hunger of the pine
#1
i'm gon' suture up my future
A forest rose above the snowblown slopes tonight  not of trees, but of antlers, tangled into a formidable thicket over their bearers' brows. Caribou loitered on the hills of Westmoore. Wind stirred up flurries at their feet, and a frosty mist hung over the crowd, making it difficult to guess where it ended and began; they were hundreds strong, for certain, but the true extent of them was as foggy as the weather. Unease rippled through the herd as those on the fringes shifted and murmured amongst themselves, for predators were watching from afar, and although the reindeer knew not to panic yet, a chase was clearly imminent.

Tilian crouched down some eighty feet uphill. Snow dusted his blue-black coat, falling freely from the starry skies above; he could taste an incoming storm in the air, and he intended to bring down a meal for his tribemates before the need to seek shelter grew too great. The man glanced over his shoulder and nodded once, then crept towards the herd, his frame held low. The animals kept on nosing through the snow for lichen, but their eyes followed him steadily. As Tilian closed twenty feet, they began to back away. Don't spook them, now. He halted, trained his eyes on the beasts' legs, and let out a low wuff.

The caribou scrambled and huddled tighter together. Their limbs jumbled together, no more than a clattering array of identical legs to the novice hunter  but Tilian was hardly new to this. He picked out a set that stumbled: an elderly bull, by the size of its rack. Its joints were probably beginning to weaken, at that age. This individual was a few layers in, but when the herd started running, it would fall behind quickly. "There," Tilian breathed to his companions, jerking his muzzle towards the old bull. "Twenty-two points. Arthritic."

As he watched the bull, his instincts seized on a discrepant flash of movement off to the side. On the very outskirts of the herd, paces away from the next-nearest animal, a young, heavy-bellied cow finally ambled closer before putting its head back down to graze. The rest had grown too tense to eat, but this one was blithe, unperturbed. Tilian squinted. The eye that faced him stared blankly, milky with cataracts. He'd been so busy combing through the herd that he hadn't noticed the most obvious choice. Plenty of the caribou were carrying calves at this point in the season, but pregnant and half-blind? That was almost too easy.

He didn't bother to point this one out  his comrades had almost certainly seen it on their own. "Which one?" he hissed over his shoulder. His ears twitched back and forth between the two targets. Tilian knew which one he'd choose, but it wasn't his decision to make. He'd leave it up to the rest of the party.

for @Rowtag and any other ounamis who'd like to join! no more than 3 hunters total, please.
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#2
Intervention
What is ethyr, but the foundation of nature?

Though, the hunter has chosen his prey, there is another within the herd that has yet to catch his eye. There is a doe, white as the snows that consume Alyeska. She is frantic in her movements, spotting something that the others cannot see. Yet, the doe goes unnoticed by the others, and they continue to graze the lichen hidden beneath the snow. ...But there is something else about her, beyond the brilliance of her white coat. Something that seems almost... unnatural. 


@Tilian @Rowtag

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#3
THE HUNT HAD BEEN CALLED, THE SONG OF OLD RINGING CLEAR IN ITS PURPOSE, ITS HOLD ABSOLUTE IN EACH WOLF WHO HEARD ITS TONE, THE NOTES RISING AND FALLING, HIGHER, FILLING THE CHEST AND LEAVING HIS EARS ECHOING WITH THE FADING TAIL OF SOUND. TODAY WAS A MOMENT HE HAD BOTH ANTICIPATED AND DREADED, A MOMENT WHEN HE COULD PROVE HIMSELF AFTER THESE LAST MOONS OF HAND HOLDING AND CODDLING. WHILE MANY HAD ALWAYS BELIEVED OUNAMIS TO BE RUTHLESS, VICIOUS IN THEIR DEMAND UPON ITS MEMBERS, THERE WAS EXTENSIVE TRAINING CAST BEFORE EACH, RIGOROUS IN ITS INTENT OF DRAWING OUT ONLY THEIR VERY STRONGEST. NOT EVERY WOLF WHO BORE THEIR BANNER IN THE FRONT LINES, MANY LEFT TO THE SUPPORT ROLE IN THE BACKGROUND, VITAL YET UNGLORIFIED. THIS WAS THE PLACE THAT HAD BEEN PROMISED HIM, THAT MOCKERY IN HIS FELLOW GENERATIONS EYES. THE WEAKEST OF THEM, THE SMALLEST, THE FLOWERY. A SINGER, A RUNNER, LITHE WHERE THEY HAD BEGUN TO PUT ON THE WEIGHT. IT WAS BUT ANOTHER THING THAT WHISPERED OF A LONG LIFE, A CHANCE IN THE CRUELTY OF THE WORLD THEY LIVED. IT WAS AN AWFUL THING, TO HEAR THE WHISPERS BEHIND HIS BACK, TO HEAR THE DOUBT IN THE WORDS OF HIS KIN, BELIEVING HE WOULDN’T SURVIVE UNTIL ADULTHOOD. THE RUNT DOOMED TO DIE. TO BE GIVEN THIS CHANCE TO BECOME MORE THAN THE FAILURE, THE WALKING OMEN, HE WOULD CLING ON WITH EVERYTHING HE HAD. THE RUN HAD BEEN LONG, THE TWO TWO THETAS KEEPING A FAST PACE, ONE THAT HE KEPT UP WITH EASE. AT LEAST THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT HIM THAT WAS A SUCCESS.

