Meeting Nieve

Gathering Circle
What a sweet place you have wandered to. The forest trees here are scattered across a soft meadow of heather and wildflowers, and the sun dapples the ground through the leaves above. This is a wide section of earth, and it seems to be a gathering place–indeed, there is a ring of stones in one side of the open clearing where it seems fires have been built over many nights. To the south, a worn path leads to the Caldron Pool and the waterfall that feeds it. You can also see a path leading west toward the cliff-face. To the east the path leads into the deeper forests of Lantern Waste.
You can go: Clearing <N>, Into Lantern Waste <E>, Caldron Pool <S>, Base of the Cliffs <W>
Contents: A wolf with greying fur and a scrutinizing gaze (Ayden); A wolf with scars over both of his eyes (Drune); and An unicorn stallion with a marred flank (Petraverd).

Ayden chuckles lowly and slows his gait. “Only for you. Been looking for you, Drune. Hope the evening finds you well enough.”

Drune’s brow raises slightly as he scoots up to rest on his haunches.

Drune asks, “It does… And yourself?”

Petraverd walks toward the Circle from the west, flicking an ear as he converses with Caileana. “It’s always good for them to see an alternative approach, after all, or at least that’s what I’ve often said,” he tells her.

Ayden stays standing and nods. “Good. Hunting has been decent.” His ears swivel quickly toward the voice of the she-wolf and unicorn.

Caileana pads along beside Petraverd. “Oh, no doubt about that in my mind. The more angles we can approach training from, the better prepared they will be.”

Drune’s nods once more, snorting softly. “Certainly more plentiful than that of the Great Woods. ” he hehs softly before following the other wolf’s eyes. Catching sight of the two approaching, he lets out a short bark.

Petraverd nods a bit. “Indeed. And even if you don’t adapt the tactics to your own purposes, it’s good to know how your allies fight, too.” His ears perk at the bark, and he lets out a whinny toward the Wolves already present.

Caileana says, “Indeed.” She glances over to Drune and Ayden and smiles warmly when she sees the pair. “Hail, Drune, Ayden.”

Glyn arrives from the west.

Ayden snorts a low laugh at Drune’s words. “Indeed it is.” He barks out a soft greeting of his own.

Skarlieth swoops down from above, landing beside you.

Drune dips his head to Caileana and his Commander in turn. “I trust the evening finds you both well?”

Petraverd bobs his head. “Well enough, yes – a productive session in the caverns this eve, at any rate. And as for you?”

Caileana nods at Petraverd’s statement. To Drune, she says with a grin, “Quite well, yes.”

Skarlieth glides overhead, feathers rumpled enough to suggest he may have been on the hunt rather than a patrol. He stoops lower when he sees the group below.

Glyn emerges from under the western canopy, moving swiftly and softly as is his custom. His head rises as he catches sight of the group in the circle, and he slows his pace to take in the faces.

Drune nods to the two, his expression light. “Glad to hear it. As for myself… I can’t quite complain, I was just getting some rest before tonight’s Watch. ” he lets out a breath. “I must say, I am glad to see things get warmer. ”

Petraverd chuckles. “You’re not the only one, that’s for sure.” He lets out a brief whinny as he catches sight of Glyn’s approach from the corner of his eye.”

Ayden’s expression tightens some as more narnians wander by. He manages a curt nod of greeting though and settles down on his haunches with forepaws digging into the ground.

Skarlieth lands outside of the main gathering, half-bowing before folding his wings. “Good eve to you all,” he greets.

Caileana wanders over to sit down between Drune and Ayden. She gives Drune a fond look before turning a smile to Ayden, something about it seeming meant to set him at ease. At Glyn and Skarlieth’s approach, she smiles wider and dips her head to each.

Drune returns Caileana’s smile, his attention then turning to the newcomers. “Evening Skarlieth… Subcommander. ” he offers, nodding to each in turn.

Glyn’s ears prick at the familiar whinny and trots over, a smile of his own growing as he makes out Caileana and his fellow guards. “Good evening!” he calls. It is only when he reaches the circle of Beasts that Ayden comes into view. He freezes midstep.

