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Finding the Wolves (Outside of Cairhein - Attn Tay or Winterwinds)


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As Jace entered the woods he began to slow down.  He had been running since he left the tavern in Cairhein and it was nightfall as he entered the woods.  Running might get him to the wolves faster, but thought it would be better if he went to them in a calm manner.


I must be going insane. I'm actively seeking wolves. Jace thought.


Regardless of his thoughts, Jace was still convinced that the answers that he was seeking would be found with the wolves.  He heard a wolf howl to the moon coming from the south and continued to move in that direction.  His enhanced senses helped him see in the dark and he was able to make it though the woods without tripping over roots.  He could hear small night animals scurrying throughout the woods.


After traveling for about an hour, a smell wafted into Jace's nostrils.  Someone was coming and whoever it was, they were close and coming from behind.  Jace fingered his hunting knife and turned to face whoever it was.

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((I figure I may as well just post :3 Seeing as there is no reason to make you wait.))


The woods outside Cairhein were not the safest place in the world for a Wolfkin to travel. Being so close to the capital of one of the largest nations on the continent patrols were not uncommon, and it was quite hard to explain sometimes that you were not a bandit, let alone why your eyes were a strange color. Of course, this was usually only a problem if you were inexperienced  and Winifred was anything but inexperienced  she was Head Tracker after all.


And even if she was, which she wasn't, she had Midnight to look after her. The large wolf always looked after her, or perhaps she looked after him, it really depended on which of the two you asked. That was, however, for the moment quite irrelevant as Midnight was trailing their intended target from the shadows cast by the large trees, slipping in and out of hollow logs and bushes to keep hidden until the right time. They both had no idea how this Wanderer would react to them. Heck, the wolves who had been helping them track him had spoken of him hiding almost constantly around small towns, farms, and now even a big city. Places they could not go, places where they would not have known he was there if not for the fact that they could sense his presence. 


When they had arrived at a point near Cairhien, Winifred had been looking forward to perhaps going into one of the inns and getting a good rest while she searched the city, but no, their quarry had all but walked out the gate as she was going in. Midnight had been the one who had alerted her to the fact and out she went again into the elements.


Not like she needed a warm bowl of stew.


The sudden shift in the wind's direction caused a low curse to come forth from the Head Tracker's lips. He would doubtless smell her coming now, so any surprise or ability to plan just went out the window. With a sigh she sent a message to Midnight. The Wanderer has caught my scent now. Go and greet him so that I can catch up.


I shall do as you ask Sister, get here soon. The pup seems troubled already. The sending was, as always, matter of fact.


Sighing again she picked up her pace from a slow, careful walk, to a brisker pace that covered the ground quickly. Before too long she found herself in visual range of the Wanderer with Midnight sitting a respectful distance away.


"Greetings, I hope my brother here has not scared you too badly?" She paused for his response before continuing, "Do you know who I am or why I am here?"


She left it at that for a moment and simply waited for him to answer or ask lots of questions. Hopefully he would not try to attack though. That would be tiresome and foolish in the extreme.

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Jace turned around, pulling his hunting knife out as he did so.  He knew that bandits might be out and wasn't about to get waylaid.  He was surprised to see a wolf standing in front of him and shortly thereafter, a woman appeared and called out to him.


"Greetings, I hope my brother here has not scared you too badly.  So, do you know who I am, or why I am here?"


Jace looked at the wolf...and then at the woman.  The first thing he noticed about her was her eyes.  They glowed with a golden hue - just like his own.  Taking a deep breath, Jace calmed down and put his knife back into its sheath.


Adjusting the bow on his back, more out of nervousness than for reasons of comfort, Jace answered her. "I have no idea who you are, but as to why you are here, I can guess.  You are here to find me, and strangely enough, I think I was looking for you."


Jace's mouth moved more as he tried to think of the many questions he wanted to ask, but all that came out was, "Do you know what's happening to me?"

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The appearance of a hunting knife put Midnight slightly on edge, but the wolf was too well seasoned in tracking and helping Wanderers to let it show to anyone except Winifred, and even she only noticed because of how long they had been working together. Of course, Fred had reacted slightly to the knife too, a subtle non-threatening movement of hand to sword hilt, but otherwise she gave no outward sign of her feelings.


