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Long term preparations
Starshatter | Early winter | Afternoon | Cloudy

13587
Name Player
Ash Chris Staff
 

Ash was starting to settle in up here. He’d been faintly anxious but hiding it well. Prey was still able to be sniffed out, and he was determined to prove to the locals he wasn’t some kid who needed puppysitting. He still might have looked not-quite-grownup yet, still noticeably lean in the body and too big in the paws, but he was a bit better proportioned in his winter coat. Doubtless he’d catch up to himself eventually.

For now, Ash was stalking a nonchalant dog fox. He hadn’t found himself all that alarmed to be stalked by an overgrown puppy, slipping in and out of the pines to the south, sniffing about for frozen songbirds who hadn’t made it through the colder snaps so far. But Ash was intent. He’d never killed a fox on his own before and today was going to be the day.

He wasn’t hunting for himself or even Rowan and Saya today. He was stocking the cache, something he had been doing each day, though he didn’t catch something as large as a fox every time. This was all part of his plan to prove himself useful.


Jul 05, 2018 03:44 AM

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219054
Name Player
Rowan Jill
 

have a brother :D sorry if post is a little wack, a bit distracted haha

Breathing easy was slowly becoming less of a task. Rowan still wasn’t entirely used to the elevations at which he found himself, and admittedly, part of him did miss the earthy, moist air that hung beneath the boughs of the oaks.

It was okay, though. He would be okay. They all would.

The basin was proving to be a peaceful, nice place so far. It was promising.

Rowan was trotting around the southern perimeter of the lake when he caught his brother’s scent. They’d all been settling in at their own paces, and the blue-eyed boy was not ignorant to how much hunting his marked brother had been doing lately. He really was giving himself over to the pack so, so much.

He’d been so busy, and Rowan had wanted to talk to him, but… the time had just never been right, really.

He trotted into the trees regardless, determined to get in a bit of quality time, as Rowan might have still been moping about leaving the oaks for so long. His tail wagged in anticipation. Hopefully, Ash would be amenable.

After some time traipsing, he spotted his sibling’s pale fur against the muted shadows several paces ahead. “Hey, Ash.”


Jul 11, 2018 01:36 AM — Post #1

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219162
Name Player
Ash Chris Staff
 

Ash heard his brother’s familiar pawsteps, but he remained focused on his hunt. Even Rowan’s voice didn’t startle the fox into flight, thought it did look in their direction. Ash had kept some distance between himself at the smaller predator, observing it and the potential paths he could take to get closer.

“Ro. Shh - come hunt.” He instructed in a low voice, his tail flicking, turning from a wave into a beckoning motion. He nodded at the fox. With the two of them they could get this red intruder.


Jul 11, 2018 06:46 PM — Post #2

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219199
Name Player
Rowan Jill
 

Ash’s first reaction was to shush him. Rowan didn’t recoil all that much. His brother was gruff, but rarely was there any heat behind his less amicable words and gestures.

At the waving of his bro’s tail, he sauntered closer, elbows tucked and body lowered somewhat. Along the way, he had smelled an intriguing scent entangled with that of the pines, but thought little of it. There were so many interesting smells and sights and sounds in the basin. Getting used to them would take more time than he’d spent in within its walls thus far.

As he positioned himself at Ash’s side, he saw the quarry at last. A thing whose red fur was slightly dulled in winter, a creature he’d only seen a few times but could recognize at least. It reminded him so much of a smaller version of himself—albeit one more colorful—and Ro had made a point to leave them alone.

Here Ash was, always his opposite, bidding him to join him on a hunt that would see the critter killed. Ro wrestled with the idea but followed anyway.

“Fox?” he pressed, his voice barely higher than a whisper.


Jul 12, 2018 01:48 AM — Post #3

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219209
Name Player
Ash Chris Staff
 

Rowan never minded Ash’s brusqueness. He just fell in beside him, and Ash spared a thought to people who didn’t have a decent brother (Anna came to mind).

“Fox.” He confirmed, his voice still low. Recently it had dropped several octaves, emphasizing the quiet he was going for now. Brown eyes scanned a low-growing tangle of evergreen scrubs. It was the only real cover anywhere near the fox given the season, when everything else had died and withered back.

“If I go that way - can you go around those young trees?” Ash murmured next. It would leave Rowan on a more direct path, while he could ambush.

The fox meanwhile had discovered a frozen nestling fallen from a nest and snapped it up eagerly in a few bites.