Petraverd lets out another whinny toward Skarlieth, flicking an ear. “Evening, Subcommander, Skarlieth.” He glances to Glyn as he pads nearer, perhaps expecting some sort of reaction – which apparently isn’t that far off base.

Ayden catches Caileana’s look and draws in a breath. He’s trying, it seems. But his eyes are set on Glyn. “Hello. Subcommander.”

Skarlieth, picking his way a bit closer after the round of greetings, tips his head when he sees Glyn’s reaction, glancing briefly at Ayden.

Caileana tips her head, a curious expression on her face, and glances from Ayden to Glyn and back.

Drune catches Glyn’s reaction, his brow raising a bit as his eyes bounce between the two.

Glyn breaks off from studying Ayden as the wolf speaks. He dips his head in return, “Good evening, Ayden. Welcome. I didn’t realize you had decided to visit.”

Petraverd’s expectations apparently satisfied, Petraverd turns to the Eagle, flicking an ear. “How fare you this eve, Skarlieth?”

Skarlieth looks to the Unicorn and dips his head. “Well,” he says neutrally. “And what of you?”

Ayden ducks his head briefly. “Well. It’s been only recently that I’ve arrived. Evening to you too.”

Petraverd nods. “I am glad to hear it.” His glance takes in Drune as well, asking the both of them, “Patrols continue to be quiet, I presume?”

Drune pulls his attention away from the two wolves, nodding to Petraverd. “Quiet as ever… Good thing too, considering I have been patrolling the Moors border fairly exclusively as of late. ”

Skarlieth nods once. “This afternoon the Waste was clear by my eye.” He casts a glance at Drune, though he says nothing.

Glyn observes Ayden’s reaction before nodding. He takes his time seating himself. “I’ve had nothing to report either,” he adds, nodding to Skarlieth’s and Drune’s reports. “Nothing dangerous at any rate.”

Caileana seems content to listen for the time being, her expression pleasantly neutral.

Ayden also falls quiet. His ears twitch, attention wandering though his eyes never move too far away from their focus on Glyn.

Petraverd nods. “I am glad to hear that as well.” He glances to Drune, saying, “Though the border itself is hardly the only place that needs patrolling.”

Drune nods. “I understand. ” he returns simply, tail swishing once.

Skarlieth spreads his wings slightly at the shoulder at this brief exchange, though once more he does not comment.

Caileana shoots Drune a glance from the corner of her eye and flicks her tail at him in a motion she likely thinks is subtle.

Petraverd glances to Glyn. “And how have you been? Seems like the weight of our duties have kept us on opposite ends of the Waste lately.”

Glyn takes a deep breath and nods to the Unicorn. “The borders have been quiet, but it’s still been a busy time. I’ve put in a number of shifts for clearing out the rubble in the ruins. It’s encouraging to see the progress, and I’ve not been able to leave it alone.” He grins.

Ayden glances over to Drune as the guard commanders talk. He leans over, speaking in low tones with the wolf at his side and boring his eyes into Glyn.

Ayden mumbles “Seems … … … … to find you. Chance … could talk …”, to Drune.

Seeing the others attention diverted for the moment, Drune shoots Caileana a curious look before turning his ear to Ayden. Nodding after a moment, he returns in kind.

Drune mumbles “… … … … step … … … … would …”, to Ayden.

Petraverd chuckles quietly. “They’re coming along quite nicely. Seems like all that’s left is to get the memorial garden in order.”

Caileana rolls her shoulders in a shrug and smirks at Drune. At all the mumbling, her ears twitch and she actually looks fairly self-satisfied.

Ayden nods his head faintly and stifles a cough, eyeing Drune patiently.

Skarlieth focuses on the two commanders rather than the whispering Wolves, though he does glance briefly their way.

Glyn manages not to return Ayden’s intense stare, although the flicking of his ears might betray the concentration required. “Indeed,” he replies to Petraverd in an easy tone, “we should probably speak with the naiads and dryads soon.”

