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 Winter Forage

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Faereni

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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:36 pm

The scent would remain until right around the snow melt and the dropping of more cloven hooves on the ground. Her time for adding to the populace would be done then with the increase of light in the day would close up shop. Not that she would be aware of any of the changes, the expressions from her wrist and ankles had always been unnoticeable to her. Her instincts were tuned to protecting herself than advertising her existence even if her body felt otherwise. That pink coloring didn't help her blend in, after all.

Standing high on her toes she dawdled, taking far too long to respond outside of several hasty nods as she confronted and debated her situation there with two predators. The gruffer one, the one that had chased her and was now calm as the after-snowfall and taking verbal jabs at the lonely one who now was trying to get her to close the gap a little more. She complied with slow and minuscule steps, decisively keeping herself a lunge's distance from the pair. If they turned on her, it would be a quick-draw's decision on whether she'd get away and survive and her instincts did not like that at all. Her ears flickered and her fuchsia eyes batted slowly when she settled in place, tentative and unsure but curious about the brand that had been in conversation earlier. Her fingers brushed against the canvas and rope, but her eyes stayed on the pair.

She felt silly being quiet in this particular instance. Strange, since she was typically quiet anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:10 pm

Ben was more than a little surprised that the deer girl had even come closer at all, throwing Zhaki a look of mild confusion and looking up at her as she approached. The strangeness of the situation got him on the verge of another toothy grin, but held back. Seeing the predator's teeth while so close wouldn't do well for her already skiddish state.

"Show us the brands!" Zhaki moved behind Ben,  decided it wasn't a good enough view, and pat his partner's shoulder until he turned with his back to Faereni.

The brands were nothing too serious, greyed and stretched, even losing some of the shine that scar tissue tended to have, like he had gotten them while young. Both symbols were different, one what appeared to be some kind of letter in fancy script and the other an elaborate pyramid, encircled in bold.

As Zhaki touched and ran his fingers over the scars, Ben couldn't help but turn his head to Faereni slightly, raising his eyebrows and looking at Zhaki with an almost annoyed look, like he wanted to say something.

He'd seen Zhaki's bare back before, he knew among the whip scars and burns that marred it, Zhaki too had one of the same marks out of his four. Of course, telling him would cause too much of a fuss, so he left that fact alone. No need to make things more complicated, he thought.
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:09 pm

She hadn't come too close and kept her visage down to not incite a reaction from a predator with eye contact, even though he was being quite complacent with his partner turning him around and touching the burned in designs. They were a different scar type from what she normally encountered, like that on the vetted bucks that had grown to sport prize-worthy racks hunters craved to take home.

There was hardly any movement from her as she processed what she was looking at, barely a twitch of her big ears that were up until now constantly checking the world or chasing off a bug. She was committing those symbols to memory, adding them to an encyclopedia of recognizable images and silhouettes that had been created by personal experiences or passed down from elders who have survived them. Granted, this array of knowledge took time to trickle through and match with comfortable precision. Those big bucks were able to remember mere shadows, so long as nothing else drew their attention. They weren't necessarily colorblind-- she and her ilk could see the color blue as if it were a beacon. Bright and standing out in a most unusual way. Reds and greens, however, were muted and blended that made it difficult to tell one from the other, causing them to focus on the shape of something to figure out if it was a threat or not. It took her a while to learn about those platforms in the trees, but now that she knew how odd they were in comparison, she wasn't as fooled.

The depth perception helped a lot with that though, one thing she was better at then them.

After a while she finally spoke, her voice a muse whose particular qualities became more apparent the longer her sentences punctuated with difficulties in producing those foreign-to-her words. "P...roper...ty.. to more than one?"
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:02 pm

At her question, the wolfman gave a great shrug of his large shoulders, turning away from them and picking up a small twig near his lap to play with as they spoke, his focus suddenly elsewhere despite the two being so close.

There was an odd, almost heavy sort of peace to him now that he had fed and slept enough, just as dense as the way the air felt on a gloomy, foggy day. His ears still swiveled about when sounds caught his attention, but he was nowhere near as alert as the day he had chased Faereni, nor as twitchy and nervous as Zhaki tended to be when alarmed.

