{AW} Wretched And Divine
45 Posts
7 Threads
5 Years
Female
Endomorph
Hybrid

Points: 15
#1

The ice bridge was well behind her now. When her tired paws finally made landfall the first thing she did was hunt. The warmth of a welcome companion’s side was probably what spared her marred frame the damages of frostbite - but as they had always done their paths diverged. At least, for a time. There was not a doubt in Aleera that White Timber was around, somewhere in these new lands - of which she had no idea what to call. Not that that was a new development for the likes of her. For years she tracked the shadowed step of that demon and that path led her to many new places, none of which she knew the name of. All it would take would be one conversation with someone with that knowledge to rectify that situation. The name of this place however was not as important as the location of the creature she could feel had moved in. The testimony of one young wolf was the only reason she came this far, crossing seas and frozen wilds - but now she was here...She needed more information. It was difficult, but not impossible. There was a reason that damn thing was known as the Living Ghost when it served under her, but Aleera’s resolve was greater than that creatures desire. If she had to follow that beasts shadow from here to hell, then so be it.


Of every wolf she crossed paths with, one question always persisted. It would continue to be that way until her mission was complete. Then, and only then would Aleera lay down and allow death to finally take her. Looking upon her twisted form now it was obvious something dire burned inside her, kept her gnarled form moving with an almost desperate hope. Those that knew even a portion of the truth may give her their sympathy, or their pity - but Aleera, The Dragon - she needed none of it. All she needed was their eyes and their honesty. Their accusing tones meant nothing to her with they said she was insane. That her mind was, broken. No, they were the fools. The irrationality of thing was not an argument against its existence. Rather, it was a condition of it. There had always been creatures that mortals refused to recognize. Once, she was counted among them -but now...If her eyes saw them. If her ears heard them. If she could feel their wretched breath upon her neck, then were they not real? It left many with a grim and unsettling proposition. Were these beasts purely the stuff of nightmarish lore, or did they live among them?


The bones of her recent hunt laid picked clean at her paws. Feathers lay strewn about her in a chaotic manner, her meal finished quickly as the sun cast it’s final rays upon the earth, bathing everything in warm hues. This tundra was a more hospitable place than those damn ice flotes - but she would be happier still when she reached a more temperate climate soon. If such an area existed on this spit of land Aleera now found herself in. Redened tongue escaped the confines of lethal jaws, licking her mangled lips free of any blood that may linger still. Half blind eyes cast their gaze out among the tundra, but besides the caribou who herded far off in the distance, her makeshift shelter under a cropping of snow laden boulders there was not a soul to be seen. Yet. Night would be upon her soon, and it was best she sleep now and move during the day when the warmth of the sun was present. The exposed flesh of her old burns didn’t do well in these extreme climates, and neither did her temper. Perhaps it was a good thing she and White Timber had parted for now. Assured that for as long as she lingered here in these new lands she may have the comfort of at least one thing that was familiar.


table by Sara
Reply
64 Posts
6 Threads
3 Years
Male
Endomorph
Di

Points: 64
#2

The scent of the fresh kill was what had drawn Hakon closer, thinking that perhaps it was another one of the crazed winged caribou he had encountered before and hoping to further examine its strangeness and pick apart its wings and see how they connected to its body, and why, because it did not align with anything else he had ever seen, and he found he could not make sense of it. It was this hope that drew him forward, across the wrecthed tundra that seemed to grow colder with each step. He saw a shape in the distance, and he lowered his head against the wind.

But when he grew near enough to see better, he saw that the large shape was not a caribou, but another wolf, and the prey was not a caribou but something that had been feathered. Hakon realized he was now too close to move away, and found that his gray eyes were frozen on the figure ahead of him because it was so...terrible. The woman was covered in burns, her black fur seared away to reveal tough, mottled flesh underneath. Hakon had never seen anything like it in a creature who had actually survived the fire; he was sure some of his own family had looked like thise after the Bystrom fire, when their nation had fallen, his parents had died, and his sister had been stolen...

