• PM To Join • [Krome] Howling for Home

A continuation of Cry Wolf; Alexa frees a pup and helps it find its pack.

The seven Duchies of Central Rynmere and their respective baronies, cities, towns, villages, and landmarks each overseen by a Duke of one of the seven noble families and ultimately controlled by the King of Rynmere.
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Alexa
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[Krome] Howling for Home

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23rd Trial of Cylus
Unknown Break
Arc 717
The drunkard had gone, his forehead branded with his own poker, stumbling in the direction of what Alexa could only assume to be Krome. Without him there was naught but the crackling flames to fill the silence. Bodies riddled with her arrows but slain by her wolf's vengeful fangs laid about the hunting camp. Their blood was spilled upon the frosted earth, mixed in with disturbed clumps of snow that signaled their struggle upon the ground. The Burhan girl looked about the gory scene with sorrowful golden eyes. Here laid those that snares wolves and ripped pups from their dens to be poked and prodded with red-hot iron like cattle. Perhaps not all of them were sadistic, but they were complacent. Their willingness to laugh while their companions tortured a small animal had not been their ultimate punishment. Their trip to the afterlife came only when they unsheathed weapons and fired bolts at her. For that mistake Tala ensured they paid with their lives. These weren't good, pure men. So why did she feel guilty for playing a hand in their deserved demised?

Alexa wandered toward the caged pup where it shivered and whimpered in the cold Cylus breeze. "It's okay. No one will hurt you anymore," the Mixed Blood soothed as she crouched beside the confinement. The wolf was a harmless, brown fur ball. The fur beneath his eyes was tear-streaked and she could still smell singed fur from when he was burned with a hot poker bits before. "Hold on, we'll get you out of there." Alexa slipped her hand-axe from her belt and grasped it with two hands while she stood. She reached the weapon out and flipped it so the poll hovered over the wooden locking mechanism. She lifted the hand-axe over her head and brought it down with a sharp exhale. The poll smashed against the wood once, twice, a third before locking mechanism was splintered into useless bits. The cage door dropped and the pup whimpered at the far enough of its confinement. Alexa slipped her hand-axe back into her belt and crouched down again to peer inside.

"Come out, it's okay now. You're free," she coaxed to no avail. The pup remained in place, quaking. It was then that the black wolf approach at the Burhan girl's flank. Tala ducked her head to take a look at the pup for herself with her icy blue stare. Alexa edged away and the wolf leaned her head in with open jaws. Gently, Tala took the wolf cub by its scruff and backed out of the cage before she dropped it before Alexa in the snow. The black wolf's tongue lashed out a few times to soothe some of the pup's burns. "Let's see what we can do about those." Alexa dropped her bag and fished out her jar of honey. The pup made an attempt to scamper away, but Tala would gently guide it back toward Karem's favored each time. The Mixed Blood dipped her hand into the honey with one hand while the other daringly scooped the pup up. She cradled it against it chest, and though it whimpered and squirmed in her hold, it didn't seek to bare its little fangs upon her flesh.

Carefully, Alexa began to dab at the pup's burns with the honey to help keep it from getting infected. When she was finished she gently lowered the pup back down upon the ground. Yet the smell of honey this time kept it from making another escape. Instead the brown fur ball turned about to lick the sweet substance from her fingers like mad. "Poor thing is hungry." Tala's ears flickered and she sat down on her hindquarters. Her icy blue eyes rested upon the injured pup. "He needs his mother," the wolf stated firmly. Alexa's lips pursed at the fact. Her free hand rubbed the top of the pup's head while he continued to taste the honey. "How are we supposed to find his pack?" If Tala could laugh like a humanoid, she certainly would've in that moment. Instead she swished her tail and stood on all fours again. "Like this."

