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  1. (OOC: Those who need them can find a full description of the Wolfkin Territory, Stedding and the Tracker Lodge HERE & the Citadel HERE. You can find Rhya's bio, complete with update, HERE , for reference. I've read Nox's and Merdyn's bios obviously. If anyone else wants to hop in, we can take that as it comes.) *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-* (IC) The soft whisper of leather against stone echoed softly around the Citadel's lofty corridors as the young woman's footsteps took her ever closer to the Council's meeting chamber. Dust motes spun lazily in the air at her passing, caught in the rays of early morning sunshine, and an array of odours... some pleasant, some less so... assailed her nostrils. Her nose wrinkled briefly in distaste, the combination nudging at her impatience to be outside; free in the clean air of the forests once more. Part of her had looked forward to being in a city again, surrounded by all the sights and sounds she'd grown up with. A little excitement to break up the recent spate of pick ups had sounded appealing but, of course, she hadn't factored in the changes wrought by the last two years, her heightened senses making the past few days more of a tribulation than a joy. She nodded briefly at the two Band guards flanking the door ahead, before walking straight in to the Council Chamber after only a brief rap on the wood. This informality always seemed to surprise the two-legs but the 'kin didn't recognise rank in quite the same way. Her eyes found Karoan seated at the left side of a huge oak table, listening intently to some point their Black Tower contact, Covai, was making and she sliently bemoaned the lack of wolves. If Shadow had been with her, their method of communication would have rendered this conversation unnecessary. She walked swiftly round the table and bent to whisper in Karoan's ear, passing along Winifred's request verbatim. He didn't miss the expectant hopefulness in her gaze and his lips twitched slightly in response. The Watcher Leader knew all too well how keen she was to be gone from here. Turning to the man in black and catching his attention, Karoan, raised his voice, "Forgive me for interrupting, Covai, but Winifred has sent a request from the Stedding. It seems she could use some of your very specialised help. Do you have some men to spare?" He shoved calloused fingers through his dark shaggy hair and looked thoughtfully at the Band's second in command, Amon, sitting to his left. "Any assistance from your engineers wouldn't go amiss either... or anyone capable of a bit of grunt work." The two men quickly assented to Karoan's request, Amon asserting that it would do some of the men good to get out of the Citadel as the talks would not be concluded for some days. "Not to mention it will be an education for most to visit the Stedding. Few at the Black Tower have ever met the 'kin. You folks keep very much to yourself," Covai interjected and looked at the woman. "Ask for Nox at the Embassy. Rhya. He'll help you with the arrangements." Rhya grinned at the Storm Leader. Covai had certainly been to the Stedding; she'd met him twice before. "My thanks. Winifred will be glad to get this work done at last. Any message for Owen before I go, Kar?" The older man shook his head in the negative, stating that he would update the Ranger Leader when he got back home, and Rhya took her leave. *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-* Home. Having collected her small pack and weapons from the rooms she'd been allocated in the Keep, Rhya slung her bow across her back and broke into an easy lope. She passed quickly by the various Barracks and negotiated her way through the growing crowds in the city proper. It was still early but a place this size never truly slept. The logisitics of keeping everything running was rather mind boggling. Finally, with a quick wave of acknowledgement to her fellow Ranger, Rori, who was sitting dicing with a couple of off duty Banders just inside the huge entrance gates, Rhya was out of the Citadel proper. The Black Tower embassy was quite a structure in itself and Rhya's sharp gaze raked its exterior slowly. Impressive, she thought, reminded in some ways of the Watcher's Library. Of course, most of the building around here had been achieved with Ogier help too, so the similarity was hardly surprising. The Ogier didn't do anything by halves. Rousing herself from her contemplation, she strode purposefully up to the first man in black who was in her path. "Storm Leader Covai directed me here... to ask for a man named Nox," she commented briefly, fixing him with a firm golden-eyed stare. No need to inform all and sundry of the details. "Would you inform him, please?"
  2. 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.
  3. Ooc someone wants in contact me and can work out an good entry while keeping to overal plan of RP ---- Erita, nay Celerita she reminded herself having taken back the full name she changed too when first leaving home, streatched as she sat up in bed. She was not sure what to think, the last night had been a lot to take in, she liked her room though, and was glad it had been offered. She felt like she had slept in way late though, and a quick look out the window confirmed as much. She found there was some water in the pitcher, room temperature, but she didnt mind and she was happy to wash, feeling fresher. She was glad she been able to bathe before coming here. She had unpacked her sadlebags the day before, and was glad to see her dresses didnt look to bad having hung themself out. She learned to roll her clothes when packing it caused less creases. Looking through them she choose one in yellow patterned wool to put over the linnen shirt she already took on, and a pin in the troath of her shirt with bells on. She combed her hair out, looking at thw soft curls made by the braid she had slept with, pinning it out of her face, but leaving it to cascade down her back. She carefully opened her bottle of rouge oil and gently spread some in her cheeks, causing just a slight tint of pinkness to them accenting her cheekbones, and dabed a litle on her lips too. She looked at her yar of kohl, but desiced to leave it for now, she nervously looked to the door, then sighed as her stumoch groaned, time to find food. Closing the door behind her she walked slowly down the step to the room where she had sat and talked yesterday, she was relieved to see a plate with a cloth over on the table, so she would not have to go look for the kitchen, or prepare her own food, she would need to find out about that later, but for now she was happy to remove the note with her name and dig into the food. She felt there was so much she needed to