He caught a whiff of something he knew was in his head -- smoke and ash -- and he sucked in a breath of clear, clean arctic air and promptly froze as he battled the memories out of his mind. He knew he should speak to her if he was being polite, but he wasn't trying to be. In fact, her appearance reminded him of things he had hoped to forget, and so he turned, hoping to be on his way and to leave the memories of the fire behind.

""


Aleera
Reply
45 Posts
7 Threads
5 Years
Female
Endomorph
Hybrid

Points: 15
#3

She did not expect anyone to happen by. Let alone anyone who may have followed the scent of her kill. The tundra was a fairly vast place and so far Aleera had not seen hide nor hair of any other wolf besides White Timber. There was no lingering scent of a pack on the land nor wind - just the smell of snow, earth, and birds. In her silent waiting the ebony woman pulled free bits of feather that still clung to her claws, content to rest here for the night with the hope that what often echoed in her mind remained silent. Walking that damn ice bridge had been a test in it and of itself enough, food and sleep would be needed to further her search for that demon. For now, they remained at the edges of her vision. Shooting in and out of her direct eyesight. After years of this annoyance some part of the Empress had grown used to it, enough that it no longer drew out the irritated snarls that once plagued her in the beginning. Now they were often backdrops when they behaved in this manner, if that is what one could even call their constant clawing at the frayed edges of her sanity.

Because she had spent so long with these anomalies and because she wasn’t expecting anyone to find her, she did not immediately realize that a spot on the edge of her vision some distance away was actually something of the living world. ”He is watching.” Their whispers picked up out of the silence. A hushed tone swept away with the passing of a light breeze, forcing Aleera to pick her skull up from her task and see that she was in fact being observed by another. He just stood there, looking at her. He made no effort to call out nor come closer. In return, Aleera watched him as well - though pulled her from up from the cold ground where her body heat had melted away the snow there. ”Hemm.” A drawn out hiss passed through her mangled lips in the form of a puff of white steam, hellish eyes pinned directly upon the unknown wolf with the expectation that they would eventually do something. That something however, turned out to be turning away from her entirely. As though she were not there to begin with and began walking away. Presumably from the direction which they’d come. The Dragon was not prone to chasing anyone down. Least of all strangers, but in this one instance she found herself in a new land with no knowledge of it nor of the creature she hunted. The promise of perhaps finding another clue was all that was needed to spurn the burned woman into action.

Her joints popped in protest to her movement, her entire form desiring rest - but her mind's desire for information superseded her inborn nature for survival. Her run was not full force, but it was enough that it closed the distance between herself and the unknown wolf within minutes. The scent that lingered there told her it was a male, younger than herself and when her eyes finally caught him again she slowed. ”You there, boy!” Her raspy tones fell over the tundra like the crack of far off thunder, coming to halt a safe distance away. He was an earthen boy, though stripes of bright yellow, like the color of sunflowers was painted along his sides, while his eyes remained a silver or gray sort of color. ”I would have words with you.” Her tone calmed, daring several steps closer to him, her massive head turned slightly so that her one good eye could see him more clearly. ”Tell me boy, does this region have a name?”


table by Sara

Hakon
Reply
64 Posts
6 Threads
3 Years
Male
Endomorph
Di

Points: 64
#4

Hakon was making his way away -- wherever away was, he didn't know, nor did he care, just away, away, away -- when he heard the sound of pursuit. Stubbornly he pressed onwards, hoping that she would give up when she realized he was not interesting in tangling and toying with her. He would have kept going, too, maybe never acknowledged her, unless she hadn't spoken. ”You there, boy!” He blinked. Boy? Hakon stopped moving and turned back to see the woman had caught up with him, coming closer. He smelled again the scent of fire and charred skin, and he saw again the scars that wrapped her body and the strangeness of her eyes. He locked his jaw stubbornly.

”I would have words with you.” "Clearly" grumbled Hakon, watching her with apprehension. Her tone was one of an elder, one that had reminded him of the way his grandmother had spoken to him as a child. He had reacted instinctively to it, stopping, locking, turning, ready to be abashed. But now he wondered why he had done that in the first place. She didn't seem that much older than him, though her tone spoke otherwise. And she reminded him of fire. She was watching him peculiarly, with her head tilted to the side, and for the first time it occurred to him that one of her eyes might be blind.