Drune nods once more, standing slowly. “If you all will excuse us. ”

Caileana’s tail wags briefly. “‘Course,” she says, smiling at both Drune and Ayden.

Petraverd nods toward Drune, saying simply, “Of course. A good eve to you, then.”

Skarlieth gives a shallow bow their way. “Fair eve to you both.”

Ayden mutters a “Thanks” to Drune and shoots Caileana a softened glance. It’s only for a moment though before he’s on his feet, ready to depart.

Glyn dips his head politely to Ayden as he rises. “Have a good evening, Ayden. Enjoy your stay in the Waste.”

Drune dips his head to the group, before slowly making his way towards Caldron Pool.

Ayden turns to look at Glyn, ears twitching. “Thank you Glyn.” His tone is even but he nods amiably enough.

Petraverd gives a nod toward Ayden as well, accompanied by a small smile, and watches after the two as they depart, twitching an ear.

Glyn returns a smile, although a small one, before they depart.

Drune trots south.
Ayden walks south.

Caileana watches the two Wolves go thoughtfully, her expression soft.

Petraverd flicks an ear. “Glad those two managed to catch each other. I know Ayden’s been hoping for that for a while now.”

Glyn cants his head, curious. “Oh?”

Skarlieth nods slighly, then glances briefly from Petraverd, to Glyn, and back again, head tipped. “It seems that many have been waiting for chances to speak with another of late, though Drune’s name seems to be one of the most common I hear demanded.”

Petraverd hehs, nodding briefly to Skarlieth and giving his tail a brief flick. “Many have indeed,” he says.

Caileana hehs. “That’s what happens when he disappears off the face of the earth for weeks at a time,” she mutters. After a pause, she says, “I do hope that conversation goes well, though.”

Glyn considers for a moment before shrugging. “Not really my business, I suppose. Did Ayden mention what his purpose was in coming here?”

Petraverd says to Caileana, “I have a feeling it will, but I do too.” Turning to Glyn, he says, “To speak with Drune, actually.”

Skarlieth’s expression is even more controlled than usual for a moment as he nods in acknowledgement to Caileana’s words before settling back to listen to the conversation at hand.

Caileana expands and says, “He’s looking for Drune’s blessing on his entrance into Winterden, so he journeyed up here with Drune’s former tenderfoot, Dusk.”

Skarlieth tips his head at this information, a faint frown– likely of thought– creasing his brow for a moment.

Glyn’s expression eases. “Ah, I see. I’m glad to hear that.” Then it quickly creases again as another thought strikes him.

Petraverd glances to Glyn, the action not escaping him.

Caileana also catches Glyn’s expression. She tips her head at him. “What is it, Glyn?”

Glyn says, “Oh… I was just thinking how difficult it will be for Winterden if matters like this will require trips to visit the Lantern Waste. The current situation does not seem tenable.”

Skarlieth likewise glances toward the subcommander, his own countenance as even as ever.

Petraverd flicks an ear as he says, “Part of the reason, I think, is that Drune is already familiar with Ayden. Moving forward, that will probably be… less likely to be the case. But I do see your point.”

Skarlieth quietly submits, “And should, for any reason, Drune require a message sent homeward, unless there is a reason for it to be otherwise, I am as swift a messenger as any.”

Caileana hmms. “There ought to be a chain of command that enables Drune to not always have to be consulted. But I agree with Petraverd, that is more likely to be true in other cases.”

Glyn nods. “True, it is more a matter of how frequently such situations arise. I’m sure if it’s a problem Winterden will see the need to solve it.”

Petraverd simply nods once in agreement.

Skarlieth unintentionally mirrors the Unicorn.

Caileana glances to Skarlieth. “How long would it take you to fly to the Great Woods, Skarlieth, just out of curiosity?”

Skarlieth tips his head. “It is a day’s journey, one way, provided the wind grants its favor.” He shifts his wings, glancing to the southeast.

Glyn lifts an ear. “Has it been long since you last went back there, Skarlieth?”

