Pheeobe’s Inspection and Other Spars

Lantern Waste
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You stand among the trees of Lantern Waste, the forested region that stands where, according to lore, Narnia first began. As if to testify to the truth of
this legend, there is life abundant everywhere you see. The trees seem to murmur to each other in the breeze, fruit grows abundant, and forest creatures seem to be everywhere.

A large oak tree grows here, towering to dizzying heights above you. Its lowest branches, though small, actually appear to be easy enough to climb. The path branches northward here toward a pretty little stand of trees just beyond it. Another faint path leads east, past the oak and deeper into the Waste.
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You can go: North <N>, East <E>, West <W>
Contents: A wolf with a white forepaw (Crenna).

Crenna is laying under the tree, taking advantage of a patch of sunlight that is filtering through the leaves.

Caileana pads through the Waste at a brisk pace.

Crenna lifts her head as she hears someone approach. She barks a low greeting when Caileana comes into view.

Caileana’s ears perk up at the park. She smiles faintly and pads towards the other Wolf. “Ah, Crenna, hello.”

Crenna notices Caileana’s ruffled fur. A look of concern crosses her face, “Areyou okay?”

Caileana nods, taking a seat. “Yep, just been doing some hunting for the den.” She glances down at her own coat and frowns faintly, as if just now noticing her disheveled appearance. She shakes out her fur and then sets about licking it back into place.

Crenna pushes herself into a seated position as well. She chuckles, “I am sure that you are a much better hunter than I am.”

Caileana looks up, and tips her head, studying the other Wolf. “Oh, I don’t know about that,” she says. “Hunting on one’s own takes a lot of skill, and since I imagine you’ve had to do a lot of that, you’re probably pretty good.”

Crenna shifts a bit on her paws, “There is a slight diference between hunting squirrels and rabbits oppose to foxes and deer.” She frowns, “I still have a lot to learn to hunting prey larger than me.”

Caileana nods. “Do you mostly stick to smaller game, then?”

Crenna smirks a bit, “I try to but it seems that the foxes in the east like to steal your prey so I end up fight them more often than not.”

Caileana chuckles. “They are ornery like that.”

Crenna snorts, “Yes, they think they are so much better than they really are.”

Caileana snickers. “Quite.” She curls her tail about her and looks around the woods, then back to Crenna. “So, where’s your cousin?”

Crenna shrugs, “I am unsure, he has been exploring a lot lately.” She sighs, “He probably has fallen in a ditch somewhere.”

Caileana smirks, although it’s clear she tries not to. “He, um. Does seem to have a problem with that.”

Crenna chuckles, “Yes, he is still adjusting to not having sight.”

Caileana looks curious. “At the risk of being nosy…how long has he been like that?”

Crenna shakes her head, sighing a bit. “Not very long. A few months.”

Caileana hmms. “He is coping enormously well, then.” She looks impressed.

Crenna nods, “Yes, he is determined to not let it hinder him.”

You ask, “Admirable. How was he doing before you found him?”

Crenna frowns a bit, “Why do you ask?”

Caileana shrugs a bit and gives her an apologetic glance. “Sorry. I was just curious. He seems very capable, that’s all.”

Crenna nods, “Yes, He was one of the best in our former pack.” She snorts, sounding a bit annoyed, “I can’t even beat him in a spar /now/.”

Caileana grins. “Really? That is impressive. I might have to spar him myself at some point, if he is amenable.”

Crenna says, “You can ask him though I do not know. You are a Scout. I barely was a tenderfoot before I left so that could be why I am unable to beat him.”

Caileana nods. She looks Crenna over thoughtfully. “Well, you probably just need practice. There are quite a few here in the Waste who would spar you if you wanted it.” She grins toothily. “Having the Guard here is good for a number of things, after all.”

Crenna coughs a bit nervously, “Oh, I wouldn’t want to be bother and besides I wouldn’t be much of a challenge to the trained members of the guard. If I can’t beat a blind Wolf, I wouldn’t stand a chance against the Guard.”

Caileana snorts. “There is virtually no one in the Waste, Guard or pack, who would pass up the opportunity to spar, regardless of the skill of the opponent. All spars are useful in improving one’s skill and experience.”

Crenna gazes at Caileana thoughtfully, “Yes, I got that impression. All of you are very brave and good fighters.”

Caileana smiles faintly. “We strive to be. There’s always someone we care about and want to protect. It’s why we do what we do.”

Crenna says, “Yes, I have found that when you have one or several to care for, it makes it easier to continue fighting.”

Caileana nods. “That has certainly been true in my life. I’ve drawn a lot of strength to carry on from my pack and family.”

Crenna nods, “Yes, I believe that is the only way you can continue on, to take a part of something greater than yourself. I have been lived alone and it is not glamorous.”

You say, “Yeah. Not something I’ve really experienced much myself, but I was away from my pack for a while some years ago, and it was…not easy.” She glances down at the long scar on her side and shakes out her fur.

Crenna follows her gaze, curiousity crossing her face. “Why? If you don’t mind me asking?”

Caileana shakes her head. “No, I don’t mind. It was a long time ago, now.” She laughs a bit. “Makes me feel old, to say that. After I got this,” she motions to the scar, “I spent some time south of here, in Madderholt, with the healers. I was born into Ulfden, so it was strange to be away from the pack, on my own, even if it was only for a period of some months.” She smiles a bit. “Didn’t really agree with me. I’m a pack gal at heart.”

Crenna grins, “You are a credit to your pack and I am sure that they are glad for your loyality.”

Caileana’s ears tip back and she looks flattered, if a bit flustered. “Thank you,” she says simply.

Crenna continues to gaze thoughtfully at Caileana. After a moment, she asks very quietly, “I would be honored if you would spar with me.”

Caileana’s ears perk. She grins. “I would be happy to.”

Crenna stands, “I haven’t sparred in some time and after hunting with Pheeobe the other day, I realized how out of shape I am.” She chuckles, “I won’t be much of a challange to you.”

Caileana grins toothily. She stands as well. “Well, we’ll just have to see, won’t we?”

Crenna moves away from the tree. She stands ready. “Would you like to begin?”

Caileana dips her head. “Sure.” She readies her stance and then circles Crenna for a few moments, studying the other wolf thoughtfully. After a few moments she moves in and snaps at Crenna’s shoulder.

>>> Caileana viciously tears into Crenna with her teeth! Crenna winces in pain, the wound bleeding a little!

Crenna lets a yelp out at the snap. She twists quickly and returns the snap.

>>> Crenna nips at Caileana! Caileana winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Caileana makes a face. She backsteps and bites at Crenna’s side.

>>> Caileana nips at Crenna! Crenna winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Crenna winces slightly. She weaves and lunges at Caileana’s legs, trying to unbalance her.

>>> Crenna awkwardly snaps at Caileana, her teeth chomping down on mostly air. Caileana winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Caileana manages to sidestep most of the bite. She retaliates with her claws while Crenna is near.

>>> Caileana scratches Crenna with her claws. Crenna doesn’t appear to be too injured, however.

Crenna continues through Caileana’s attack. She lunges for the she-Wolf again, her mouth open.

>>> Crenna nips at Caileana! Caileana winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Caileana shoves at Crenna with her shoulder and sinks her teeth into Crenna’s hindquarters.

>>> Caileana bites Crenna! Crenna winces in pain, the wound bleeding a little!

Crenna lets out another yelp. She twists around, snapping though not taking the time to aim properly.

>>> Crenna nips at Caileana! Caileana winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Caileana retaliates with her teeth.

>>> Caileana viciously tears into Crenna with her teeth! Crenna cries out as she is left bleeding!

This time, Crenna lets out a loud yelp. She backs up, trying to unbalance the other she-wolf.

>>> Crenna bites Caileana! Caileana winces in pain, the wound bleeding a little!

Caileana grimaces as Crenna draws blood. She plants her paws to maintain her balance and then charges back towards Crenna, using her height to try and force the other wolf back while snapping with her teeth.0

>>> Caileana nips at Crenna! Crenna winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Crenna is able to stand her ground, taking the nip. She rears up, trying to land on Caileana’s back.

>>> Crenna nips at Caileana! Caileana winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Caileana flashes a wolfish grin at the tactic and gives an approving growl. “Careful, rogue, you’re taking my favorite tactic.” She makes a face at the nip but moves fast enough that the blow mostly glances off, and then whirls back around quick as she can to snap at Crenna’s foreleg.

>>> Caileana nips at Crenna! Crenna winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Crenna yanks her leg from the snapping teeth, wincing a bit. She grunts, “I guess I should learn a new tactic.” She lunges for Caileana’s tail. “This is my favorite tactic.” she says with a grin before biting.

>>> Crenna nips at Caileana! Caileana winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Caileana chuckles, moving to pull back but not quite quickly enough. “Oh, I don’t know, it works if you can pull it off.” She steps close to Crenna again and rears up on her long hind legs to snap at Crenna’s back, although she avoids her neck.

>>> Caileana nips at Crenna! Crenna winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Crenna lets out a sharp breath as Caileana’s teeth connect. She grunts again, this time panting a bit. She lunges at Caileana’s foreleg.