He waited for her to speak, and she did. ”Tell me boy, does this region have a name?” He stared at her. "Don't know," he responded. "No one's lived here long enough to ask." The burns on her skin looked painful -- even the way she moved spoke to it. He wondered what fire had ripped from her besides her fur. What had it taken? It always takes, it never gives. He saw in his mind's eye the bodies burning in his childhood den. He felt the dirt pressed against his cheek as Eira was ripped away. The fire -- and the O'Conaills -- had taken everything from him. He wanted to ask her, but he knew he shouldn't. He grew surlier as the moments went on. He didn't want to talk.




Aleera
Reply
45 Posts
7 Threads
5 Years
Female
Endomorph
Hybrid

Points: 15
#5

He moved as though he could not get away fast enough. Aleera was not totally unaccustomed to others trying to escape her however they may. Usually however that was preceded by them choosing to fan the flames of her anger. Rarely did she seek out violence - for most of the time it did nothing but expend precious energy and time she was not willing to give. In some circumstances of those who did see first hand the ferocity with which she was willing to battle - they quickly realized their mistake and turned tail. For a moment she wondered if she hadn’t called out to him, would he have stopped? The way in which he moved to be away and then only responded to her because of her voice...It reminded her how a child might react to an elder who was about to scold them when they’d been caught doing something bad. Choosing to pay no mind to it, since she got the reaction she needed, she instead chose to focus on what information she may extract from this stranger.

Perhaps that would prove to be less than amiable. So used the Dragon was to being the one who stood off with a clear and defined want to be left alone, a distaste for company and conversation, that it was striking to come across someone else who matched if not succeeded that trait of hers. He grumbled as she might when others bothered her, so similarly that though it drew no outward reaction from Aleera the nagging began in the back of her mind. ”It appears you met your match Dibbuk.” Bajang commented with no small amount of smugness that would irk the dark woman if she did not have more of a purpose to bothering this stranger. Rather than take offense, because honestly she could relate to his disinterest, she kept her visage as stoic as it so often was and merely waited for more to fall from his lips. Assuming he deign to actually speak further.

And he did. Tersely, he gave a concise answer. If this realm had a name he didn’t know it - tacking on that no one had lived here long enough to know. Now that bit of information seemed, odd. No one had lived here long enough? A long, drawn out pause separated his answer from the moment Aleera chose to speak another question. ”And you? You have not been here long?” Suggesting in so many words that she wanted to know about how long his stay had been thus far - as though it were prelude to a much more deep question. Correct. The question she asked of almost every single wolf she came across as she walked lands unknown and dangers untold.


table by Sara

Hakon
Reply
64 Posts
6 Threads
3 Years
Male
Endomorph
Di

Points: 64
#6


He watched her and she watched him. He was surprised to see that very little emotion passed across her scarred face now that he had stopped and turned to look at her. She seemed to be waiting for something -- perhaps words -- but when he gave them she looked no happier or more contented than before. She was certainly a wolf with a secret, a wolf with a past, and he was, too, but he didn't much feel like bonding together over it now. The tundra wind whipped round his body and buffeted his newly yellow-strewn pelt against him.

”And you? You have not been here long?” It was the eternal question, asked by almost every stranger he came across. Had he not been here long? How did he not know the ways of this world? It made little sense to him why anyone might think he would know the answers. Maybe he seemed surly enough to have been wandering alone in the wilds here since his birth. But in reality, he was frightened by this place. It was new and wild and strange and unknown, vast in its breadth and its secrets. And it was dangerous. It had caused him to sprout yellow hair. What else might it do if provoked?

"No," he responded. The word was flat, offered without affect. "And I don't want to be much longer," he added almost angrily, as if she were backing him into a corner he would have to fight his way out of, even though she wasn't. He glanced back at the yellow on his skin with distaste. Then he looked back at her unexpectedly and said, "But you. Why don't you have something?"