Jul 12, 2018 05:41 AM — Post #4

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219283
Name Player
Rowan Jill
 

Ash confirmed the critter’s identity. Rowan nodded his understanding, even if his brother might not see it given their mutual attention on the animal before them.

He steadied his legs, taking measures to mimic Ash’s stance and intense focus, and flicked his tongue out to wet his nose. The creature, now that they’d drawn closer, sure had a weird, musty sort of smell.

A plan was offered. Ro let his eyes trace the young conifers Ash addressed. If he walked around them, the path would take him in the slightest bend toward the fox. He could drive it toward Ash.

His heart did a little flip in his chest. Foxes had fangs and claws, same as them.

But he’d do it.

“Okay.”

His paws carried him into the shadow of the limber trees, and as he moved he looked to his brother on occasion, waiting to see where he’d set himself.


Jul 12, 2018 05:01 PM — Post #5

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219298
Name Player
Ash Chris Staff
 

Ash didn’t need long-winded super-vocial agreements. Single word answers were just fine with him, he was king of those himself.

This was a test, Ash thought. If they caught this fox, they should call Saya over, and then go find Relic and ask about joining the pack properly. He thought both his siblings were happy here from what he’d seen, and that was why he’d come. Apart from Claes, this place was okay.

He worked towards the undergrowth carefully, paw by paw. He had a distinct feeling though the fox couldn’t see him as clearly, it still knew where he was - it kept casting glances his way, and some at Rowan as well. And it still didn’t look bothered at finding itself being hunted.


Jul 12, 2018 07:31 PM — Post #6

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219305
Name Player
Rowan Jill
 

Rowan’s ears turned delicately to the sound of Ash’s paws in the undergrowth, keeping tabs on his movements. He was reminded distinctly of the hunting lesson with Bucky. For as long ago as that had been, he recalled it well.

He would be the one to do the chasing, leading it toward his brother—whom he could trust to be prepared.

As he finished rounding the small copse of trees, Ro oriented himself to face the fox directly. On occasion, its amber eyes would find him. The creature was clearly undaunted. He swallowed around the tightness in his throat.

He was bigger. Stronger, too. They had to make this work.

He rushed the fox, ears tipping back as his tail flagged behind him. The fox dashed a short distance from the undergrowth where it fed on carrion. But that was all it did.

Rowan was uncomfortably aware of the intelligence behind its eyes. This was no rabbit like in the oaks with Bucky.

His paws continued to move, but they were slower now that the fox wasn’t running from him the way he willed it to, only sidestepping as if it knew the fangs behind his lips were ineffectual in Ro’s hesitance.

A feeble glance was tossed Ash’s way.

Would he take advantage of the distraction Ro was proving to be to the fox, or did he expect him to charge and growl and snap and send it closer? Their prey was clearly too confident.


Jul 12, 2018 07:58 PM — Post #7

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219330
Name Player
Ash Chris Staff
 

The fox didn’t run.

Ash had been banking on that. The cover he had chosen left him too far away to help immediately, though once he realized what was happening, saw Rowan faltering and saw the fox standing its ground then Rowan’s hopeful look for backup, Ash broke. He burst from the undergrowth and shot full-speed towards the dog fox.

Which had, clearly, been waiting for Ash, or so it seemed when he finally turned and ran, straight back from both boys. Instead of having a fox chased towards him, Ash was now having to chase the red-furred creature. And Ash was fast - but the fox had a good headstart. 

Shit!


Jul 12, 2018 09:45 PM — Post #8

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219338
Name Player
Rowan Jill
 

Ash raced toward the fox. The resulting hiss of the undergrowth at first startled Rowan, dissolving the focused stance he maintained up till that point. A quick moment was spent observing the chase that quite suddenly began—his brother trailing the fox.

A sad substitute for the pursuit which ideally would have taken place, had the fox not been so stubborn.

Still, Ro recognized a sort of guidance in Ash’s actions. He thrust himself into a sprint only a few breaths later, panting in subconscious preparation for the moment his heart would inevitably protest the upsurge in activity.

He trusted the grip of his claws upon the stony basin ground to carry him after brother and quarry alike, blue eyes watching the small creature for any hint of where it might twist and turn in its retreat. Maybe, if he could predict where it was going to run next….

He could break away and be the ambush Ash was meant to be at the start. His brother was certainly quick enough to drive the fox in whatever direction he wanted, now that it was on the run.