Petraverd glances to the Eagle, flicking an ear.

Caileana looks impressed.

Skarlieth looks toward Glyn and taps one talon briefly before replying, “No longer than it has been for any other of the Guard to return home.”

Glyn tilts his head at the reply. “I’m sure,” he agrees. “Still, it must be difficult for many of the guards. I’m not sure what we can do to make it more bearable, but it’s worth some thought.”

Petraverd nods a bit. “As things continue to be quiet on the border… perhaps considering a few scheduled leaves might be in order.”

Pheeobe arrives from the west.

Skarlieth spreads his wings, a bit further perhaps than for his normal shrug. “If it is homesickness that concerns you, I belong at the last of that list. However, I would agree. It is worth thought for those who cannot claim the same, and for good reason.” He looks toward Petraverd and dips his head faintly.

You say, “Although it is really none of my concern, I will say that I think most of the guards knew what they were getting into as far as being away from home goes. Not that the occasional visit back would be remiss.”

Glyn nods. “Fair enough. Still, it’s worth considering before any problems develop.” He casts a glance back along the way that Drune and Ayden departed. “Has everything been quiet lately that you’ve seen? No disturbances or trouble?”

Petraverd flicks an ear. “Well, yes, they did, but I did want to make it clear from the beginning that we would do what we could to be accommodating in that respect, too.” He regards Glyn with another twitch of his ears, saying, “Only ‘disturbance’ proper would be the appearance of Ayden and Dusk, along with another rogue by the name of Crenna – she’s since departed for the Stone Table. I rather liked her, myself, and seemed quite affable to many in the Waste.”

Skarlieth falls back to listening, though he casts a couple of glances skyward at the light beginning to fade.

Caileana nods at the mention of Crenna. “Yes, some promise there, I think.”

Glyn frowns, head tilting. “Crenna? I’ve not had the pleasure…”

Virika arrives from the east.

Pheeobe paws into the circle with her usual happy smile. When she sees everyone she says, “Hey everyone! How are you guys!” Then she turns to Glyn specifically and adds, “Hey stranger. I am glad to see you are still alive!”

Caileana says, “There is a distinct possibility, in my opinion, that she will be back, so you will probably have a chance.” She dips her head to Pheeobe. “Evening, Tenderfoot,” she says with a smile that grows amused when Pheeobe turns energetically to Glyn.

Glyn turns to Pheeobe in surprise, one ear flattening at her words. He gives an awkward smile. “Apologies, Pheeobe. I’ve been pulling a lot of shifts at the ruins lately….”

Petraverd chuckles quietly, bobbing his head toward Pheeobe. “Evening,” he says simply by way of greeting.

Skarlieth, as he sees the other Wolf approaching, dips his head to her before saying to the rest, “I fear it grows late enough that I must depart. Until another day, and may the skies be fair for you all.” He half-bows to each in turn.

Glyn lifts his head to the Eagle. “Of course, Skarlieth. Fare winds to you!”

Pheeobe smiles up at the Eagle. “Good night Skarlieth!”

Petraverd says, “Of course. A good eve to you, Skarlieth. May the winds lift you ever higher.”

Caileana dips her head to Skarlieth in farewell.

Skarlieth spreads his wings and takes off.

Virika pads into the area with a fox clamped between her jaws.

Glyn watches Skarlieth rise over the trees and then turns to smile to Pheeobe when his sister catches his eye. “Ah, evening, Hunter! Successful night?”

Pheeobe turns her head to look at Virika. She smiles and gives a small nod.

Petraverd lets out a whinny in Virika’s direction as she comes into view.

Caileana looks over as well and nods. “Hunter.”

Virika nods to those gathered, joining them. She drops her kill at her brother’s paws and takes a seat. “Evening!”

Glyn blinks but emits a chuckle. One paw slides the kill discreetly out of the Unicorn’s line of sight while he replies cheerfully, “I’ll take that as a yes.”

Petraverd bobs his head, choosing not to remark on the carcass, and doing his best not to make a point of not looking at it (how’s that for double negatives). “Evening, Virika. How fare you?”

