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A Fork in the Road
Set after "Wheel in the Sky" | Where the creek splits in two directions

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Moira Dalais Courtney
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Or rather, the river. After a sharing a filling breakfast with Beauregard, Moira set off again across the expanse of desert, headed west for the valley. The morning had long since swelled into afternoon, and now the sun was gradually falling toward the same horizon in which she followed — a golden beacon that illuminated the distant green.

She was tired, but still very full. Her hasty meal had made her thirsty from the start, and by now she was positively parched. So when she spotted the tell-tale glint of water ahead of her, she bounded like an eager puppy across the small distance to reach it. The water was cold, but her paws went in without a squeak of alarm. She was up to her ankles in it. The stones which lined the creek bed were surprisingly smooth to the touch.

Moira sighed her pleasure, visibly deflating. It had been a long day. She could hardly contain herself as she squared her stance and bent to drink.


Jul 17, 2017 12:35 AM

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[ Edited: Jul 17, 2017 12:47 AM by Moira ]
135660
Name Player
Taho Kat
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The cold had finally settled in and Taho’s pelt had long since adjusted. The dense undercoat was now more than enough to protect him from winter’s icy caresses in more northern lands. It was almost stifling here in comparison.

He’d gone south seeking prey opportunity, reasoning that easier terrain meant more pickings for an afternoon meal. Truthfully, he was just tiring of snow burrowing rodents and the occasional rancid remains.

As he crossed thistle laden earth, amber eyes caught sight of the distant shape of another hunter. He paused, one paw lifted as he observed her approach the water’s edge, a thoughtful expression worn on his maw. Whether to turn back and find a less beaten path or to continue on was his conundrum now. These were after all, foreign lands to him and he was unsure of the demeanor carried by the denizens in these parts.

He tested the air with flaring nostrils, tail flicking casually behind him before fully extending his muzzle and letting out a low, short howl. It was not his intention to frighten or anger her by arriving unannounced, after all. He padded forward a few feet but still remained a good distance, visible, but far off, in order to await a sign that he might be welcomed here in peace.

He watched carefully, ears perked and posture kept neutral and nonthreatening.


Jul 17, 2017 08:44 PM — Post #1

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135670
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Moira Dalais Courtney
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Her ears twitched reflexively, tuning themselves to the howl before her head even rose from the river. She was unhurried; the vocals didn’t belong to someone she recognized, Moira having met only one other wolf native to the valley. And he had been left behind many hours ago.

After a moment, Moira had finished her drink. As she raised her head, a pink tongue scraped at the excess water dripping from her chin, teeth glinting as they caught light of the sun overhead. She turned a cheek to glance behind, gaze steely but curious, for she wondered who this lone visitor could be. Was he, like Beauregard, also a wolf of the valley? Or did he also venture across this desert for the first time?

He seemed friendly enough. Handsome, too.

There was soft splashing beneath her paws, for she turned fully now, her body angled sidelong at him. A polite smile spread across her lips,her tail began to flutter. In response to the howl, she gave a soft woof, ultimately beckoning him closer so that she could admire him in detail.


Jul 17, 2017 09:10 PM — Post #2

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135674
Name Player
Taho Kat
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His nerves were a bit rattled, heart fluttering at the thought of a strange encounter before he shoved his anxiety aside and maintained a confident exterior. At her beckoning, he dipped down on the slight incline, picking his pace up from a slow gait to a casual trot.

His gaze betrayed some apprehension, pausing as he came to an appropriate distance and glancing her over. Her blended umber coat and blue eyes would be committed to memory though he dare not gather the close scent of a stranger, let alone a strange female. Closing that much distance would allow her space to reach his vitals and while his intentions were not dark, he was not the careless sort.

“Good afternoon.” he said, voice amiable and gentle, cloaked in the deep, honeyed baritone he carried. “Apologies if I disturbed you, but I’m unfamiliar with the terrain here. Perhaps you would be so kind as to send me in the direction of less hostile lands?” He assumed her experience as the inexperienced often do.

He remained standing, glancing to the lands behind her before offering his attentions back.


Jul 17, 2017 09:22 PM — Post #3

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135689
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Moira Dalais Courtney
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She watched him come, and stayed put rather than stepping out to meet him. Closer up, she re-affirmed that the male was, indeed, quite good-looking, if a little on the thin side. But who wasn’t a little slight around the bones after spending a few days out here?

