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  1. Rhya halted abruptly at the edge of the village, bending to remove boots and socks with uncharacteristic impatience. The previous day seemed to have left her with a bone deep feeling of constraint. She wasn't quite sure how to get rid of it...how to regain the freedom of spirit normally provided by the Stedding. She wiggled her toes on the soft carpet of the forest, breathing deeply of the scent of pine needles and stretched her arms high, elongating her spine in a satisfying stretch before padding off in the direction of the tree house with a sigh of relief. The trip back to the Stedding from the cave that morning had been a trial despite being all downhill. The atmosphere had been more than a little tense. What sleep she'd been able to get overnight proved insufficient as a restorative, leaving her with a lack of energy, a brain that wouldn't function and a very much lowered mood. Conversation had been somewhat desultory as a result and they were no sooner home than Rhya went straight to bed. When she eventually woke some hours later, considerably more herself, she didn't know for sure where Owen had gone but his office seemed most likely. No doubt to deal with some of the usual mountains of paperwork that awaited him there. Rhya had taken herself off to visit Aislyn, always her port in a storm. The older woman had become something of a cross between older sister and favourite aunt; a vessel for Rhya to pour all her troubles in and, in return, gain much needed insight, wisdom, and practical advice. Today had been no different and the Sage had lavished comfort and food on her, then forced Rhya to look at her recent reactions and assumptions carefully, and to consider whether there could be another interpretation. If there was, Rhya couldn't see it; she was nothing if not stubborn when she got the bit between her teeth, but Aislyn had at least planted doubt. Enough doubt that Rhya was still thinking everything over through the afternoon as she worked on her herb garden, becoming more unsettled with each passing hour. Unable to concentrate on her work, she headed indoors to prepare their evening meal instead. Whatever the truth, all she wanted was to talk to Owen, to get rid of the wrongness that was suffocating her. As if thinking of him had the power to summon him, she heard his voice drift up from ground level as he conversed with another and stiffened slightly, uncertain for once as to what Owen was thinking or feeling and of how she should proceed. For all her internal debate, she hadn't truly considered just how to broach the subject or how to explain herself.
  2. (OOC Note to self - Takes place a week prior to the "Butterfly on a Wheel" RP) It didn't look intimidating from a distance. It looked beautiful. Shrouded in low lying mist, a stillness hung over the ancient oak tree, it's gnarled limbs lost somewhere far above the curling, silver tendrils that circled its trunk like a lover's last embrace. A hush mantled the forest in general; a thick, heavy cloak of silence. No sounds of birds disturbed the dawn air and no scurrying woodland inhabitants rustled the undergrowth. This was the beginning. The solitary figure began walking again, moving up the track with a kind of grim determination until she was standing at the base of the great tree. She stretched slowly and with some care. Her muscles ached. Muscles she didn't even know she had. They were signalling defeat and begging for mercy. But mercy wasn't a commodity to be found in situations such as the Rangers were trained to deal with. That concept had been drummed into her head over the course of months. Not just by Owen but by every full ranked Ranger she'd met. At the last ditch, at the final throw of the dice, the Rangers would be the shield standing between the Wolfkin and annihilation. In that extreme, they could not fail. Rhya sighed, aware that the knowledge was a heavy weight on Owen's shoulders. She could see the responsibility he carried every day...and the toll it took on him. Each decision, each road taken; they were his choices and if they went wrong, they were his faults too. She didn't see it like that. The rest of the 'kin didn't see it like that. But he did. And that was enough. Enough for her to make choices of her own. Duty to the 'kin would always play a part in training to become a Ranger but it was far from her only reason. Far from being the most important reason, Rhya could admit that in the secure confines of her own mind. There had been such a need to feel useful, to have a purpose that would, in some measure, repay the acceptance and friendship she'd been shown since her arrival. But she could just as easily have elected the journey to becoming a Sage, a different but no less worthwhile way to protect her adopted home. Except. There was Owen. The heart of a rebel confined in the body of a leader. A lone wolf who couldn't leave his pack. Unapologetic, honest, flawed, tormented ...real. The kind of man people believe in, have faith in. The kind of man people go to war beside. Not against. She had no doubts...none...that war was where they were all heading. Soon. All of the reports coming in pointed that way. Where Owen led, the Council, the 'kin and the wolves alike would follow. And so. There was only one plan. Autumn Mist was going to make sure White Fang survived. To do that, she needed to be a Ranger. And to do that... she first had to survive this ordeal.