"I s'ppose so, but it doesn't really matter now, does it?" He didn't turn back to face her when he spoke, his fingers busy picking apart the twig between them, peeling the thin, flaky bark off the sides with the help of black, claw-like fingernails.

Looking a little higher, one could see the shiny 'cuff' of scar around his wrists. Light, but there all the same. "I mean- can't say I remember any of it, and it sure isn't happening now. No use worrying about a past nobody remembers, eh?" He paused for a second, then added, a bit more with a mischievous grin.

"''Cept babyface over there. He worries about everything."

"I do not!" Zhaki scowled and grabbed the wolfman by the ear, pinching the tip between his fingers. "Like you should be talking, you hardly worry about buying yourself a proper pair of pants! The shorts don't count!"

"They're fine as they are!" And just like that, the two had forgotten Faereni was even there. For a second, anyways.
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:45 pm

When Ben sat down it put her in an advantageous position, and so she was able to edge a little closer by a small step or two. She bent at the waist, tilting forward as she investigated the skin of the wolf man a little more with soft lidded eyes. Yes, he was very much like one of those big veterans out there. Gruff, experienced in keeping to survival with methods that perhaps drove them to the brinks. She nodded at his words, then blinked with a furious speed as the baffling exchange occurred. She straightened up, watching them argue over... nothing?

Wide as dinner plates were her eyes when Zhaki launched at Ben's ear and gave it a good pinch and tug. Heart beating hard in a controlled panic; he was essentially poking the bear as far as she were concerned, and heck, even teasing a buck was a dangerous affair. She took a step back, just in case, though knew that Ben would go after his assailant first-- or at least typically that would be the case.

She tugged at the very top of her canvas wrap. "Uhm..."
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:10 pm

The wolfman's reaction was hardly aggressive, simply leaning away and shaking his head to escape his partner's grip. Though his ears weren't as sensitive as one would believe, the pinch and tug certainly wasn't pleasant in the slightest.

Zhaki moved to follow his leaning partner's wolfish ear, pushing his thumb against the back and folding it inside out, the thin cartilage lying back against his scruffy hair as a dog's would in the same situation. He left it alone after that, looking back at Faereni with satisfaction.

He wasn't so much teasing Ben (in his mind) as he was proving to the deer girl that the wolfman wouldn't do much in his current state, his light harassment only met with half-hearted swats or headshakes from Ben. He would made it up to him later, offer him another bottle of apple juice if he hadn't already stolen it all.

"See that? No need to be wary."

"Well that's a lie." His partner growled ever so slightly as he reached up to rub at his head, his dark ears springing upright once more, flicking hard in every direction as if still trying to free itself.

He wouldn't try anything on Faereni again- that much was true- but Zhaki's declaration that there was no need to be wary annoyed him. Of course there was, why deny it? "No, I won't be chasing anytime soon, don't you worry. You're too fast!"

Would insisting she was faster than him ease her in any way? He wasn't sure, and didn't quite care, more concerned about when the next time Zhaki slept was.
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:12 am

She still had not been entirely convinced. Ben and Zhaki's interactions were entirely fitting for pack mates, so of course Ben would not be a threat to Zhaki necessarily. Had she tried just that she was sure her arm would be in the latter's mouth. Ben had even refuted the point, stating the other's words were falsehoods. Despite that, he affirmed he wouldn't chase her on account that she was merely faster than him. Her brow wrinkled just enough to be noticeable along that blush pink brow. It wasn't very reassuring to bring up what she knew was one of her main defenses. Sure, she was fast, but all he had to do was catch her unaware, or tired.

A simple sound, innocuous to the situation as a whole, came from the depths of her throat. It was softer than a grunt, and was as a whole just a sign of acknowledgement that she had heard them.... she simply just didn't know what to respond at that point. No more steps forward, but none back as well, teetering on her toes as the antsy feeling came and went, ears flicking toward various forest sounds otherwise muffled by the snow.