know, understand and figure out, that her head felt like it was ready to spin off its hinges. she found a pen over on a shelf and scribled a hurried thank you on the back on the note and saying shr had gone for a walk. Celerita sliped out and made herself behind the house heading for the forest, she needed to think and breathe some fresh air, feeling overwhelmed. She found a glen, and brushed of a stone before sitting down, thinking of her late ma, and wishing she could have her advice. She jumped when she heard the sound of rusteling leaves, there was no wind today, and looking around she sudenly saw yellow eyes down in the brushes and froze, wolf, she forgot about that, but no the eyes was to small, she frowned but couldnt help jumping again when a small furball sudenly jumped out barking at her. It was a wolf but a small cub, she smiled at the antics, it was undeniable cute, but then realized it was too small to be alone, and looked woridly around for the mother. She imagined what it might look like, probably light like the puppy posible with more, and a flash of a light grey wolf going off to hint apeared in her mind, with a mixture of more cubs, light grey, brown and white sleeping. She shook her head, a new picture apeared of this cub trying to wake them and then wandering of. Why was she sudenly thinking..then it dawned on her, these were like the pictures Eric sent her, was there another wolfkin around trying to tell her something. "hello?" She looked around, no answer, why would they not jnust come out and talk to her, she looked around and saw the pup stare at her, then an image of her throwing a pinecone. Celerita froze, no surely, sehe seen eric look at that wolf of his and it seemed like they had an understanding, but she asumed he sent him signals. Could it be, no she must be wrong, but she saw a pinecone over by a tree root and imagined the puppy picking it up, and it twisted and ran over, she felt goosebumps at the implicatioons as they dawned on her. These people could talk to the wolves, what did it make them if not..but no Eric had said time again not, and she remembered the stories of wolves fighting spawn. Also she never agreed to serve the dark one, she had to be sure though and looked around for another cone imagening the same thing, by the time she had four cones by her feet she got recuring pictures of throwing them. "Ok, ok" she picked up one and couldnt help smiling at the waging tail and the sumbling rolling racing puppy going after the cone. Whem it came back she looked at it curious then reached a hand tentatively out, it was dirty from playing around, but she was allowed to stroke it gently on the head, the fur was so soft and she lost herself in the moment looking at it. Sudenly it climbed into her lap and she gigled as it twisted around, her mind completely entralled not even thinking on the stains left on her apron. "My arent you a cute litle thing" Sudenly she felt a drop on her hand, and one of her nose, Celerita looked up and saw a slight drizle coming down, but the sun still shone and it was still warm. The puppy got up and shook then jumped down and barked at her. "What do you want?" it backed away two steps and barked, two more steps and barked, "What are you doing silly, where you going" she looked behind her "nothing there". It turned and trotted a few steps then looked at her, "you want me to follow?" she got up. It wagged happily and ran over to a pinecone, ,picked it up and tossed it in the air. She giggled and ran over catching it, then throwing it, before she knew it they were runing around the glen, playing, sometimes they tossed the cone, other times they played tugg'o'war with twigs. It seemed to be relentless till they fell over and both lay heaving for breath, before it climbed up on her. "oh my, do you know what my mom would have said if she seen the dress in this state" but she was in too good a mood to let the tougth ruin the day, she would find someone to clean it, surely in this town there would be someone, and she had some money still. "but we should find you a name litle one" she tried to think of one, the puppy looked at her curiously as she talked, "you dont understand do you litle pup" she rubbed it behind the ear. White like a snowflake, or at least it would be if she washed it she figured, and then it dawned on her maybe it could understand, she tried to think of the puppy and a snowflake at the same time, wondering if they got snow here. Sudenly a new picture of muddy snow that been played in apeared in her mind, "snowflake" she tried thinking it again, about the puppy and snowflake. This time the image of muddy snow apeared more promptly, and she got a sence of firmness from it along with picture of the puppy laying in the midle of the muddy snow, white with a tinge of other colors. She laughed "yes i guess you do look like muddy snow now, but if we just wash you" she picked it up and listened, hearing the clunking of water she carried it in that direction. Sitting down grabing some moss she diped it in the water and started scrubing the pup down, it looked at her then jumped into the small stream and rolled around, then got up and shook "hey now..." she shielded herself with her arms, so she wouldnt get it in her face, she looked at it. "Well it helped but you still got some left, she tried to grab some hairs between her fingers with water, but it wouldnt go away, she tried another place and another, nothing gave, nowhere. "this your natural color is it, you really do look like you got mud in your fur, but its not coming of, muddy snow, but thats too long and more a description isnt it." she pondered "Mudsnow" still somewhat descriptive but gathered like that it could work as a name. She sent the picture back of the muddy snow and the puppy, and got it back, "very well" "I'm Celerita" but how to explain that, no way to do that, she said the sound again thinking of herself, "Celerita". It looked at her and sudenly she saw a picture of her dancing in the glen before with the raindrizle and sun, only the way the picture was sent the sun was catching in the raindrops so they looked like they been tinged in a rainbow they were in so many different colors as they fell around her as she ran around. She shook her head "you want to play more is that it? you do have a very nice way of seeing things, i wish i seen those colors you litle rascal" she softly peted it on the damp fur. She thougth of how she had seen the play and smiled at it, then got another picture of an undistinct puppy runing around seemingly snapping at rays of colors in the skies. "My what imagination you have" ooc open if anyone want to come in and explain it to her, Celerita is sky dancer or Puppy that chases colors in the sky (rainbow in wolfish i figure).