>>> Crenna nips at Caileana! Caileana winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Caileana makes a face. She sidesteps but remains on her hind legs, moving to sink her teeth just above Crenna’s tail.

>>> Caileana bites Crenna! Crenna winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Crenna growls a bit. She takes advantage of Caileana’s upright position and springs forward, trying to knock her over.

>>> Crenna tries to bite Caileana, but misses.

Caileana nimbly drops to her aws and dodges, then turns back and bites at Crenna’s shoulder.

>>> Caileana nips at Crenna! Crenna winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Crenna lets out another growl at the nip. She springs at Caileana, desperately trying to unbalance her and knock her away.

>>> Crenna nips at Caileana! Caileana winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Caileana is mostly unmoved. She shoves back, and then snaps at Crenna again.

>>> Caileana bites Crenna hard, her teeth sinking into Crenna’s fur. Crenna winces in pain, the wound bleeding a little!

Crenna lets out another yelp. She weaves again, snapping at Caileana’s legs.

>>> Crenna nips at Caileana! Caileana winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Caileana grimaces and lets out a quiet growl at the continued assault on her legs. She swipes her claws at Crenna’s side.

>>> Caileana scratches Crenna with her claws. Crenna doesn’t appear to be too injured, however.

Crenna rolls with the swipe. She rears up, lunging for Caileana’s flank, though avoiding her scar.

>>> Crenna tries to bite Caileana, but misses.

Caileana swings her rear out of the way and uses the momentum to drive her teeth towards Crenna’s flank in return.

>>> Caileana nips at Crenna! Crenna winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Crenna lets out more of a whine as Caileana hits a sensitive spot. She lunges again, not really aiming. Desperation may appear on her features.

>>> Crenna bites Caileana! Caileana winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Caileana grimaces but sends the other wolf an approving expression at the strength of the bite. She snaps at Crenna again.

>>> Caileana bites Crenna! Crenna winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Crenna lets out anothe whine. It is apparently that Crenna is fading fast, but for some reason, she just keeps going. She makes another leap at Caileana, mouth open.

>>> Crenna nips at Caileana! Caileana winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Caileana takes the bite with a small flinch. She backsteps and eyes the other Wolf briefly. “We can stop, Crenna, if you like?”

Crenna shakes her head, her eyes a bit hard “No, I refuse to be weak!” She takes advantage of Caileana’s pause and lunges again.

>>> Crenna awkwardly snaps at Caileana, her teeth chomping down on mostly air. Caileana winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Caileana inclines her head, expression otherwise neutral. She is able to dodge this blow almost completely. She sinks her teeth into Crenna’s flank.

>>> Caileana bites Crenna! Crenna winces in pain, the wound bleeding a little!

Crenna growls, stifling another yelp. She unsteadily takes a step back before trying to catch Caileana’s tail again.

>>> Crenna tries to bite Caileana, but misses.

Caileana dodges this bite completely. She pauses, eying Crenna for a moment, but then moves back in, this time with her claws.

>>> Caileana scratches Crenna with her claws. Crenna doesn’t appear to be too injured, however.

Crenna powers through the attack. She makes one more attempt to unbalance Caileana.

>>> Crenna tries to bite Caileana, but misses.

Caileana sidesteps and halfheartedly swipes at Crenna again, watching the other wolf carefully all the while.

>>> Caileana swipes at Crenna with her claws! Crenna is scratched!

COMBAT> Caileana has DEFEATED Crenna!

Crenna stumbles as Caileana scratches her and lands hard into the ground. She attempts to stand, but is unable to do so. She says weakly, “Hold…”

Pheeobe arrives from the east.

Caileana pads over to the other wolf, her expression concerned. She noses Crenna gently and then sits down by her side. “You okay?”

Crenna whimpers a bit as Caileana noses her. She tries to move away but really can’t. She turns her head away from Caileana, “I am fine. You fight well.”

Pheeobe paws into the area, humming. Spotting the others she produces a small yip and runs to Caileana’s side.

Caileana grimaces and says apologetically, “Sorry.” She surveys Crenna carefully, gives a small nod, and then grins. “You too, Crenna. You have a lot of heart.” Her tone is impressed.

Crenna closes her eyes, still panting, “Or stupidity, I should have stopped sooner.” She perks an ear as she hears Pheeobe’s yip.

Pheeobe looks to Crenna and her expression turns to concern. “Did you two spar?”

Caileana looks up and over at the yip. She smiles faintly. “Hello, Tenderfoot. We did, indeed.” She turns back to Crenna and says gently, “Well, as a good friend of mine likes to point out, it’s useful to test your limits every once in a while. In a real battle you don’t have the luxury of stopping whenever you want.”

Nevarre arrives from the east.

Crenna faintly sighs, “Yes…” She looks at Pheeobe, attempting a smile, “Hello Pheeobe.” She then closes her eyes, panting still laying on the ground.

Pheeobe smiles at Crenna. “Well at least /you/ can spar with her.” She sighs and sits, wrapping her tail around herself.

Caileana gets up and reseats herself a few feet away so as to give Crenna more space. She glances over her coat and licks at a few bite wounds before nosing her disheveled fur back into place. “Soon, Tenderfoot,” she says gently.

Crenna opens one eye, “Sparring hurts more than you think.”

Caileana smirks. “Try being impaled by Petraverd. That’s the worst.” She pauses. “Or a giant for that matter.”

Nevarre walks quietly through a section of woods adjacent to where the other wolves are gathered. He hears pieces of the conversation at a distance and turns in their direction. He arrives and says, “Hopefully you’ll never discover that…”

Caileana’s ears perk. She bows her head to Nevarre and smirks. “Ah, Alpha. Arriving just in time to interject as always, I see.”

Pheeobe laughs. “I guess you both are right…I will try to be relaxed. I mean I haven’t broken any rules…” After this comment she looks to where the Alpha has just entered. She bobs her head to him and nods. “Of course.”

Crenna turns her head as she hears a new voice. She stiffens though still rests on the ground.

Nevarre looks to Caileana and says, “You’re starting to sound like Virika.” He smirks.

Caileana says with a straight face, “Must be your flowery personality. Sir.”

Pheeobe looks between the Alpha and Caileana and cracks a smile.

Crenna stifles a chuckle. She watches the Ulfden Wolves carefully.

Nevarre responds in kind, “I’m not sure whether I should take that as a compliment or not. See, flowers can serve many purpose” He finds a small flowers and picks it with his paw, “Sometimes they can be beautiful and delightful, other times they can be downright poisonous. It just depends on who you ask” He maintains a straight face…somewhat

Caileana eyes Nevarre with a neutral expression for about five seconds and then breaks down into barking laughter, which takes a while to fade into snickering. “I’ll, uh, let Eirwyn know you’ve started admiring and philosophizing on flowers, then.”

Pheeobe also laughs, hut hers is more subtle.

Crenna continues to watch silently, though she does push herself up into a seated position. She begins to clean some of her wounds, keeping an ear on the conversation.

Nevarre chuckles, “I’ve been spending too much time around Petraverd I guess. That, or i just needed a good comeback.”

You say, “I think that we can safely blame this on Petraverd.”

Pheeobe nods and smiles. “But I like that he likes flowers…so don’t let him change.” She gives Caileana and the Alpha a comical glare.

Crenna grins but it might be hard to see due to her cleaning her wounds.

Nevarre clears his throat, “Anyways, looks like it was quite a spar”

Caileana gives Pheeobe a look equivalent to a raised eyebrow and giggles quietly. When Nevarre speaks, her ears perk. “Indeed!” She says. “Crenna here fights with no small amount of determination.”

Pheeobe looks at Crenna and smiles brightly.

Crenna stops cleaning as the conversation is directed more to her. She looks up and coughs a bit nervously, “Thank you Caileana. You also have heart and are very skilled.”

Nevarre says, “It is a shame I missed it. I have not had a chance to witness many spars recently, nor have I had the chance to take part in them.”

Caileana smiles at Crenna and dips her head. She looks to Nevarre. “I am sure that could be easily remedied, Alpha.”

You say, “Pheeobe here is particularly anxious to test out her new skills.”

Nevarre turns his attention to Pheeobe, “Yes, I’ve been told you have been ready for a while.”

Pheeobe looks at Caileana and smiles, looking confident. She then turns her gaze to the Alpha. “Yes! I have been training pretty consistently.”

Crenna smiles encouragely at Pheeobe. She simply listens.

You say, “She’s proven herself very competent with her bite and claw against the straw targets.”

Nevarre asks, “Very well then. Will here work, or would you like to take it elsewhere?”

Pheeobe looks at Caileana and then back to the Alpha, her eyes sparkling a with excitement. “I think here works for me.”

Caileana gives a small nod to Pheeobe and looks to Nevarre.

Nevarre steps to the side of the makeshift arena, giving his full attention to Caileana and Pheeobe. He says, “Now an opponent is a lot different than a straw target. I am going to need to see an even amount of both offense and defense. I also want to see you use a combination of attacks. Do not use just your teeth, or just your claws. Make them work together.”

Crenna stands and also moves away to give some space. She sits quietly, content to just watch.

Pheeobe nods, and gets serious. She moves to the other edge of the area. “I can do that, Alpha.” She nods and breaths in deeply.