How long had they been there now, she pondered, the field was likely picked clean and the herd moved on. Not that it mattered too much, she was as much part of the herd officially as Ben and Zhaki were to each other. Companions: but only just so. A blink of her eyes refocused them upon the two men. Her thoughts, however, wafted to the red roofs of the village outside of the forest, whose fields she had been stripping. Did she ask why they didn't join that herd? For a moment she worked on lacing those words together in something resembling her question, which was likely far off: "Not prop-erty to... village? Not herd?"
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:55 am

Ben ignored the light swat Zhaki gave him over the head at his less than assuring words to Faereni, rubbing his stubble-covered jaw in thought at her question. Property? Him? It was almost certain he had been at some point, but who here could know? He was free, hopefully. He abided by the rules to some extent, stayed low out of sight as well as he could being the giant he was while visiting the village. It wasn't likely he would fall into the same back-breaking path again, if his theory was true.

"Nah, even if they decided that I should be...still? They would never catch me. I could be the wolf in the woods or the dog down the street. I'm not limited to shifting into the one form you've seen, you know."

What he said was true, Ben had tried out several different forms before settling on his current, wolfish one, the rest not too terribly different. There were, however, limits to just how drastically his body would twist and contort. A wolf seemed most comfortable, maybe even modified to be stronger of quicker, so long as mass was taken from somewhere else, like his fur or in some situations, bone. A greyhound would be uncomfortable, and Skald forbid he ever attempted something other than a canine.

The corner of Zhaki's mouth turned up a bit, knowing the small difference between Ben's shifted forms and any other canine out there. He could find him, if he could get close enough. "Property? Certainly not. As for herd..." He brought his hand up to his jaw, thinking about how to explain it.

"Civil folk don't have herds, I'd say the closest example is a pack. Meaning hopefully only the oldest two can mate and hopefully the younger ones listen to them." He grinned, waited a few seconds, and was rewarded.

"That's not how a pack works!"

"Shh. Bad dog." Zhaki patted his now fully attentive partner's head, happy he had finally got to him as revenge for leaving him alone that morning..
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:11 pm

Her eyes widened again with surprise and confusion. Truthfully, a predator that could become other things would be her worst nightmare, had the concept ever occurred to her before now. Stories and fables had existed of such beasts but they had all been guardians... and while every animal had their own version, they all had very similar cues. Physical cues Ben lacked as far as she had ever known. Of course when stories are more or less orally transferred, such details could be forgotten, twisted, and outright changed.

Still, he was no silver buck.

"Shhhhifting.... form...?" Her voice continued to carry the unique traits despite the airy squeak of her nervous confusion making itself sorely apparent. The rest nearly fell out of notice to her as Zhaki took the opportunity to pick on his buddy. Her ears lowered and raised. "Quite a lot of fawn..."

The idea that the village was comprised of a mated pair and their children was a different level of shock. Her mouth became small and pursed as she tried to imagine the many seasons the brood mother had experienced. The whole thing didn't sit right. That described a colony of ants. She blinked again, but said nothing about the realization.
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:51 pm

Zhaki didn't catch the confusion on her face, assuming she was simply mulling it over and turning back to Ben, taking hold of his ear once again. "Right. There are little differences- oh, let's just say it. Ben forgets to shift all the way sometimes!" He chuckled as Ben jerked his head away, even scooting back and facing the two so he couldn't touch him again. "So if you ever see a tailless, whiskerless dog or a wolf with human eyes, it's probably Ben."

"It isn't that drastic..." He seemed to take a childish sort of offense at Zhaki's comment, like telling a boy he wasn't a good runner or a strong kicker. "Can't have everything when you've only got a limited amount of yourself to work with."

He reached up and rubbed his jaw, ears flicking as if trying to shake off the feeling of Zhaki's touch. His wilder side suspected it was a dominance display. His man side suspected Zhaki was simply getting too cocky. Either way, he had to come up with some way of turning the tables without scaring Faereni off.

It wasn't as if he was as interested in her presence as Zhaki. He had heard her, memorized her scent, seen her, chased her and finally decided she was too fast for his liking. With his initial curiosity satisfied, he had been ready to leave her be, simply coexist in the same area with no further interaction. However, he was bored, and boredom was no good for him. The thought of trying to take Zhaki down a notch without alarming their guest too much seemed like an interesting enough timekiller.

