just at his left with a buffer of space between them. Becoming human felt agonizingly slow in the presence of the wolves, even if only two of them were close. But when she finished, Anthony held something out to her: a plate of eggs. "Oh, thank you." Taking it, she stuffed the few cold bites into her mouth and swallowed before answering his questions. "Yes, and sort of. The jungle is very different from the woods or city. Hi," she greeted, switching to the strangers. "Veronica. You two are?"

Edited by ValidEmotions

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“Wow, you have most modern conveniences here already!” Diego said. As he delicately bent the crane’s wings for easier removal, he glanced over at Ioda. She was happily pouring in cut up vegetables into the large, thick pot. The scent of the vegetable broth and the freshly cooked rice was beginning to make Diego’s mouth water. When was the last time he had eaten? He recalled the night before he and Kikyo had been shipped off to the facility the experiment was conducted in, his adoptive mother had insisted that he an Kikyo had a meal separate from the rest of the family. She said something along the lines of, “Since you two will be away from us you need to get used to eating alone.”. Diego had roasted him and Kikyo a bass with some vegetables on the side. They hadn’t eaten the following morning since they were too busy packing up to leave early, so the last time they ate was dinner, what, nearly half a day ago? Diego knew he and Kikyo had survived for longer periods of time without food, but he wasn’t pleased with the idea of her going through that again. 


After several minutes of trimming fat and slices through the crane, Diego finally had all of the meat sorted out neatly into a bowl. He wiped some sweat off his brow as he smiled down at his handiwork. 


“The meat is ready whenever you need it!” he called. He picked up both the bowl with the meat and the innards and it them in her direction. “I, Diego Noriaki, have everything separated so you can pick and choose what you add to your leisure!”

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Terra nodded in greeting to Veronica when she came over to them at the campfire. “I’m Terra and it’s nice to meet you Veronica,” she said in reply to part of her question. The other one was for Kubo but she didn’t was bit to introduce him without doing it for him.

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"Kubo Mbwa Mwitu. African spotted dog. Terra here is a wolf, the red one over there is Valiant, a hybrid mained wolf. Jason in his cabin is the medic, not sure what he is, and... Oh honey..come here." He said softly seeing Eliora approch them trembling and stinking of fear, sorrow, anger and worry.  He held out his arms and the red head sniffles shaking her head, her braid wagging as she did so. 


"Eliora Danin. I'mma wolf dog. More dog really. .... I fecken hate this place! I wanna go home with me brothers and mum and the green lands I know! My brothers don't know lick about shepherding, and their forms scare the poor ewes whittless! I wanna go home!" Kubo came and hugged her, she pushed and beat on his chest but soon slumped into sobs. "They shot at me! They shot at me! All because I was followen their truck! " She sobbed incoherently as Kubo dug out a handkerchief for her to use. 


"Easy there young one. I know. It doesn't get easier to live here I can tell you that.... Hey, how about you sing one of your songs? You have a lovely voice, one song then go wash your face and get dressed and I'll take you to hunt. Would anyone else wants to come with us?" He looked around at the small group easing Eliora onto a log to sit down. Kubo seemed to be the level headed one here. Someone had to be. 


Between the lands


Deric looked up at the meow blinking at the sound then seeing her laying on her back. He thought she'd leave with the black one, but she came to ..... comfort him. He was touched, new year's forming in his eyes and he sniffed, rubbing them away and tying the cloth to cover his scar again. He didn't like it showing. 


She flicked water at him and mewed again as if wordlessly asking him to play. He never played with a cat before, the maincoon and a lynx being the only cats he interacted with and both where not so playful. He reached out to touch her belly, but hesitated. The belly is a tender spot, she's showing she's trusting him by exposing a potential weakness. As much as he wanted to see how soft her fur was, he pulled back his hand. Let's see.....


Looking around he spotted a long grassy weed and a faint memory came to him of a feather stick thing the bear had. Maybe that would work? Plucking the weed near the base so he had a long toy, he dangled it in front of her nose, lightly tapping the snout with the tip of the weed a couple times, bouncing it in front of her to see what she would do. 




"Oooh wonderful!" Iona said clapping and graciously took the bowl. She put a iron wok on the flames, poured olive oil in it and selected a few pieces of breast meat. She then went to her cabin, placing the rest of the meat in the fridge and breaded the meat she chose while the oil got hot. Then she brought them back out to fry. 

"Can you go tell the king and queen breakfast is almost ready? Then you can look for your sister and bring her back to eat too. " She said with a grin adjusting her glasses.

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Kikyo watched as Deric collected himself, swiping at his eyes and retying the cloth around his neck. She caught just a glimpse of the scar as he worked, and she again felt that same pain-wonderment she had experienced when he had first shown them the mark. What could potentially cause such a violent scar?


Deric stopped just inches shy of touching her, his hand hesitating, and Kikyo tilted her head in response, confused. Her eyes focused on him as he slowly drew back, and she whisked her tail in confusion; had she done the wrong thing by dismissing what had just happened? 


Regardless, she trusted him more than that just to assume things of his actions, and hoped that he would provide an explanation soon enough. True enough, Deric returned seconds later with a long reed that he tapped on her snout playfully, taunting her with the item, and immediately Kikyo's doubts flew out of the window as she centered in on the item.


She wanted to catch it! Kikyo reached for the reed with sheathed claws, battering it between her paws as she rolled on the grass, still belly-up, twisting her body as she played with the item. Deric danced it gracefully around her form and she caught it easily, never pulling it from his grasp. Finally, she caught the body of the reed between her paws, holding it close, and Kikyo rolled over to her feet and purred once more, a loud, pleased sound in the silence of the plains.


