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Can You Smell That?
[summons] Late morning/ sunny and warm/ on the edge of the clearing

Name Player
Piper Nightshade Raven Marie

Bright, sunny days were the best herb gathering days. The herbal store hadn’t been totally useless, but as Leas had mentioned, most of them were old. Some Piper had felt worth saving only because it was wiser to have anything going into the cold months than nothing. Over the days after talking with Leas and Mintaka, Piper had scoured the immediate area around the caves for whatever late season cramming she could get in. With the few mouthfuls she’d found, it’d been a hassle trying to find a sunny spot to dry them out on. Barely worth the effort.

As she woke early this morning, however, Piper felt the sun beating down as soon as she exited the caves. It would be a nice day indeed, the one she planned on taking Leas on their herb gathering trip. First, however, shed scouted ahead.

Piper would call to Leas if she got too far to hear properly, but there wasn’t a worry there when she came into a brighter area laden with late bloom flowers and, undoubtedly, herbs. Hopefully, some Lemon Balm or Rosemary.

There, she tipped her head back and howled as loud as she could, long and slow. Leas would surely take into account of the weather and come, but whomever else came to investigate, that was lovely as well.

Reclining into a patch of long grass, the ebony woman waited for her audience: puppy or adult.

Mar 25, 2018 11:41 AM

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Name Player
Leas Fitzroy Matti

A long howl drew Leas north from the caverns. Piper had seemed to be settling into the caverns and it hadn’t escaped Leas’ attention that the herb cache finally saw some life in it again. It had been quite a few months of just tending increasingly old and crumbly herbs, but she’d seen some fresher looking things in there now.

The dark brown woman was feeling tentatively hopeful. The howl from the clearing hadn’t sounded urgent or alarming, so perhaps this was a chance to actually get an herb lesson. For all that Alina and Achilles had both promised to teach her, neither had followed through. It seemed that the dark female would be the first one.

She approached with a light smile. Things had not greatly improved by any measure of the imagination. The deaths of two puppies and Murphy still weighed greatly on her mind, but with the other pups growing larger - and finally some help around the caverns - there was time at least for Leas to breathe and think for once.

“Morning,” she greeted with a nod of her head. Maybe she should have mentioned the clearing sooner. Plants grew well here under the direct sunlight, but she’d not thought overly much that useful herbs might grow here as well.

Mar 25, 2018 12:14 PM — Post #1

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Name Player
Piper Nightshade Raven Marie

Piper daydreamed while she waited for someone to arrive. Mostly about home: how were Milo and Fibby getting along leading the pack? Were Demi and Ler enjoying a peaceful retirement? Did Acesis miss her? Were their children still enjoying life and getting into trouble? Had Fibby and Zulo had more pups? It’d been so long since she last seen them all, and her heart ached as she thought of what shed left behind.

Was it too much to hope that someone would find her here?

Footsteps. Piper turned, shaking herself into the now as Leas’ brown frame came into the clearing with a smile. The Nighshade returned it, greeting her warmly with a soft “Good morning “ before standing again.

“Ever seen Lemon Balm? It’s leaves are as green as the grass, and in the summer, it has little white flowers on it. Probably a little late for them to bloom now, but there might be some wilted ones on there still. Smells like lemon, looks like mint.”

Of course, that was assuming she knew what lemons smelled like and what mint looked like. If she didn’t, well, Piper would just have to show her. Motioning with a flick of her head for Leas to follow, Piper left the patch of grasses shed been sitting in to delve deeper into the sunny forest.

“Its good for calming stomachs and for making a wolf more alert. I can smell some around here, somewhere. You can help me look for that, or if you like, you can look for some rosemary. Kind of looks like pine needles, but they’re in a bush, not a tree. Might have white, blue, pink or purple flowers. Smells…. well, like woods? Just…. stronger? Sharper.”

The smell of Rosemary was harder to describe than lemon, but it was easy to see with its spikes. Regardless of Leas’ answer, Piper stuck her nose to the earth and breathed in; yes, there was lemon balm close. But wherreeeeeee? Slinking forward slowly, Piper let her eyes scan the growth for the herb.

Mar 28, 2018 08:45 AM — Post #2

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Name Player
Leas Fitzroy Matti

The brown woman gave a little nod and had expected a moment of chit-chat, but it seemed like they were just going to jump right into it. She let her tail sway lazily as she perked her ears forward at full attention.