  3. The summer sun is fading as the year grows old And darker days are drawing near Rhya had pulled back the curtains with a distinct lack of hope that morning. Outside, the sky had been greeting the start of a new day with an impressive array of grey shades, along with a sort of smug heaviness that promised rain would be an all too likely outcome. Ten days ago, with torrential rain halting all but the most essential outdoor activities, she'd made the mistake of voicing boredom to Owen. She really should have known better. Spending the week in the salting rooms with the Sages had not been on her list of preferred things to do, but Owen had volunteered her services to Aislyn within the hour. Rhya hadn't had the heart to wriggle out of it after being faced with her friend's gratitude. She was cognisant of how vital such work would be in the coming months. Autumn was upon them already and without meat laid by, winter would be extremely hard in the mountains. She'd set to with the best will she could muster as all of the Sages took delighted turns at reminding her that many hands make light work. They'd finally finished the rather dull, repetitive chore the previous evening, so facing another waterlogged day had not filled her with enthusiasm. Thankfully, by mid morning the cloud cover had miraculously broken, allowing blue skies and a warm sun to break through. Much more the thing in Rhya's opinion and the main reason she was now striding towards the stables with a purposeful air and her gear slung over her shoulder. She wasn't about to hang around waiting to be handed any more random jobs. The large double doors to the stable block stood open, allowing fresh air to circulate, and several younger 'kin were busy mucking out or dealing with other odd jobs delayed by the weather. Exchanging brief nods and smiles with each of them, Rhya paused briefly at the entrance grimacing against the smell of manure which hadn't yet cleared. Even so the skin around her eyes relaxed in tandem with the tension flowing out of her shoulders. She loved the light and warmth in this building, with its lofty rafters, dust motes floating in the air, and the soft whickering of the horses accompanied by their occasional hoof stamps. With a sigh of pleasure and anticipation, Rhya abandoned her momentary reverie and was about to go find her own mount when a strong hand landed on her shoulder and she whirled around, startled. "Blood and bloody ashes, Lorelai! I thought it was Owen, come to drag me back to that confounded salting shed," she took a long calming breath, scowling slightly at her fellow Ranger's obvious amusement.
  4. I am a man-wolf, I am a wolf man I have half a canine mind I have half the mind of a man I am neither of one kind Maybe it was only an hallucination I made a thorough investigation The image had a power that clings To my jaded imagination My brain has found the bells it rings Sunlight after a long dark night, the sounds of birds singing, a refreshing rain shower after a long dry period, all these things would bring a smile to most peoples faces, but for Owen all of this faded into insignificance at the sight before him. Four small furry bundles nestled close to their mother, sucking on her teats with gusto. Their mother, Owen’s long-time wolf companion, lay on her side and watched her cubs as they fed. Her contentment and satisfaction did not need the enhanced senses of the Wolfkin to detect, it was plain for all to see. However there was also an under lining of apprehension that only Owen could detect and he knew well the source of this apprehension. The outside world had moved on, the wheel had turned and in doing so become a darker place. A place where those who could not defend themselves were prey for the stronger, a land where evil walked in the shadows. In the Stedding the Wolfkin were sheltered from the worst of the ravages and their alliance with the Band of the Red Hand provided outside support. It was a mutually beneficial alliance, the Wolfkin had talents that the Band lacked and vice versa. It was an alliance that had stood for several years and proved the doubters in both camps were wrong. Rising from his chair Owen went out to the balcony and surveyed the forest around his home. Owen had always lived apart from the rest of the Wolfkin and valued the privacy his home offered. It was a home he now shared with Rhya and he had come to love her with a passion he thought he would never again know. Considering his past, the relationship with Rhya was even more remarkable and seemed to grow by the day. His inner musings ended abruptly as he sensed Rhya’s presence as she emerged from their room. He resisted the temptation to go to her as she was as grumpy as could be first thing in the morning and needed her morning mug of tea before she felt able to face the day. Eventually she joined Owen on the balcony sliding her arms around his waist. “Why is it that you always want to have our training either first thing in the morning or last thing at night Owen”? Turning to face her, Owen kissed the tip of her cute up turned nose and smiled down at her. “If we only trained when it was easy where is the challenge in that”? Rhya had no response to this knowing the way Owen’s mind worked she knew he always took the harder path, the more difficult decisions and walked the paths others feared to tread. Leaving her to finish her drink on the balcony and returned to their house to prepare breakfast. He was just putting the food on the table when Rhya entered the room and without ceremony sat down and started to eat the food in front of her. “Today we need to move on with your training Rhya, you are ready for the final test before you move from a Guardian to a Ranger. I know I have been tougher on you than on the other Guardians, but I cannot be seen to be showing favour to the one I love.” Those words came easy to him now whereas a few months earlier he could not even bring himself to think that way never mind voice them. “When you have finished your breakfast meet me at the Rangers quarters and we will begin. Make sure to bring all your weapons and be prepared to stay away from the Stedding for several days, but do not bring any food or water. We will live off what we can trap and forage and drink only from streams and rivers. This will be no picnic for you, but I have great faith in your abilities and believe you will cope admirably.” With that Owen left Rhya to finish her breakfast, collecting his weapons and other essential items he kissed her on her brow and then made his way out of his treehouse. Once on the ground he jogged his way to the Rangers training field, spending his time practicing his archery. White Fang Ranger Leader