Nevarre says, “You may begin when you are ready.”

Dreygan comes walking toward you from the west.

Caileana moves off to the side and sits down by Crenna, watching Nevarre and Pheeobe intently.

Nevarre looks at Pheeobe on the other end of the arena. He stretches some to loosen up, his muscles and size plainly obvious. He says, “you may begin when you are ready.”

Pheeobe shakes her fur and bounces a little on her paws before charging forward. Once she is next to the Alpha she claws at his side and bites.

>>> Pheeobe scratches Nevarre with her claws. Nevarre doesn’t appear to be too injured, however.

>>> Pheeobe bites Nevarre! Nevarre winces in pain, the wound bleeding a little!

Dreygan walks slowly through the Waste, sniffing at the ground. His expression is wary as he scents Wolves he does not know.

Crenna turns her head as Dreygan approaches. She silently stands up and walks over to him. She mutters quietly to him before guiding him back over to where Caileana is.

Nevarre stands still as Pheeobe charges him. As she draws closer, he turns to his side, slamming her with his shoulder to disorient her. He is clawed and bitten in the process, but quickly counters with a bite of his own.

>>> Nevarre bites Pheeobe! Pheeobe winces in pain, the wound bleeding a little!

Crenna mumbles “The … of Ulfden … Pheeobe …sparring. … …”, to Dreygan.

Dreygan stiffens a bit at Crenna’s mutterings, following her with even more wariness in his step. His ears flick toward the sparring pair.

Pheeobe grimaces a little at the bite but quickly brushes it away and turns to kick Nevarre.

>>> Pheeobe kicks Nevarre firmly! Nevarre doesn’t appear to be too hurt by the blow.

Caileana gives Dreygan a smile in greeting as Crenna leads him over, and then seems to realize he can’t see it. “Hello, Dreygan,” she says pleasantly in a quiet tone, before turning her attention back to the spar.

Nevarre moves to the side, lessening the effect of the kick. He bites down on Pheeobe’s leg before she has a chance to pull it away.

>>> Nevarre bites Pheeobe hard, his teeth sinking into Pheeobe’s skin. Pheeobe winces in pain, the wound bleeding a little!

Dreygan responds, natural tone belying the tensenss of his form as he sits, “Hello… Caileana, right?” He sniffs briefly to confirm the scent, though the majority of his focus remains not on her.

Pheeobe gets much more serious as the pain from the bite sinks in. She charges at Nevarre again and bites near his leg.

>>> Pheeobe bites Nevarre! Nevarre winces in pain, the wound bleeding a little!

Caileana nods. “Yep, that’s me.” Her eyes remain on the spar as she speaks.

Caileana flashes her fangs in a grin as Pheeobe draws some blood.

Crenna turns towards Caileana and speaks quietly to her, a smile on her face.

Crenna mumbles “You have trained her well. It is no wonder that you are so skilled.”, to Caileana.

Crenna mumbles “You have trained … well. … … no … that … are … skilled.”, to Caileana.

Nevarre winces with a strong bite to his leg. He takes a step back walks off the bite, step gingerly on the injured leg a couple of times, “Good, good. You are definitely finding the areas I’m leaving open for you.” He circles Pheeobe a couple of times, watching her intensely. He makes a charge for her right side before quickly switching and biting her left shoulder

>>> Nevarre bites Pheeobe! Pheeobe winces in pain, the wound bleeding a little!

Dreygan just nods slightly at Caileana’s response, one ear perking briefly for the whisper. His jaw tightens slightly though as his attention is distracted by the spar once more when the male Wolf speaks.

Pheeobe grumbles a little at the pain from the bite. Stretching out, still totally focused, she nods at Nevarre’s comment. She runs up again and claws at Nevarre’s shoulder, realizing that that spot is a tender spot.

>>> Pheeobe scratches Nevarre with her claws. Nevarre doesn’t appear to be too injured, however.

Caileana smiles at Crenna, and pitches her voice low enough so that the fighters won’t be distracted, but loud enough for Dreygan to hear. “Thank you, Crenna. The Alphas are the strongest of us, as it should be. My own trainer was our she-alpha, Eirwyn. I owe most of my skills to her.”

Nevarre once again shoves at Pheeobe with his shoulder to disorient her, rendering her attack useless. He once again bites at her paw while it is raised

>>> Nevarre nips at Pheeobe! Pheeobe winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Pheeobe pounds her paw on the groud, looking frustrated. She spins around and bites at Nevarre again.

>>> Pheeobe bites Nevarre! Nevarre winces in pain, the wound bleeding a little!

Dreygan snorts quietly at something Caileana said, though exactly what might be uncertain.

Crenna nods a bit, her eyes going a bit hard, “Yes, Alphas are generally the strongest.” She goes quiet and watches the spar.

Nevarre is firmly bit and growls slightly. He shakes his head to regain his focus before biting hard at Pheeobe’s back.

>>> Nevarre awkwardly snaps at Pheeobe, his teeth chomping down on mostly air. Pheeobe winces, the bite stinging her a bit.

Dreygan mutters something under his breath after Crenna’s comment.

Dreygan mumbles, “Or just lucky.”, to Dreygan.

Caileana glances between Dreygan and Crenna, a thoughtful look in her eye. She hmms, then nods and turns her attention back to the spar.

Pheeobe smiles to herself a little bit but quickly wipes it away. She goes running straight back at Nevarre, moving to bite his other leg.

>>> Pheeobe awkwardly snaps at Nevarre, her teeth chomping down on mostly air. Nevarre winces, the bite stinging him a bit.

Nevarre kicks his leg up as Pheeobe goes to bite it, hitting her in the jaw. He quickly turns while she is disoriented and bites her shoulder

>>> Nevarre kicks at Pheeobe. Pheeobe doesn’t appear to be too hurt by the blow.

>>> Nevarre nips at Pheeobe! Pheeobe winces in pain, the wound bleeding a little!

Pheeobe jumps away from the kick and shakes her head at the bite. She swivels and pulls her shoulder away. She backs away to get some range and then runs again, clawing at Nevarre.

>>> Pheeobe tries to claw Nevarre, but misses.

Nevarre quickly ducks below the slashing claws, biting at Pheeobe’s stomach.

>>> Nevarre bites Pheeobe! Pheeobe winces in pain, the wound bleeding a little!

Caileana leans forward on her paws, clearly invested in this fight and watching carefully.

Pheeobe frowns at her stomach and then back at Nevarre. She runs to his side and bites at his side.

>>> Pheeobe awkwardly snaps at Nevarre, her teeth chomping down on mostly air. Nevarre winces, the bite stinging him a bit.

Nevarre once again moves fast to avoid being bitten firmly. He pauses to let Pheeobe cover and then he puts some distance between him and her. He says, “I think that will do for now.”

Pheeobe looks concerned but she nods anyways. “Alrighty then…how did I do?” She sits down and licks her paws, waiting quietly for his assessment.

Crenna frowns a bit as the fighting stops. She waits to hear the results.

Dreygan doesn’t really relax even when the sparring ceases, remaining silent.

Nevarre remains quiet for a moment as he chooses his words carefully. After about a minute he responds, “First, we stopped not because we couldn’t continue, but because we could continue. It is pointless and stupid to fight until one can no longer stand. However, there is a time and place for full spars.”

Nevarre says, “Now, as for how you did…”

Caileana flicks her eyes at Dreygan and then back at Nevarre to wait for his pronouncement. The motion is so swift that it is easy to miss, or maybe didn’t actually happen.

Pheeobe holds her breath in anticipation.

Nevarre says, “You had plenty of strength in the begin, but what you lack is stamina. Your teeth are sharp and your claws are swift, but as you got tired you could not keep your focus on me and I was able to quickly move out of the way.”

Caileana nods a bit.

Pheeobe nods. “I can work on that. Thank you.” She sits down and takes in everything he is saying with interest.

Dreygan turns his head to mutter something to Crenna, though his ears remain toward the male Wolf.

Dreygan mumbles “Rather different … … … I … …”, to Crenna.

Nevarre says, “I do appluad you as I did early for finding open spots. I left them open for you this time because I wanted you to find them, but that will rarely be the case. You did well on maintaining your focus when I tried to distract you with idle conversation”

Pheeobe nods.

Nevarre asks, “How is your paw?”

Crenna responds quietly a faint smirk on her muzzle, though her attention is still focused on the others.

Crenna mumbles “Everything here is … … thought … … have figured that out … …”, to Dreygan.

Caileana tries not to eavesdrop on the quieter conversation, without much success, though she keeps her eyes focused on Nevarre and Pheeobe.

Pheeobe looks at her paw with a small frown. “It is fine. I am sure it will heal soon.” She skakes it a little and puts it back down.

Dreygan shakes his head slightly, though the reason behind the gesture isn’t specific. He lapses back into the uncharacteristic silence.

Nevarre says, “If a wolf cannot walk, they cannot fight. I discourage kicking because it makes your feet vulnerable. Clawing can do the same if you are not fast enough.”

Pheeobe nods. “I will do that. What about stomping?”