  4. "It's all right," Erik reassured, his voice low and even. The peace, the quiet meditation that swung through him, his soul but a drop in an ocean of still waters. The sense of presences, of wolves and kin all around him, were immense and dulled. Little could overwhelm him while within the Stedding's borders. Erik's right hand rested on the girl's shoulder, Lynx's reins in his other hand, he pushed her forward gently. He did not grip her, did not tighten and throw her forward. He guided her forward, and with a moment's hesitation, she complied and the two walked forward, a slow and contemplating procession. "It is called a Stedding. This is where I live, Erita," their eyes did not meet as they walked, both watched the woods and trails, senses stretched, muscles eased. But he was using that same voice again.. hushed, low, warm and even with her. It was difficult to think of yelling at her like he had before, of growling and cursing. Had she grown on him? Had he become accustomed to her presence so much? Or was it him to her, that he had grown to accommodate her? "I don't want you to be afraid. Okay? There is nothing to fear here. Few places in this World are as safe. There is a village up ahead. You will see others, people," she tensed-Light that voice again!-he continued, "like us. Golden eyes and immaculate manners like myself." She did not laugh, but he could sense she dared to allow herself close to it. Standing this close she did smell clean and ready. He doubted he smelled of anything more than he usually did: musk, tabbac, pine and alder dust, and dirt. There was dirt in his joints, he was certain of it. "They will examine you, at the Infirmary, make sure you're in good health and no be coming down with any ill spell. Aye, here." Erik pointed as the trail they walked turned a corner, the trail became more a road clear with cart and wagon tracks, and ahead the squat buildings stood proud from the forest. Welcome home. -Erik OOC: from Out of One Nightmare - West Board. Let Erita post, then anyone feel free to step in. Cheers. She does need a check-up, so that will be the eventual end of this post, or at least an importantish one.
  5. (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.
  6. Jack tilted his head looking at the overgrown fox, "So what we up too today, cutie?" He took a swig of his last bottle of brandy. "Need to find some humans, no?" his voice was growing a slur as he looked at the bottle. He needed more. But he was also hungry. "Food firrrst dont youh thrink?" he stumbled to his feet and took two steps against the treeline, then fell on his ass in the middle of the small opening they had rested in. She got onto her feet walking over and jumped on his chest, sending the image of him sleeping, followed by her hunting. That odd rumbling sound came out of his throat again, and she jumped back from the smell of the shiny brown but nasty smelling stuff as he opened it and took another sip, then she turned and was off. He hicked and sipped the bottle. The fox would bring food. It was cold but he didn't feel like restarting the fire. Besides, the brandy would warm him. He didn't know where the images came from, but he had started understanding them somewhat, the voices in his head he called it. As of late it had been of a place where his kind and wolves walked side by side. He would look into the fox's eyes and daydream like that. Maybe she understood some of it, he wasn't sure. At any rate, it was amusing and he found himself giggling in between the hiccups.
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. Continued from Pick Up thread:- Finding the Wolves (Outside of Cairhien) Winifred laughed softly, watching as the young man and the wolf ran around in circles. Emotions were literally pouring from the Wanderer. Surprise, tension, excitement, happiness; they all jostled for supremacy and so strongly that Winifred slammed her own "shields" up to save herself from the onslaught. They continued their progress upwards for some time under the thick canopy of the forest. Eventually, Winifred called to Jace, suggesting he moderate his pace somewhat before he went headlong over one of the many gnarled roots littering the ground, even on the more cleared track they were following. "I can't think that Aislyn would be too happy if we made it all the way here for you to break a leg right on her doorstep. And here we are..." she added, emerging from the tree line into a large cleared area and giving Jace a minute to absorb his surroundings. Midnight dropped to his haunches at her heels and River came to stand at Jace's side. Winifred wasn't sure who was more delighted with their new home, the wolf or the latest two legs to grace the Stedding. When Jace returned his attention to the Tracker, she moved on with a inclination of the head indicating their new direction and began pointing out local landmarks. Not so many as to overwhelm, but enough to give some sense of bearing. "That's the Forge over there and the stables there. That large building further off is our inn, the Hole in the Wall. You can be assured of a decent meal, good ale and a warm welcome there any time." Winifred exchanged waves and nods with various residents who shouted greetings but none of the 'kin came closer or attempted to engage her in discussion. There was an unspoken agreement, mostly adhered to, that a Wanderer would not be approached until they'd been checked by a Sage. It was simply safer that way...for all of them. Particularly if they wanted to avoid one of Fred's rare tongue lashings. "This is the Infirmary, Jace," she said walking towards a long, spacious looking building. Jogging lightly up the steps and through the open door, she led him along a broad main hallway until they reached a small grouping of chairs along the wall. "Have a seat here for a moment. This is where I leave you in Aislyn's capable hands. I'll just go let her know we've arrived." A momentary panic issued from Jace but Winifred patted his shoulder reassuringly. "I'll see you again once you're settled in no doubt. Welcome home." And with that, the Tracker disappeared round a corner in the direction of Aislyn's office, leaving Jace to his own thoughts. OOC: Do a quick post covering your arrival and finish up with your thoughts/feelings as you sit waiting. In the next part I'll be posting as our NSW Sage, Aislyn.
  11. Felvere of the House Staedryn was hungry. He had never felt hunger such as this in his life. He had gone a whole day without food, nearing two now. His coat was muddy and torn, his clothes filthy and his boots were showing signs of wear. He'd have to replace them the moment he found a merchant or a tailor or cobbler capable enough to serve someone of his standing. Did he even have a standing anymore? Felevere's jaw tightened, his teeth grinding together, and he straightened his back. Of course he did. He was born noble, he would stay noble forever. It was in his blood. But...hadn't he defamed his brother? Practically stripped away his nobility? Well, Dravin was different. If he was truly noble, truly deserving of the status bestowed on him, Felvere never would have been able cast him down. If he had been...he was dead now. Felvere had killed him. A cackle rose within him and Felvere's jaw tightened further. He stamped out the cackle before it could form. He was far too dignified to cackle at the death of a family member, even one he had caused, and he had caused two of them. That was two things not to laugh at. Felvere needn't worry about ill-placed humour however. Felvere didn't laugh. Ever. The occasional smirk perhaps, but outright laughter? He sniffed, holding his handkerchief up t his nose as though guarding himself from a bad smell. That was far too common for someone of his status. What wasn't common for someone of his status-former status, a part of his mind reminded him-was to be this hungry. Once his mind had recovered, he had found no more meat arriving at his campsite at dawn, and now was at a crucial crossroad. He needed to eat. That much was obvious. That meant he had to acquire food. He could go and buy some, but for that he needed a place to buy it from, and that was nigh on impossible, especially considering his rather unbecoming lack of finances. He could steal food, but that was beneath him. Or he could beg. Felvere didn't even dignify that option with further consideration. A member of House Staedryn, begging from farmboys? He sniffed at his handkerchief again and a corner of his lip curled up distastefully. Well...what about the wolves? They had gotten him into this mess, invading his mind, his dreams. They had fed him once, broken him and helped him to heal. Perhaps they could help him again. It was mad, but honestly...Felvere glanced down at his scuffed boots. Could he get any lower? Tentatively, Felvere reached out in his mind and looked for wolves.