THE WESTMOORES WERE A PLACE OF PLENTY, A PROMISED LAND THAT OFFERED FOOD TO THE STRONG AND CAPABLE. WHEREAS SOME LANDS HELD RABBITS AND BIRDS, IT WAS HERE THAT THE GREAT HERDS CAME, FEEDING ON THE GOLDEN SLOPES, FILLING THEIR BELLIES FOR THE LONG MIGRATIONS AND CHILLING WINTER, THEIR  GIRTHS WIDE WITH NEW LIFE WITHIN. THE AIR HELD THAT MUSK OF THE MASSES, THE HORIZON BLURRED WITH THE HEAT RADIATING FROM THEIR BODIES, TURNING THE FROST TO WATER, A HALO OF DAWN. THE HOUR WAS YET EARLY, AND FOR THAT, IT WAS STILL DARK, THE LIGHT JUST BEGINNING TO STREAK THROUGH THE VALLEYS IN THE MOUNTAIN RANGE AND THE TOWERING PINES THAT LURCHED AGAINST THE STEEP HILLS. THE YOUTH BREATHED IN THE SMELLS, HIS NARROW CHEST BILLOWING WITH EACH INHALE, ONLY FOR EACH BREATH TO FALL OUT WHITE AND HOT. THEY HAD ENTERED THE BORDERS OF THE LAND NOT AN HOUR BEFORE, THE WIDE EXPANSE STRETCHING OUT INTO THE MISTS, LEAVING THE SHIFTING FORMS OF THE CARIBOU VISIBLE, YET HIDDEN. THE SCOUTING HAD BEGUN NOT LONG AFTER, THEIR FEW NUMBERS MOVING OUT, CIRCLING AROUND THE HERD, LOOKING, ALWAYS LOOKING FOR THE EASIEST PREY, THE WEAK LINK IN THE IMPENETRABLE WALL OF ANTLERS AND COURSE HIDE. 

THERE HAD BEEN A NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS THAT HE COULD SEE, HIS WIDE AZURE EYES SCANNING THROUGH THE SHIFTING FOREST OF LEGS, FOCUSED AS MUCH AS A YOUTH COULD IN THE TEDIOUS ACT OF WATCHING AND WAITING. WHEN THEY MET BACK UP AT THE STEEP HILL OVERLOOKING THE MASSES, NOCTIS SPOTTED THE DARK SHADOWS OF THE OLDER MALES, HIS TAIL WAGGING BEFORE HURRYING TO CLOSE THE DISTANCE. TILIAN A STRANGER TO THE PACK, YET SLOWLY ESTABLISHING HIMSELF AS A CAPABLE SURVIVOR WASTED LITTLE TIME, IMMEDIATELY PICKING OUT A FEW NEARBY TARGETS."I saw a white cow," HE WHISPERED, SHIFTING IMPATIENTLY, THE MEMORY OF THE SIGHT OF THE CREATURE NEAR THE KNOLL OF THE EASTERN FLANK. SHE HAD SEEMED EDGY, AWARE OF SOME DANGER THAT THE REST HAD YET TO PICK UP. LIKE A GHOST IN CROWD OF THOSE YET BREATHING, SHE HAD BEEN BEAUTIFUL. "I didn't know they came in that color." 