Nevarre says, “A wise wolf once told me to focus only on the skills I was good at and couldeffectively perform. Stomping was not one of those. To effectively stomp you need to be significantly taller than your opponent. Wolves may be big, but we don’t have long legs. Just don’t do it.”

Caileana smirks and says something snarky in an undertone.

You mumble “Well, /some/ of us don’t have long legs.”, to Caileana.

Caileana mumbles “Well, … of us … have long legs.”, to Caileana.

Pheeobe nods. “Right. And I am rather shortish…” She gives him a small smile and looks at Caileana.

Nevarre turns to Caileana, “I may not use it in battle, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a problem attempting to stomp on snarky wolves Cail.”

Crenna flicks an ear towards Caileana. She grins slightly.

Caileana nods at Pheeobe. She chuckles. “Noted, Alpha.”

Dreygan grins very faintly, and in an undertone tells Crenna, “Sounds like the two of you have something in common.”

Pheeobe smiles at Caileana and turns her attention back to the Alpha.

Crenna chuckles a bit at Dreygan’s comment. She says quietly, “Only one snarky Wolf.” She still continues to listen to the others.

Caileana shoots a glance at Dreygan and snorts. “Yeah, you’re one to talk.” She snickers.

Dreygan shoots back at Caileana, tone getting the more normal edge back, “I am one to talk. In fact, I do it very well.” One ear stays toward the male Wolf, however, and he still hasn’t relaxed.

Crenna shoots a grin at Caileana, “I feel a stomping urge right about now.”

Caileana chuckles a bit. She looks back to Nevarre.

Dreygan tucks his tail more securely to his side.

Pheeobe looks at Nevarre expectantly.

Nevarre says, “Cail, I want you to continue to work with Pheeobe on her stamina. That, of course, will only be possible if you engage her in regular spars.”

Caileana dips her head. “Of course, Alpha. It would be my pleasure.”

Pheeobe also dips her head but once it is back up she jumps a little. “Thank you Alpha! I will not dissapoint you!” She looks to Crenna with a large smile and to Caileana.

Crenna returns the smile and mouths ‘good job’ to Pheeobe.

Dreygan’s muzzle wrinkles slightly, a tiny bit of tooth showing for a moment. He doesn’t say anything, though.

Nevarre smiles slightly. He says, “Then you had best work hard Pheeobe.”

Caileana gives a broad smile to Pheeobe.

Pheeobe looks back at the Alpha and nods. “Of course! Of course!”

Nevarre says, “I look forward to see what you can accomplish soon. In the mean time I must go attend to my wife and daughter.”

Nevarre moves closer to Caileana and speaks quietly to her.

Nevarre mumbles “I do not have time to speak with the new male rogue right now. You seem to be familiar with him so I entrust his care to you for now. Let him know what is available to him and where he can and cannot go. I will speak to him when I can”, to Caileana.

Nevarre mumbles “… … … … … to … … … new male … … now. You seem … be … … him so I entrust … … to … … … … … know … is available to … and where … … and cannot … I will speak … … when I …” , to Caileana.

Caileana smiles warmly at the mention of Eirwyn and Nieve. She listens intently to Nevarre and then bows her head and speaks in kind.

You mumble “Of Course, Alpha. I believe Crenna has already informed him of our rules. I met him yesterday and I don’t think we’ll encounter any trouble from him. They both are good sorts.”, to Nevarre.

Caileana mumbles “… … … … believe Crenna … … … him of our … I … … yesterday … I … think we’ll encounter … trouble from him. … … … good …”, to Nevarre.

Crenna tries not to evesdrop but due to the proximity, she can overhear certain parts. She frowns as Nevarre mentions ‘new male’ and when Caileana mentions her name. She shifts a bit close to Dreygan.

Dreygan’s expression gets wary again as he overhears ‘new male’ from the first mumble. He doesn’t react to Crenna’s shift.

Pheeobe looks between the Alpha and Caileana and Crenna and Dreygan. She keeps her gaze on Dreygan and says, “Hi Dreygan…right? I am Pheeobe.”

Dreygan twitches his muzzle briefly toward Crenna, not exactly thrilled when this new Wolf knows his name. “Yes, that is me.”

Caileana gives Crenna a reassuring smile.

Nevarre nods, “Thank You Cail.” He turns to face to the two rogue wolves, more specifically the male, and says, “I hope to be able to speak with you when I have time. In the meanwhile, Caileana will help you where need be.”

Crenna dips her head to Caileana, not seeing Dreygan’s muzzle twitch. She watches the Alpha silently.

Pheeobe looks at the Alpha and smiles.

Dreygan doesn’t quite bristle, but does not seem pleased by something the Alpha said, for some reason. “I’m sure,” he responds.

Caileana inclines her head, saying, “My pleasure.” She glances at Dreygan with a briefly puzzled expression before turning back to Nevarre.

Nevarre offers one more brief nod before heading in the direction of the Gathering Circle.

Pheeobe bows her head to the Alpha as he leaves.

Nevarre trots west.

Caileana dips her head slightly to Nevarre and then looks to Pheeobe. She smiles. “Well done, Tenderfoot.”

Pheeobe jumps up and down. “Thank you Caileana! You are the best trainer ever! Ever!”

Crenna watches Nevarre leave, frowning a bit. However, when she turns back to the group, it is gone. She smiles at Pheeobe, “Good job, Pheeobe. You were very good.” She slowly raises her paws as well. “I need to be going as well. Caileana, our spar wore me out.”

Caileana chuckles, though her expression is pleased. “I am not sure I would go that far. However, you are an apt pupil.” She turns to Crenna and dips her head with a smile. “I’m sure…thank you for the spar, though, Crenna. I would be happy to do it again sometime if you want.”

Dreygan turns his head toward Crenna once the other male is gone. “Let me guess: you didn’t win this one either,” he says teasingly.

Pheeobe smiles at Crenna. “Now we can spar.” She looks to Caileana, “Right?”

Crenna nods to Caileana, “Thank you for allowing me to practice with you.” She snorts in Dreygan’s direction, “Maybe I did. What would you do then?” She does pause waiting for Caileana’s answer to Pheeobe’s question.

Caileana nods. “Anytime we like.” She eyes Dreygan and grins a bit, a flash of self-satisfaction appearing in her eye and then disappearing.

Dreygan smirks. “Die of shock, most likely. And really, do you want that on your conscience?”

Pheeobe smiles at Crenna. “Then we will have to spar soon!”

Caileana glances between Crenna and Pheeobe in realization and coughs a bit. “Well, you might have to stick to just sparring me for a while, Pheeobe, until we make sure you’re cleared to spar others.”

Crenna turns to Dreygan, giving him a hard look. “I already have many things on my conscience.” She begins to make her way back, “Good bye everyone.”

Crenna trots west.

Pheeobe frowns. “Oh well..I guess you are right.” She looks at Crenna. “Alrighty Crenna! Have a good night!”

Dreygan heaves a sigh and shakes his head at her parting words, muttering something to himself with a vague irritation.

Dreygan mumbles “Winter, … … touchy … that… … … I’d thought … … getting … it.”, to Dreygan.

Caileana dips her head to Crenna a bit belatedly and watches her go with a thoughtful expression. Her ears twitch when Dreygan speaks and she turns back to him for a moment. Then she says to Pheeobe, “Although, in truth it could be quite useful for you to spar Crenna, as you are on a much more equal footing. We will have to spar a few times so I can observe you myself, but perhaps I can convince the Alpha to let you spar others like Crenna in a little time.”

Pheeobe watches Crenna leave for a moments before nodding to Caileana. “That sounds okay.” She looks around at the trees and goes quiet.

Dreygan turns his head back towards the two remaining Wolves. “I don’t know if there /are/ any others like Crenna,” he says, tone light again.

Caileana looks back to Dreygan and chuckles. “Well, perhaps not. She’s certainly the most well-behaved and generally nice rogue /I’ve/ ever met.”

Pheeobe nods. “Oh yeah! She is great! We had a very nice conversation the other night while hunting…well she hunted but…”

Dreygan grins, though it is really more of a smirk. “Don’t expect me to take that title from her. I should leave her /some/ claim to fame, after all.” He flicks an ear toward Pheeobe. “Doesn’t surprise me.”

Caileana tells Dreygan teasingly, “Well, I think sarcasm automatically disqualifies you from the Nice Wolf Brigade, anyway.” She looks to Pheeobe thoughtfully. “And, now that you are allowed to spar it won’t be too long until you are allowed to hunt larger game.” She pauses. “Although you may have to wait until you are promoted to Scout. But we are one step closer to that.”

Pheeobe nods. “This is a big day for me!”

Dreygan snorts. “Oh, well, how can I ever live with not being in the Nice Wolf Brigade? My heart may break.” He tips his head, frowning slightly, at the exchange about hunting and Scouthood and whatnot.

Caileana smiles at Pheeobe. “Indeed it is. You have accomplished a lot since you joined the pack, Pheeobe.” She shoots a glance to Dreygan and snickers.

Pheeobe also looks at Dreygan. “Why would you die? Being nice is a very good thing.”

Dreygan tells Pheeobe solemnly, “Which is why I will die from not being given the label. Really, I don’t know how I have held as long as I have.”

