Winterden Greetings

Outside Winterden
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You find yourself standing atop a cheerless rock of a foothill, skirting the base of the southern mountains so closely that the nearest one rises up to towering heights above you just to the south of where you stand. Its face is mostly rocky, but it is home to scattered trees, most of them coniferous and showing signs of crabbing from exposure even at this low altitude. A particularly large pine with exposed roots shelters a large opening beneath itself.

A faint path leads back down into the deeper woods from here.
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Contents: A wolf with a white forepaw (Crenna); A wolf with heavy scarring over his right eye (Dreygan); A wolf with piercing eyes and a scar along her shoulder (Aliyah); A wolf with playful, bluish-green eyes (Layavin); A wolf with scars over both of his eyes (Drune); and A wolf with thick black fur and tired blue eyes (Tempest).

Layavin smirks. “Oh, that time you got a mouthful of saltwater? I remember that well.”

Crenna smirks, “Was I there for that?”

Aliyah’s tail thumps the ground.

Dreygan says, “But I kept up. And I’d like to see you try to careen around with your eyes closed.”

Layavin shakes her head toward Crenna. “We were actually well-matched for speed, even I have to admit that.” She chuckles. “And I have careened around with my eyes closed before. Fell into the creek in Bergdale more than a few times doing so.”

Crenna laughs, shaking out her coat, “Well, I should start getting reacquainted with the Woods again.”

Caileana emerges from the surrounding woods, looking perhaps a bit worse for wear, judging by the scattering of leaves and twigs in her thick fur.

Aliyah stands, shaking out her coat. “Yeah, before the tree roots attack again.”

Layavin stands as Caileana approaches. She smiles. “Hello, Caileana.”

Dreygan wrinkles his muzzle at something in all of that, then sniffs at the air, head turning towards the Ulfden Wolf as she ascends the hill. “Hey, Cail,” he calls.

Caileana smiles at the group. “Hello, all,” she says, for simplicity’s sake.

Tempest bows her head in greeting. “Hello, Caileana.” She smiles.

Crenna barks in greeting, “Hello there, Caileana.” She walks a bit forward, “I hope you are rested?”

Aliyah turns, blinking a bit. “Evening Caileana.”

Caileana nods to Crenna, and then blinks, shoots a glance at Dreygan, and amends, “I am.”

Crenna smiles, “Oh good.” She begins to make her way down the hill. “I will see you all later.”

Drune offers a small nods to Caileana in greeting. Glancing at the sky a moment after, he shifts from one paw to the other.

Dreygan waits until Crenna is most of the way down the hill before he says in a low, pseudo-whisper, “Good answer, she’d probably have stuffed you full of leaves and roots if you’d said you weren’t.”

Layavin looks at Drune beside her, head tipping slightly.

Tempest snorts.

Caileana snorts and grins. “Or pestered me into taking her nest, or…something.” She looks to Tempest. “You have a bit of a mother hen on your hands, my friend. Not that I’m complaining.”

Aliyah smirks before slowly making her way closer to the den. She nods to the others, completely unsuccessful in suppressing a yawn. “Think it’s time for me to get some rest. Sorry to run out as soon as you’ve arrived, Cail. Layavin is keeping me busy and tired… Not complaining. It’s a good thing.”

Layavin chuckles, looking back at Aliyah. “Rest well, Aliyah.”

Caileana fixes her golden eyes on Aliyah and inclines her head. “Mm. Quite.”

Dreygan tips his head back to angle it towards the Alpha on the rock above him. “Keeping her busy, letting me waste away on watch…” He tries to shake his head, but in that position, it just doesn’t work very well.

Layavin looks at Dreygan, a grin forming. “You’re right. I think I’ll take both of you out sometime. Let you two bond a bit.”

Aliyah snorts. “Now that is a scary thought. Maybe even worse than dragging you into a bog.”

Drune lets out a yawn before standing and turning back to the den, heading in without another word.

Tempest watches him go, silent.

Dreygan curls his lip at that idea. “You say that almost as if you think you could drag me anywhere,” he shoots towards Aliyah. Flicking an ear towards Drune, he comments, “Guess one thing travel did for him was make him forget how to say good night or other such things. Good to know everyone learned something!”

Caileana looks amused, perhaps wickedly so. She drops down and starts tugging things out of her fur with her teeth. Her ears flick when Drune leaves.

Layavin growls lightly in Aliyah’s direction, though she is not angry. “Take your rest, Aliyah.” She watches Drune go, glancing at Tempest.

Aliyah blinks, confused. She clamps her mouth shut before she can respond in kind to Dreygan. Without another word, she heads inside.

Tempest yawns boredly.