OC: Lazy entry!
@Tilian @Rowtag @Into the White
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#4


Rowtag
Beauty lies within the beast

Rowtag had followed his tribesmen, his molten gaze lingering on the blue-black hue of Tilian, narrowing on the man's backside as large paws trailed the loose powder of snow beneath him. His frame was rigid, tense with the anticipation of the hunt. His primal gaze loitering against the herd, trailing the mass of antlers as he sought to pick out the one they would have advantage over. It was then that Tilian picked out an elder bull, some layers in with a formidable rack. His movements were stiff, its joints straining with the onset of arthritis. But alas, he followed the man's gaze trailing to find a cow, plump with calf. Her blind eyes illuminating as a weakness, but none the less, she could still pose just as much a threat if not more as the arthritic bull. The man's question would go unanswered as his mind eagerly twisted over the possible outcomes, his carnivorous grin trailing thinly across inky lips, tattered ears twisting and listening; there was a third, pointed out by the boy as he approached. His hell fire gaze sought her out, lingering on the eastern flank, her alabaster hide captivating him momentarily, her movements frantic in an almost a hypnotic way. He would still, his frame halting a few paces off from the boy in front of him, his tail laying loosely against his rump, his crown lowering, tattered ears pressing forward as his molten gaze lingered upon her unnatural beauty. Obsidian nose twitched trailing the wind as it shifted toward them. There was something off about that cow, something that had his nerves on end, quietly his gaze would shift to the boy, his smaller frame appearing to be more agile, faster "You," he would hiss along the wind his tones were deep, hoarse almost as they seeped from his jowls. His molten gaze would steady on the kid. "Go 'round them, to the hind. Stay low and don't spook them." he'd state, his molten gaze darting back to Tilian. "That one there," he'd note, his fiery gaze trailing to the alabaster queen, heavily guarded. "There is something strange about that one, perhaps she was descended upon us by the gods?" his tones were low, "I will follow you brother, choose which we shall take down." his tones were low, spoken only to be heard by the man before him before turning back to the child, "Wait for the signal before engaging them, you along with Tilian will spook them up, drive them into the deeper snow banks." his tones remained as they were low and hushed along the wind.  




Speech @Tilian @Noctis @Into the White
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#5
i'm gon' suture up my future
"I saw a white cow."

Tilian narrowed his eyes at the boy, then followed his gaze into the herd. It took a moment to spot the animal Noctis had noted — its coat was so perfectly matched to the surrounding snow that it appeared more like the absence of a caribou than the presence of one, its outline disrupting those of the surrounding beasts as it shied and pranced. Once he'd found it, though, it was difficult to look away. Something about the cow was enthralling, yet... strange. Perverse.

A chill lanced its way down Tilian's spine; he felt his hackles rise, and not at the cold. Abruptly, a memory resurfaced. An eldra at the Oath had told stories to him and his siblings, tales other tribes would've deemed too dark for their young, impressionable ears. Some generations ago, an albino had been born. Beneath a pelt of pure white, her skin had blushed like a kitten's, and her brilliant pink eyes had flinched from the sun.

The Oath had culled her at once. Evidently, the same could not be said for caribou.

"I didn't know they came in that color."

"They don't." A slight growl frosted the tips of Tilian's words. He breathed out in a low huff, forcing his fur to lie flat. Still, his muscles were tense now. Nothing about this felt right anymore. Had he been working alone, he would have considered abandoning this herd altogether, but he couldn't show such weakness to his packmates.

You are a warrior of Ounamis now, and you will fight.

Rowtag was doling out orders, addressing the boy Noctis first. "You. Go 'round them, to the hind. Stay low and don't spook them." Tilian met his comrade's eyes evenly as the other wolf spoke to him. "That one there... there is something strange about that one. Perhaps she was descended upon us by the gods?"

"Perhaps," the man allowed, though something in his bones told him that no god was responsible for the cow's anomaly.