Caileana makes a choked sound of amusement at Pheeobe’s sincerity. She tries desperately to hold in a chuckle at Dreygan’s response before she chimes in, “Well. A good thing, perhaps, but often overrated.”

Pheeobe looks at Caileana a little struck. She ends up just ignoring both of them. “Well…you do you then.”

Dreygan nods at Caileana’s comment, maintaining his perfectly straight face. “Yes, I tried being nice once. Beasts just wouldn’t stop /smiling/ at me. It was very disconcerting, so I stopped as soon as I could.”

Caileana smirks at Pheeobe. “I shall, Tenderfoot, thanks.” She looks to Dreygan. “How terrible. It’s a wonder you survived.”

Pheeobe shakes her head and stretches. “I think I will be heading out too. It has been a very long day.”

Dreygan nods, the picture of a long-suffering hero. “Even worse, I couldn’t think of anything to say. Imagine, me, speechless. Truly, it was a horrible hour.” He flicks an ear and idly comments at Pheeobe’s departing comment, “Unless even more has changed than I realized, I am fairly certain every day is the about the same length. Most nights are, too.”

Caileana manages to keep a straight face at this latest comment from Dreygan. She nods seriously to Pheeobe. “Of course, Pheeobe. Rest well. You’ve earned it.”

Pheeobe looks at Dreygan and sticks out her tongue without thinking. She hurries it back in and frowns at herself, thankful that he cannot see. She ignores Dreygan and bows her head to Caileana. “Good night Caileana. Thank you.”

Dreygan smirks, apparently just as content to be ignored.

Caileana tips her head as her tenderfoot sticks out her tongue, surprise and amusement followed by a frown crossing her face. She clears her throat and watches Pheeobe go momentarily before turning back to Dreygan. She chuckles. “You must excuse my tenderfoot – for all she is a generally happy and, ahem, nice sort, she appears to not have much of a sense of humor.”

Dreygan tips his head, one ear skewing as he doesn’t know exactly what she is excusing Pheeobe for. “Oh, but that makes it all the more fun,” he replies.

Caileana chuckles again. “As you say.”

Dreygan smirks. “I thought we already clarified that I say a lot. I’ll take that statement as confirmation that all my words are complete and utter truth, though, of course, that was never in any doubt.”

Caileana snickers. “Now, that might be taking it a bit far. I am not keen on words being put in my mouth, see.”

Adara arrives from the east.

Dreygan responds without missing a beat, “Neither am I. They taste far too stale when someone else said them first.”

Caileana studies him, her eyes sparkling. “And are you claiming to be always original?”

Dreygan grins. “It is one of my many charms. And if, for some mysterious reason that I alone can explain, I must use something not original, I make sure to polish it up so nicely that you can’t tell it was stolen to begin with.”

Caileana’s tail gives a sweep over the ground and then tucks about her seated frame. She smirks. “By your own admission, you are awfully clever, then.” Her ears perk at the rustle of Adara’s footsteps, and she looks over. “Ah, evening, Adara.” She nods.

Dreygan’s grin doesn’t fade even in the slightest. “Of course. One of my other charms is my sheer genius, and my complete acknowledgment of the fact. False humility is a waste of time, after all.” He stiffens a bit, expression darkening, when he realizes someone has come up whom he did not notice.

Adara says, “Hello Caileana. What’s this I hear about owning up to your cleverness.”

Caileana glances at Dreygan as he stiffens, apparently fairly attuned to his body language. She pauses, as if weighing two options of what to say in her head, and then says to Dreygan with a smirk, “Well, I like a Wolf who can own up to what he is.” Her tone is jesting, mostly. She looks back to Adara. “Adara, this is Crenna’s cousin Dreygan. He’s visiting the Waste with her.” She pauses. “You’ve met Crenna, yes?”

Adara says, “Reckon in passing.”

Dreygan gives a sarcastic half-smile. “As much as I enjoy having an announcer, perhaps my name is mine to show off. I don’t recall giving it away, you see.”

Adara addresses the scarred wolf, then. “Hello, what should I call you.”

Caileana nods to Adara and smirks at Dreygan. “Guess I’m just taking revenge on the universe for Crenna doing the same to me the other day.”

Dreygan snorts in Caileana’s general direction. “Then stand on a stump and announce /her/ name to the world. I’m innocent in this, if nothing else.” He turns his head back towards Adara. “Anything works, if it’s flattering enough. And I’ve been called enough unflattering names to be used to it. But Dreygan does work.” He then pauses and sniffs again, nose in the air to catch her scent. After a moment he asks, one ear lying flat, “…what exactly are you?”

Adara also sniffs, but hers is haughty. “Reckon human is the answer you’re aiming at.”

Caileana falls quiet, glancing between the two.

Dreygan’s lip curls a bit. “You reckon? I would have thought you might know what you are, strange scent though you may have.”

Adara says, “Reckon I’m being philosophical at you, though you being clever I’m sure you saw on through that.”

Caileana’s tail twitches.

Dreygan’s expression remains sarcastic. “Reckon that not all reckoning is philosophical, and not all ambiguous answers are clever. And didn’t you notice? I have a bit of trouble /seeing/ through anything, even something as flimsy as your words.”

Caileana snicker-snorts at Dreygan’s last comment. She ahems.

Adara mms, disinterestedly concluding, “That kind of clever.”

Dreygan flicks an ear, equally dismissive. “Both kinds of clever, but I see no need to overexert myself… or exert myself at all… when it isn’t going to be matched.”

Adara rolls her eyes.

Caileana stretches out along her front paws and then sits back up. “So what brings you out this way tonight, Adara?”

Dreygan for once remains silent, attention turning toward the woods.

Adara says, “Coming home off patrols.”

Caileana ahs. “All quiet?” She asks, in a tone that says she expects to know the answer.

Dreygan’s mouth twitches into half a smirk, though he represses whatever it is he was considering saying.

Adara eye says, “Nothing to report.”

Caileana hehs and nods. “I am not sure I ever get tired of hearing that, even if it’s what I’m beginning to expect these days.”

Dreygan flicks one ear again, a frown momentarily crossing his expression. It passes quickly enough to go unnoticed, however.

Adara says, “Wouldn’t mind a touch of excitement nonetheless.”

Caileana hms. “Excitement, yes. We should take it up with your superiors to arrange something interesting, like an informal melee or something.” She grins.

Adara says, “Ain’t hear me object.”

Dreygan asks the air in front of him, mostly to himself, “Wouldn’t arranging it make it at least semi-formal by nature?”

Caileana looks to Dreygan. “Well, yes. But it is the best way to ensure something like it actually materializes. Unless you two want to have an informal melee right now. ‘Cause we could do that too.” She smirks.

Adara says, “What, you ain’t interested, Caileana.”

Dreygan snorts softly. “What, you would attack a blind Wolf whose only defense is a sharp tongue?”

Caileana tips her head and sends a confused glance to Adara at her wording. She snorts in turn at Dreygan. “Well, your cousin tells me you’ve bested her in a spar in recent history, so I figure you can hold your own. Crenna may not be that strong but she isn’t a weakling either, and she has the guts to make up for what she lacks in experience.”

Dreygan smirks a little. “Giving out all my secrets, is she? And I suppose I can, though I’m not entirely certain what you want me to be holding.” A more genuine grin tugs at his muzzle at the last part of Caileana’s words.

Adara observes the repartee without comment.

Caileana finally says with a toothy grin. “Oh, I am definitely interested, Adara.”

Dreygan shifts, a flicker in his expression revealing unease beneath the seemingly perpetual smirk.

A daughter of eve with a scar under her eye’s eyes narrow shrewdly, catching Dreygan’s unease. “Well, I ain’t mind, but only I have to get home not looking roughed up, or my husband gets bothered.”

Caileana eyes Adara with a small smirk. “Funny thing about mates, that.” She looks briefly thoughtful, shakes herself, and turns back to Dreygan. “Well. Just an idea,” she says in a way that makes it seem like she too caught Dreygan’s uneasy expression.

Dreygan’s ears flick back, but he shrugs. “Far be it from me to let Crenna get a spar and myself to go without one.”

A daughter of eve with a scar under her eye rolls her eyes at the posturing. “Fine. First to surrender?”

Caileana grins toothily. “That works for me.” She looks to Adara. “Can’t guarantee you won’t go home roughed up, Adara. My teeth are sharp.”

Dreygan just shrugs again, smirk gone and expression tight. “What else.”

A daughter of eve with a scar under her eye says, “I’ll have to tell him I fell in a rosebush.”

Dreygan maybe grinned a bit at that. It’s hard to tell.

Caileana chuckles and stands, shaking out her fur. “That ought to work.” She sends a glance Dreygan’s way.

A daughter of eve with a scar under her eye says, “First shot goes to the one as has the worst sight.”

Dreygan sinks into a ready stance, the motion easy and natural. “Whenever, then.” His expression goes still, nose and ears working even more than normal as he prepares. He then snorts at Adara. “Oh, thank you, benevolent one.” In a flash he lunges…

Fighting…

Caileana steps back from the battle first, panting hard. She watches the other two combatants with a fierce, approving expression.