But for now, he couldn't think of anything. Facing the two, he turned his big brown gaze over to Faereni, tilting his head ever so slightly. "Wanna see? I can be a little dog if you want, or the wolf again."
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:23 pm

She certainly didn't see or catch on to the display between the two the way Ben mused. To her they were just juvenile bachelors outside of the rut. Friendly, keeping each other on toes as they pestered one another with no ill intent between them. No goal. While they discussed the shifting she absentmindedly twirled a small curl of the candy pink hair, gently scratching her cheek in the process. When the attention was upon her again she gave them a wide eyed stare, as though caught in some incriminating form.

He'd turn into something now? The wolf? She shook her head quick and short, almost like a vibration of a bumble-wing. Even if he wasn't going to chase her, she was still a little uncomfortable at the idea and lowered her eyes as part of her answer. "N-no..."

She was still wrapping her head around the fact that he was unlimited like a fable while lacking the silver coat she had known to be distinctive of her kind's hero. The rabbits had one of the dark prince of the moon... but rabbits were eccentric sorts to begin with...
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:30 pm

While Ben wouldn't have minded her thinking so, it wasn't as if he would willingly shift into many different animals. He had to think about how he was recreating his form, how his muscles would stretch and bunch up, where his joints shifted and connected, how the structure of his skull and jaw would change, as well as where exactly he could take parts of himself to add onto others, like making his bones much smaller and less dense to have enough to make a snout or elongated teeth. As well as the terrible soreness it brought his entire body, there were also things he was wary of changing, such as his ears, rather keeping the ears of a wolf while in his man form than risk accidentally disturbing one of the tiny bones inside and going deaf.

With his wolf form, the change came effortlessly, as if he were shifting back into what he was born in despite spending most of his time these days as a man. Had he turned into a small dog as he had offered, it would have been a rather big small dog, practically a poofball with all the extra mass that would have been left.

"Suit yourself." He shrugged and took another look around, looking for something else to do or say. He had run out of words, usually letting Zhaki do most of the talking while he slept nearby as a wolf.

Zhaki himself seemed at loss for words, the situation finally striking him as strange as it should have been. He had lured a half-deer to a half-wolf and had somehow got them communicating. Now all they needed was a plot twist and a little red hood to make an acceptable fairy tale.
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:59 pm

(ooc: Ooh nice add about the inner ear Like a Star @ heaven )

As they were part of the Skald's tapestry it was not too far from the truth that they were part of some distorted story of their own making. The red hood could even be represented here as the deer-girl's pink hue was in the very least part of the same color family. At a stretch, if you squinted.

Her ears dipped low at the side of her head as she realized she had soured the feelings or flow of the party. Granted, had she agreed to have him change forms for her, the vision of a large Pomeranian or similar breed would have been just as shocking as if he turned up as the big bad wolf again. While she was as wise as she were new to the world outside of her forest... formally aware of the wide breadth of the animal kingdom as one of them, the man made alterations were foreign to her. She could recognize them as fellow animals but it would be akin to tasting pistachio ice cream when you expected mint. She fidgeted, releasing more of that scent as her wrists rubbed against the canvas that hugged her as a lumpy bundle.

Distracted, her head swiveled left and right as she checked up on nature's clues which just furthered how antsy she was feeling, though did not supply her with any rhyme or reason to need to leave. When you had no schedule, time did not matter. When you did not fear the rain or being wet, the weather did not either. Her herd had long left, but she could find them again. She, like them, rarely left the forest. It wouldn't be as though they would migrate to another town's surrounding land. Not unless forced by the shrinking of their safe space. The humans here weren't keen on destroying the hunting grounds, despite how they used the wood for many things--shelter and tool.

Her gaze eventually re-fixated upon the two men again, and more intently on Zhaki. Like Ben, she was expecting him to carry the conversation at this point.
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:31 pm

(Thanks! And sorry about the wait, it slipped my mind)

Zhaki himself was having trouble thinking of ways to continue the conversation, his gaze following Faereni's as she looked around awkwardly as well. He looked at the sky momentarily, then at Ben, as if urging him for help.

Ben's rough hands couldn't help but find their way back to his ears again after all the touching, rubbing them between his fingers as he thought of what to say. Behind him, his scruffy, slightly curly tail had begun to swish about slowly, sending little sprays of frost around. The minor curl and the quick moves, along with his easy posture at the time gave him more of a doggish vibe than usual.