He greeted her.

Handsome and polite. Beauregard could learn a thing or two from this gentleman. Moira hummed to the image of the big goofy male that had popped up in her head, but brushed him aside when this real live face peered at her questioningly.

Moira made a small noise of apology, shrugging. “That makes two of us, I’m afraid. I’ve arrived in this desert but two days ago.” Had she been properly fed during that time, she most likely would have reached the valley by now. But hunger forced her to stray from her journey in search of food. It was all she could do to stay on her feet and ensure that she would arrive alive. Or at least in a good mood.

“You’ll want to continue west, though. There’s a valley, lush and green, just past this wasteland. An…acquaintance of mine told me about it.” She tilted her head amiably, blue eyes studying the male. “I’m headed there, myself.”


Jul 17, 2017 09:57 PM — Post #4

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[ Edited: Jul 17, 2017 10:01 PM by Moira ]
135695
Name Player
Taho Kat
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He frowned as she announced that she too was green to this land, though his ears perked as she offered information despite this. “More familiar than I, and obviously a bit more adaptable. Half a day here is enough for me.” he said, wrinkling his poor dry nose. His experience in more humid environments left him miserable in moisture deficient areas.

“West, than. I guess its more than I had to go on before.” He nodded to her with a grim smile. “I suppose the faster I move, the faster I leave this behind.” he gestured to the dirt and rock and sagebrush that dotted the landscape. “A quick break might do some good though.”

He padded past her and allowed his toes to grip the edges of cracked earth, lowering his head to partake of the water. His behavior here would display his current predicament as he drank not only to quench thirst, but to make the hunger in his gut more manageable. His long tongue disturbed the surface of the water as he dragged it into his mouth in large quantities.

Once sated enough, he glanced over his shoulder at her. “Would you prefer an escort to the west than, miss? As easy as this terrain appears to be, these are strange lands, and strange lands usually habor stranger folk.” he gave a wry smile.


Jul 17, 2017 10:19 PM — Post #5

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[ Edited: Jul 17, 2017 10:22 PM by Taho ]
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Moira Dalais Courtney
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Fifteen minutes would be enough, Moira silently agreed, the desert suddenly feeling extra hot now that she was thinking about it.

She said nothing, but carried herself out the way as the male moved past to drink. From there, she turned and stood farther up on the bank, watching him thoughtfully. Poor man. It was apparent he was very troubled with his thirst, for his belly worked fast and hard as if he couldn’t retain the water fast enough.

At last he was finished, and by then Moira had settled down on her haunches, and glanced off to the side at some distant focal point. Her attention returned quickly though, once the male began to speak, and her eyes found his when she saw he was looking past his shoulder.

An escort? So this gentleman sought to protect her, perhaps go into battle for her if necessary, against all the dangers of the valley? She did very much agree that there were some odd characters existing in the world. This valley and some of the wolves that lived there obviously wouldn’t be any different.  She found herself amused, though — both by the (very thoughtful) idea and the images of strange folk that her mind conjured up. A chuckle broke through closed her lips, eyes rolling skyward as Beauregard stood strong in her mind’s eye again.

“None so strange as to frighten me.” She lifted her chin defiantly, found herself staring down at him beneath those very feminine, dark-colored lashes.“I’ve ventured through many such lands in my travels. As you can see,” She gestured at herself with her muzzle,“I remain completely unscathed.”  Indeed, the woman was made of stronger stuff.

“If I were to consider accepting such a proposal, perhaps I’d be obligated to first learn the identity of my…future escort?” After all, wasn’t this male yet one of those strange folk of which he spoke of? Who was to say that he, himself, wouldn’t try something less than honorable once he had her close at hand? She returned the wry smile in spite of all this, blinking at him expectantly.


Jul 18, 2017 01:01 PM — Post #6

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[ Edited: Jul 18, 2017 01:05 PM by Moira ]
135895
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Taho Kat
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His smile warped into an amused expression, not in the way of belittlement, but delight. Self sufficiency was the stuff of dispersals. Male or female, a life alone either molded stronger individuals or dead ones. He turned his frame to face her own and settled his rump down. “No doubt you can. I offer, as we are going in the same direction, company and an extra set of watching eyes. Experience is important here, but luck is a fickle mistress. You never know when she just might run out on you. I’m called Taho, apologies for not offering that up sooner. It’s been some time since I’ve chewed the cud with a new face.”He explained, eyes respectfully trained on her facial features.