It felt strange to be lectured in anyway by another wolf again. Leas had been here managing everything about her own life and the lives of her pups for months now. No one had bothered to try to tell her how to do anything. There hadn’t even been anyone here when she would have liked someone to tell her what to do. It was something new, again. It was almost like being back in her home pack with her family, when her parents or aunt or cousin Farra would explain things to her and expect her to just follow along.

“I…I don’t think I’m familiar with either of those plants,” she admitted. It would become painfully obvious if she pretended she knew what she didn’t. Leas paid close attention to what was said though, and how Piper described them.

“M-maybe I can look for the rosemary?” That seemed easier to her. What lemon or mint looked or smelled like wasn’t plain in her mind, but a stronger pine scent - that looked like pine - seemed like something she could find. Leas glanced around, searching for bushes that seemed like they might be a good start.

Mar 28, 2018 06:44 PM — Post #3

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Name Player
Piper Nightshade Raven Marie

Leas didn’t know either, but Piper just twisted her head around momentarily to offer a reassuring smile. That was the point of today, yes? The brown mother chose to go on her own and look for rosemary, and Piper continued sniffing on for the lemony herb, rummaging through a patch of suspicious looking ferns with her muzzle.

Nothing there.

“So, Leas, if you don’t mind my asking…. What happened around here? You mentioned other herbalists not being here anymore, and Mintaka didn’t seem to inclined to be friends.”

The dark shewolf cast a curious glance Leas’ way before continuing on to look for lemon balm. The dark woman knew better than to pry where she wasn’t wanted, but the simple question wouldn’t hurt, right?

Plus, hey, Piper needed some friends. Shed joined here as a healer on the whim of her heart, and while she hadn’t pledged her undying loyalty and respect to these wolves, the Nightshade wouldn’t mind a friend or two. Clearly, shed be here a while.

Mar 31, 2018 08:45 AM — Post #4

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Name Player
Leas Fitzroy Matti

The chocolate brown woman made her way towards some promising looking bushes, sniffing at them more closely, trying to pick out what was the general pine scent of the forest, and if these bushes in particular had a strong smell themselves.

She turned her head to Piper when the other woman asked about the pack. It seemed inevitable that the question about the pack would come up. Piper was a part of the pack after all, and she was here actually teaching Leas some things. The dark woman was doing a lot more good than any of the old members of the pack had done here.

Leas gave a little sigh, and turned away from the bush for a moment - it was too leafy to be rosemary anyway she thought. “Rath and I arrived in the winter, when I was pregnant, and there were a dozen other wolves here in the pack.” It was strange to think of it now. Would the caverns have felt so empty and cold through the spring if they had so many other cheerful wolves in them?

“Half-way through the spring most of the wolves just up and left. Only those of us with young pups stayed, and a single wolf named Murphy who helped us…” Poor, dead Murphy who hadn’t deserved his fate at all. Leas could only hope that the wolves who had abandoned them here met ends that were as painful. “It was Rath and I, Murphy, and two other mothers. The other women left shortly afterwards too, leaving all of their pups here. I did my best but…” Leas stopped there. Pups had run off, and died, and didn’t listen, and there weren’t enough adults to teach them all what they needed to know. Leas had tried so hard with no one else here who knew a single thing about how to raise puppies. She glanced back at Piper with the pain and sorrow of the last few seasons showing on her face, hopefully the other woman didn’t want too many more details.

Mar 31, 2018 01:00 PM — Post #5

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Name Player
Piper Nightshade Raven Marie

Silent, Piper listened to the Aide, twisting this way and that as she picked up a stronger scent of lemon.

There hadn’t been some trauma, or sickness, no devastation, or at least none that Leas told her. Everyone just…. left. Piper frowned. The pack had gone from at least a dozen to those she saw here, two mother’s, and one stray man with longer lasting loyalty that Leas made no mention of leaving. Dead, perhaps. Leas was stronger than Piper first may have thought; it took a special kind of wolf to keep going forward after the loss of so many, under mountains of responsibility and pressure.

There! With a chuff of victory, Piper plunged her muzzle deep into the grass-green, wide leaves that, as Piper predicted, had already lost their flowers. It left a long gap of silence between Leas’ story and Pipers answer as the healer carefully stripped the leaves away from the stem and made a pile of them. Finally, she turned to look right at Leas, eyes soft with sympathy and forehead creased with seriousness.