  5. Rahien sighed, stretching his aching muscles and putting down his pick. He rested it on the wall of earth in front of him and knuckled his back. He bent down and hefted another of the rough oak planks, putting it in place. Digging into the hard earth of the hillside was slow going at times, but Rhya and he had been at it for a number of days now. They only were able to work on it here and there between classes and such after all. To be fair, he and Rhya were not alone in their efforts. Others had brought supplies, some had helped dig, while yet others had simply brought nice hot meals just when they were needed. Seeing as the spot he had picked for himself was tucked back away from the most populated areas of the Stedding, having others show up meant people had caught wind and rallied together. Rahien paused to reflect on this last bit. He was thankful for the help without question, but he was not yet comfortable with all the people coming and going. Snow was truly the only one he felt comfortable with, and a part of him mistrusted the others. It was no fault of theirs, anymore than it was the fault of the sun for rising. It was just how it was. He emerged from the hillside, brushing dirt from his hair and reaching out his senses to find Snow. He was greeted with a flood of fond images. She had been off playing with Shadow again, but was on her way back. He made his way back over to the fire and squatted down, warming his hands and tossing a grin at Rhya. “Your turn I guess. I have most of the living area taken care of…” He tapped a spot on the nearby plans. “That fireplace is going to be a pain though. I wish I would have thought through this a bit better.” He shrugged a bit sheepishly. “Then again, building a home in the side of a hill isn’t the easiest thing a person could do…” he let the words hang in the air, their meaning unspoken. Rhya had been a great help to him. She had never once laughed at him, or told him they should give up. She had not abandoned him, even when on the second day he insisted on working through the rain and cold mud after his pick axe broke.
  6. Burrich maneuvered his way around buildings and people as he ran through the Stedding from the Ranger training grounds to the inn. As a Guardian he'd been invited to move into the Ranger barracks, but he had an Ogier-size bed at the inn so he'd decided to stay there until he could find or build a place of his own. As he ran people and wolves alike dodged out of his way, looks of worry and curiosity creasing their faces as they wondered what could send the gentle giant running with such concern on his face. Many called out to him, but in his haste he didn't even hear them until he was well past. He didn't slow down until he had barrelled through the door to the Hole in the Wall and saw Storm Hunter and Snowpaws look up in alarm from their place in the corner by one of the fireplaces. The beautiful black she-wolf with the white paws lay surrounded by two-day old pups hapily suckling away, while the giant gray male sat a silent guard over his family. Storm jumped to his feet when he saw Burrich, concern flooding the array of images he sent the man's way. 'Are we attacked Little Brother?' Burrich rushed to assure his brother, 'No, no, I'm sorry I upset you so. You can relax, your mate and her pups are safe, Brother. We are not under attack.' Buurich's words though did nothing to soothe his friend. 'Then tell me what has awakened your anger Mountain's Fury. I've never seen you like this.' Burrich replied as he walked up the stairs to his room. 'I was training with Owen and some others when a message came from the Watchers. A Wanderer is experiencing an especially difficult Howling. His village has locked him up and plan to execute him for being a shadowspawn or darkfriend, they aren't even sure which to accuse him of being. Owen sent me back to exchange practice lathes for my real weapons and gear and to gather food for the journey from the inn. I should be back soon, don't worry.' He took the back stairs from his room to go through the kitchen and store-rooms on the way back to the front door. When he got there he found Storm waiting patiently and looking as though he planned to go along. 'Storm, thank you, but we both know Snow can't leave the pups yet. Who will hunt for her if you leave with me?' Storm gave him a look that spoke volumes about how silly he thought the question was and then sent, 'We are pestered constantly by both two-legs and four-legs with offers to help care for the little ones. This is a large pack we're a part of now Mountain, I have no need to worry, Snow and the pups will be well taken care of. It is our duty to protect the pack, even those who don't yet know they are.' Burrich had no argument to offer and he didn't want to leave the wolf behind anyway so together the two of them headed back to the Ranger barracks. By the time they arrived Owen had gathered the rest of the rescue party and they were soon ready to leave. OOC: I wasn't sure if we'd be taking horses or not cus even though they would be faster I didn't know how comfortable the rest of the party would be with riding. If we do take horses, maybe somebody else could have saddled and brought midnight out for Burrich since he was gathering food for everyone? Midnight is a dark black stallion and the only horse in the Stedding large enough to hold him. Thanks!