Virika says, “Well thanks. All of you?”

Pheeobe laughs quietly at Glyn and answers with a joyful, “I am great!”

Caileana smiles. “Also well.”

Glyn volunteers, “I’m well too, although I understand I’ve missed some excitement with the new arrivals we’ve had.”

Virika makes a small face at the mention of the arrivals. “Yeah…” She scoops up the fox and does her best to speak around it. “I’ll get this back to the den and out of the way.” She nods to them.

Virika trots west.

Caileana glances after Virika as she goes, looking thoughtful but not unsurprised by the face she makes.

Petraverd keeps his own expression carefully schooled at Virika’s reaction, which may be telling in and of itself.

Caileana glances south a bit wistfully and then eyes the stars. She gets to her paws reluctantly. “Well, I’m afraid I probably ought to be getting back to the den. Should get some rest before my patrol later.”

Pheeobe nods. “I would like to join you.”

Glyn blinks. “Some disturbance, as you say, Petraverd.” He gets slowly to his own paws. “Well, the hour is late, and so I should join you on the trip back, I think.” He looks to the Unicorn. “Will you need anything more from me this evening, Commander?”

Petraverd shakes his head to Glyn. “We should find the time to update each other on the status of things proper, at some point, though I don’t see any need for particular immediacy about it, either. As such, I shall bid you all a good eve.”

Glyn dips his head. “Of course, I’ll be at your disposal. Safe evening, Commander.”

Caileana smiles at Petraverd. “A good evening to you, Petraverd. Take care.” She gets ready to pad west.

Ulfden Clearing
You stand in the midst of a clearing in the woods. Tall trees surround you on all sides, with a wooded hill looming over you to the west. Little sunlight streams through the foliage of the trees above. Rocks jut from the ground and hill, giving the clearing a wilder look. Jutting out of the wooded hill to the west is a rocky overhang casting a slight shadow around the entrance to what seems like a cave. A scraggily wolf pads back and forth before the entrance, glancing your way.

The clearing ends in a rock path leading through scattered trees to the east.
A small cave entrance dwells underneath the overhang to the west.
You can go: In the Cave <W>, East <E>
Contents: A wolf with a slight limp (Pheeobe); A wolf with a snow-white coat and golden eyes (Eirwyn); A wolf with dark fur and blue eyes; A wolf with grizzled coat and emerald eyes (Glyn); A wolf with half of a left ear (Virika); and Beo.

Eirwyn stands protectively over the pup. She looks down between her front legs and smiles at Nieve reassuringly. When she looks up and sees Virika padding into the clearing, she says to Nieve, “This is one of the hunters. Her name is Virika.”

Virika’s ear and a half swivel up. She slows as she approaches Eirwyn, bowing her head. She stops, eyes slowing moving down to the ball of fur trying to remain concealed. She drops the fox and smiles a little. “Hello.”

A wolf with dark fur and blue eyes pulls back a little at first but then sticks her muzzle out from between her mother’s forelegs and barks softly, eyes full of wonder. “Hello! Viry… Virika.” She lets the name roll off her tongue again until it sounds right.

Caileana pads into the Clearing at an even pace, Pheeobe and Glyn not far behind.

Glyn follows at an easy pace, content to walk beside Pheeobe until they all reach the clearing. Then he notices its occupants, and stops.

Pheeobe walks into the clearing humming quietly and not quite walking but sort of skipping hopping. When she sees the baby (forget everyone else), she smiles so big it is almost scary.

A wolf with dark fur and blue eyes sees the other wolves arriving and giggles nervously, retreating behind Eirwyn’s hind legs and peering out.

Virika looks over her shoulder and teases, “Way to go guys. You frightened her.”

Eirwyn tenses a little as the clearing becomes suddenly far more occupied, and her stance remains protective as she keeps close tabs on the pup at her paws. She nods to those who approach, observing the one she’s not overly familiar with perhaps a bit more than the others.