Dreygan lunges at the woman, expression a snarl… and not exactly a friendly one at that. As Adara strikes him again, he collapses, attempting to lunge to his feet again immediately. His legs give out beneath him, though his expression, through the pants, remains defiant.

Adara immediately steps back, raising her palms. She is somewhat out of breath.

Caileana sits down, looking a bit dizzy still. She puts a paw to her head gingerly and says in an impressed tone, “Well fought, both of you.”

Dreygan manages to gain his feet, though his legs are shaking to the extreme. The snarl doesn’t fade as much as it should, nor does his wary stance really suggest he feels that it is completely over. He snorts at Caileana’s compliment, hackles slowly lowering.

Adara says, “Thanks for sparing me enough I ain’t have to explain myself too bad.”

Caileana lowers herself until she’s laying down in an effort to steady herself. She chuckles into the grass at Dreygan’s snort and says, “There, that’s much more like what I expect from a normal spar, a sound beating.” She glances up at Adara and snorts. “It seems I may have underestimated you, Adara. /I/ certainly wasn’t going easy on you.”

Dreygan turns away at that, nosing about until he finds somewhere he can sit and catch his breath. His ears lay back again, jaw tight, and it likely suggests he too was not ‘sparing’ anyone, in jest or not.

Adara sniffs, “Well, it was a good spar. Thanks.”

Caileana nods into the ground. “Quite. Thank you both.” Her tone is sincere. She glances over at Dreygan, perhaps a bit tentatively.

Dreygan takes another breath, panting somewhat under control, and lifts his head. “You are very welcome, being a target comes natural to me.” He gives a smirk, at least trying to get back to his normal self.

Adara says, “I guess I’d better get on back home, though.”

Caileana hmphs and sends Dreygan a frown that seems to indicate she doesn’t find this joke particularly funny. She looks to Adara and nods. “Sure. Well, we should do this again, Adara.”

Adara says, “If you like.”

Caileana smiles a bit and nods.

Dreygan misses the frown, obviously, though he flicks an ear at Caileana’s hmph. He nods in Adara’s general direction as she prepares to leave.

Adara says, “Good to meet you, Dreygan.”

Dreygan says a bit drily, “Your manners are appreciated.” After a moment, he adds, “Good to meet you as well, then, Adara.”

Adara smirks. “Reckon I’ll see you both around, then.”

Caileana nods again. “Have a good night.”

Dreygan just nods.

Adara walks eastward through the vegetation.

Caileana pushes herself into a sitting position with a groan as Adara goes. She mutters, “Humans should not be able to punch so hard.”

Dreygan gives a half-smile at that, if a bit reluctantly. “Hard not knowing exactly where to bite, either. Not that I usually do, nowadays, but still. All strange and lanky, she was.”

Caileana chuckles and then groans again. “Ow – um. Yeah. Odd-looking creatures, they are. You ever met one before?”

Dreygan shakes his head, flattening one ear. “If I had, I would have recognized the scent.”

Caileana nods. “Well. They’re strange. Hairless essentially, except on their heads. But they wear clothes to cover that up. Their young are the weirdest though – Adara’s pup, I met him when he was a baby. They’re pretty helpless until they’re at least – oh, three, maybe? Even then.”

Dreygan snorts softly. “Can’t imagine how they survive like that.”

Caileana chuckles. “I know right. Explains why they’re a bit protective of him.”

Dreygan flicks an ear and gives another bit of a smile. “Guess it might, though protectiveness doesn’t always go along with a cause.”

Caileana hehs. “I suppose not. Haven’t seen much that didn’t have a cause of one kind or another, myself. Maybe that’s just the sorts I associate with.” She tips her head and looks up to the stars, considering, and this thoughtfulness leaks into her tone at her last statement.

Dreygan snorts. “Oh, believe me, some beasts don’t need a reason. In fact, some beasts refuse to see reason.” He doesn’t say it with real animosity, just a familiar kind of annoyance.

Caileana shoots him a curious sort of glance. “We talkin’ parental kinds of beasts here, or…?”

Dreygan gives a brief laugh. “Mother kinds of beasts, or, to be exact, a single Mother beast. I am more than aware that most are /not/ like her.”

Caileana hehs. “Well. I don’t have a lot of experience, except maybe recently, with mother-type beasts, so that explains that.”

Caileana mumbles “though I guess you could see mine as protective in her own way when I was a youth. Just not the typical way.”, to Caileana.

Caileana mumbles “… I guess you … see … … protective … her … … when I … a youth. … not … typical …”, to Caileana.

Dreygan tips his head, particularly when she starts muttering, and says drily, “I imagine this is the point I could be expected to express sympathy for the implied loss?”

Caileana hehs and snorts. “Wasn’t a loss in the typical sense. And your sympathy isn’t needed, or really appreciated in this case. Had too much of /that/ recently for things that are old.” She surveys the other Wolf and smirks. “Near as old as you, in fact.”

Dreygan smirks. “I’ll take that to mean that you are ancient. And good, because I have had to be /far/ more sympathetic lately than I like.”

Caileana chuckles. She curls back down into the grass and lays her head on her paws. “Oh I am so old, rogue, you have no idea. I must’ve been an adult when you were born.” She adds in a lower tone, evidently with the hope he won’t hear, “By six months or so, at least…” She eyes him and asks in a louder tone, “Oh yeah? And who have you had to be sympathetic to lately?”

Dreygan does hear, however, seeing as he depends on his ears more than most. He grins. “You’ve lived through five winters already? You are a fossil, alright.” He continues on, pulling an expression of mock-despair. “Well, first there was the orphaned Sparrow, then the crippled Water Rat, then the lonesome Badger, and, of course, all the sympathy I’ve needed for myself. My tail got nipped the other day, you see. All that sympathizing really wears on a Wolf after a while.”

Caileana makes a face at him, seems to realize he can’t see, and giggles for a second before she blows out a breath at him and says, “Oh, that’s all? Whew. And here I was thinking you’d probably had to put up with my packmate Aliyah on her wanderings and that requires more sympathy than I’ve ever had to stomach in my life.”

Dreygan snorts, lip curling briefly as his smirking mood fades. “Oh, you mean the one who ‘will never love again’ because she has been hurt by a tyrant I could not /possibly/ understand the depth of tyrrany of? I don’t waste sympathy on her, my tail is far more deserving of it.”

Caileana snickers into her paws. “That sounds like the one. Thought you were probably there when Crenna encountered her recenlytly. Though, to be honest, that’s more information about her past than I’ve ever gotten out of her. Apparently I haven’t earned her trust enough to be told her great woes. Or something.”

Dreygan smirks. “Oh, you don’t need her trust, you just need her to yell at you.” He tips his head. “Speaking of which, has she crawled back here yet? Because if so, there are a… few things I need to speak to her about.” His voice gains a little bit of an edge.

Caileana shakes her head. “Nah, she and her Hunter Virika are still out of the Waste. Why did you think I was prying for details?” The smirk on her face shows up in her voice. She studies him for a moment at his last comment. “Mind if I ask what about?”

Dreygan snorts, lip curling a bit. “Wonder if Virika found her yet, then. And apparently it doesn’t matter.”

Caileana tips her head slightly. “Found her yet, eh?” She frowns but looks vaguely unsurprised. “Drat that Wolf.”

Dreygan nods, mouth twitching a bit at her added bit. “Last I heard, that was the goal, at least. Can’t imagine /why/, but Virika seemed set on it.”

Caileana lifts her head and glances over at him. “Probably oughtn’t to be talking about the antics of my renegade packmate with a rogue, but.” She makes a face. “Pheeobe said there was chatter from the birds about Aliyah running away. Thought I’d see if I could find out if there was any truth to it before the Alphas hear /that/ gossip.” She sighs. “To be honest, that she-wolf has been nothing but obstinate and bad news ever since she showed up, but Virika was all dead-set on giving her a chance despite everything she ever did. I don’t understand it at all, except maybe she sees something of her younger self in her.”

Dreygan grins. “Not even a rogue as charming and witty as myself?” he asks in a plainly jesting fashion. He then wrinkles his muzzle. “According to the overly dramatic pup herself, we are similar. I truly hope that isn’t the case, or else I may have to resort to extreme measures to spare my dignity and sanity.”

Dreygan adds, “Also, last time I spoke to her, she made it sound like she no longer wanted to be a part of your pack anyway, so it isn’t really a pack matter, just another rogue one.”

Caileana groans loudly and in exaggerated fashion. “By the Lion’s mane, certainly not. I believe this conversation we’re having now is longer than any I ever had with Aliyah, and she shared my den for months.” Shescrunches up her nose. “I hope I have better taste in interesting wolves than that, at least.” At his last comment, her expression grows somber. “So that’s the way it is, eh? Reckon there really is no keeping that from the Alphas. I really don’t know why we even let her in in the first place.”

Dreygan’s smirk returns for a moment. “And I will interpret that to mean you find me to be both in good taste and interesting. I’m flattered.” As to the rest, he nods. “It certainly had me dreading the idea of Ulfden, pack of Aliyahs.”

Caileana gives him a toothy grin at his first comment and mmms in a vaguely confirming but snarky way. At his second, she frowns again and says, “Well. I hope we’ve disproved that notion thoroughly by now.”