  12. 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.
  13. ((Lets hope I still remember how to do this xD)) Winter and Forest Shadow sat beneath the boughs of a pine tree, quietly resting after an afternoon of cutting wood to be used for various things around the Stedding. He was still a Pup among the Pack here, having not actively gone out and attempted to gain a rank or a higher place amongst the Wolfkin. His sister Forest, who was in fact a wolf where he was human, told him that such things were needed sometimes. So long as he helped and was useful then he did not need to challenge anyone for their rank. This was of course not how things worked among the Wolfkin, as with many human societies, but Forest still enjoyed using wolf-like proverbs. For the time being Winter was happy doing odd jobs, and would fill a roll when it was required of him. Besides, doing odd jobs left him time to sit there, in the shade, with his sister's head in his lap while he absently rubbed behind her ears. Something that she enjoyed immensely. Before too long he would have to deliver the wood to the Hole in the Wall, as well as to the Healers at the Infirmary, where they made bread and other such things and possibly even some to the Rangers' Barracks. Then, it would be back home to clean and perhaps cook for himself or go hunting to augment the supply of meat he had stored away. At the thought of his and Forest's home he opened his eyes and look over at the modest house they occupied which sat a small distance off. It was not the grand manor house he had lived in back in the Borderlands, and for that he was happy. He did not wish to be reminded of the life he had been so violently tossed from, nor the family that had so casually and so callously branded him a Dark Friend and called soldiers down on him. The flair of negative emotion gained him a prod from Forest's paw and a worried sending from her. Winter Winds no longer needs to worry about his former Pack. He left them and has found a new one. Her 'voice' held a tone of worry and of comfort. She had watched from afar and seen the way his family had treated him. To ease her, he lightly patted her stomach. Forest Shadow does not need to fear for her brother. He knows she will protect him. The sending was more comical than anything else, but it had its desired effect which was a snort laugh from Forest and the feeling of her relaxing back down against him again. He relaxed as well and returned to absently petting her behind the ears. She wouldn't admit it but Winter knew that she enjoyed it almost as much as a domesticated dog. He closed his eyes once more and continued to sit there. ~Winterwinds A long time doing nothing.
  14. Doha yawned as she lazily weaved a crown of wild flowers. She had traveled miles away from Fal Dara into the leafy forest for this? "Perhaps I truly am mad." she muttered as she reminisced of a time before, when she had met a wolf in this very forest. The wolf had promised her guidance. "Whatever guidance could be offered for a mad woman? I may as well fancy about marrying princes and wearing dresses with bonnets, and lace!" she exclaimed. Doha hated lace. She was feminine in certain ways, such as weaving flowers and dancing, but her other personal traits were those of the armed men in Shienar. "She even called me 'Dancer' or something. Of course I would hallucinate of being called 'Dancer'! Why not prancer, or smasher!" she threw down the crown, and flinched as some of the flowers tore. "I'm sorry, little ones." she hated hurting beautiful things as much as she hated wearing lace. She took the crown and adjusted some of the the flowers, and put the arrangement on her head. However could she go home now that she had said her goodbye's to her family and friends? She frowned. "I could actually travel I suppose, with the little coin I have.." And that's when the heard it, a twig cracking as a foot stepped upon it. Doha sprawled, reaching for her bow and arrows. She should have kept them closer! "Peace!" she exclaimed as the breath was knocked out of her. There was a shadow above her. So this was it, doomed to die at the hands of a stranger. She looked up and gasped. -----
  15. 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!
  16. Blaeric turned around, a grin threatening to split his face in two as he raised his first in triumph. “Now that is a throw that you will only better if the Creator is sitting on your shoulder Owen, and I wager he is not tonight as I am convinced he is sat on mine.” The man standing to Owen’s side groaned in exasperation at Blaeric, shaking his head in mock frustration at the younger Ranger’s boastful tone. “Blaeric have I not taught you any better than this? Boasting is the downfall of the unwary on many occasions and I have no doubt tonight will be yours.” “Oh that is what you think is it Rori? Well I tell you what, oh mentor mind, I will show you how confident I am that that is a winning throw, I will accept any bet that Owen cannot better that throw.” “Any bet Blaeric?” Slowly a grin started to spread across Rori’s face. He might not have been as tall as the other two men, and was actually one of the smallest Wolfkin in the Stedding, but his height had no bearing on his standing amongst the Rangers, as many had come to understand. “Yes Rori, any bet, are you up for this Owen?” Grinning to himself, the white skinned Ranger walked over to the white line that was drawn on the floor and knelt down. In his hand was a copper coin and for a moment Owen idly twirled the coin across the back of his right hand. “I accept Blaeric, and your forfeit will be to act as Rhya’s servant until she tires of you, she needs something to cheer her up and I would think that you waiting on her hand foot and finger should be just the fillip she needs.” “Without waiting for a response Owen flicked the coin, with a casual ease that only came with years of practice, and turned away without even bothering to wait on the results of his throw. All the confirmation he needed that his throw had bettered Blaeric’s was the groan that emanated from the young Ranger. “It would seem that Rhya has just gained herself a servant for the duration Rori.” Owen reached for his tankard and took a long sip from it. At the sound of the door to the Inn opening Owen turned and a smile appeared back on his white face. “And here she is to collect her winnings now. Rhya, come over here, Blaeric has some good news for you that I am sure you will like.” Rori and Owen could not help but grin as the young Ranger, Blaeric, explained to Rhya how she had come to earn herself a servant without having actually done anything. At the expression on Blaeric’s face, as he recounted the tale of his over confidence, all three of the people stood around him burst out laughing. Another evening at the Hole in the Wall was underway, and as usual, it would prove to be an eventful and interesting one for all involved. Owen The White Wolf Ranger Leader
  17. ~ I told you to turn a left back there ~ Nightfall had the faintest aroma of smugness. Lorelai frowned. ~ This is a shortcut ~ ~ Yes. A shortcut to getting lost. You humans. Always trying to find a way to complicate a simple matter.~ Lorelai grumbled. She didn't much enjoy when Nightfall went all philosophical on her. She took that route many times to cut a half a day off the journey back to the Stedding. She got turned around for a moment, but she knew exactly where they were! Alaya was quiet. She spoke here and there. But nothing more than what she had to, whenever Lorelai directed a question at her. Lorelai sympathized with the girl. She went through the same ordeal herself. And she was far worse than her. At least her attitude seemed more positive than Lorelai's initial approach when she first arrived at the Stedding. That was a good indication. "Oh! OH! We've arrived!". Lorelai turned to Nightfall and stuck out her tongue. "Come Alaya, follow me. We're home!". Lorelai led Alaya into the Stedding. Nightfall parted ways, as she decided to go hunt. "The first thing on the egenda is to get you to a Sage. Don't worry, it's routine. Just to make sure you're healthy and well. And I'll be right there with you." Locating the infirmary, Lorelai led Alaya in. Lorelai Ranger