  7. Kai woke up. Blinking sleep away, she tried to focus. It was dark, she was outside and it was raining. “Perfect,” she mumbled, and closed her eyes. Pillowing her head in her hands she tried to fall back asleep, too weary to get up and return to her hut. But she couldn't sleep. Hunger gnawed at her stomach, her throat felt raw, and the rainfall was heavy. Rolling on her back, Kai opened her mouth and stuck out her tongue. The rain was cold and tasted sweet. Hunger... Thirst... Confusion... Drink from running stream... Eat deer... Full belly... Feeling of warm sunshine on fur... The feelings and images raced through her mind, but they weren't her thoughts. Over and over, the strange thoughts came, just as they had come for days. Kai opened her eyes and looked around, desperate to find something to focus on, something real. Her hut. It wasn't that far off. She could see it, only about 200 paces away. Her eyes locked on the sight, and she stood up. Hut... Running... Kai began to hum, trying to chase the stray thoughts away, humming had worked before. She headed for the hut, trying not to stumble. Reaching the door she stopped. A wolf stood in the center of the small room. “It's not real,” Kai said, squeezing her eyes shut. “It's not really there. It's not really there. It's not really there.” When she open her eyes again, the wolf was staring back, his yellow eyes unblinking. “You're not real.” Kai took a step forward, then another towards the beast. “A real wolf would run or growl.” The wolf didn't move. Hunt rabbit... eat... You are not real.” She reached out a hand, gasping when she touched the wolf's head and felt fur beneath her fingers. The wolf wagged its tail. Kai fainted, landing in a heap on the floor. The wolf buried his nose in her hair, her armpit, smelling. The two legs was weak, had been starving herself for days. He had tried to convince her to eat, to show her that everything would be all right, that he did not want her to die. But she would not listen to him. Others were coming though. They would try. He walked to the door of the hut and lay down to wait.
  8. Rahien woke slowly from yet another dream of running with the wolves. He could feel the the wind in his fur, could almost taste the metallic tang of blood on his tongue. He woke up more fully with a start at that thought. He didn't have fur. His head flopped back to the cloak he had been using for his pillow. In the weeks since returning to his family's cottage, Rahien had slept in the kitchen by the wood stove. It was the warmest place in the house with what meager wood he could find and he had grown accustomed to sleeping in the forest and not indoors. He sat up with a sigh and pushed aside the spare cloak he had lain over him for warmth. Poking the sleeping embers with a stick, and adding more wood to the stove he got the fire revived in short order. He set about warming his hands and eating some dried meat, alternatingly washing it down with his waterskin. His last trip away from home had been a few months. Truth be told, he had lost count exactly how long as his return trips to the cottage had been brief and only to replenish supplies the forest surrounding their home could not provide. He stared into the flames... through the flames, and they danced in his eyes as he thought about why his parents had left their home. Pain had driven him away from home, away from his family. He suspected that it was pain that had forced his parents to leave the Cottage. He was angry with them for leaving, angry with himself for staying away so long, angry at the Creator for allowing his siblings to perish. Amidst the anger a familiar image brushed his mind. He had been confused at first by the images that entered his mind. Most of the time they seemed disjointed and jumbled. There were times they made a sort of sense however and one image, group of images really, he had come to recognize every time. The she-wolf stepped into the doorway and looked at him with the golden eyes that mirrored his own. Snow wasn't exactly the image he got from her, it was more than that. It was fresh fallen snow at the breaking of dawn. When the light first broke over the horizon, the moment of illumination. The smell of the Winter wind, The purest white of the unbroken snow. It was all these things and more. She had been the one in the clearing that day, she had been the one to comfort him when he returned to the cottage to find his family gone, and in a way she was like a sister. He could not explain exactly how. Rising to his feet he met her at the door. He knew she would not come into the building as it made her uneasy. She licked his hand and turned to go. Trotting a few steps she glanced back, tongue lolling. Again images flooded his mind and he shook his head. "Not today Snow." With a final look she trotted back into the trees. The images had scared him at first, He had thought he was losing his mind. He still was not entirely sure that he wasn't, but had accepted the fact that sometimes he knew what Snow wanted. For instance that she checked on him every morning, and every time wanted him to leave the cottage and return to the forest with her. He got images from other wolves too. But none so common or familiar as Snow. As he turned back into the home, he caught sight of a piece of wood his father had been working. Picking it up he felt the anger surfacing again. Why hadn't he done something to protect his family? Why didn't he try to understand his pain? All he ever did was tell him it would be ok, that the Wheel wove as the Wheel willed. Tears filled his eyes and he dashed them away angrily. Picking up the ladder back chair he hurled it explosively against the far wall with an anguished cry. Images flooded his mind, almost drowning out his anger someone was coming. Snow felt happy about it although he was not quite sure how he knew that. Just then a figure stepped into the doorway.