The Wanderer seemed to look between them, Winifred and Midnight, as if confused or perhaps in slight wonder at having been tracked or found. It didnt matter though. What mattered was that he then put his blade away and spoke.


"I have no idea who you are, but as to why you are here, I can guess." His voice was plain and nervous. He smelled of nerves too, a fact backed up by him adjusting his bow in an entirely unnecessary gesture. "You are here to find me, and strangely enough, I think I was looking for you."


Winifred chuckled a little, "Well, we've been looking for you for a long time. At least as long as you've been on the road, perhaps a little less time than that." Midnight snorted softly. Their search had been mostly asking wolves if he had left the farm he was staying at yet. A long, boring search full of nights spent in hay bales or in the woods. Midnight was, as he put it, getting too long in the tooth to do pups' work.


Winifred knew he didn't actually mean it, he just complained like that sometimes.


Meanwhile, the Wanderer's mouth had been working silently as if to find a voice for a question, which at last burst forth.


"Do you know what's happening to me?"


Winifred nodded, "I do. I remember it happening to me quite clearly in fact." She rubbed the back of her head and frowned a little. She didn't like the memories of where she was when it had started, nor of the person she had called father. "Suffice to say, you have a special gift, one that the world does not take kindly to. I, and Midnight here," she gestured to the wolf who snorted once more, or perhaps sneezed, it was cold out here after all, "are here to help you and bring you somewhere safe where others of our kind live. Others who can teach you more about it than this Tracker ever could." She looked around, tugging on one of the straps on her pack and, looking over to the Wanderer, continued, "Anyway, unless you are dead set on going back into town, I think I am going to make camp here. You are welcome to stick around and think up more questions I may or may not be able to answer." She shrugged, "Then again, perhaps Midnight can answer them, he always was the wiser of the two of us."


Midnight, true to his nature, only rolled his eyes. She could never tell if he was being sarcastic, or simply shrugging the praise off.

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Jace, having significantly calmed down, stated that he would stay out here with them.  Being polite, he introduced himself to the pair, and learned the woman's name as well - Winifred.  Jace wasn't sure what to make of everything right now, so after the introductions, he went to work setting up camp.  Work always helped him think about things, he just hoped his new companions wouldn't think him rude for not talking much, but they seemed to understand that he needed to think.  It seemed as if the woman could communicate with the wolf somehow, he wasn't quite sure how it was done, but he now knew that he could do it as well.  He continued to work and after the camp was completed, he removed his bow, removed the bow string and sat down to talk.


"I apologize for my silence," Jace started off. "I did not intend to be rude, but I had a lot to think about and work is a good time for me to do that."


Jace then told them his story - how he had left the farm and his family because of his gambling addiction.  He felt that they would do better without him there.  He told of his journey to Cairhein, meeting farmer's along the way and working for food, money, or a bed to sleep in.  His story ended with the brawl in the tavern that led to his understanding of the wolf-like qualities that were beginning to show.


"It was strange.  A man hit me and I fell, landing in a crouch.  A remembrance of the dreams I've been having came to me.  One of wolves hunting.  It was if I began to feel their ferocity.  It was then that I realized that I was becoming like a wolf.  My enhanced senses...my eyes.  I concluded that the wolves could help me.  That is when I left town.  I left to find wolves who could help me understand who I am."


Jace stopped for a moment and exhaled audibly.  It was not often that he spoke this much, but it definitely felt good to let it all out.


"I've been trying to think of what I should ask you, but there are so many things.  I'm sure some will come as I continue to travel with you." Jace continued. "So I'm only going to ask the things that are foremost in my mind right now.  The dreams - I don't understand them.  Is there a significance to them? They always seem to be hunting and they always seem...so real...as if I am there.  Also, it appears that you can talk with Midnight here, I believe you are trying to tell me that I can do this too, but have to say I've never spoken with a wolf before.  How does it work? You two also seem to share some sort of bond.  Will I find a wolf companion eventually?  I'm sorry that I'm talking alot.  I feel quite like a child seeing the world with brand new eyes right now."