His toes extended out, claws testing the dirt they settled on as old memories assaulted him and a shadow crossed his features. He could almost picture the face of the last female he had talked to and then felt a stab of shame for the ravages of time. The face of his lost loved one was no longer clear in his mind. He perked instantly after, focusing his thoughts on the journey for a new home.


Jul 18, 2017 01:33 PM — Post #7

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135909
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Moira Dalais Courtney
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Triumph. The she-wolf smiled brilliantly, slightly smug in that sort of lady-like way. She liked the way this male spoke — so charming and and proper and experienced. Something told her that he was very capable of caring for not only himself, but any others who aligned themselves with him. He possessed leadership material, and that was a quality to be respected and admired.

So when at last he gave his name, she automatically chose to accept both his apology and subsequent reason behind his lapse in proper etiquette. “Well, then you cannot be entirely to blame, can you? I believe I can look past this slight of courtesy — just this once.” A wink.

The woman delved into a quiet moment of consideration, the afternoon breeze ruffling the soft layers of her fur as she looked unseeingly at the greenery beyond. Finally, she said: “You may call me Moira. I am inclined to accept your offer, Taho. So long as you understand that once we arrive in the valley, my business shall be my own and we will likely be required to part.” Unless, of course, she became too fond of him during their brief time together. But she wouldn’t plant that particular seed…yet.


Jul 18, 2017 02:37 PM — Post #8

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[ Edited: Jul 18, 2017 02:45 PM by Moira ]
135930
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Taho Kat
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He offered a nod. “No worries there, Moira.” He said, testing the name on his tongue before moving on. “I can assure you my intention isn’t to straddle some poor young filly with my baggage.”He spoke with a hint of jest, but there was truth to it.

It wasn’t that she wasn’t a looker. Years ago he might have been at her mercy. Once upon a time he’d been a young inexperienced buck without a lick of sense when it came to the fairer sex, but these days the thought of settling into a new family and starting anew seemed to be the last thing on his mind.

He gave a genuine smile and then a hefty sigh. “Well than, Miss Moira. Should we be on our way? Or do you have the inclination to rest weary bones? Either way, I won’t be burdened.” He promised, eying her with expectation, ocher ears turned forward.


Jul 18, 2017 04:26 PM — Post #9

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Moira Dalais Courtney
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“I am no filly, Sir.” She said, not unfriendly, but her steely eyes cut across him in a warning flash of blue. Mind your choice of words, Taho.

In the end she was given an option. It wasn’t a hard decision. “I intend to put this desert behind me as soon as possible. You might agree that rest, when it should come, will be all the more sweeter when there is grass beneath your paws.” It was clear, Moira didn’t want to linger. She was up on her four before she was even done speaking, stepping up and over the side of the creek and into its shallow waters. From there, she paused, a forepaw held aloft in anticipation to walk. She stared down the length of the creek where it had branched off from the main flow and cut to the west. The easiest path would be to follow it. Soon enough, they would reach the valley.

“Come. We’ll follow the creek.” A backward glance, and then she was moving in earnest, gracefully cutting a trail down the heart of the flowing current as her paws splashed thorough the water.

— EXIT MOIRA —


Jul 18, 2017 05:07 PM — Post #10

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[ Edited: Jul 18, 2017 05:10 PM by Moira ]
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Taho Kat
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His eyes widened for a moment, contemplating whether or not to apologize for his choice of words. A life in more remote nature had not refined his knowledge and he certainly had not meant to offend. She seemed to get over it quickly anyhow and Taho simply filed the information away. “Hell, I’d even settle for snow.” He quipped, lifting to all fours and shaking his thick coat.

He stepped in after her without a flinch at her beckons. The icy water bit at tender toes and while moisture had been sought after, he doubted he’d feel much respite from the dry air with number paws.

He followed a short distance before speeding up in stride to travel at her flank, eyes on the landscape.

~Exit Taho~


Jul 18, 2017 07:42 PM — Post #11

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