"I will follow you, brother. Choose which we shall take down." Rowtag's attention switched back to their young companion now. "Wait for the signal before engaging them. You, along with Tilian, will spook them up, drive them into the deeper snowbanks."

Tilian nodded and shifted his weight from paw to paw. Rowtag's plan was a solid one, and he appreciated that the choosing of their actual target had been left to him. "The bull will supply the most meat at the least risk. On those legs, it cannot afford to kick as well as run," he told the other wolves, setting his sights on the animal he spoke of. "The pregnant cow's blindness will not stop it from fighting back. And that white one..." Tilian shook his head as he trailed off. "I won't touch it, you understand? We leave that cow alone."

That said, he went ahead and got moving. He gave the herd a wide berth and stalked along on his belly to keep from agitating them any further, and he glanced continually at the boy beside him, ensuring that Noctis did the same. Once they were in position, Tilian looked to his partner again to ensure they were both ready. Do as you're told, boy, and don't get kicked. Finally he straightened up; there was no need for sneaking about anymore. The caribou were shaking with collective tension. Tilian bounded forth like a gunshot.

@Noctis @Rowtag @Into the White
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#6
The absolution in their resolve, their concentration was something to be admired, probing and marking out the weak, the vulnerable. It was even more impressive to witness them give the strange cow no more than a fleeting glimpse, offering monotone whispers on what she could be. To Noctis, it was a conundrum he couldn't quite let go, not after seeing her up close, not after seeing the pale, phantom skin she hosted, the breath of frost that made her hide seem as if it had been forged from blown glass and snow. Unlike the albino rabbits he would sometimes see in the dunes of the moorlands, this creature held no color. She wasn't an albino... she was something else. There was nothing quite earthly about her. A riddle, a mirage given wing by the winds and howling snows, she was there, and then she was gone. A folklore brought to life before his very eyes, as if his imagination plucked the poetic hymns from the elderly bard of Ounamis lips. Sent away with an impatient flick of the older wolves presence, the yearling couldn't even truly find it within himself to be offended by their lack of direction. A minimal plan offered, a fractured communication, the sprinter was left pondering whom they might target. 

Perhaps it was a test, a scrutiny of his ability to coordinate with his tribesmen under split second decisions. There had always been little time, and few chances, to grow up in Ounamis. Not with the winter creeping ever closer. Not with the threats of invaders and the land itself nipping at their heels. It was a simple affair they held with Alyeska, one where they bent to her will, or perished in the frost. Mother had always said life wasn't fair, a victim of circumstance and pride. Even now, with his path taking him further from her side than ever before, Noctis could remember those words, the futility of escaping their one true foe. Survival was a test of ice and fire, a clash of the unrelenting chill, and their ability to wait out the storm. Coddling was against their nature, and so while he was uncertain as to what would come next, he felt a comfort in knowing that once the others made the first move, he was given the opportunity to prove he was more than a runt. Skirting the herd, those thoughts rattling amongst his brain with each cool step, the black shadow kept low amongst the barren, scraggly shrubs that broke their way through the ice. They were really all he had to shield himself from the caribou's eyes, his luminescent sapphire eyes keeping a tense attention on the large bucks that warded their ranks. 

Finding a path through the bramble, he made quick work of the slanting slope, his legs burning as he forced his way to the peak, salmon tongue lulling against his chin before he made it to his vantage point. From there he could sense the presence of the larger male, feel the heat of his mass, the faintest of brush of his belly against the crisp snow. From there, he could see their numbers more clearly, whilst at the same time trying to put some sort of barrier between himself and the herd should they take to a panic. Even as he traced his eyes back from whence he came, to see the other male at the furthering flanks, Noctis couldn't resist searching their ranks once more, drawn to the enigma that was this oddity in color and essence. There. Gliding along the masses, a tilling mess of earthen hues, she stood out like a drop of ice amongst a barren sea. Glancing about, unnerved, there was proof that she was aware of their presence. Was aware of the hunger that tainted the air around them. Squinting, he snorted. "STAY FOCUSED NOCT," he grunted, snapping his gaze back towards Tilian, a faint nod offered to the other. The excitement began to build, a hot, heavy stone in his chest that refused to relent no matter how many deep breathes he took. It was happening. Catching a glimpse of the male tensing, Noctis followed in kind, his feet kicking off the slippery snow, giving pursuit, his strides keeping pace with the heavier brute.