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  • 2 weeks later...

An amused smile curved across Winifred’s mouth, quickly hidden behind a hand as she pretended to clear her throat. She didn’t want to put the lad’s back up by appearing to laugh at him. In truth, her amusement was partially relief. His reaction was typical of most Wanderers, whether immediate or after they’d got past their initial panic, and she was reassured that this one would make it through his Howling now. This was her reason for being, the reason the Trackers did the work they did and did it as well as humanly possible. Left to their own devices, few Wanderers survived long. If they did not fall prey to a bandit’s club or a cut throat’s knife, they lost themselves in their own minds beyond the redemption of even the best of the Wolfkin’s Sages.

Jace’s story, had he but known it, was a mirror image of the stories told by dozens of Wanderers. Oh, the details changed. The places, the people involved. But the basics were always the same. Sudden physical changes, strange dreams, reactions fuelled by ignorance and a leaving behind of all that was normal for an unknown future. Winifred had heard every possible variation on the theme over the years. Somehow though, she was not jaded by the knowledge but rather pushed on to do whatever it took to bring each one safely to the Stedding and into the welcoming arms of their somewhat unusual Pack.

“Your dreams are very significant, Jace. We call it the Wolf Dream. It is every bit as real as you and I sitting here,” the woman tilted her head, eyeing him speculatively, considering how much detail should be shared at so early a stage. He seemed balanced for a Wanderer. “Some, those with lengthy training, can enter the Wolf Dream fully. Be there with their entire physical body. Most Wolfkin...,” she paused and added a brief explanation, “... that is what we name ourselves. Kin to the wolves.” The boy nodded his understanding and Winifred continued, “Most Wolfkin do not learn the Wolf Dream to that level, but all of our kind are trained to use it safely. More importantly, to do so with control. Your own forays there have been involuntary thus far and that must stop. It can be extremely dangerous for one untutored in its ways. The Dreams you are experiencing of hunting will be because you have passed through several Pack territories. All Packs hunt regularly of course, so it is not surprising that it should be the most common thing they share with you.”

As she talked, she knew Midnight was was watching Jace carefully and was glad of it. Her own perusal had to be surreptitious as her main goal was to simply make him feel at ease. She had no wish to indulge in a chase right now over unknown territory. She could, however, sense the emotions pouring from him. Wanderers never had any control over such things. Curiousity, some fear still, caution, sadness.... the entire gamut of feelings tumbled over each other but in a muted fashion that spoke of growing acceptance and calm. Yes, this one would be just fine if she handled the meeting well.

“As to talking with the wolves, we do after a fashion. It is not talking in the way we are now but more a succession of images and sensory perceptions. Wolves are very.... lyrical...creatures. Quite poetic really,” Winifred tipped a mischievous glance in Midnight’s direction. “Many Wolfkin have wolf companions and so may you but not all do. The wolves choose us, not the other way round. You will soon know if one of them wishes to build such a relationship with you. For some it is many years before this happens, others arrive at the Stedding with a companion already at their side. In either case, holding any kind of coherent conversation with them takes as much patience and practise as learning to walk the Wolf Dream and is no less complex.”

The water Winifred had set to boil on the small camp fire was bubbling merrily, the noise intruding finally on their conversation and she busied herself with making tea as she let Jace digest her words. In her experience, any explanation was inevitably followed by yet more questions, not fewer. A drink would probably be very necessary.

Midnight’s tongue lolled from the side of his jaw, a clear sign of laughter if wolves could laugh. The sending which followed approximated to his lack of conviction that Winifred was much past being a curious cub who talked too much herself. She swallowed the temptation to stick her own tongue out at the wolf, instead settling back to enjoy her tea and await Jace’s reaction to all he had learned.

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Jace sat in quiet contemplation trying to digest what he had just heard. He then realized that his hat had been pulled down low over his eyes and he removed it.


Theres no use being ashamed of who I am now. I'm among friends. he thought. At least he was beginning to think of them that way.