  18. A cold breeze tugged at the cloak Winter had found in his hosts spare room's wardrobe, and snow was able to blow under it. It was a light snow, but it had been falling for about half the day, the weather was oddly cold for what it should be, though still warm for a Boarderlander such as himself. He was heading towards the Hole in the Wall, a place he had heard a few of the locals talking about, though he didnt quite know why he was going. Beside him Forest walked beside him happily, they had stayed around house for a few days while Winter had recovered from the journey from the Boarderlands. But, she had insisted they get out and meet some of the other's who lived in this village, and he couldn't argue with her, she was like a sister to him, plus she had threated to just go herself, and he didn't want to go too far from her. The building itself looked like every inn he had ever been to, but the people were, as they had been all throughout the village, unlike any he had encountered before. A few wolves were roaming the streets as well, in any other village that would be a bad sign, but here, it was good he guessed. Though he talked to none of them they seemed interested in him as a newcomer to the village. Forest on the other hand seemed to stop and sniff alot of the other wolves, and just socialize, as she had wanted to do in the first place. So here he was, standing outside the tavern Hole in the Wall, while Forest seemed to be talking to another wolf. "You should talk to them brother, all they want is to know who the new two-legged pack member is, and I cannot explain to them forever." she said for what seemed like the twentieth time in the past hour. "I don't know, perhaps later, but come, lets get inside were its warm." he said, it was getting colder as the sun went across the sky, it was starting to worry him. Forest grudgingly agreed and they went inside. What met their eyes was room filled with people, and a warm fire blazing in the hearth. He didn't see anyone he knew, not that he knew many people yet, so he found a table off in a corner to just watch the general energy of the room, what people were up to, and perhaps to hear what they were talking about. Doing this was mostly so he wouldn't have to talk to anyone, but it was also another of the bad habits he had picked up when he had been disowned by his father and became basically a servant, never to be heard and never to be seen. Forest walked over to the fire and curled up next to the fire, which wasn't that far from were he was sitting, and started to take a nap. Perhaps he would order a drink and something to eat soon, but for now, he would just sit and watch. Jonathan Winterwinds and Forest Shadow. Socializing....sorta OOC: Feel free to jump in and meet the new wanderer if you want, or just to bug him ;D ether way, I figured I would get him out into the general populace of the stedding and see who shows up.
  19. OOC: I fuigured I would start the thread. But, if I am out of line, feel free to delete it and give me a smack. Winter leaned heavily on the walking staff he had bought a few days ago, he had never walked so much in his life but was deteremed to not give up. So far he thought he was doing alright, but he had to admit he wouldnt be able to go further without the steady support from Forest Shadow who was walking easily beside him. "Common, how do you expect to get anywhere if you cannot walk more then a few miles?" She said beside him with what he figured was a laugh from a wolf. "I would get there, if after you sister" He replyed. It was about now that Winter relised that they were getting close to a heavily wooded area and were now on a path that had wagon ruts in it. A sudden wave of unease hit him and Forest and Night's Howl walked for a few steps before noticing he had stopped. "Come on Wind, you are almost in the Stedding" Night's Howl said, it was the first thing he had said for about an hour. "I...I guess I am just uneasy about this." Winter replied, but shakeing himself he took a step forward and another until crossed the boarder of the Stedding and a sudden feeling of absolute peace hit him. For a moment he just stood there, stunned and a little confused. Those feeling soon passed and he smiled and shook his head, then continued into the Stedding. What met his eyes inside the stedding were beyond what he had hoped for, he had thought he would be led to a small camp of tents and cook fires. Instead, he had been lead into a village. Looking at the people who passed him in the streets he was shocked to see that alot of them (Atleast the ones that would actualy look at him) had golden eyes. Soon he was lead to a large building that smelled of freashly cut flowers and freash baked bread. The small made Winter hungery, but that could wait for later. After talking to a aprentice, atleast Winter thought that was what the girl who Night's Howl stopped was, he was shown to a room were he would wait for a sage while Night's Howl went to attend to some other pressing matters that he said needed his attention, though really it felt like he was beeing left here to fend for himself. Shrugging he sat down on the floor facing the door and Forest sat down next to him with her head in his lap as had become her habit. John Winterwinds Home? ------------ As they walked up the path to what must be the Stedding Forest could not help but laugh at Winter Winds, he could not walk a few miles without getting tired. "Common, how do you expect to get anywhere if you cannot walk more then a few miles?" she finnaly said to him as he leaned on a brance he had gotten from a Two-legged which he was using for walking. "I would get there, if after you sister" He replied with a smile, atleast his good humor was not going away. Winter then looked around and relised what Forest had known for a few moments, they were almost to the stedding. She walked a little faster and suddenly found she was walking alone, and Winter was feeling uneasy. Looking behind her she saw that Winter was just standing there staring into the forest infront of him. Night's Howl must of said something that snapped him out of his daze for he suddenly sighed and said something int he human toung and came forward. He caught up to Night's Howl and Forest in a few steps and they entered the Stedding. This time both Forest and Winter stopped as the feeling of peace swept over them. it was like nothing she had ever felt before, such a feeling of coming home..... They soon snapped out of it and walked towards the center of the Stedding. What met Forest's eyes was what the humans called a "Village" a place with a bunch of atrifical shelters. The Two-Leggedes that were all around shocked Forest, their eyes were all golden, brothers and sisters like Winter. They were soon led to a large shelter that smelled of flowers, Nights howl talked to someone and they were led into a room inside while Night's Howl went on to other things. So they were to fend for themselves, atleast they were out of danger...or were they? Winter walked over to the wall oposit the door and sit down, Forest followed and sat next to him, and put her head in his lap. Had they found a home atlast? Forest Shadow Stray come home?