  9. The day had started out innocuously enough. She’d woken early, unable to sleep any longer and, as soon as she’d washed and dressed, had made a strong cup of tea before padding on bare feet out to the balcony. Curling up on her usual pile of cushions, Rhya sat in the half light of dawn watching the sun rise. She liked this time of day, often finding that the myriad colours washing the sky simultaneously washed clean any troubles weighing on her mind. It was not, however, working on this occasion. She was restless, filled with an urgent need to be doing something... anything. Had been for days in fact. She was happy with her own company, enjoyed the solitude and peace that surrounded the tree house. No-one bothered her here save for the occasional visitor looking for Owen and nine times out of ten that suited her just fine. Unfortunately, this day wasn’t one of those nine and she suddenly craved company. Not just any company either as she didn’t know many people here in the Stedding. Mostly my own fault, she thought but still couldn’t dredge up the slightest interest in making any effort in that direction. She missed Maradon, missed the hustle and bustle of the town’s streets where there was ample company without actually having to speak to anyone. Her days had gone from being filled with meetings, trips to the warehouses, doing the accounts and attending social engagements to... essentially nothing... which explained why she looked forward so much to those evening interludes talking to Owen or listening to him play his flute. Her mouth curved in amusement at that thought. More often than not though he was busy with some business or other about the Stedding, off doing the Light alone knew what and she was left to her own devices. She’d had no complaints about that. Until now. Working fingers through her heavy mane of hair to comb out the knots which managed to mysteriously form overnight, Rhya’s eyes dropped to the clearing below the balcony, knowing that Owen should be returning shortly. He ran every morning with his fellow Rangers so he’d informed her a few days after her arrival and she wondered if he ever actually slept. She wasn’t a great sleeper herself but when she did it was as one dead and nothing short of the house falling down around her would wake her up. Suddenly impatient with herself and exasperated by her mood, Rhya stood up and headed back indoors. By the time Owen walked in, she had rinsed her cup and was busily tidying the kitchen area in an attempt to distract herself. “Good morning, Rhya.” “It is? I hadn’t noticed,” she replied with heavy sarcasm, ignoring the raised eyebrow and slight amusement on his face. “Got out of bed the wrong side did we?” She turned briefly, scowling at him, even more irritated that he was so unperturbed by her evident grumpiness. “I got out of bed just fine thank you very much. We can’t all be morning people. Sleep is good for you, you should try it some time.” She knew she was being churlish but the words were out before she could stop them and she bit her lower lip in consternation as she went back to wiping the work bench. It wasn’t Owen’s fault after all. “Alright Rhya what’s wrong?” his tone was as laced with amusement as his previous question and she sighed, throwing the cloth into the sink and turning to face him. The grin on his face had her smiling back ruefully. “I’m sorry. I’m just going a little crazy and it’s not doing much for my manners,” she explained, blushing slightly. She paused a moment then carried on, “I know you’re really busy Owen, but I need to get out of here. You’ve never taken me with you when you go anywhere and... well, I don’t know the area myself and since I lost my horse I can’t go riding and if I don’t do something soon I’m going to burst... but I’ll understand if you can’t of course.... She trailed off, looking at him hopefully.
  10. Continued from here for Rhya: 1,000 Points of Light From outside Owen’s treehouse the sound of a gale blowing and rain lashing the windowpane meant that Owen had decided to start the herb lesson indoors. He was teaching both Rhya and Zie how to recognise the various herbs that were used to heal various injuries and illnesses. In front of Owen, on a small table was a selection of herbs, herbs used for healing any manner of ills. As Owen was contemplating the display of herbs in front of him, Rhya and Zie waited patiently for him to say something. Looking up at them. Owen started to explain what the lesson today was about and then handed the various herbs first to Zie and asked her to pass them on to Rhya, letting them get a good look at them, a feel for their various textures and in some cases their identifying smells. “Now the first one I want you to learn to recognise is Flatwort. This can be used to relieve fatigue, and also clear your head, if say you have got a headache, or have been knocked out.” Owen handed over the Flatwort and then went on to explain it was best mixed in with a cup of Tea. “Another herb that has the same properties is Andilay Root. If you cannot find any Flatwort then as long as you can find Andilay Root you will be able to use it the same way.” Owen then started to discuss, further, the two herbs with Zie and Rhya and even sliced them up to see what they would look like when prepared. Once they indicated they were certain they would recognise them, Owen moved on to the next two herbs he wanted them to memorise. "This is referred to as either Grey Fennel, or Powdered Peach Pit, it is one and the same, but is very poisonous when ingested, either in a powder form or like this." He tossed the seed to Zie and wiped his hands. “Not all herbs are used for a good purpose, unfortunately there are many who will use the deadly ones for purposes that all decent people would never think of doing.” Seeing the look on their faces Owen continued quickly. “It is important we know as many herbs as possible, only then can we guard against their effects.” Owen The WhiteWolf Ranger Leader OOC: I hate herb lessons so the quicker we do this the quicker we can move on to something more interesting*g*