All of that would require getting it to sprint away from them for a short while longer, though….


Jul 12, 2018 10:25 PM — Post #9

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219340
Name Player
Ash Chris Staff
 

The fox picked a twisted, obviously practiced path through the trees. Ash did his best to keep up - but he hadn’t yet learned the home - field advantage the big, experienced dog fox had. He and his vixen had already raised several litters on the mountainside, and he was fleet and sure-pawed over the terrain here. Ash was certainly swift, but he wasn’t gaining on the fox. In fact, as the red creature darted around bushes and twisted around treetrunks, he seemed to be widening the gap between them.

Annoyed his plan hadn’t panned out - with the fox, not his brother - Ash finally grunted to Rowan and pulled up, letting the fox break from the trees and continue to dash merrily away over the rocky walls of the basin.

Panting, Ash shook his head in annoyance.


Jul 12, 2018 10:29 PM — Post #10

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219347
Name Player
Rowan Jill
 

To his chagrin, the fox’s actions were not easy to predict. Time and again, Ro assumed its movements only for them to differ from his expectations. The critter was clearly more at ease in the basin than even they, its predators, were.

It began to race up the inclined side of the territory. From a few paces ahead, Ro heard Ash’s grunt, saw his brother slow his steps and shake his head in frustration.

But Rowan kept running, and passed him.

The fox was already disappearing beyond the basin’s sloping walls. He knew it was stupid, to chase something that didn’t want to be caught.

But he felt like he needed to. Even for a few seconds more.


Jul 12, 2018 10:54 PM — Post #11

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219351
Name Player
Ash Chris Staff
 

Rowan went on ahead alone, but Ash could already see with his practiced eye - they’d lost it. The fox lived - for now. He regained his breath, trailing after his brother at a swift walk, not calling him back. He clearly needed the run. That was something Ash could very much understand.


Jul 12, 2018 11:03 PM — Post #12

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219353
Name Player
Rowan Jill
 

Rowan’s paws continued to pad against the frozen earth in quick rhythm. He knew he had maybe a few minutes more of metered breathing before his heart would begin to wiggle in his chest, like it always did. And if the way he had to arch his back to offset the slope of the walls was any indication, the trek to the borders of the basin would be more of a task than he ought to undertake now.

A few beats more were dedicated to the lost chase, before finally he relented and stopped.

Ash’s footfalls sounded at his back. Rowan turned to regard his brother over his shoulder, his tongue lolling from one side of his jaw. His ears turned back.

“Sorry.”

Not because they’d lost. Not because he thought he himself was to blame.

He just knew Ash was frustrated, and he didn’t like the thought of his brother feeling that way.


Jul 12, 2018 11:12 PM — Post #13

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219355
Name Player
Ash Chris Staff
 

Ash crossed the last of the distance between them, scowled faintly, and shrugged, glaring after the fox for a minute. He then averted his gaze.

“‘Salright.” He replied. Everybody missed hunts. You still learned stuff. “Get him next time.” He promised Rowan. It had been… kind of good, to do something physical with his brother. But the next big decision of their lives couldn’t be put off. Ash opened his mouth and caught a few falling snowflakes. He had to steel himself to actually do some talking.

He sat down just outside the treeline, they on one side and the rock walls of the opposite affording them some privacy. Ash flicked out his tail behind him, as close to a ‘feel free to join me’ gesture as Rowan was likely to get. 

“Like it here, Ro?”


Jul 12, 2018 11:21 PM — Post #14

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219357
Name Player
Rowan Jill
 

Get him next time. Rowan liked the sound of that. It was enough to direct his emotions toward the present than the stubborn, too-oft resurfacing past.

He dipped his head, offering a low but fervent, “Mhmm.” 

Very Ash-like, if he said so himself. The thought made him smile slightly.

Ash caught some snowflakes on his tongue, a light, lackadaisical thing for his brother to do. Ro’s tail swayed absentmindedly at his back. The thought of joining in surfaced in his mind, but he panted where he stood instead, smoothing the rhythm of his breaths a moment longer.

He saw the hidden invitation in his brother’s body language for what it was and stepped closer, sinking into a casual sit at his side. His eyes drifted up toward the clouds from where the snow fell to paint the basin in white, a pale promise of something different than anything they’d known before.

“Yeah.” His voice was distant but not without sincerity. “It’s nice here.”

The basin was not what he’d expected, but still, nice.

“You?”


Jul 12, 2018 11:32 PM — Post #15

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