The cure has been found! Wolves on Anikira are recovering from the disease and life is moving forward with the promise of pups in many packs. And yet darkness looms on the horizon, daring the creatures of Anikira to relax and allow themselves to get comfortable once more.
[attr="class","pltxt"]There came a day when Theron knew he was finished wandering.
The tunnel from the Isles had been long and dark, crowded with what had seemed to be every wolf in the world - certainly every wolf in the Isles. Tensions had run high among the travelers, and because of that, Theron had tried to keep his group surrounded by other loners rather than risk inadvertently stepping on the toes of any pack wolf. There had been many of them - many loners, many pack wolves, and many Isles wolves who had for their own reasons chosen to abandon their home. Theron did not question it; whatever they sought to escape was still on the islands behind them. None of them smelled of disease, the few times he neared one, so at least the possibility that they were fleeing some horrendous plague seemed unlikely.
The sounds of so many paws in the tunnel, of so many voices speaking - some softly, some raised in anger or surprise or fear - had introduced another layer of discomfort within the already cramped, stuffy, fully submerged path through the ocean: an unholy, unending cacophony of noise.
There had been pups on the journey, and - he thought - at least one still-nursing mother. There had been elders and wolves bearing injuries new and old alike. There had been wolves content to travel in peace, and there had been wolves who seemed nothing if not eager for the chance to start a fight with their erstwhile companions. These last, violent ones had made Theron the most uncomfortable; if they understood how dangerous their behavior was, they did not care. A single vicious brawl between travelers could have been all it took to spark a bloodbath in the underwater tunnel.
He had been exhausted - psychologically as well as physically - by the time they reached the other side of the tunnel and stepped once more onto Anikiran soil, but Theron had allowed himself and his group only a short rest before moving on, away at last from all the others. The tunnel might have been a death trap, but at least it had funneled the hundreds of wolves within, lessening the chances of a total massacre even while it heightened the possibility of being trampled should too many wolves panic at the same time. Here in the open air, there was no such funnel, allowing every wolf far more room to move - and far more room to attack their neighbors. If the tired, agitated wolves who now spilled into Anikira became hostile now, the earth would be bathed with blood by the next sunrise. The only blessing was that now, at least, it would be easier to flee the carnage should it come down to that.
Still, Theron had not been able to fully settle in; it wasn't until he and his wolves were rested enough to move on that he began to calm down and stop imagining all the many, many ways they might find themselves battling for their lives. It didn't help that he hadn't been able to find anywhere to rest on suitably high ground. Whatever his fellows had done, Theron had found himself curled up in a lower area, difficult to defend or escape should he find himself thrown into any sudden outbreak of violence.
He had not been able to truly rest until several days later, when his group had put enough distance between themselves and the others. Until then, he slept only a little, and then he had to force himself to take a break from watching for trouble and only managed to sleep very fitfully. Once he felt less crowded, Theron's sleep cycle had sorted itself out again, and he was able to sleep peacefully enough to dream.
The lands had changed. He had known them well before he had been brought to the Isles; his time wandering the continent alone had allowed him to explore most territories that had not been claimed, and he had been familiar with the wildlife and its cycles to survive almost comfortably on his own. Now he returned to find the land almost unrecognizable, so different had it become. Formations existed where none had been before; familiar landmarks had been wiped away or alerted so that he no longer immediately recognized them. Even many of the well-worn migration trails he had once used as guidelines had shifted or been destroyed. The few they encountered that had survived were changed - wider now, marked with more than one or two distinguishable types of hoof prints.
They had passed through many lands, many territories, and although all had been almost eerily barren of wolf-scents - for now - Theron had been unwilling to linger anywhere for too long. The tunnel and the uncomfortable few days following their exit from it had marked him more deeply than he realized: He was no longer content simply to find a place to rest for a few weeks’ time before moving on again when others came to take the land away. Now he was determined to find land he and his companions could claim for themselves - a haven where the only company they would be forced to keep would be their own.
But the longer they traveled, the more this began to seem like an impossible dream to fulfill. All the lands they passed through were difficult to defend, or too verdant or too large to expect to occupy without trouble from neighboring wolves. Theron soon began seeking out high grounds, leading his group ever eastward as days became weeks. Nothing seemed suitable. Very few places were even safe enough to shelter them for the few days they rested in any one location. There must be something suited to this group of loners. Theron would not be content until he found such a place for them.
He did not stop until the dark green smudge on the horizon before him grew to become a dark, quiet forest of conifers and bamboo trees.