  20. Rhya shared a look with Owen, her own feelings of wonder as she'd crossed that invisible barrier amongst the trees uppermost in her mind. A slight smile curved her mouth as she recalled the moment but it was wiped instantly away by Arienna's unexpected reaction. The girl actually glared at her as though it was somehow Rhya causing fault. Rolling her eyes with a sigh, Rhya was still moved to empathise with the newcomer. The girl was, after all, getting one shock after another. A few days of settling into the Stedding, some good food and she'd hopefully calm down. Owen's quiet words brought her back to the present. "Rhya, take Arienna to see one of the Sages. Get her settled and I'll see you back at the house." Surprised at this sudden desertion, she arched an eyebrow delicately but nodded agreement, if reluctantly. It occurred to her that perhaps Owen and Erik had things to discuss and she turned her gaze back to the glowering expression on Arienna's face. Attempting to be reassuring as they walked on, Rhya smiled ruefully at her charge. "It's strange isn't it? Don't worry, it's a peculiarity of the Stedding, not anything bad. On the contrary it's a good thing and you'll hear more about it later." Her comment made not the slightest dent in Arienna's armour, the girl's lips compressing without response. Erik and Owen took their leave a few minutes later, Arienna's eyes following them for long minutes before she joined Rhya on the last stretch of the path. "I'm going to take you to the Infirmary. A Sage will have to check you over. Maybe Erik explained that to you? We all have to go through it. Just a safeguard, nothing intrusive." The girl's continued silence and suspicious sidelong looks were beginning to wear on Rhya's nerves. The sooner she could hand her over to Aislyn or Miryana the better. They'd know just what to say and do. The centre of the village was fairly quiet, with only a few curious eyes following their progress. No-one approached though and Rhya was glad enough of that as she was still reluctant to socialise much herself, never mind answer a barrage of questions. On the whole, the other Wolfkin were courteous and understood well enough, each from their own experiences, that approaching a new Wanderer was best left until after the Sages had seen them. The large shape of the Infirmary appeared in front of them and Rhya took the steps two at a time. She liked the peace of this building. It held an air of calmness that was reinforced by the capable, comforting presence of the Sages and a scent of fresh herbs and baking suffused the air almost 24 hours a day it seemed. Arienna was more cautious in her approach, obviously wondering what was to come next as Rhya almost ran right into Aislyn. "My apologies, Aislyn. I've brought a new Wanderer to see you. Owen had business to deal with so he asked me to bring her." She smiled, turned and spoke again, "Arienna, this is Aislyn. She'll be able to answer any questions you have and look after you for now. Aislyn, this is Arienna." She wound down after the introduction, leaving the young girl and the Sage to take stock of each other.
  21. ~ Are you sure? ~ ~ Yes, Midnight, I'm sure ~ Winifred rolled her eyes at the question. Winifred sighed. Midnight had been bugging her for hours, claiming that the girl hadn't moved in a while now. Only, she wasn't going to be fooled by her acting. She had sufficient air supply, the bounds weren't tight enough to cut off circulation and her scent felt too cheery to indicate anything but a very alive person. It was quite odd. The conditions of travel were not exactly what Winifred would call ideal. At least, she wouldn't find being bound and covered with a sack to be fun. But apparently, this didn't seem to bother the girl and Winifred could clearly feel her growing excitement, the closer they got to the Stedding. This one was going to be difficult. There was something terribly wrong with her. Broken. Winifred wasn't qualified to the determine if she could be fixed, but she hoped it could be done. But until then, many precautions had to be taken. For everyone's safety, as well as her own. Winifred felt relieved as she and the tied sack entered the Stedding, going in the infirmary's direction in search of a Sage. Winifred Head Tracker
  22. . Almost a month had slipped away and Owen had still not regained consciousness, something that caused Rhya and others in the Wolfkin great concern, but also growing optimism that Owen could still recover. However Rhya had been warned that it could be a long wait and there was still a chance that he could die. They had done their best to make him as comfortable as they could, but Rhya knew Owen would not want to be in a place like this but no matter how much she pleaded with Aislyn, the Sage had been adamant that Owen had to stay where they could watch him and not have to be inconvenienced by making the trip out to Owen’s tree house. “Why anyone would want to live so far from the rest of the Stedding is beyond me, you would almost think Owen did not want to be part of the Community here.” Rhya knew some of the reasons why Owen lived where he did, but no one knew the entire reasons and it was doubtful they ever would, certainly they would not if Owen did not recover his consciousness. My whole world surrounds you, I stumble and I crawl I wonder what you’re doing, imagine where you are. At long last the meeting with the Aes Sedai was over. Owen, stiffly, rose from his hiding place and sat on the edge of the chest. “Well that went well didn’t it?” he said with a laconic tone to his voice. Ehlana just looked at him. No words needed saying. He could feel her disgust at the arrogant way she had been treated. “Don’t worry sis, in a few days they will be gone and we can get on with our lives without their interference. “I suppose your right, but there was no call for the arrogance! Where were they when we were fighting at the Gap?” All the pent up frustration she felt came across in those words. “They were safe doing Aes Sedai things I guess Ehl? Look it’s late and I need some sleep, but tomorrow we ride out early and continue your training, ok?” This brought a tired smile to Ehlana’s face. “My training?” She arched her eyebrows at her brother’s statement but he could feel her amusement. “Yes your training” A smile appeared on Owen’s face as he felt her bristle at this. “Don’t worry though I will go easy on you” Deciding that his best course of action was to leave before he got something thrown at him, Owen ducked out of the tent, making sure the way was clear and made his way to his tent. How long was it since he had slept in his own tent? It was so long that Owen had forgotten when. Ice