"Wolves?" He said simply, turning to see what was so interesting in the forest before looking back at their Little Pink Running Hoof. (cringe) "Seen any? I could use some company that isn't a street cur...dogs really aren't much fun to be around."

Zhaki's brow furrowed a bit at his partner's question, having assumed- and said- that Ben didn't seem to care whether or not he had companionship. Though he hadn't been wrong just awhile ago, like usual with Ben, his mood had shifted.

The scent coming from Faereni had slowly begun to stir something up in the wolfman's chest, the smell of deer and spring air, winter creeping to some other part of the world and the rut, most of all- speaking. Having a real- if not somewhat strained and awkward- conversation with others after a full meal and a good day. Though he, like others that had suddenly appeared in the world, didn't remember much about his life before, he did have the vaguest sense of togetherness beginning to creep forward. The smell of deer fur and blood, of milk-fed pups and warm mothers, the feeling of having his own form curled up with familiar others.

Looking at the deer girl, having her scent nearby had reminded him how much he wanted togetherness back.

"No need to hold back anything. I'll be sure that none of them ever pick you to fill their bellies."

Alright, not the best word choice, or the best question, as if there were wolves around, he would have sniffed them out by now, but it would do to keep the conversation going.
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:09 am

"The... sheep... think they are the same..." She quietly noted with the usual doleful look in her eyes. Her ears low still before perking up as she gazed from Ben, to Zhaki, and then toward the north. "There is a den..."

Unless they had been moved out of necessity, as they all do. It was a rather small family group by now, perhaps no more than eight members total as some of of the children had grown enough by this season to forge their own territories. Numbers were irrelevant, however. It only took two to take down a lone doe if they kept her from getting away. If they tired her out and were quick to leap when she faltered. More guaranteed victory if they had more, of course... but then they sought larger prey like elk or moose in parts much farther from the claims of Uhrwerkstadt. The harassment from the bipedal hunters were likely enough to push them as well. The humans were certain about their roads and fields and livestock.

Her ears flickered again as he made a weak...joke? About them not filling their bellies with her. She responded in kind, as much as she could. "They would... need to catch... me... first...?"
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:50 pm

"Oh?" He didn't quite understand what she meant when bringing up sheep, but the thought that she had found wolves when he couldn't intrigued him. "To the North, correct?" He followed her gaze, ears pricked up tall as if trying to hear them from his place.

Zhaki cleared his throat, a bit unnerved by his partner's sudden interest in finding a pack. Though he truly wished him well despite their less than civil meeting and the fact that he saw himself as a sort of babysitter to Ben, he couldn't deny the fact that just walking around with Ben brought them in more job offers. After all, who would you hire for heavy farmwork or guarding? The man built like a simple mercenary or the one built like a tank?

"We've still got work to do, remember, Ben? We have to earn enough to buy a cow so you can keep your bones strong. You don't want to have anymore little pains, do you?

"'Course not." The larger man held back his growl, though one more attuned to body language might have been able to note the sudden tensing of his shoulders. He knew exactly what Zhaki was up to, but chose to leave it alone in favor of his company. Without someone familiar nearby when visiting the noisy village, as he did occasionally, he feared he might have already snapped up an especially loud child or a rude man.

Still, he couldn't help but continue asking the deer girl questions. It didn't matter to him at that second that now that he had a general direction, he could most likely sniff them out. She had peaked his interest, and as far as he was concered, she was the only one with answers. "You'll show me sometime, hm? How many? I'm bigger than them in wolf form, correct?"
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:36 am

"Mmhm."

It was the tension before the removal of young bucks from the regular herd. Her eyes lowly pinged between the two guys as Zhaki tried to subtly reign in whatever thoughts Ben was having. She stepped back to ease herself out of the situation before Ben had directed his attention on her again.

She didn't have all the answers, at least not ones she could give comfortably. She was not a social butterfly of the forest, her observations were not equal to as if she had friends in all the right places across all the walks of life. Pale pink fingers combed through whisps of silken hair that bounced back into shapely curls. Her touch migrated to the base of her antlers for a brief scratch. She didn't answer about escorting him to the den-- she didn't know where it was exactly-- and skipping right over that in favor of shrugging to the question of numbers and nodding to the comparison of size.