You mumble “Exactly why we shouldn’t have let her in in the first place.”, to Caileana.

Caileana mumbles “… why … shouldn’t have let her … … the … …”, to Caileana.

Dreygan stretches his front paws out before him, nearly lowering himself to the ground. He ignores her mutterings. “Judgement reserved. I don’t know any of you all that well yet.”

Caileana nods. “Fair enough.”

Dreygan pushes himself back up. “But don’t worry too much, so far you seem much more stable than she. And even better, you don’t dance around your past like it is a precious treasure you want everyone to see but that you can’t bear to share.”

Caileana chuckles. “Didn’t I tell you I’m old?” Her tone sobers, slightly, and she adds, “Well, I was never one to dance around my past. Explode over it, maybe, when it was more raw, but never dance around it. We’ve all got out pasts. No sense pretending we’re special.”

Dreygan pulls a mock-indignant expression. “Speak for yourself. I am incredibly special, so my history is likewise special!” He grins. “Old and grey, I am sure.”

Caileana snorts. “Hey now!” She protests. “Now you’re insulting my vanity, you are. I’ve yet to find any grey patches, thank you very much.”

Dreygan’s ears perk a bit, but he teases, “Grey patches? Hard to spot grey on grey, isn’t it? Or do you prefer silver?”

Caileana grumbles at him. “Ain’t no grey on this coat, Rogue, of any kind. Red, mostly. Some black, some white. Rather like your own coat.” She considers him for a moment. “In fact, I think you’re the first Wolf I’ve met since my own father with my coloring.”

Dreygan definitely tips his head at this. “/Really/? And here I was beginning to think I was unique. I apparently got it from my grandmother or something like that.”

Caileana grins at this. “Well, you’re not. /We’re/ not, I should say. Though, like I said, you’re the first I’ve met since my dad, and he hardly counts as far as that goes, he’s been gone so long.”

Dreygan lightly responds, “Same with my grandmother. Well, I suppose I cannot use /that/ in my repertoire of fantastic traits anymore. No worries, though. I have a myriad of others to fill in the gap.”

Caileana snickers and says sarcastically, “Oh, of that I have no doubt.”

Dreygan finally settles into lying down as well. “Good, I hate leaving other beasts in doubt.” He flicks an ear. “One thing about human hits, though… they don’t hurt for as long as bite wounds.”

Caileana hehs. “That’s for sure. It’s the bruising versus bleeding, I guess.”

Dreygan nods, twisting around to nose at a couple of sore spots. “Yeah… seems less effective in the long run, no matter how well she did then.”

Caileana scratches at an ear with a hindpaw. “I suspect if we’d focused on her before each other, we could have taken her down more effectively. I don’t think she could stand up to our fangs for long. But she does surprise.”

Dreygan gives a faint snort. “I was more intent on taking you out first, to be honest, so yes, she did surprise. Not in the least because I didn’t expect her blows from that angle. It was… strange.”

Caileana nods. “Trying to remember…I may have sparred her before, but I don’t remember her doing that well. Ah well. I often lose spars; you’d think I’d be used to it by now.”

Dreygan’s expression is strange for a moment. Not quite bitter, but certainly edging towards it. It clears as he says, “Why get used to it? The point is to get to the place where you /don’t/ lose any more, not get complacent with where you are.”

Caileana chuckles. “Well. Good point. I don’t lose because I’m bad, mind you, just because my opponents are typically Guardsmen and Ulfden who are superior in strength and experience to me. So what I mean is, you’d think I’d be used to losing while I’m building my own strength and experience.”

Dreygan flicks an ear. “I still wouldn’t get used to it. If I did, where would the drive to keep getting better come from?”

Caileana thinks about this. “I suppose I’m proceeding with the assumption that ‘getting used to it’ means not being bothered by it, not feeling complacent about it. But…” she pauses in thought, “If your point is that being bothered can be useful, you may be on to something. It has been a while since I’ve had to prove myself on a regular basis, but I am not yet the rank I aspire to be. So I could do with pushing myself a bit harder, at times.”

You say, “However, one can lose oneself in the drive to be better, which is…not good, either.” Her tone is some mix of irritated or pained, it’s not quite clear which.

Dreygan grins at the first part. “You caught on to that very well.” He then frowns slightly. “Wait, really? You don’t have to…” he trails off, ears flicking back for a moment, then just shrugs, addressing the last part. “Depends on the Wolf.”

Caileana tips her head at him, looking curious as he cuts himself off. She answers his last comment with a, “Haven’t yet met a Wolf for whom losing himself was a good idea.” Then she says with an amused but curious smile, “I don’t have to…what?”

Dreygan gives another shrug, laying his chin on his paws. “Prove that you deserve your position in the pack regularly.”

Caileana says, “Eh. Well, of course the Alpha likes to occasionally spar or observe us. But I think for the most part, once trust is earned, you keep it unless you do something to jeopardize it. So I’ve proven reliable enough as a Scout to be given a Tenderfoot, for instance. I suppose if I weren’t training her well enough, that would reflect on me to an extent. But then again…in Virika’s case, for example, Aliyah’s inability to conform to pack law isn’t really a reflection on her ability as a Hunter and trainer. She’s trained two of our best Scouts, after all.”

Dreygan skews an ear to the side. “You get /assigned/ Tenderfeet? So… every Tenderfoot has a mentor, no matter what?” His tone is almost disturbed.

Caileana blinks, looking completely caught off guard by his tone. “…yes?”

Dreygan eventually just goes, ‘huh,’ and relaxes his expression.

Caileana tries to explain, “Most of our new admits are tenderfeet without much experience. We assign them Hunters to teach them the rules of the pack and basic combat skills. They train with a target until they reach a certain level of competence, and then are allowed to spar, and are usually promoted to Scout shortly after, when they’ve proven to be a responsible and capable packmember. It’s…well, I’m biased but it seems perfectly logical to me. Is that not how your pack ran things?”

Dreygan shakes his head, though he doesn’t lift his chin from his paws. “Not exactly. The ranks were essentially the same: Tenderfoot, Scout, then Hunter, I assume?” He doesn’t pause for an answer to that. “But targets were only for pups, really, or brand new Tenderfeet. And you didn’t get assigned a mentor. You did your best and hoped that one of the Wolves higher up would take an interest. If they didn’t… eventually, you could try to get yourself up to Scout by impressing the Alpha, and then you’d have to make sure to keep that rank, with tooth and claw if need be.” He shrugs subtly. “I guess there were more ranks in there too, just… unnamed ones. You always knew who was better than you or worse.”

Caileana huhs. She frowns faintly. “That…sounds like a terriblee way to live. Always on edge, trying to prove yourself.” She shakes her head. “No, Ulfden’s not much like that. We’re…Ulfden is my family. The whole pack. I don’t have much blood family left, but blood isn’t everything. We all take in interest in the progress and success of our tenderfeet. We don’t just train them so that they can progress through the ranks. We train them so that they can protect themselves, and others if need be. Before the Guard, the pack and the fighters among the unicorns, were the only defense the Waste had against evils, weres, and giants from the North. We still take that very seriously.”

Dreygan shrugs again, pushing himself to sit up once more. “Depends on where you were on the ranking, I suppose. The ones high up… well, it wasn’t half bad up there.” He shakes his head as she explains the rest. “Different ways of life, I guess. That just… seems strange to me.”

Caileana says, “Likewise. But like I said, I’m biased, something I like to remind myself of. There’s only me and Nieve who were born into Ulfden. I’ve never really known anything else, not that I want to. But not everyone sees things the way I do.” She shrugs.

Dreygan gives a half-grin. “Sounds nice… I guess. Almost too easy, though.”

Caileana chuckles. “Reckon that’s another reason I don’t dance around my past. I recognize it’s not as horrific as most.” She snorts. “Not that it was all rainbows and daisies, mind you. I’m hoping it will be for Nieve.”

Dreygan snorts with a grin. “I might miss colors, but not /that/ much. Rainbows all around would give me a headache. And too many daisies would start to reek.” He gives a shrug, though. “I wouldn’t say it’s been horrific… I’m alive, after all.”

Caileana grins. “Well, there you go. That’s what counts in the end, I supose.”

Dreygan smirks. “Exactly. Particularly since dead beasts can’t count at all. Or do much of anything.”

Caileana says, “True.” She chuckles. “We should swap stories about near-death experiences sometime, then.”

Dreygan grins. “Wonderful. I’ll finally get to tell someone about all the times the attack squirrels nearly got me.”

Caileana giggles. “I always said you had to watch out for those squirrels. No one ever believed me, though.”

Dreygan nods sagely. “They are vicious things, especially when armed with acorns and more malice than should be able to fit in their scruffy little tails.”

You say, “Vicious, aye. Or maybe I’m just sore about their gossipy natures and the one time they said a he-wolf was trying to buy me. But hey, no grudges.”

Dreygan flicks an ear. “I hope it was at least a nice high price. Half a forest and a whole herd of deer every other week, something like that.”

Caileana chuckles. “Something like that.”

Dreygan smirks. “Well, then at least you can be flattered as you shoot down the offer. Though I don’t know, I might take that one… not that anyone has ever suggested it, of course, but hey.”