  11. Continued from: Sage Check Up Rhya had been staying at Owen’s treehouse for a number of weeks and had seemed to have settled in well, much to Owen’s surprise, even though Ice had tried on may occasions to tell Owen that she would. At first Owen had felt uneasy about having a female stay in his house, to him it felt like he was betraying the memory of Iris and no amount of remonstrating himself had helped, nor had talking to Wolflover, he just did not feel anyone could truly understand his feelings for Iris. But, much to his astonishment, Owen had come to appreciate Rhya’s company, she was quiet, but loved to talk. She was not messy and seemed to understand that there were times when he needed to be alone. This helped Owen to come to terms with her precense much easier than he thought he would. There was still the odd occasion where he felt awkward around her, and there had been that embarrassing morning when he had totally forgotten she was there and had wandered out of his bedroom totally sans clothes only to be scared witless by her scream of fright. But other than that the two of them had settled into a comfortable relationship. However that relationship would now be tested to the utmost as Owen had decided it was time for Rhya to learn to master her new abilities and tonight was to be her first lesson. Owen and Rhya had taken to spending their evenings on the veranda that ran around the outside of his home, sometimes talking sometimes Rhya would patiently listen to Owen’s flute playing, which was a lot better than he realised, or anyone would tell him. Owen had broached the subject of training Rhya but had not pushed himself forward as her mentor. He had offered his services if she wanted to take him up on it or find another mentor was entirely her decision. However she had decided to take Owen up on his offer and so this night was to be her first in learning the mysteries of the Wolf Dream. “Now before we begin I have to warn you that entering the Dream before you are prepared can be very dangerous. What happens to you there can affect you in the waking world. You can just as easily die there as you could here, and if you die there you die here as well, there is no second chance.” Owen did not want to scare Rhya but she had to understand this was not without it’s hazards. Glancing at her face, Owen was beginning to wonder if she was up to this, but eventually Rhya nodded her head for him to continue and Owen then started to explain to her how to enter the Dream. “The first step is to enter the Dream itself. Don’t let it bother you if it does not happen at first. It is difficult at best to make yourself fall asleep. The best way is to focus on your breathing. Close your eyes." Owen watched as eventually Rhya did as he said. . "Do not try to force it. Just relax and drift. Feel your muscles relaxing; you’re breathing easing. Focus on the wolves, and moving to a spiritual place." Owen kept his voice soft and quiet, not wanting to disturb Rhya’s concentration. Soon her breathing slowed and her body, visible, relaxed, slumping where she sat. Owen waited a moment, making sure she really was asleep, then Owen closed his eyes and stepped into the dream world. Owen had selected the cottage where Wolflover lived as their meeting place and he emerged from the surrounding trees to wait for Rhya to make an appearance. As he sat on the bench, Ice came over to him and nuzzled his hand. Owen scratched behind her ears, and the two of them talked until Rhya popped into the Dream. Owen The White Wolf Ranger Leader
  12. “That Rhya was the boundary to the Stedding. This place once belonged to the Ogier and they allowed us to live here because their numbers had dwindled and this Stedding is so out of the way that they thought it would serve our purposes very well. No one can cross that boundary without feeling something, to some it is a feeling of wonder and joy, to others it is a feeling of loss and despair, it all depends on what you bring with you.” Owen’s smile was a genuine one, this was his favourite moment with any Wanderer when they first felt the tingling, the awakening, what ever you wanted to call it or however you wanted to describe it, this was to him the start for them. “Come on, we have a ways to go yet before we actually reach the place where we all live and I for one intend to have a tankard of my favourite ale tonight, I have been too long away from the Stedding.” Now that he was home Owen’s step was lighter, the weight of doubt and uncertainty lifted from his shoulders as yet another Wanderer was safe from harm. They had been walking for a while when they came across a large snow-white Wolf blocking the path, before either of them could move the Wolf sprang forward and almost knocked Owen to the ground. Rhya let out a partial scream, but seeing the look on Owen’s face she managed to stop it becoming a full blown one. Grinning from ear to ear, Owen buried his face in Ice’s fur and threw his arms around her neck, holding her close for a moment before breaking the embrace. “I have missed you as well Ice, but we have a guest and you should say hello to her as well you know.” As if she could understand every word Owen said, Ice turned to look at Rhya, her deep blue eyes seeming to bore a hole into Rhya. Slowly Ice did a full circuit around Rhya, sniffing at her clothes before coming to stand in front of her. “Yes Ice she is a new cub, this is her first time in the Stedding and I am taking her to see Miryana to make sure there is nothing wrong with Rhya. Come on Rhya, if we let her Ice will have us standing here all day.” Owen’s words broke the trance that Rhya had been under since Ice’s appearance and the two of them continued along the path, Ice forcing her way between the two Wolfkin. As they walked Owen noticed Rhya tentatively reach out and stroke Ice’s fur, gaining more confidence as she realized Ice did not pull away. “She particularity likes having her ears stroked, but if you start she will try and keep you at it for the rest of the day.” Not long after meeting Ice, the path they were following suddenly started to rise, the trees lessened and suddenly they were in a more open space. Across the way from them was a largish building with people lounging about outside what