Then her eyes found Zhaki again, still feeling as though she had chiseled a rift into their tiny little pack that was cracking before her.
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Kodiak

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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:41 pm

"I'm going to slit a notch in your ear if you don't get that hand away." It was Ben, who's attention was quickly flicked over to Zhaki as his smaller partner tried to pat his head, this time in apology. He'd abused his touch privileges, and he growled even as Zhaki grinned sheepishly and raised his hands. Still, it wasn't real aggression, more like the soft warning snap a housedog would make when poked one too many times.

"They're weirdly soft for a scruffy guy like you!" Came Zhaki's excuse.

Ironically, Faereni's step back drew Ben's attention again. "Scare you? Don't worry about it, I'm not planning on eating him until I get my cow. Who needs friends when you have a good old dairy cow?"

"Who needs pet dogs when you have socialization skills?" Zhaki flicked the tip of his tail at Ben, making him swipe at it half-heartedly before turning back to their guest.

"So, I'm running out of things to bring up. Did you suddenly appear here, too? Or are there more of you some..where." He slowed down at the last part, realizing that if there were an entire herd of her kind, she would most likely be with them.

"Jackanape." Ben cupped a hand around his mouth and 'whispered' 'quietly'.
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:07 am

She watched the banter, aware of them and their actions, her and hers. Ben tried to draw her back with words that confused her even more. Cannibalism was uncommon but she just about took him seriously when he spoke of eating his friend once he had a cow to replace him by. It made little sense, even for her limited understanding.

Luckily the banter continued, taking away any need to respond. Her pink, dirt-stained toes flexed in the cold earthen floor for a renewal of circulation. Her tail shivering beneath the folds of her haphazard canvas and rope dress. Her eyes lifted to Zhaki as he questioned her origins, one of those things she couldn't give an answer to and her statement would stay uncomfortably open-ended.

"I... have always been here..."

As unusual and out of place she was, with her hue, her shape, her voice and eyes. Still, she had not run into more of her kind-- even normal-colored ones. That didn't mean they didn't exist... roaming the very cities she avoided, comfortably adapted to the civilized world.

"I have not seen."

Her ears flickered as she caught the whisper, and the strange formation Ben had taken on to deliver that one word. Her brow furrowed, unsure what the word meant and lacked all context clue to sort out herself. "???"
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:25 am

Though it almost certainly wasn't on her mind, cannibalism was never all that far from Ben's. Of course, he had no real intention of eating Zhaki (though he might have teasingly claimed so) but had he the chance, he knew he wouldn't pass up a dead or dying pup, even a person if he thought there would be no consequence.

Well, maybe not that last one, even though his first thoughts didn't seem to have much issue with the idea. Better to stay low and well-behaved, play along with the rules this world had to offer- rules that Zhaki would be more likely to learn and teach. After all, those loud, pleasant cities could be great fun once he'd stuffed his ears with cotton to muffle the more higher-pitched sounds.

He noted Faereni's shivering and tilted his head, looking down at her feet curiously as Zhaki took his turn to speak.

"Oh? I can keep an eye out for them, if you'll keep an eye of any wolves you might see."

Silly attempt at a compromise for all three of them, Ben knew what was happening. Behind his bored-looking facial expression, he actually paid attention to his partner's words. Of course he would be looking out for more of Faereni's kind, whether or not she looked for his. Of course Zhaki would try to smooth down the hairs on Ben's back by bringing up wolves.

I'm not a dog. The larger man thought. He liked Zhaki, but his partner's need for stability grew irritating at times. If he ever felt the desire to leave Zhaki and his 'civil' troubles behind, he knew the man would make it sting more than a simple argument.
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:28 pm

She was cold though no more than she ever was. She had fur over her skin, but it was peach fuzz in comparison to any of the animals they could think of. Still it was not as though she would get frost bitten, thanks to the countercurrent exchange going on in her veins this very moment. Her fidgeting was all due to being restless, as by now she would have moved on. Still, she pointed a slender finger toward the north just to remind them that that was where the den was likely about. Then, keeping to the distance she had reclaimed, she lowered herself to sit there in the brittle leaves and frost, carefully organizing her legs so that she could get up in a hurry if need be. It was still several seconds of a disadvantage, but if they missed the window she was confident she could get by.