“Leas, you should be proud of what you’ve done here. With keeping the pack going, and with raising those pups. I haven’t met them all yet, but they’re still young. Don’t worry now if they’re still trying to adjust while they find themselves. One day, you’ll forget the hardships that brought them to you. Winter will bring more rouges looking for a home, and perhaps even new life. The Evergreens will be just fine. I promise I’ll help that happen.”

Hearing what Leas had gone through, feeling her own heart ache with the chocolate womans, Piper knew she was needed here. Not just as an Herbalist with extensive knowledge, but as support and as a friend. To help the pups grow and learn and adapt, to venture out and bring more likeminded wolves to the Evergreens. Perhaps, just then, Piper began to give her loyalty more than her curiousity and need to help.

Piper wouldn’t push any more. She had asked to know what happened, and though she knew little details, she knew. That was enough. If Leas didn’t want to say another word about it, they could continue on with gathering herbs. As if to signal this, she turned and plucked the last few leaves onto her pile; they would be a mouthful to carry back and set in the sun, but the herb store would be well stocked for the winter.

Apr 10, 2018 09:37 AM — Post #6

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Name Player
Leas Fitzroy Matti

Without much of a response the darker woman had shoved her head forward into whatever chosen plant she had located. Leas thought that perhaps she had told her story for naught and they were now just going to get back to herbs, she turned her head away right as the woman began to speak, but then focused her attention back.

She wasn’t used to praise. Was this even praise? It seemed enough like it. No one had told Leas that she had somehow been managing to do things okay here. Everyone else in the pack already did a lot. Murphy and Rath hadn’t had the time to thank her for raising the pups. She hadn’t had the time to thank them for hunting either.

“I….I hope so.” She hoped that things improved at least, that the pups grew happily and that they could take care of them all. “Thank you for teaching me, and….actually staying here.” It shouldn’t have been a big thing that a wolf who joined the pack actually helped the pack, but Leas still felt like she might wake up some morning to find everyone but her own family simply gone again.

Leas didn’t look back towards the bushes to continue her search just yet, she wanted to see if Piper had any more to say or discuss with her.

Apr 11, 2018 06:48 PM — Post #7

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Name Player
Piper Nightshade Raven Marie

Leas would benefit by gaining a bit of confidence, and Piper hoped to be the force that bolstered the younger woman to grow stronger on her own four paws. Leas would be okay and so would everyone else.

Piper was a little surprised to hear Leas thank her, but supposed she shouldn’t have been: after the story shed just been told, it wasn’t something Leas would be used to. Another thing Piper hoped to help in the pack.

“You are very welcome, Leas. Please, don’t hesitate to find me if you want or need to talk, about anything. I’ll teach you all I know about herbs, but this greying woman has made a fair share of mistakes in her life. I like to think myself wise at my age, and I’m certainly getting too old to be wandering around far from home.”

The Nightshade cracked a grin, but she hoped Leas knew she was serious. Shed learned a lot in her time away from her grotto, and if there was anything Piper wasn’t possessive of, it was her opinion and her knowledge. She might not be as old as she made it sound, but that wasn’t a lie either: Piper only had a few more good years in her before age really started to take its toll. She needed time to earn an easy retirement, though, else shed forever feel in debt and guilty for settling.

So far, Piper was starting to think her heart had chosen well when compulsively driving her into these woods.

Apr 16, 2018 11:45 AM — Post #8

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Name Player
Leas Fitzroy Matti

Leas gave a nod and a little smile in return to the darker woman. The prospect of learning more about herbs was a welcome one, and of simply having another woman around who perhaps knew more about the world in general.

“I-I’d like to learn more about herbs, I meant to before….before everyone left.” But then every other wolf had left practically, and while it had seemed like there might be other mothers who knew about pups, instead Leas was left to figure out motherhood on her own. Truly on her own as she took on other wolves pups as well.

“Did you have any children?” She asked a little shyly. She wasn’t even sure what pup advice she needed at this point, it felt like raising children was the only thing Leas had been doing for months, though perhaps not as well as others, but she had tried at least. Her own children hadn’t been abandoned, it made her a better mothers than the other wolves who had been here.

Apr 21, 2018 11:27 AM — Post #9

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