@Tilian @Rowtag @Into the White
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#7
Intervention
The hunter can always become the prey

She jolts, and this time, so do the others.

There is only one instinct in the mind of prey within the presence of predators: to flee and hope to escape the end of at least one of them. The caribou wail and they flee from the pack of wolves with a flurry of snow and clashing hooves. They are frantic and careless in their movements, often clashing into one another, but eventually the herd breaks into two, and the wolves must decide which to follow. In one herd, there is the white doe, clear as day in the midst of the others. In the other, there is the blind doe with the buck, her swollen belly slowing her movements and forcing her to lag behind the rest of the herd. 

Though, to others the right choice is evident, to @Rowtag he is overwhelmed; consumed with the thought of the odd, white doe. She is a present force in his mind, ushering him to break off from the hunting party and follow her into the unknown. Will his packmates try to stop him?


Though, at first it seems there is nothing odd about the doe other than the color of her fur, eventually Rowtag falls victim and is lulled by her strange appearance; acting unlike himself and breaking from the hunting party to follow her.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QEibZijRv0

@Tilian @Rowtag @Noctis

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#8


Rowtag
Beauty lies within the beast

Tattered ears would twitch, catching the mans half hearted agreement, doubt seemed to lace his tones. Molten gaze would shift momentarily back to the white cow before settling back unto the elder bull, just as Tillian's gaze fell unto it as well. His left ear would shift back toward the male, his inky lips pulling into a thin line as a brisk nod was given in response to his words on blind cow, though the pause as he spoke of the white cow caused his brow to rise partially. So if she fell to the whims of the bank he would not take the opportunity to down her? Perhaps she was some omen. His jowl would grind briefly as he watched the two bound to the rear of the herd. His frame rigid as he waited for them to gain ground before he would turn. Molten gaze would trail the earth, following the game trail as he attempted to near the front. 

The eerie stillness that enchanted the herd was slightly unnerving, it was almost as if the Gods had wanted to cause them some misfortune, slowly as he continued on the Westmoore was beginning to be swaddled in a veil of ghastly flurries, light enough to just barely obscure their vision. It was eerily silent within the moore and the reason was clearly obvious, the demons were out to play. It was odd how she moved, the silence within her prance, the beastliness of her gaze as she bore into him, her gaze relentless as she surveyed her lingering demise. It would be then that she would bolt, turning the others in his direction. The deathly vapor uproars beneath clashing hooves, its flurries didn’t lick the moore's cold dismissed floor as the wind was once known to do. Its tongue less form wouldn’t allow it to. Instead, it warped around the gnashing hooves, caressing them in a teasing manor, almost as if it were beckoning him to come play. It drifted and ghosted, glided and dangled in slow agonizing movements. Then it pounced. Once it was sure it had conjured up enough of its milky white substance, it clung to and enrobed everything it could. Nothing was spared as it snagged and snared everything without mercy. His molten gaze lingered across its mass-less form, edging it with a longing glance, he would welcome the embodiment of death..

Although it looked ethereal and gossamer-fragile, it packed a punch far above its weightlessness. It writhed and coiled with delight, its ghostly scarves wrapping the herds in a maze of mist. The herds split as they neared him, veering in two opposite directions, his molten gaze lingered on the ghostly form of the white doe, it was odd how she moved. Almost as if she was in slow motion, her movements careless as she bound above the endless white. Captivating as the voices reeled their ugly head their whispers like a grating hiss along his spine. His muscle contracted, pushing and pulling as he propelled himself forward captivated by magic that enthralled him. He would run parallel with the herd, weaving closer to the otherworldly doe. His molten gaze boring into the alabaster hide of the white doe, she was his beacon in this whirling storm, fierceness claimed his features, inky lips peeled tight against his jowls, his frame streamlining with the doe as she made her course. Claim your gift from the God's child, feast upon godly flesh. it was all he heard as the voices teased him, egging him on to continue the pursuit. 


Speech @Tilian @Noctis @Into the White I tried XD my muse is like bleh.
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