She wasn't sure if Zhaki and Ben would ever come across another of her. Certainly not in these forests surrounding that village. At the same time she couldn't be sure. She had to have been born from some where and while as she sat there and thought about it she felt like she appeared out of nowhere, like the moon out from clouds, she was also very sure she had grown here but her deepest memories were only that of grazing with deer and basking in light of not the moon, but the white stag that (she believed) became it. How big was she then? Did she even have her rack? Such details hadn't occured to her, then or now.
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Sun Apr 30, 2017 9:51 pm

Zhaki felt a little more than satisfied that he had got her to sit down, especially in front of Ben, who had chased her across a camp entirely unprovoked, after all. Another one of his big, easy grins tugged at the corners of his mouth and he looked down at his partner, holding back on touching him again in case Faereni increased the distance between them.

He was more interested in getting them to interact now, having already run out of things to say. He would have liked to show her around the village, to be the one to take her by the arm and show her an entire world of things she might have never imagined, but sadly, that didn't seem to be a possibility- for now, anyways. Just as much as Ben found the random noise annoying or disorienting, she might find it frightening or dangerous, she did seem to stay mostly true to a deer's temperament, after all.

Ben yawned and turned away, then rubbed the side of his whiskered face, just as he did each time he was being kept up from a nap. Had it been fifteen, maybe twenty minutes already? Zhaki couldn't tell, but it definitely seemed too soon for another nap, considering he had just woken up awhile back. He would have to work on convincing him to change his sleep schedule, there was hardly a reason (that he could think of) to be awake all throughout the day when it meant sleeping in so many short snatches, especially when most work went on in long daylight hours.

He took his pack off and dug through it, soon taking note of one of those glass, juice-filled bottles that Ben found so irresistible.

Breakfast! He was sure Ben might have snatched up some poor creature or another to eat, but Zhaki himself hadn't had anything but the bitter leaf Faereni had offered him. The thought of sitting down and sharing a warm meal in the cold air made his long black tail swish in excitement.

"What do you eat, besides usual deer things? Have you had bread before, cheese? You're already sitting down, care to share a meal with us?"

"Birds." Ben said it plainly, reaching over to the snowy walls of his fort and digging one away, scooping out a dead rabbit and looking it over nonchalantly. He had stalked and killed it earlier, but hadn't yet eaten it, his teethmarks still clear and red on it's broken neck. "Not all the time, but I saw a deer chew up a bird the other day...weird to see, but hey, protein is protein, eh?"

"Ben! Put that away! Or at least, don't eat that thing raw. You're going to catch some disease one day."

"Will not! It's entirely normal!"

"It's entirely disgusting, is what it is!"

"Do you eat meat?" Ben ignored his partner's comments, turning back to Faereni. "Sometimes, if you leave carrion out, it's the elk that get to it first. Strip what they can off the bones before something with teeth better suited to it can arrive." He didn't hold his prey out to her, but shook it in his hand slightly. "Would you try it? Even cooked?"
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Mon May 01, 2017 12:02 am

Not unless she got involved with one of those small herds treated like goats at a petting zoo. Those fearless, or comfortable, fauna that wandered a localized area getting pet and rummaging through people's pockets and hands for bits of corn. Of course the lofty lady that was the pink hued Faereni would look bizarre among them, and moreso as she too tried feeling for pockets hiding treats, letting people touch the peach-fuzz of her skin. Perhaps an idea too strange. She only just fit in here in the forest, so long as you thought of her as some amnesiac spirit of nature, even if she was not.

Her attention stayed fairly focused upon them, twice as much now that she had made herself vulnerable, watching Zhaki go through his bag and fetch a drink. Her head bobbed as she nosed the air for scent before the conversation bade her respond. “No..... Yes.”