Caileana hehs. “Well, that time it was a misunderstanding, I guess. Apparently the squirrels took a joke and ran with it. But I wasn’t exactly…pleased.” She hehs and grins as if remembering something. “But hey, the timing wasn’t great, as I recall.”

Dreygan tips his head. “Seeing as you don’t sound dismayed by that, I have to ask… how’d things end up with this he-Wolf?”

Caileana hehs. “That’s…complicated. Not really sure you want to get into the whole thing if you know what’s good for you. I suppose the short version is…I’m still not really sure.”

Dreygan grins. “Fair enough. I’ll keep out of it. Last time I had anything to do with a complicated matter like that I ended up getting my pride tossed in my face. And with an ego like mine, that is a /very/ weighty thing to throw around.”

Caileana snickers. “Oh no, your pride, whatever will we do.” She makes a face. “Seriously what is it with you guys and your ego.”

Dreygan’s smirk just grows. “Mine has been inflated by how often I am right. It has taken on a life of its own, and as far as I can tell it will outlive me by several centuries… unless it has become immortal, of course, which is entirely possible.” He pulls a mock-stern glare, though it is aimed at a point just a little to the right of Caileana’s face. “So do not compare /my/ ego with those other pitiful ones. They have nothing on me.”

Caileana groands loudly and buries her muzzle in her paws. “Great,” she says, voice muffled. “Just what we need. Another he-wolf with an ego to rival my Alpha’s. Greaaaaaaat.”

Dreygan just continues to grin. “So glad to be needed! It is wonderful you see how fantastic my presense really is.”

Caileana just groans louder and shakes her head back and forth in dismay.

Dreygan smirks. “What, no offer to deflate my pride a bit? Things really /are/ different here, though how I am still surprised by that I will never know.”

Caileana lifts her head. “Did I mention my Alpha? Yeah I’ve given that up as a hopeless endeavor.” She smirks.

Dreygan’s joking mood seems a little bit dampened by this second mention of the Alpha. “That would be the one who was sparring earlier, correct?”

Caileana nods. “That’d be the one. Worst ego ever.” She chuckles. “He’s not so bad though, once you get past that. His bark is worse than his bite.”

Dreygan’s lip curls a bit, though he does seem to be trying not to be too outrightly offensive. “That so?”

Caileana nods. “‘Tis. And, to be completely honest, he’s getting softer these days. It’s fatherhood I think. So if you think he’s gruff now, you should’ve seen him when I was younger.” She snorts a bit.

Dreygan flicks an ear, expression definitely a bit more closed off now. “Not sure if I think he’s gruff or not, this is the first time I’ve even scented him.”

Caileana nods. “Well. He /says/ he has a new policy for treating Rogues with respect, but we’ll see. Typically he’ll try to get a rise out of you, to see how you’ll react.” She grunts. “If his reaction to my tenderfoot was any indication, he might even make some dig at your blindness. In my experience, he wants to see if you’ll stick up for yourself. I don’t know what he wants, exactly – some combination of self-respect and submission, I guess.”

Dreygan gives a loud snort at that. “Oh, he can dig at my blindness all he wants. I earned it for myself and I’ll mock it right up there with the worst of them. But I think you probably have gleaned enough to know what he might find for the rest of it.”

Caileana snorts. “Yeah, I reckon you’ll be fine.” She smirks.

Dreygan gives a half-grin. “Not if it’s submission he wants. I won’t kow-tow to an Alpha not even mine, no matter how bad his bite… or bark, for that matter.”

Caileana shoots him a measuring glance. “Well, it depends on what your intentions are, I guess,” she says after a moment of silence.

Dreygan replies bluntly, “I’m here for Crenna.”

Caileana nods. “In which case I think you’ll be fine,” she repeats. “We haven’t had any problems with Crenna yet. No reason to have any with you. You can keep your ego intact and likely Nevarre will let you be, so long as you don’t go harrying the den or something.”

Dreygan dips his head briefly. “Good. Does that mean I can tell Crenna to stop worrying that I’ll say the wrong thing and get even more scarred up than I already am?” His smirk suggests that he wasn’t ever really concerned about this, though how true that is… well, who knows.

Caileana chuckles. “Please. She was all ready to take responsibility for your actions the other day, which I told her was firstly not her responsibility and secondly, having met you, I doubt there will be anything serious to take responsibility for.” She smirks. “Unless you fall in the river or something. Then by all means she can be responsible for you.”

Dreygan groans. “Oh please, I am her cousin, and older than her besides, not another one of her adopted pups. Haven’t I made it clear enough she shouldn’t even take responsibility for them…?” He shakes his head, then smirks. “Done that already at least twice, and so far it’s been because of a spiteful log and slippery rocks, not a guilt-prone cousin.”

Caileana chuckles more. “Well, that was about my impression of the matter too, when she brought it up, I’ll admit. But I don’t think either of us will dissuade her.”

Dreygan lets his smirk grow. “Eh, I’ll just annoy her until she decides that she wants nothing to do with me for a few days. Then I can get into all the trouble I want, and she’ll have disavowed her responsibility for me herself. Flawless plan, wouldn’t you say?”

Caileana inclines her head and snickers. “Sufficient, I should say.” Her expression is amused.

Dreygan’s tail swishes once (if such a weighty, fluffy object like his tail can really swish over the grass) and he grins. “Excellent. Now, how to get myself up a tree without being able to see the branches…”

Caileana squints at him. “Now, /that/ I don’t recommend. Pheeobe has taken to climbing trees lately and it isn’t exactly the safest of hobbies for any wolf. There’s plenty of underbrush about that would suffice, I should think.”

Dreygan sighs dramatically. “But how can I hide her prey in the trees from underbrush?” He asks plaintively. His typical smirk-grin doesn’t hide beneath this for very long. “Eh, you are probably right, I might have outgrown trying to be a bird.”

Caileana chuckles. “Yes, we probably weren’t born with wings for a reason.”

Dreygan replies without pause, “Speak for yourself, mine just got stolen the night after.”

Caileana grins at him, head tipping. “A wolf with wings, now that would be a sight.” She pauses. “I suppose at one point imagining winged horses would have been equally as strange, however.”

Dreygan shrugs one shoulder. “Never seen one, never will. Not even seen that many Horses, truth be told.”

Caileana tips her head at him and opens her mouth to say something before thinking better of it. She starts again and says, “Well, stick around the Waste long enough and you might at least meet one even if you don’t /see/ it. We get visitors of that nature, occasionally.”

Dreygan once again shrugs, adding an ear flick. “Somehow, I doubt I will be around that long. Don’t think that Crenna and I intend to intrude on your pack’s goodwill long enough to stretch it.” He frowns briefly. “At least, I imagine not.” After a beat, he gives his head a bit of a shake, commenting instead, “I imagine I’d get the same basic idea as I am getting about Unicorns. Except with feathers instead of a horn.”

Caileana nods. “I understand.” She sits up and comments, “Well, I’ve never sparred a Horse of any kind before, but I imagine they’re not as lethal as Unicorns either.”

Dreygan grins a bit. “Never sparred any of them, though the way Petraverd was gong on, I expect I’d end up skewered, bludgeoned, and trampled before I managed to get in a nip.”

Caileana hehs. “Yep, that’s about right, in my experience. Between all the hazards, it is definitely difficult to land a blow, especially unscathed.”

Dreygan gives his head a shake as if scattering water. The motion travels down into his ruff, fluffing his thick pelt. “Heh. Sounds like exactly what an egotistical Wolf like myself would want to match himself against.” He gives a pause, then shrugs one shoulder. “Which, of course, is why I can’t. Wouldn’t do to grow predictable, after all.”

Caileana smiles at him, then looks up at the sky impulsively. “Lion…” she mutters. She gets to her paws. “The hour has, apparently, escaped me. I really should get back to the den for the night – I’ve a patrol in the morning.”

Dreygan smirks. “Now, /those/ I don’t miss. And for shame, Caileana. You should keep your hour under much tighter guard, feral hours are nasty to deal with.”

Caileana snorts slightly. “Yes, I really should,” she says wryly. “I can walk you back to the Shelter Tree, if you want. It’s on my way.”

Dreygan stands, stretches, then nods. “Can’t say I’d mind that. I still haven’t fully… figured out this place yet.” After a moment, he adds, “Thanks.”

Caileana says, “Well, it’s a big place. So…you’re welcome.” She pauses awkwardly for a moment. “So…um. You just want to follow the sound of my voice or would it be more helpful for me to guide you?”

Dreygan smirks. “Go ahead and sing a ditty, I’ll follow your voice.”

Caileana chuckles. “Ditties may not be the best idea. But I’ve picked up a few songs I can hum thanks to Pheeobe.” She turns to start leading before adding, “Thanks for the chat, Dreygan.”

Dreygan feigns a sigh. “Oh, fine, be boring.” He then grins, as usual. “Words are one of the many things I’m good at. So you are welcome. I didn’t mind it either.” He falls into position behind her, expression getting a bit more serious as his ears rotate forward and he lowers his head to sniff the best path.

Caileana grins and sets off towards the Gathering Circle, humming.