Then, she licked a paw and ran it over her ears, brushing the brief dirt from her adventure on the ground. Satisfied, she turned to the white-haired shifter. 


Noticing that he was still in his human form, and wanting to be on equal ground for their interactions, Kikyo shifted back to her human form, the process taking a little longer than her human-serval transformation, and finally appeared with the reed between her fingers.


She tapped the item once on Deric's nose, smiling as she sat down next to him. "Are you feeling okay?" she asked softly. 

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Between the lands


He watched her with increasing curiosity and silent laughter shoulders shaking as she wiggled around to get the reed.  When she caught it, rolled over and clean up a little bit with the rolling sound again he once again wanted to touch her to feel where the sound was coming from, but noticed the edges of her form starting to blur as she began the process of shifting back.


He patiently waited until she was fully human and wrinkles his nose when the reed touched it. He nodded to her question, looked around and picked up a narrow sharp rock and started to scratch at the earth once again. 


He drew a series of pictures. The first one was a rabbit and a noose with a plus sign in between indicating a rabbit snare with the number 7 beside it. He pointed to those, then to the scarf. Caused by a rabbit snare at seven. The second set was of a family, a mom and dad and kid. Beside it was a minus sign, a stick man running, equals a couple trees and a wolf paw print with 5 beside that. Ran away from family when I was five, lived in woods.


The last set was of Russian letters spelling Russia, a picture of Russia on a globe with the northern hemisphere mapped out with a dotted line and a astrict above the dotted line showing he was from the far north. Next to that was a birthday cake with 19? beside it like he wasn't sure of his own age. 


He did this because it felt good telling someone about himself, having someone who can interpret his drawings in a relatively accurate way and was interested in his well-being. Plus, he wanted her to know more about him, she probably had many questions that she chose to omit and he thought he could clear some up for her. 

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Diego pounded a fist into his chest.


“I, Diego Noriaki, will retrieve all of them posthaste!” Without a further word, Diego gave Iona a two finger wave and dramatically waltz off into a random direction. He continued to walk confidently until he was out of eyeshot before he suddenly halted. Hold on, he was still holding the knife. Raising the knife to eye level, Diego turned it around 360 degrees, frowning at the smudges that were ruining its perfect sheen. Chetalla hadn’t exactly gotten him a sheath to store the knife in. She had simply pulled it out of her pants and headed to him before wandering off. Where was he even supposed to put it? He couldn’t just place it in his pocket and it was too late to turn back now, least it look like he had made a mistake in leaving in the first place.


Diego pondered for a few more heartbeats before shrugging and deciding to simply hold the knife until he found its owner. Instinct told him to go find Kikyo immediately but, well, he had already decided that it would be good for her to explore a bit so she could get more comfortable with the are. Perhaps she could even make a new friend! Diego grinned. What a wondrous thought that was!


Choice made, Diego continued to leisurely stroll through encampment in search of the siblings. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw movement. Diego turned his head just in time to see a humanoid figure entered one of the housings. Grinning, Diego followed the figure until he was at the front of the hut. Lifting his head, Diego loudly rapped his knuckles against the outside of the building.


“It is I, Diego Noriaki,” he announced. “I come not only bearing news that the meal has been prepared, but I also have your knife!” With his presence verified, Diego took a step inside of the building. He waved the knife in the air to make sure the twins saw that he had it.

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Pack, at camp - Rank 4, Medic


It took Jason a little longer than expected to emerge from the medical hut. He wasn't in a rush at all, even if the other wolf was surely waiting for him. He even stepped into a corner and changed into something more appropriate for the day before finding the key and rummaging for the supplies in the cabinet. Surprisingly well stocked, he noted. He also noted that he was the only one who held the key. The tags implied that the medicine wouldn't get restocked so easily, so maybe it was best if he left it locked, even if, theoretically, anyone could perform first aid. Well, unless half of them were too primal to even know the luxury of an Advil. 


He washed his hands with a little bit of soap and filled a small bucket with warm water, then turned off the tap with a towel. From the cabinet he only took a tube of ointment. Exiting the hut, he carefully approached Valiant with the bucket in one hand and a soaked rag in the other. That mutt's trigger was probably so short that any unexpected move would cost Jason a finger.


"This might hurt a little," he warned. "Leave the medicine on, and don't scratch it. We'll check it again tomorrow to see if the infection's cleared up."


He washed the other wolf's ear, unconsciously scrunching his nose at the foul scent of infection, and applied some of the antibacterial cream. The tube itself had the emergency warning on it, as if trying to make them feel bad about using it on something so trivial. Jason didn't care -- there was no use hoarding something when everyone here was trying hard to build each other's trust. 


While working, he overheard the discussion near the campfire where the two newcomers sat. He was just about done with applying the ointment. "I'm just a human," Jason barked over, gaze as mischievous as ever. "The scientists are wrong in assuming i'm an animal. No dog would have enough patience to do taxes, or sit in front of a computer from 9 to 5." 


And yet, despite his claim, he felt the beds of his fingernails itch at the mention of a hunt. And the redhead irrationally annoyed him with her crying, he thought on the inside, but Jason was never the type to let his true thoughts show. Besides, he did agree she had a sweet voice. It would be a shame if it were cut short. The thrill of the chase might work some of that stress out.


"I'll come with." He grinned at Kubo. "Let's go for a hunt! Are you coming too, Red?" To encourage him to come along, he made a move to pat Valiant playfully on the flank, or at least tried to.

Edited by TehUltimateMage

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