"I have just a few more questions if I may." Jace said. "Wolves communicate with me through images. Do I do the same or can Midnight understand what I am saying right now? Also...what's next and where will we be going? I'm hoping you will take me with you. I think I'm ready to become who I'm meant to be."


(Out of character, there is something I want to do on our way to the stedding...after that we can fast forward there unless other things need to happen first)

Edited by WolfbrotherKronos
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Winifred smiled reassuringly. "Midnight can follow our conversation in general terms. You won't be conscious of it but as you speak, your mind generates and projects images of whatever you're thinking about. The real difference is that we've developed a need to vocalise our thoughts with a precision that is unnecessary to our lupine friends. The basic process remains the same."


She leaned forward, stirring the small fire with a stick to generate more warmth while she considered the journey home. "We'll set off at first light since you have made your decision to come with me. I'll be taking you to our home in the Mountains of Mist. Not a short journey. With some luck, the weather will be kind to us." Winifred scanned the night sky visible through the branches with a look that said clearly she had little faith in such a hope. "We'll head west from here, across the Caralain Grass then south west in order to bypass Baerlon. That's as direct a route as we can take and still avoid settled areas."


You better explain that, came a sharp sending from Midnight. Pups can be troublesome.


Winifred fought to keep from laughing aloud. The wolf's dry comment displayed such a lack of confidence in human ability despite much evidence to the contrary over the years. There had been very few Wanderers who had caused real difficulty with their behaviour. She ignored the bait however, keeping her focus on Jace.


"We live in an abandoned Ogier Stedding in the Mountains. It's not easily reached and it's well defended. It's always a priority with any who leave the Stedding for a time, not to bring unwanted company back with them." She flicked a finger in the direction of her eyes and then his. "I'm sure you will appreciate the reasons for that caution. The Stedding has been a safe haven for many, many years now."



(OOC: RP your response, if any and have us bed down for a few hours till dawn. You can get us started on our journey and cover the first few days and introduce your wolfie connection before I move us along.)

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  • 1 month later...

Jace nodded at her answers, coming to an understanding. He knew he had a lot to learn, but for the first time since leaving the farm, Jace felt like he was finding a home.


"I think my questions are answered for now. I'll be sure to ask more if they come up," Jace told Winifred. "I think, I will head to bed for now. I want to thank you for finding me and helping. Sleep well"


The next morning Jace woke up feeling very refreshed. He had woken up earlier than the Tracker, so he got the fire going and set some water to boil for some morning tea. He took the time to break down what he could of the camp to get ready and waited. Winifred and Jace had some light conversation to pass the time over their tea and then they set out for the Stedding, heading west.


A few days passed without much incident and Jace got into a routine. Tear down camp, leave, stop at dusk, and set up camp. They made good progress. On the third day of their journey, something broke into Jace's thoughts.


They left their camp on a sunny morning. A few minutes out of the camp, an image popped into Jace's mind - a sun rising. Jace's walke slowed for a moment as confusion entered Jace's mind. It didn't seem like a passing fancy, and Jace remembered that Winifred had told him. Wolves communicated this way. Confusion was replaced with understanding and Jace thought about what it meant...a rising sun greeting the new day.


its a greeting Jace thought. the wolf is saying good morning


Jace opened his mind and tried to see if he could tell where the wolf was. He felt something, almost a prick, from the north and he sent an image focusing on that direction of a rising sun.


hello Jace thought.


Mor images followed. One came after another. His farm, Cairhein, Winifred and Midnight, and last nights camp.


You've been following me a long time. I'm sorry that it has taking me long to find out about this


He didn't sense any frustration, but he wasn't really sure he felt anything. He looked at Winifred and it didn't seem like she noticed the conversation that was happening. He wondered if the wolf was choosing to just talk to him.


The images began to change to words in his mind Im interested in the two-legs the wolf sent to him.


He had never heard himself being referred to as two legs, but it made sense to him.


I don't understand. Do you want to know about...me?


I come the wolf responded.


A female wolf appeared as the group entered a clearing, entering from the woods to the north. Jace stopped walking. Winifred and Midnight stopped noticing the wolf.