""


Aleera
Reply
45 Posts
7 Threads
5 Years
Female
Endomorph
Hybrid

Points: 15
#7

Aleera was not a beast of emotions. She regarded near all things with a stark, perhaps even cold indifference. In the past, she had cared for many things quite deeply. Maybe her ability to really care for anything but her hunt had long been drained out of her. Even though this encounter could be fruitful, this male got as much as anyone else got out of the Dragon. Emotion did not have a place in these sorts of conversations. It was often something that could get you killed if you were not careful and approached each new situation with a clear mind. The silence where words would usually be was thrown about as the wind pushed against their frames. Somewhere uncomfortable with silence, but the burned woman actually preferred it in most cases. Maybe not this one, but it was often when others used words to disguises themselves and their motives. Admittedly, she was not very good at deciphering such things. It was in the end, how her Empire fell apart. So she preferred to watch. To observe. Behavior was the mirror in which all mortal revealed their true selves.

In the end however, words did come out of the nameless male’s mouth - albeit a single one. A simple ‘no’ in response to her question. His tone was tepid, flat, forcing Aleera to narrow her hellish gaze upon him. Taking in his features from the tip of his snout to the end of his tail. Why was his furt painted with those yellow stripes? Was it some sort of pack marker in exchange of a pack scent that would usually mark such a wolf? She was uncertain and in her silence he added more to his simple response. In an angry sort of tone he admitted to not wishing to be here much longer either. As though she was the one keeping him here. Her head tilted just so, the only physical reaction to show her curiosity was peeking through. What was so terrible about this land that he would want to leave as quickly as he could? Self preservation would dictate her next choice of words, but the consuming obsession that was her hunt would demand more of her.

His eyes moved from her to his sides, inspecting those odd stripes he was colored with before he turned back to her and asked his own question. ”Something?” Her voice rolled forth, ghoulish sounding as ever. ”If you want me to answer you then you will have to be more specific.” She shifted the weight upon her paws, her eyes never leaving the earthen colored male. Aleera had come across few in her travels so far. Those she had met held nothing strange about them. Even though his stripes were odd, she chalked them up to some sort of paint layered onto his fur. She had seen similar things done in the past with either clay, mud, or crushed darkly colored berries.


table by Sara

Hakon
Reply
64 Posts
6 Threads
3 Years
Male
Endomorph
Di

Points: 64
#8


They stared at each other, and she seemed to be thinking very deeply about something that did not show on the surface level of her face. She did not seem discomfited by the silence, and he wondered what type of creature she was -- most wolves would have jumped into the absence of words by now to add a string of their own, to pepper him with emotion. She merely surveyed him with slightly narrowed eyes, waiting for something, which he eventually gave her: words. Her expression did not change as he answered her, but her eyes moved off of his face to look at his body. He assumed it was to the stripes.

”Something?” Her voice tickled up his spine, hoarse and haunting. ”If you want me to answer you then you will have to be more specific.” He pressed his lips together and then gestured with his nose to the stripes. "These," he said roughly, "are new." There was hardness in his voice because he didn't understand it; it scared him. "And permanent." He remembered the burning sensation that had caused them to appear on his fur, like stains that could not be removed. He was angry, but mostly, he was confused, and concerned. They were not the only mutations he had seen.

"I've seen a wolf with feathers and two tails," he said, choosing to omit the long fur as it did not seem quite as impressive, "one where his face turned red before my eyes." His gray eyes watched her face closely for signs of something -- anything -- that might tell him what was wrong with this place. He wasn't sure that she would know, but she seemed like a wolf with many secrets. Maybe she would divulge some of them to him. "They're...mutated," he said with deadening finality. "So am I. Didn't do it to myself, either," he added. The implication was clear: it was something about this place.