Even at the edge of the forest, the air was cool and still; though there were sounds of life from within, they were muted, softened almost to silence by the thick vegetation. The forest floor was dark, dappled only extremely sporadically and very dimly from where Theron stood - though surely it was brighter inside than it appeared here at the sunny edge of the forest. He didn't think the shadows came entirely from the forest itself; beyond the trees there rose what looked to be great towers of stone, as though the ground below had grown weary of lying beneath the trees and drawn itself up in protest.
Theron eyed the road ahead for a long moment before he finally turned to his companions again. He was weary after so many weeks of near-unbroken travel, and his mind struggled to process what now loomed before him.
“Shall we continue through?” he asked his companions. “Or shall we try to skirt around the forest?”
notes: This is Asa's settling thread - they have reached the territory they will soon claim. Feel free to make your first posts ghost the journey from the exit of the tunnel to the forest they've just run across, with as many or few details as you'd like. Because they will spend this thread exploring the whole of Nain, the thread has been placed in the main board. They are currently standing at the southwestern edge of the Nabooru Forest, facing northeast. If you're confused about the layout, double-check the detailed map here. Nain is located on the easternmost edge of Anikira's main island, near the sandy area.
tagged: @imani, @nuru, @tiriel
word count: 1,171
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The tunnel had been long and tiresome, for her paws and her mind. The chatter, the unfamiliar scents colliding and mixing and creating a new scent all its own, one that was almost threatening in its strength. With more wolves confined in one space, brishing up against each other and everything within the tunnels, the scent read "pack" to her. One. Large. Pack. It clung to the blonde femme like water from an unwelcome storm, and she could not wait to shake it free.
Finally, when Imani's paws touched Anikirian soil again, she could not help but roll in the earth like a pup at play. It was the soil of her homeland, comforting, and though the time spent on the isles made it unfimiliar to her, it still felt like home. The open, fresh, clean air filled her lungs, free from the scent of wolves or that metallic odor that reminded her so much of fresh blood, she longed to be rid of the reminders of the tunnel that still hung around her and the lands before her would do just that.
Though Imani wanted nothing more than to sleep for days and relax into herself as she always had, she knew such a luxury would have to wait, as she was still surrounded by wolves from various packs and not exactly out of any dangers. She was glad that the wolves around her were able to contain themselves and not break the barrier that kept the waters from crashing in around her, she was unsure at how long the worn wolves would allow their tentions to hold. Surely there would be one who would spark up a fight, igniting a fire that would rage around them all until it was extinguished with the blood of the fallen. It would be ironic really, escaping one war on one land to start one in another, Theron, seemingly reading her mind, pushed them onward.
It was unusual for Imani to allow a wolf to make so many decisions for her, she had allowed him to lead her through the tunnels and even now, the male was taking charge and leading them through the lands. It was a bit uncomfortable for her, as she had grown so used to doing what she pleased, when she wished, but she could not argue with the decisions the male was making. It had seemed as if he was reading her mind as they went however, and doing what, in each situation, was the best for all of them. Imani matched his pace as they went though, walking at his side rather than behind him. They were companions on this journey, equals, and it gave her comfort to know that anything that came at them, be it prey, a possible friend, or foe, they would be handling it together, as a unit.
The small group traveled in a welcome silence, after the noise of the tunnels, it had seemed the group of loners had heard enough to last them a long while. The sounds of birds and insects singing their respective songs was all the cream fae needed to hear to give her peaceful travels. It took her back to the old days, before waking on the isles, where this was the soundtrack of her days. As she went along, walking a path that seemed brand new to her though her paws may have touched this earth before, she took in how the lands had changed.......had they truely been gone for so long? Or was this just the aftermath of fire? It had seemend the lands had been completely rewritten in some areas, while others remained almost unchanged. She cpuld not help but wonder if her life would now reflect her homelands, how much had she changed in the time away? Surveying her companions for what may have been the thousandth time, Imani was excited to find out.
Had they met under other circumstance, would they have come together as they had? Or would they have continued on as they always had, remaining as loners after their shared den to escape the rain, or perhaps sharing a meal that had been just too large for one? Imani wondered how long they would remain together after they found a place to truely rest. Would they just becpme familiar faces in loner territory? Or would they unite as wolves did, and form the bonds of a pack? It was a curious thought for the femme to hold, Theron was proving to be a capeable leader, so much so she had wondered if he had done so in his past, holding a rank perhaps or leading another small band like the one he lead now. Or was this just his natural way? Imani was surprised that she longed to find out. These wolves were captivating her....Theron so strong and sure of himself, Nuru, kind and compassionate, and the isle wolf, Tiriel, with her foreign ways, was quite a mystery in and of herself.