The black wolf lifted her head toward the sky and released into the twilight a long, loud howl that pierced the silence of the forest. When she was finished she lowered her head again with ears perked, icy blue eyes glancing around. Alexa's brow tightened. Nothing returned to their ears but the crackling of the flames. Tala wouldn't be so easily deterred. Another howl ripped from her throat to be carried on the breeze. An instinct in the pup sent his little howls up toward the sky, too, though they were far more squeaky and less powerful than Tala's. Suddenly a far-away reached their ears. Her brow shot up and she looked toward Tala. A few trills later the woods were alive with howls from some wolf pack, most of the calls sounding closer than others. "That's them. Pick up the pup." The black wolf began to trot and Alexa scrambled to put away her things, scoop up the wolf cub, and follow.
word count: 905
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Alexa
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[Krome] Howling for Home

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"How far?" Alexa questioned without voiced words to her familiar in hopes she wouldn't interfere too much with the symphony of wolf howls filling the world. Tala continued to lead the way. The pup stayed nestled against her chest still licking at the sticky fingers that cradled him there. "Not far. A few more bits," Tala promised as they continued on.

When they got closer to their destination the black wolf slowed. She turned on her heels and trotted toward Alexa, who crouched down so her familiar's wandering snout could sniff at the pup some more. "Is it the right pack?" she inquired when Tala turned away and began to flare her nostrils elsewhere in the environment. With no more honey to taste the creature began its squeaky cries again. "Smells the same. Let's find out." And with that the trek continued. With each step the howls seemed to be far closer than before.

Eventually the trio found themselves entering a small clearing. Upon their arrival a collection of glowing eyes snapped in their direction. Alexa immediately began to feel a creeping sense of unease. Tala's own pace slowed considerably, her own stare looking about at the slender bodies that approach them in the twilight. "You're part of Karem's pack. They'll listen to you, right?" Alexa asked hopefully. Tala's ears perked and her tail was balanced behind her. The bodies slunk closer still. "No. They won't. Put the pup down and we'll go." To argue over wolf politics with Tala was a useless endeavor. The Burhan girl elected to take her word instead.

Alexa stepped a bit closer toward the approaching wolves, one which began to growl at her advance. Tala echoed the aggression with a low growl of her own. Meanwhile, the pup squirmed and yowled until the Mixed Blood successfully placed it down with care between herself and the other wolves. Then she slowly back away with palms exposed. Once she made the mistake of making direct eye contact with one of the dominant shadows inching toward the pup, and when the animal's aggression became audibly more intense, she chose not to make the folly again.

Tala retreated in her own cautious fashion. Shadows surrounded the ball of brown fur, which yipped before the shadows dispersed with one toting the pup in its jaws. Once Alexa and her familiar were back at the tree line, the pack had lost interest and moved on.
word count: 423
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Alexa
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[Krome] Howling for Home

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"Well, at least one good thing came from all this," Alexa mused aloud only when they were long gone from the clearing. For a time Tala did not answer. Silence on the wolf's end was not necessarily out of the ordinary, but the way in which is persisted gave Alexa a strange feeling the longer they trekked. She was about to point out the obvious awkwardness when the familiar finally lamented, "You know, we're pretty close to that camp." The Burhan girl's brow tightened and she looked down at the creature with a confused expression. "What about it?" More silence.

The wolf's tongue lashed out to lick stray blood from her maw. "You can't gut them like a deer for food...but you can still get the most from your kill." The light of the dying campfire loomed into view. Memory of the gory bodies churned her stomach. "Stealing from the dead doesn't feel right." If the wolf could've rolled her eyes there was no doubt she certainly would've in that trill. "You re-purpose every part of any other slain animal. It's not like they can use any of it now." The wolf steered them directly toward the camp while Alexa wrestled with the undeniable logic.