Aliyah trots down under the roots of the old pine tree.

Caileana spits a twig out onto the ground and straightens.

Layavin takes a step toward the den, but pauses, one paw in the air. She shakes her head and makes her way toward Dreygan instead. Layavin flops down beside him, her head landing on his side. She takes a deep breath and lets it out with a huff.

Dreygan turns his head towards the sound of Caileana spitting. “Aw, surely neither of them leave /that/ bad of a taste in your mouth, do they?” he asks, voice laden with fake sympathy before he oofs at Layavin’s head. He kicks at her with one hind foot. “Don’t think I’ll spare you just ’cause you’re ancient. I’m not a pillow, remember?”

Layavin lets out a grumpy growl. “Don’t do that. You’re messing up my fur.”

Tempest says, “Children.”

Caileana wrinkles her muzzle at Dreygan and tugs a sticky leaf out of the patch of fur that grows sidewas on her shoulder. She spits that out too. “Your woods are a menace,” she complains. “Can’t go anywhere without feeling like I’m getting dragged down by underbrush.” Her tail gives a few thumps against the ground, which seems in pretty direct contradiction to her apparent whinging.

Tempest snorts. “Ours are a menace? Whenever I go to Lantern Waste I feel like I’ve gone to battle.” She says good naturedly.

Dreygan kicks at Layavin again, though his head is now turned towards Caileana. “Oh good, I’m not the only one. Not quite as bad as some of the thorn bushes up north, though.”

Caileana pffts. “It’s just the rocks you have to watch out for in the Waste, or you’re liable to turn your paws on them.”

Dreygan says, “No wonder I was doomed. Fortunately, I have tough paws.”

Layavin rolls to her paws and stands. She shakes her fur out. “The rocks are the worst…When I first went up to the Waste, I tripped nearly every day…”

Tempest says, “And a tough head.”

Dreygan asks, “I’d say that goes without saying but…” With a smirk, he shrugs one shoulder, “since when do I think anything is worth not saying?”

Caileana straightens and says, with a hint of ornerniness, “Well, you get used to it. I suppose that makes us the more nimble of the packs?”

Tempest yawns a little and mumbles a good night as she makes her way for the den.

Dreygan sits up, smirking Caileana’s way. “But not nearly as strong, if you struggle with a few little brambles here and there.”

Layavin tips her head. “Heh, possibly, but have you seen the log we have to cross just to go hunt? We’ve all become nimble as mice with that thing around.”

Dreygan angles his head towards Tempest as he catches her good night and calls a belated, “Night, Tempest.”

Caileana chuckles. “I can tell this visit is going to be instructive.”

Layavin nods at this. “Oh, I think we could all teach you a thing or two.”

Dreygan smirks. “Certainly hope you weren’t looking for a peaceful little vacation or a nap on the beach.” He tips his head. “Or you /could/ do that one. Might wake up buried in sand, but you could!”

Layavin asks, “Oh, we should take her to the beach.” She looks at Caileana. “Have you been there yet?”

Caileana shakes her head emphatically, and her voice takes on an eager tone. “Not yet! I’ve never seen the ocean. I’ve wanted to for years, though.”

Layavin nods. “Then we must take you.”

Caileana grins. “I would love that.”

Dreygan stands and stretches. “Tomorrow, maybe. Ayden’s about to take watch and I need a break. Later, you two.”

Layavin mumbles a goodnight to her packmate and turns to Caileana. “It would be nice to simply relax for a day. I’ll mention it to Tempest.”

Caileana bids Dreygan a quiet ‘good night’ and then turns back to Layavin. “Thank you. I don’t want to interrupt your usual routines too much, if I can help it.”

Layavin shakes her head. “If you did, it would be welcome. Little interruptions here and there are what keeps us alert and vigilant. Routine can create a bored, lazy wolf.”

You say, “I’ll remind you you said that when your sick of me, then.”

Caileana chuckles.

Layavin laughs. “Believe me, Caileana, it takes a whole lot for me to become sick.”

Caileana hmms, and glances into the den after some of those who have disappeared. “I believe that.

Layavin yawns. “Every trial that comes our way teaches us a new lesson, either about ourselves or about a packmate. Sometimes we learn it. Other times I think it’s promptly ignored or forgotten and has to he taught again…” She shakes her head. “But I’m sure you have had your share of ups and downs in Ulfden. You know how it is.”

Caileana nods. “And if nothing else, my being a trainer has been rather…illuminating…about those kinds of things.”

Layavin nods. “I’m sure.” She motions toward the den. “I should retire. I have an early patrol with Aliyah.”

Caileana nods. “Rest well,” she offers.

Layavin dips her head. “And you as well.”