appeared to be the main door. When Owen was recognized many of the people shouted out greetings to him, and asked him who his companion was. Most of these were younger members of the Wolfkin and they soon started to bombard Rhya with questions, where was she from, what was her name. Owen soon realized that this was getting to be too much for Rhya and he quickly enquired if there was not work around the Stedding that they should be attending to instead of wasting their time hanging around the Infirmary. It was amazing how quickly so many people could disappear. Grinning to himself, Owen led Rhya into the Infirmary and stopped a young prentice and asked where he could find Miryana. The prentice said she would go and find Miryana and suggested they wait in one of the side rooms. Once in the room Owen removed his cloak and backpack, placing his bow next to his backpack he sat on one of the chairs and indicated that Rhya should do so. Ice joined them and sat with her head on Owen’s knee, obviously wanting his attention. For a while Owen spoke to her, not out loud though, as what he had to say was between himself and Ice. Once he was finished he started to explain to Rhya that until she felt confident enough to find her own home in the Stedding she could stay in the Infirmary. “There are still some abandoned homes around the Stedding, or you could build your own.” Seeing the look on Rhya’s face Owen continued quickly. “Do not worry Rhya, we will all help you out building your home, or fixing up an abandoned house. We look after our own here and you only have to ask and we will do what we can to see you comfortable, please do not forget that.” Just as Owen finished talking the door to the room opened and a woman entered who was about 5’10” in height with long red hair and golden eyes. “Rhya this is Miryana one of our best Healers. For now I will leave you in her very capable hands. If you need to find me Miryana will give you directions. Just remember this, you are safe here and among friends, even though you may not realize that now.” Owen The WhiteWolf Ranger Leader
  13. WhiteWolf Joined: 16 Feb 2006 Location: UK Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 5:44 pm Post subject: Make a Move: Attn Rhya -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It had taken them well into the night to answer all of Keyl’s questions and that combined with the lack of sleep either Aleeza or Owen had had in the past few days made the decision to spend the night where they were easier. Owen had cooked the evening meal using the supplies they had brought with them. Keyl seemed more at ease after the meal, and so Owen proposed an early night and an early start the next morning. But the best-laid plans of men always go astray when dealing with imponderables, and that was how it was this night. No sooner had Owen closed his eyes than he was contacted by a small pack of Wolves, they were tracking a Wanderer on the fringes of a large wood. Because they had contacted him in the Dream, Owen was able to get a good idea of the location of the Wanderer. ”WhiteWolf gives his thanks Wind over the Water. May your pack grow strong and live long.” Owen did not actually speak, all communication with the Wolves was done using images and the Wolfkin had to interpret these images to understand what message it was that the Wolves were sending them. Even for the more experienced members of the Wolfkin, talking with the Wolves could often be a battle. Thankfully this night Owen was able to easily understand what he was being shown. Waking from the short sleep he had had, Owen quickly gathered his gear, and then placed his saddle on his horse before strapping his gear to the horse. When all his preparations were complete, Owen quietly woke Aleeza and with her still clearing the sleep from her blurry eyes Owen recanted his Dream. “Is this not unusual Owen? First our being sent to find Keyl, and now this?” “If I live to be a hundred years old Aleeza I doubt I will ever fully understand the minds of the Wolves, even Ice is a mystery to me at times. But we will have to leave discussions of this nature to a latter date, I must be off. You know how to get yourself home, make sure you stay out of sight and travel as safely as you can. I will do my best to catch you up, but do not tarry for me, not unless you have no other choice. Find me in the Dream if your need is urgent and I will do all I can to find you.” With that Owen mounted his horse and slowly rode off into the darkness, his pale skin shining with the glow of the moon when it broke through the trees, his golden eyes burning with a passion born of many years of responsibility to the his brothers ands sisters of the Wolfkin. Owen The WhiteWolf Ranger Leader OOC: Rhy, in your response bring us up to date with what has happened to your character so far. Some thoughts on the changes you are going through etc and then Owen will find you in his next post. _________________ Taymist Joined: 23 May 2006 Location: Scotland Posted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 4:03 am Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Rhya was still. Still as she could be given that all of her limbs felt like jelly. How far and how fast she had run was a mystery to her but it had been far and fast enough. She listened intently, all of her senses on alert, eyes scanning what she could make out of her surroundings in the grey half light of dawn. Nothing. Silence. She slid thankfully down the tree trunk beside her and allowed her head to droop. She wasn’t certain when the pursuers had picked up her trail. A few days past at least. Not long after she’d left that last caravan. They’d been hard to shake in spite of her efforts at doubling back and looping around them during the night. Finally though, it seemed the three had been left behind for the moment. Rhya sighed softly as she got her breath back. She needed to eat but couldn’t rouse herself to move and open her pack. Instead, she unstoppered her flask and drank greedily of the fresh, cool water. One thing about woods, there was usually water to be found. Taking a last swallow, she lay the flask beside her and looked again at the