""


Aleera
Reply
45 Posts
7 Threads
5 Years
Female
Endomorph
Hybrid

Points: 15
#9

He seemed a bit unhappy about something. What it was Aleera did not know, but she would not have to wait long to find out. The male’s black lips pressed together before he gestured to his side with his muzzle, indicating the yellow stripes the Dragon had already noted. With that physical indication with a few words as possible, he told Aleera that the stripes were new. For a moment the burned dame was confused by what he meant, did he not put them there himself? Rather than jump into four thousand questions, she choose to remain silent until he finished talking - on the off chance he answered one of her unspoken questions. Regardless, as he spoke of these stripes his tone made it obvious he did not like that they were there. It only further made the Empress wonder. A short moment or two later he tacked on that the stripes were in fact perminate, which implied that it was nothing as simple as mud or crushed berries. There was blatant acrimony in his voice as he spoke. Obviously not directed at her so much as it was to the new appearance upon his being. It told her that although they were there maybe he hadn’t been the one to put them there. An enemy perhaps? Is that what he meant? That it seemed strange she didn’t have something because she had not run into the one who apparently left permanent painted symbols on others fur?

Still awaiting more information Aleera remained silent and her reticence was rewarded when further information became available to help shape the shifting implications this male was trying to portray. What the other gave her was anecdotal evidence, something she could not prove unless she had been there...So he was either lying, for whatever gain it would get him...or he was telling the truth and something disturbing was going on. The irritation in his voice gave way to a touch of worry when announced they were mutated - and so was he. So he wanted her to believe that wolves in this land were having strange things happen to them? That they were not doing this to themselves? A breath escaped Aleera in a white plume, sounding more like a hiss than a sigh through the exposed portion of her teeth. ”I don’t know.” She finally replied to his question, about why she didn’t have anything. ”Maybe you have been here longer, or maybe I am less susceptible to what it is that causes the changes.” She couldn’t begin to fathom which one that may be.

Citrine eyes turned off the male and chose instead to look out over the tundra, eyeballing some mountains in the distance that were just as snow covered as the last two place she had been. She had no desire to continue in these freezing places - but she would go where she must to find that beast. ”If wolves are sprouting feathers and two tails, perhaps you aught to be happy that all you have are some colorful stripes.” But he didn’t wish to linger, correct? Aleera turned her gaze back upon him and with her mangled jaw gestured to the east where she had come. “Go that way and you’ll come across an ice bridge. It is where I crossed at. It will get you out of this place if that is what you want.” She was not in the business of always being helpful, but in this case it took nothing from her to do it. Heavy muscle came to life as the Dragon turned away, setting her destination for the mountain range. It did not matter if she too got these mutations. She would remain here for as long as she must. For as long as she believed her demon resided here.

Aleera Exists


table by Sara

Hakon
Reply
64 Posts
6 Threads
3 Years
Male
Endomorph
Di

Points: 64
#10


The woman before him seemed almost resigned to the knowledge he grimly imparted on her. She hissed out breath between her teeth as he laid the news out on the table -- that this place was mutating them and that he didn't know why. She considered his words before she spoke, and he did not mind that. It was always better to try to think before speaking. It was an art lost on many wolves he had met here. ”I don’t know. Maybe you have been here longer, or maybe I am less susceptible to what it is that causes the changes.” Hakon grunted, his eyes narrowing slightly. He did not know. He had not considered it to be an immune weakness, but maybe it was. Maybe it was just his body betraying him once again, as it had when he'd failed to fight for Eira those months ago.

He followed her gaze out into the tundra. ”If wolves are sprouting feathers and two tails, perhaps you aught to be happy that all you have are some colorful stripes.” Hakon arched a brow; it was almost a chastising comment, but one that, ultimately, he agreed with. Perhaps he should be thankful all he got were stripes. “Go that way and you’ll come across an ice bridge. It is where I crossed at. It will get you out of this place if that is what you want.” He glanced the direction she indicated. She was offering him something: a way out, a chance to leave this place. But faced with that realization, he wondered... Where would he go? He could leave. But the thought did not seem attractive to him. For now, he was not sure why, and he didn't have time to sort out the complexities. She turned and moved away, and he allowed her to do so wordlessly, watching her walk away until she was a dot on the horizon. Then he turned and left too, still mulling over her words in his mind.

-exeunt Hakon-

""

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