Are you wanting to come with me Jace sent.


I come the wolf responded to him.


I understand Jace responded. I'm Jace, what should I call you.


Brother, my name is River


Jace turned to Winifred and Midnight, "Winifred, Midnight, this is River and she will be joining us. River, this is Winifred and Midnight"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Winifred tilted her face slightly upwards, catching the last of the fading sun's rays and a final hint of warmth across her skin. The Stedding was not far now. All being well there would be sufficient daylight left to reach home. An all too familiar feeling of anticipation made the woman glance sidelong at Jace as she wondered how this Wanderer would react to the imminent experience. It was the best part of the Trackers' job in her opinion and she savoured it every time.


The journey had been uneventful for the most part; long and tiring but pleasant enough thanks to some weak sunshine despite the bitter cold. Conversation had been sporadic. Winifred was not the most talkative person by nature and Jace was, naturally, wholly taken up in getting to know his new companion. River had come as a surprise, appearing to join the small party early on the third day out from where Winifred had first encountered Jace. Midnight had warned her of the impending company but had been no more sure of the wolf's intent than Winifred until Jace performed introductions somewhat self consciously. She was glad for the young man. He was reticent and self possessed but one never knew how well a Wanderer was truly coping. Having a wolf companion so soon on his voyage of discovery would aid him in ways that he couldn't even understand yet.


Winifred's gaze turned to follow Midnight's progress, a fond smile lighting her eyes. She would have been lost more times than once over the years without him. "The way will become slightly steeper here," she commented for Jace's benefit. "We have only a few hours of travel left and when we arrive, I shall take you to see Aislyn, one of our Sages. She'll check you over to ensure you're well." The startled look on Jace's face made her grin. "Nothing to concern yourself with. Some Wanderers come to us in poor health due to the stress they are under or the rigours of their journey. Mostly, a little food and rest works wonders."


She waited for Jace's nod of understanding and silence fell once more, her concentration all bent on leading Jace along increasingly familiar trails and tracks, heading ever upwards into the Mountains. The peace remained unbroken till a slight shiver over her skin accompanied by a deep sense of well being told Winifred they were home and she stopped, turning to watch Jace as he approached that same invisible line that marked the Stedding's boundary.



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Jace kept quiet most of the trip. He spent most the time getting to know his new friend, River. Jace was awakened from his thoughts as Winifred informed him that they were nearing their journey's end. Jace perked up a bit and he could sense that River was feeling excited as well. It seemed like they had gotten to know each other really well in a short amount of time.


so this is it. We are coming to our new home. Jace sent to River.


The wolf remained silent, but Jace could sense the wolf's excitement. They had both traveled a long journey. Jace rubbed his shoulder to ease the tension that he felt from spending so much time on the road. bith the wolf and the wolfkin were excited to get some real rest.


Fatigue was showing in Jace's posture. His shoulders were slumped over and his steps were heavy. Jace wiped some sweat from his brow as Winifred turned around to face him. As he neared the tracker, he felt the sense of weariness leave him. He stood up straighter and the tension in his muscles began to ease. Jace stopped next to Winifred as River sat down next to him. He looked around, his golden eyes gleaming with excitement. Jace took a deep breath and looked at Winifred.


"So, this is it huh? This is home" Jace said to Winifred with a smile.


Winifred nodded and smiled back. For the first time Jace really felt like he was home. He sighed and continued to follow Winifred farther into the stedding. His steps were lighter as he picked up the pace a little. He kept his eyes moving back and forth taking in everything. He saw every tree and animal. It was as if he could feel the presence of the stedding around him. It seemed so alive. He felt that life flowing inside of him and he wanted to run. He hasn't felt this way since he was a child with no cares in the world. He tried to hold it back though. He thought he should remained composed.


Jace caught River running ahead of him. Run with me! the wolf sent to him.


Jace couldn't hold back the urge anymore. A smile came into his face and Jace joined the wolf in a run. He didnt care what the tracker and the older wolf felt. He needed to feel alive.


Yes, Jace thought. I am home - finally

Edited by WolfbrotherKronos
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