"At least check their tents. I'll let you know if I find anything on the bodies," Tala conceded before setting off for the nearest member of the bloody heap. The Burhan girl's steps were far more reluctant as she moved through the camp. Her golden gaze avoided the unseeing eyes of the men laying upon the earth the best as she can. She dipped into the first tent and found it nothing boastful. There were sleeping skins and a couple items laying about. Most of them seemed to be personal effects of little value to the scavenger. Game pieces. A rusty knife. Torn clothing. What did interest her was the bag sitting up against the corner. The Burhan girl crouched and opened it.

The contents brought a smile to her face. It wasn't much but it was a small gold mine in the eyes of a girl just barely making it. Some cooking supplies and a few tools, it was exactly what she needed. As uncertain as she was about the ethics behind taking from dead men, she rolled with Tala's logic for the time being. She grabbed the pack and stepped to the next tent. It wasn't nearly as promising as the first, but she ended up placing a few more items of lesser value into the stolen pack for easier carrying. When she returned to the outside she found Tala waiting. Evidently, although fortunately, the wolf deemed anything on the bodies unworthy of swiping. "Come on. Let's get out of here," she bid the wolf before the pair took back to the forest again.
word count: 495
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Alexa
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[Krome] Howling for Home

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Alexa and Tala moved through the forest back toward the sanctuary of Sky's cave. Surely Venom was waiting for them, nervous perhaps more so because she depended on Alexa's skills for her own survival than real concern. Aomaru was definitely the one starting to lose his mind. She could imagine him now, throwing himself down at the mouth of the cave an crying into the night as he was woe to do. Hopefully Venom wasn't so foolish as to try to soothe him. There was little doubt in Alexa's mind such an attempt would only reward her fellow captive with the anger of a grieving, lonesome ape.

Her own bond with the creature was one that was won purely by circumstance. She'd saved Sky against her better instincts the first day they were all unceremoniously and violently introduced to one another. Since the hermit's disappearance she'd fed, rescued, and cared for Aomaru each and every day throughout Cylus. She was the only thing besides the objects that held Sky's scent in the cave that could soothe him.

Suddenly Alexa's brow rose and she ducked down, frozen in place. The unannounced change in behavior sent Tala on high alert. The wolf familiar mirrored her companion's actions with wide blue eyes. Slowly the Burhan girl set the extra pack down beside her in the snow. She carefully slipped her shortbow from around her shoulders and procured an arrow, which she then notched upon the bowstring. Her golden eyes were settled on something in the near distance. Then, when she was ready, she drew the arrow back and took aim. A trill later the loosed arrowhead buried itself deep into the furry white flesh of a rabbit.

The Mixed Blood rose with a grin and slipped her bow back over her shoulders. She trudged forth and pulled her arrow free from the little creature's hide, and then gestured down toward it with the bloody arrowhead. "Go on. Its all yours. You deserve it," Alexa commended the wolf with the treat, which Tala hastily surged forth to grasp between her jaws. From then on all the way until they made it safely back to the cave, Tala's tail wagged high.
word count: 385
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Arlo Creede
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[Krome] Howling for Home

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Review: Rewards

Alexa

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 0/5 (Solo)
Structure: 5/5

Knowledge:

Animal Husbandry: Soothing a frightened animal
Detection: Spotting small prey
Hunting: Felling game with a single shot
Medicine: Tending to burns
Psychology: Guilt and justice are not mutually exclusive
Psychology: Aversion to looting the dead
Wolves: Communication: Howls and calls
Wolves: Can identify individuals by scent
Wolves: The politics of unique packs
Wolves: Successfully avoiding an attack by wolves

Fame: N/A
Devotion: Tending to a wounded wolf +10 Killing prey with a single shot +1. Total Devotion +11
Loot: A sack with a few used cooking utensils
Magic: These points may not be used for domain magic

Comments: I really enjoyed reviewing this thread. A nice read and an interesting give and take between Alexa and Tala. Alexa's inner struggle regarding the looting of the camp and the earlier deaths gave the story a nice depth. If I missed anything please feel free to drop me a pm. Thanks!
word count: 180
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