area she was in. Not far from the edge of the woods by the looks of things, she mused as she spied open fields through the gnarled trunks of the old oak trees. Where she sat was merely a small, open patch of mossy ground, not large enough to be a clearing but plenty big enough for a few people and with space for a fire. Not that lighting a fire was a risk she was prepared to take for now. Leaning back against the trunk, her mind turned again to the question that had bothered her most over the days since leaving home. Where would she go? She barely knew where she was, although if her sense of direction was right, Caemlyn lay not far off. Should she head for her mother’s family in Tear? Rhya laughed mirthlessly. She’d get no welcome there. The looks she’d had from the traders had taught her that if nothing else. Some were speculative, some wary and all were unpleasant. No, not Tear. Dredging up some last bit of energy, she pulled her pack over and rummaged for some cheese and bread, silently thanking her father again as she did so for seeing that she was well provisioned. Her fingers curled around a lump of cheese and as she sat back once more to eat, she speculated on the wolves. She had gradually come to accept that she was not going mad. She no longer saw the same wolf as in Saldaea. In fact, the wolves changed regularly over the weeks she’d been on the road, leading her to believe the contact changed as pack territories changed. Not that she knew much about wolf habits but what little she knew from books suggested this was the case. The contact was always in the form of a dream and hazy at best, going as quickly as it came, leaving only vague impressions. The latest dream had been more solid though. Rhya knew this wolf had been close by and sensed, somehow, that it knew of her pursuers, knew she was lost. Shaking her head, she smiled sardonically at her own fancies and repacked the last of the cheese. Her fingers brushed the edges of a small object as she did so. A box that contained a small necklace given to her by her father before she left. “This was your grandmother’s”, he had said, looking more tired than she had ever seen him before. “You look like her.” Rhya battled the feeling of desolation that swept over her. She missed her father, the home she’d grown up in, her friends. Why had this happened to her? Was she truly a darkfriend? She didn’t think she was evil. Were there really others like her? She remembered the uncle her father had mentioned. What had happened to him? So many questions. And she was out of answers... Loneliness, exhaustion and heartache swept through her and before she had time for rational thought, her head tilted and she howled. Long and high. Pitched at the moon waning on the horizon. As the sound died, Rhya slumped, spent, against the tree, lashes sweeping her pale cheeks. Her final conscious thought was that if her pursuers found her now, so be it... _________________ WhiteWolf Joined: 16 Feb 2006 Location: UK Posted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 5:55 pm Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The howl of anguish cut through the night and Owen realised he was near now; soon the confrontation would begin between Wolfkin and Wanderer. One in full control of his abilities, the other just coming to terms with the sudden changes to their senses, never mind the dreams. Owen remembered how confusing those early forays in the Wolf Dream were. Owen waited until the sound died away, turning his head one way then the other as If trying to discern the direction the howl cam from. He knew it was a human voice that had uttered that howl, no one who heard it could mistake it for a Wolf and Owen hoped that he was the only to hear it, if there were two-legs about then trouble would not be far away. Owen coaxed his horse off to his right, using a small animal trail that went roughly in the direction he wanted to go. Soon though, he was forced to dismount and lead his horse to avoid the low hanging branches that almost turned the trail into a tunnel. Soon he emerged from the trees into a small clearing, one created by two fallen trees. Over to one side a figure was slumped on the ground, her hair obscuring her face and Owen thought he could hear quiet, almost desperate sobs, The feelings of loneliness and desperation coming from her were almost too over powering and Owen had to fight to control the sudden influx of these emotions. Calming himself, Owen dropped the reins of his horse, knowing that he would not go far as he had been well trained by Owen. Slowly, not wanting to startle the girl, although he knew as soon as he removed his hood that his albinoism would more than likely do that. “Please do not run, I am here to help you. My name is Owen and I know what you are going through, it happened to me as well some time ago.” Keeping his voice soft, Owen continued talking, almost as if they were having a conversation, hoping to put the young girl at ease. “I come from a place to the west of here. A Wolf who told me about you and asked that I come and help you contacted me. So here I am.” The last was said with an ironic sound to Owen’s voice, once he removed his hood he doubted his words would be remembered. “Please do not run, I really am here to help you and if you will let me I will see to it that no harm comes to you. All I want is to sit and talk with you for a while, to explain some things to you that will help you face the challenges before you.” With that Owen carefully sat down and then slowly removed his hood, revealing pale skin and silvery hair. “Do not let my appearance trouble you, I have always looked this way and it has nothing to do with what you are experiencing right now. Come; sit with me for a while. Ask the questions I know you are burning to ask, I will try and provide all the answers I can.” Rhya did not move, she had raised her head when Owen had first started to speak, but that had been the only sign she had given that he was there. Now he hoped her curiosity would get the better of her and over rule her first impulse, which must be to run. Owen The WhiteWolf Ranger Leader
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