Caileana’s steps stutter when she notices Eirwyn and the pup hiding behind her. She smiles softly and shoots Virika a wry glance. “Sorry, Alpha, didn’t mean to startle anyone.” She keeps her distance but eyes the pup with curious glee.

Virika looks back to the pup and winks.

Glyn holds his position at Virika’s words, and he watches the pup curiously from a distance. He cants his head as she retreats. “Of course,” he replies softly. “I’m sorry if I startled anyone.”

Pheeobe’s ears fold back and the smile dims, just a bit. “Sorry Alpha.” She still keeps her eyes on the pup.

A wolf with dark fur and blue eyes giggles again and prances forward. “I’m not scared!” She barks unconvincingly, smiling up at Eirwyn and back at the others.

Eirwyn takes a step forward with Nieve, though she stops herself from keeping the pup away from the others. She takes a deep breath and nods, relaxing herself and smiling back at the pup. She speaks with a gentle tone to Nieve, “So I see, my brave girl. These are your packmates. Caileana, Glyn, and Pheeobe,” she says, nodding to each in turn. She smiles at the others and says, “And this is Nieve.”

Virika smiles and gives an approving nod to Nieve.

Glyn catches some of the pup’s infectious smile. He lowers his head. “Hello, Nieve. It’s a pleasure to meet you at last. Is this your first proper outing?”

Pheeobe smiles kindly at Eirwyn and then continues watching Nieve. She listens for her answer to Glyn’s question.

Caileana sits down and then slowly lays down so that she is more on Nieve’s level and also less threatening. “Hello, little one,” she says softly, beaming. “Aren’t you a bold one.”

Nieve pouts as she tries to follow their names. “Glyn, Pheeobeee, Cai…” She loses her train of thought as Glyn asks her a question and she barks. “Um, I saw the snow last time!”

Virika chuckles softly.

Eirwyn nods. “Indeed. We’ve been out into a little ways from the entrance to the den when no one has been around, but now we’ve decided it is time to let her meet some of the pack.”

Glyn’s glance flits to Caileana and he takes her cue, taking a couple of steps closer and stretching out on the ground so that he is closer to the pup’s level. “That does sound exciting,” he agrees. “I used to love playing in the snow as a pup.” He grins.

Pheeobe mimics the other two but not nearly as gracefully and asks, “Did you like it?”

Nieve squints her eyes in determination. “Pheeobe, and Caileana.” Her tail wags again and she nods, satisfied. “Uh huh, it was a lot of fun. Are you all hunters too?” She yawns with a curled tongue.

Caileana grins and thumps her tail when Nieve says her name. “Nope, just Virika. I’m a Scout,” she tells the pup with a clearly infatuated look on her face.

Virika spies the pup’s action and says with a smile, “That’s an awful big yawn.”

Glyn smiles and glances at his sister with a nod.

Eirwyn lowers her head and noses the pup. “It sure is. Perhaps this is enough for today. There is always tomorrow for more visiting.”

Pheeobe gets up and nods enthusiastically. “Yes! I am very hapy to meet you Nieve!”

Nieve blinks sleepily and thumps her tail on the ground, “Huh? Oh. Aw Mommy, do we have to go?” She smiles at Pheeobe and the others before turning her eyes on Eirwyn.

Caileana puts her head on her paws and gives Eirwyn a lopsided grin when Nieve calls her ‘mommy.’

Virika nods, “Have a pleasant eve little one.”

Eirwyn chuckles and nods. “I think so, hun. You’re tired, and you’ll have plenty of time tomorrow.” She nudges Nieve and then nods to the others with a smile. “Good night to you all.”

Virika bows her head to the Alpha and Nieve.

Glyn grins. “Good night you two. Rest up, Nieve. More adventures tomorrow, I’m sure.”

Nieve moves back toward the den entrance with her mother’s guidance and sighs tiredly. “Good night to you all.” She echoes with a droopy smile.

Pheeobe nods. “I cannot wait till tomorrow Nieve! You are wonderful!”

Caileana dips her head. “Good night, Alpha, Nieve.” She smiles.

Eirwyn leads the pup into the den.