made her way over to my cot and climbed up on it and curled into a ball. Tired now White Fang, sleep, was the message Owen got from Ice “You’re not wrong there my friend.” Getting off to sleep was not as easy as he would have liked. Owen’s mind was mulling over what he had heard in Ehl’s tent but eventually sleep took him, but it was far from restful. Hardly had he closed his eyes than he felt Wolflovers presence and a request to meet in the Wolf Dream. The next morning dawned bright but cold. Still feeling tired and worried at the news Wolflover had told him, Owen got dressed and carrying Ice went to meet Ehl and set off on their short ride. Eventually they found a place Owen was happy with and dismounted, letting the horse’s wander here they liked. Ice and Shadow watched the two humans for a while before starting to chase each other around. “Now, the other day when you first tried this you where trying too hard and searching too far with your mind. Don’t try and use my emotions, I will need them if we are fighting together.” Owen laughed at this as Ehl’s face creased up in mock anger. “I know, you’ll be behind your desk and I will be doing your fighting.” Dodging the punch she aimed at him, Owen pulled his sword free of its scabbard and increased the distance between them. “First I want you to close your eyes. Go on I’m serious.” Drawing her sword, Ehl closed her eyes and waited for her brother to continue. “Now think of one emotion that is the strongest in you. Perhaps after yesterday anger will suffice. Now think back to a time when that emotion was overriding; recall an event or occasion. When you have it fixed in your mind start feeding your other emotions into it. Combine them. You will know when you have you will feel it; you will be able to sense the flow of them and so will i. Do you understand that?” Ehlana nodded her head slightly at Owen’s question, “Then begin and don’t forget I will be able to sense when you have done begun” Owen closed his eyes and focused his thoughts. He had used this at the Gap and it still surprised him how much strength and endurance it had given him. All the while this was playing through Owen’s mind, the only outward sign that anything was occurring was the flickering of his eyes. At times it was quite intent, at others barely noticeable. If Rhya had seen this she would have had cause for renewed hope, it was the first sign of movement Owen had given since he had been laid low. To be continued. Owen The Whitewolf Ranger Leader
  23. “Now in your last lesson in the Dream world you were taught how to jump from place to place, but only on line of sight, tonight we are going to expand on that lesson and you are going to learn to jump to places you have been before and know well. We will start off with somewhere obvious, the stables in the Stedding.” Rhya wrinkled her nose, slightly, at this, and Owen knew full well that many people were not fond of the smell of the Stables, Rhya being one of them, which is why he had picked the stables. “Now, the first thing you have to do is picture the stables in your mind, build up the picture until you can actually see the stables, then step into the stables. It sounds more daunting than it actually is, but once you have done it you will find it is an invaluable skill, would you like me to show you first?” Rhya nodded her head, wondering what Owen had in mind. Taking hold of her hand, the land around them disappeared and in the blinking of an eye they stood on high stonewalls, stonewalls that surrounded a large keep and city. “Where are we Owen?” “This is the capital city of Kandor, it is not fair from here that I lived most of my early life in a small village on the main road to this city.” “So we just stepped a long way, can I do that as well?” “Not at first, and maybe never, remember I have been doing this for a long time and so have the control and skill that a novice, that would be you.” Owen smiled as Rhya stuck her tongue out at him. “Just imagine this as you would your first weapons lesson.. Once you had mastered the basics, you started on the path to proficiency with them. It is the same here”, Owen paused for a moment and then looked Rhya full in he eye. “ I have no doubt you have entered the Dream on your own since our last lesson.” Owen watched as Rhya tried to look everywhere but at him, she had not known that Owen kept watch over his student’s dreams and he had caught her twice entering the Dream without permission. “And I have no doubt you are now stronger here than you were after your last lesson, but remember this, you only know a small part of what you need to know to survive here, so do not let over confidence be your downfall.” With that the scene around them changed again, this time they were back in the Stedding, sitting on the bench outside Wolflover’s abandoned cottage. “So, bearing in mind what I have told you, how about you try and move yourself to the Stables, I will be waiting for you there. Oh and Rhya, try not to land in the compost, it does smell something terrible.” With that Owen disappeared from view, quickly reappearing by the stable door. As he made his way to the stables, Owen could not but help smile, the last remark of his about the compost had been on purpose as usually the last comment their mentor made was the one that would be fixed in the students mind. Owen The White Wolf Ranger Leader
  24. As the first rays of dawn break over the highest peaks an eagle flies high above the Mountains of Mist, once more reveling in the sheer joy of flight. With a small movement of a single feather, an almost imperceptible twitch, his flight path adjusts as he catches sight of a hawk flying far below. Straining his sight all the way to the ground even further down he notices the mouse the hawk is hunting and another minuscule adjustment of his tail marks his final flight correction. The hawk, meanwhile, flies along intent upon his prey and oblivious to all else around or above him. He watches patiently as the mouse (at a distance less than half that of the distance between himself and the eagle flying unnoticed above him) sniffs the air suspiciously then quickly darts out into the clearing. In that very instant the hawk folds his wings and dives, accelerating as he approaches the ground. Making near-constant adjustments to his approach he can practically taste the juicy morsel that the mouse will be. Then, not even halfway to his goal, the wind is knocked out of his lungs as his chest is pierced and the hunter becomes prey himself. The eagle had started his dive while the mouse was still under the cover of the trees. But, unlike the hawk, his dive was not so much about achieving maximum speed as it was about