And Ben's comment about the lesser known, grittier habits of deer. Her cheeks flushed with some embarrassment for her kind. “The madness...” she mumbled. It was not entirely sure why they would take eggs and nestlings, or prey upon the unlucky. If it had only occurred in winter it could have been believed that they needed the substance, but it had been documented in various points of the year. Faereni herself never partook, and found the ones that did a little.... difficult... to be around. They were aggressive, dominant, and she feared them as much as she did any other predator. She kept quiet while the two had their exchange about that rabbit Ben had caught and was fully prepared to eat raw.

She had to side with Ben on this, unsure what the fuss was about 'cooking'. “Cooked?”

Then she realized she was being offered meat. She wasn't sure how to respond to that. Her brow furrowing and her hand, closed, coming to rest a knuckle against her top lip. It was as if he offered her the infamous apple given to Eve....
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Mon May 01, 2017 9:55 pm

"Nervous? Don't be. It's the way things are." Ben's voice grew surprisingly passive at this point, looking down at his catch and flexing his hand, it's limp, furry body moving along with it, just barely draping over his entire palm and fingers.

"It isn't wrong in any way, you do it too. Eating other living things, that is. What's the difference between grass blood and rabbit blood? Just because a blade of grass doesn't scream, doesn't mean it we absolutely know it doesn't feel pain. Anything, anything that isn't a plant is a thief of life, and even they do it as well."

Zhaki had almost cut his partner off- afraid he might offend their guest with his comparison between tearing apart the rabbit and calmly eating grass when he caught the look on his face.

Brows furrowed, eyes focused carefully on the rabbit in his hands as he tried to remember something that wouldn't come back to him. It was the first time he'd seen Ben even attempt what he and so many others that had been miraculously spawned into the world had attempted- trying to recall a past they may or may not have even had.

"It's almost...honorable, I'd say. To be the one that rips the life out of a creature, fill your mouth with its blood and its...it's spirit, I'd say. Rabbits, deer, foxes, wolves...we never die of old age, do we? Never. It's starvation, freezing to death, sickness, or getting torn to shreds by something impassive. It's an honor to have the mind to kill quickly and often..."

Zhaki couldn't help but reach down and clasp his partner's great shoulder in his hand, giving him a small, affectionate shake. He hadn't known Ben had any sort of belief at all, the large man simply taking up his days with eating and sleeping and testing how fast he could run. The fact that he had spoke so long and so purely sure of himself was still trumped by Ben having said something he held so dear to his heart at all.

He'd let the two talk on, no input from him yet. While- or if- they did so, he would begin to set up a fire, scooping up the same rocks and firewood as they had used before and set up their makeshift spit.

He did have to note though, since she hadn't known what cooking was, the sight of him and Ben almost setting one of her own kind on fire before eating it a few days prior seemed a lot more confusing. (And disturbing, as well as slightly hilarious to him.)
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Forage   Fri May 05, 2017 1:47 am

She didn't feel it was necessarily wrong, she was fully aware of the infamous circle of life, the way things are. She did not hate the predator for feasting on prey, it was their combined duty. Her ears sat low, the conversation was a little uncomfortable, if only because she was unaware of how to respond to it still. They flicked upward when he used unfamiliar terminology. She wondered if it was like that 'moral' explanation Zhaki had given hours ago. It sounded like a twin of the word, anyway. "Hon...er...able?"

Faereni was older than a lot of animals, and yet remained low on all of their hierarchies. It was true, rarely any--if at all-- of the forest dwellers died of old age. At least, not in the peacefully-in-bed sense that he spoke of anyway. The elderly failed to keep up, they strained themselves in the battle for mates, they didn't keep the weight they ate to gain. Age simply hastened all the ways they could die, and someday even she would fall victim to it, but hopefully after she had created and left a legacy of her own. Unlikely, given the running lack of success of her seasonality as well as her obliviousness.

Her attention shifted to the fire-maker, curiosity yanking her away from the philosophy of their roles to admire the ingenuity of the action. She had seen fire, she had seen them roasting meat over it... she just never understood that it was 'cooking' and that they would have to do that at all. Fire was a rampant thing, brought on by a stray bolt of lightning, or the painful combustion of a far too dry summer. Or the stupidity of intelligent people-kind. Yet often it was tempered, restricted... used...
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