The female had been so wrapped within her thoughts, she had almost missed it when the scenery before her began to change, suddenly there were dense green foliage not far from where she stood, the forest seeming dark and foreboding, as if death itself lurked inside, yet she could hear the sounds of life inside, though muted as it was. Her curiosity called her, whispering that she should venture into its depths and see what lurked within its shadows, but her senses longed for her to never set foot inside. She looked beyond the dense forest on to see rocks towering above the trees like small mountains in the distance, and before it all stood a large peice of earth that jutted up into the air as if not to be outdone by what surrounded it. It was a place she had never seen before, and she longed to learn more of its landscape. It seemed to be a land protected, a place where they could be safe from anything and everything that came against them, and Theron, again, delved deep into her mind to extract her thoughts as he opened his jaws to speak, driving her curiosity further.
The forest could provide them with possible prey and a cool place to rest and recouperate, it was a place that could provide them protection, and give her the chance to see exactly what lie in its depths, but it could also provide dangers. They had no way of knowing what could be inside.......unless they went in. But if they went around, they could explore the higher ground, rest without fear, and explore the forest when they were more able bodied and not so worn from the journey. "I think we should go around, explore the higher ground and rest. It has been a long journey for all of us, and we don't know what we may find within the forest. Its better to face the unknown at full strength so we are able to defend ourselves if we need to." Turning her golden eyes to her companions, she wondered what they thought on the matter, if they chose to go forward, forward they would go, but the golden hued female longed to rest.
The tunnel had been a load of crap. All those wolves stuck in there together, with only the sense of touch to use as a guide. Tempers were high and peaceful moods were shot. It was a wonder more fights hadn't broken out in the cramped space. Tiriel had been grateful for the darkness, however. Her pelt was so much different than these wolves of Anikira, and that made her the minority. She couldn't shake the feeling that some wolves would be upset with her kind, blaming them for the move and all the problems they'd encountered during their stay. Tiriel assumed it was only a matter of time before a group of wolves decided to take their anger out on one of the accompanying isle wolves, and this fact made her uneasy as they continued their trek through the darkness.
It was a long while before they emerged into the sunlight once again. The sunlight and sounds were overpowering after the experience with the tunnel, but once she adjusted it was all Tiriel could do to stare. It was just a glimpse of what was to come, but already the land before her seemed to different than the land she had just escaped. Their group didn't stay long, and Tiriel had to clamp her maw shut as she raced to catch up with the wolves she traveled with. There were too many packs around to be traveling alone, it would be best to stay with Theron, Imani, and Nuru.
They hadn't said much during their travels. Occasionally someone attempted at small talk, but it never lasted. Out of the three, Tiriel was definitely the most quiet. She did not participate in the attempts at friendly conversation, and kept herself reserved in her thoughts. Thoughts about how her kind was doing back in her home country. Had the fighting already begun? Were the bodies already piling up? How was her father doing?
Her less than pleasant thoughts were gratefully interrupted by Theron's voice. Her green eyes blinked multiple times before her mind understood exactly which words had been said. Her head then swiveled to the golden fae, Imani, who offered her solution. Tiriel wasn't sure what to make of the situation. Would they stick together, or would they send her off to fend for herself? A low rumble in her stomach signaled her hunger, and Tiriel's body caved in embarrassment. "I don't care what we do, as long as we get some grub. And then after that a chance to rest my paws perhaps, before we go any further." Tiriel shifted her weight from paw to paw, emphasizing her discomfort. As she raised her paws and shifted her footing, her bloody paw prints became visible. Never had she ever had to walk such a distance, and her paws were raw and covered in blood. She had not said anything during their travels, had not asked them to slow their pace. Tiriel was the biggest of all four of them, and so she would not be the weakest. It was not in her nature to admit a weakness, but instead to power through. But she had to admit, the chance to rest and soak her paws in a whispering creek was beginning to sound fantastic.
After speaking, Tiriel glanced at the wolves around her for their reactions. Would they let her stay? Or did they expect her to leave? Despite everything, Tiriel felt almost comfortable in their company. Once they'd left the tunnel's area, the caramel coated fae had been unable to spot any of her isle companions. She knew it was unlikely that she was the only one to make the journey, but the thought of traveling alone to find her brothers and sisters was nerve wracking. This continent was large. It could take her forever to find any one of them. She was better off just staying put, with wolves she could tolerate.
Tags: @theron, @imani, @nuru Words: 654 Notes: Wow you all had long ones xD Hope you don't mind my shorter version.
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