attaining perfectly precise timing, a maneuver driven as much by cunning as speed. Even before he felt his talons pierce the hawk's chest he was already altering course to head back into the cloudless sky that was his domain, reaching down with his beak to twist the hawk's neck as he flew, snuffing out his feeble attempts to hold on to life. The mouse scampered across the filed, blissfully unaware of his brush with death, while on a cliff overlooking the valley a man and a wolf watched the whole scene unfold. The young man, barely twenty years of age, wished for the umpteenth time that he still had a bow so he could shoot the birds out of the sky together. Then he vowed once more to find or make a bow that wouldn't snap in half when he forgot his own strength and pulled too hard on the draw. Since leaving the city of Illian in the trusted and watchful eyes of his half-brother he'd broken three longbows and countless strings. "You see, Puppy, the eagle, like myself, is not scared of his great size, and neither should you be." Looking down at the wolf at his side, the man couldn't quite keep the laughter out of his tone, "So now you'd have me learn to hunt from a bird, Brother?" With a snarl, a twist of his spine and a speed that belied his massive size the gray wolf jumped on his companion, the shock knocking the bog man off balance and leaving him sprawled on his back in the grass. "Mountain Fury! I will use whatever means I see fit to teach you to be comfortable in the skin you were given." Then, with a snap of his teeth and a laugh Storm Hunter rolled off the big man he'd taken it upon himself to teach and continued the lesson. "Given its proximity and its speed, the ignorant observer might have guessed the hawk to have had plenty of time to get his prey and make his escape. Can you tell me what two ways such a casual observer would have underestimated the larger eagle to make such an error?" Burrich considere3d again the scene they had just witnessed and reviewed all that he'd been taught by this wolf he'd come to love as a brother. "First, a casual observer would not have realized that the eagle is much faster than its massive size would indicate. Second, and more importantly, the eagle's greatest gift is neither its size nor its speed but its intelligence and cunning, which allowed him to outsmart both the mouse and the hawk." "Oh, thank the light, he can be taught," Storm laughed as he scampered away from Burrich's retaliatory swipe. "But remember Mountain, those same two truths of the eagle are true for you as well. You would do well to keep your speed hidden as the surprise will be to your advantage in battle; but your mind, and the wisdom you've always kept hidden? These must be shared if you ever want people to see you and not just your massive bulk as you fear they do." That was something Burrich had heard many times over the past few months as Storm tried to break him of his shyness around others. Having heard it so many times before, but not having had opportunities recently to put it into practice, there was really nothing left to be said. Burrich buried his small fire from the night before and meticulously removed all other traces of his presence. Then he mounted Midnight, the large black stallion with the white diamond on his nose, turned toward the Stedding and traveled the last few miles that would bring him home after an absence of nearly six months. As he approached his heightened senses alerted him to the Rangers serving as sentries and he silently thanked the Creator for his having spent enough time among them that they did not impede his return with unnecessary questions. Knowing that word of his return would make it to Owen faster than he could, and having no idea where the leader of the Rangers would be found at this time of day, Burrich made his way to the Hole in the Wall inn to have breakfast and see who else was out and about this morning. Attending his father's funeral and helping his brother secure his seat on the Council of Nine against their father's political rivals had been a cathartic experience, allowing him to finally let go of the remaining bitterness he'd held toward his father and more fully embrace his new family here in the Stedding. OOC: I've intentionally stopped short of describing the occupants of the inn to leave it as open as possible for anyone at all to join. Oh, and if your character has been here longer than Burrich's six-month absence feel free to assume a casual acquaintanceship (even if they have never officially met) or not, however you want to play it. Burrich's size and the fact that he worked at the inn before he left makes it unlikely that you wouldn't have at least seen him around before. For a better description see Burrich's reposted bio here : http://forums.dragonmount.com/index.php/topic,45843.0.html
  25. The sigh of relief that Rhya let out came from the tips of her toes. The journey had been so long that she had started to doubt her own ability to find the Stedding again. She had no difficulty as it turned out and need not have worried anyway since Shadow knew perfectly well how to get home but the farther they had travelled, the more self doubt had filtered into her thoughts. The morning had dawned bright and clear, the sun now well up in the sky as Rahien and she made the final approach to the Stedding. The ground had only a light covering of frost, the forest being too dense to allow much snow through, and the air had a nip to it that was both invigorating and slightly uncomfortable to uncovered extremities. Rhya rubbed her hands over her ears gently trying to bring some feeling back to them. Her nose was not much better off and she couldn't wait to reach the warmth of the Infirmary. The village would be quiet at this hour with few people abroad and, in fact, she had deliberately timed it so, knowing that a wealth of trouble was liable to be waiting for her. The fewer witnesses the better as far as Rhya was concerned and she struggled to suppress the apprehension fluttering in her stomach. The other side of the coin was of course impatience to see Owen and worry over his condition, but as usual she pushed that away until she could deal with it properly. First things first. She had to get Rahien to a Sage. Some few minutes later Rhya came to a halt as a familiar feeling stole over and she grinned merrily as she turned back to face Rahien who was a little distance behind her. She said nothing, just watched in anticipation as he moved closer, understanding now the reasons for Owen's behaviour when he'd brought her here for the first time and preparing to enjoy the moment in her turn.
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