Though the sun hadn't broken the horizon yet the sky was a vivid canvas of intense red and orange, colors that reflected down to the lands below and giving it all a bloody tinge. The snow upon the ground made all the more bright, particularly as the sun continued to inch its way nearer and nearer to bursting into the sky. A single figure moved through the shortening shadows that the countless trees cast, sliding in and out of view as it casually made its way closer to an opening in the forest. A white paw, blushed pink from the sunrise, entered the blinding shaft of red light that beamed down into the clearing. An inky face followed, and the rest if the grey, black and white toned body. Cold eyes, a shade of brown so dark they were lost in the black of her coat, flicked back and forth as her nose lowered to sniff at the fresh tracks left by a red fox. The blood that sprinkled the snow along the trail had already frozen but the she wolf knew it was fresh. She'd been tracking her wounded prey for awhile now, taking her time while letting the creature run itself down. Maybe not much longer. It seemed to have paused before lurching into the woods once again for there at the opposite edge of the clearing was a larger stain that had melted a bit into the pure white. Atropos had dealt a nasty wound to the neck, but unfortunately had just missed the jugular. Ah well, the pursuit would be well worth it in the end, so with a silent grinning snarl she stepped forward and slipped into the shadows if the trees once again.
VarrickIt is a curious thing happening upon a trail of blood while mindlessly meandering through the forest. There are many thoughts that begin flooding through your mind like; who's blood is this? Is this from some hunt or a scuffle? Probably most importantly should you follow the trail and investigate, or leave it for someone else? Its a puzzling conundrum, one that Varrick was having difficulty working out. One the one hand he felt compelled to find the injured victim and assist them in any way he could. On the other he wasn't at all sure he wanted to face whom ever caused such an injury.
The blood did not seem to come from a wolf, though neither did it smell like any of the prey he had ever encountered. Predator on predator brawls only happened when food or land was involved. Food seemed the more likely perpetrator as the surrounding land appeared to be largely unclaimed. If the bruiser was another wolf Varrick's assistance might not be seen as welcome. Still he couldn't shake the feeling that who ever it was might need a helpful hand.
In the end his benevolence won over and he started down the trail of blood, hoping he would not regret his decision. Still weary of encountering the victor he kept a keen eye out for any sign of either party. The blood led him down a wobbly path further into the darkening forest. Having already set his mind to the task Varrick persevered through the darkness relying more and more on his sense of smell to stay on task. Further and further he went down the rabbit hole, stopping a few times to reassure himself that he was in fact the only one following the trail.
In the end he came upon a little pool no more than a mere mud puddle, with a heap of matted fur draped across its edge. The sight of the tattered body made it pretty clear that there was no more help Varrick could give. With a great sigh the wolf padded over to the body, nudging it softly with his nose in a feeble attempt to awake it from its eternal slumber. When it rolled over to reveal its shredded throat he pulled away in mournful disgust. Who ever the fox had tried to steal food from clearly didn't take kindly to it. A shrill cry called at him from above as a murder of crows slowly gathered, impatiently waiting for him to depart. Scoffing at the bird's rudeness Varrick turned back and gave the fox an apologetic frown. So was the circle of life he thought before turning to continue along his journey.
AtroposHer causal pace slowed a moment as her eyes caught sight of another set of prints merging into that of the fox's and began to intertwine with them. The fur along her nape bristled and her eyes narrowed as her pace picked up a bit more. A male wolven scent mixed with the musty and iron smell of fox and blood, causing irrational anger to rise to the surface as Atropos imagined someone stealing off with her meal. Not if she had anything to say about it!
The female pushed on, her walk having become a lope, until she spotted the dark form ahead. She knew it! Well, the reckless thief wouldn't be taking her fix today, oh no.
Atropos' head lowered as her lips peeled back to expose teeth eager to teach a lesson. Her ears slicked back against her head, hackles fully bristled, and as the black furred stranger turned she locked eyes with him and let out a low menacing snarl. Tensed corded muscles exploded into action as the female rushed the stranger. With chin tucked to protect her throat, Atropos aimed to slam shoulder to chest with him in hopes of knocking him off balance.
VarrickIn his previous encounters there had always been an opportunity to parley, to calm the waters before the fur went flying. This time however, even before he had fully turned around Varrick could tell this was not going to be one of those times. Clearly he had over stepped some boundary and this female intended on asserting her dominance.
Without even a second thought Varrick dropped to the ground like a rock, his body flinging itself into a submissive display. His legs tucked tightly against his chest and abdomen protectively; ready to spring out and brace against her attack. He didn't care that she was significantly smaller than him, only that she was mad and terrifyingly aggressive. Charaka would probably beat him for such cowardliness, but right now truth be told he didn't quiet care. Perhaps if he showed no interest in challenging her she would let him leave unscathed. "WAIT!! NO! I'm Sorry!" He yelped pitifully hiding behind his raised paws.
AtroposAs the male dropped down Atropos flew right over him, managing not to stomp all over him as she went, and stumbled in the snow as her paws hit the ground with a muffled thump. She whirled, head low and jaws snapping..saliva flinging from her lips..and lunged for him again without hesitation. However, with her supposed thief submitting on the ground before her Atropos only landed over him with her forelegs on either side if his body and her hind legs off to the side. Her face hovering over his, fury in her wild eyes, she searched his face before finally speaking with deadly intent.
"The fox is mine." she spat out before another growl roared from her lungs. Truth be told Atropos was a bit at a loss to be faced with someone submitting to her. In the battle for survival she had always been faced with opponents who would fight back for their meals. Then again..
As her crazed eyes swept his figure and she finally took a heartbeat to take in his scent his reason for not fighting for the food became obvious. This was a well fed pack wolf. He didn't need it. The enlightenment only seemed to infuriate her more, unfortunately.
"You're not hungry. Why are you stealing my food?!" she coldly accused as she continued to hover over him.
Varrick"Fox?" he whimpered. Why on earth was she yelling at him about some, oh right the; "FOX! Yes of course the fox is yours!" he exclaimed piecing things together. This female must have been hunting that poor creature, and now assumed he was trying to claim the fox as his kill. "I don't even want him!" he assured her throwing up his paws in complete surrender. He did't even think wolves ate foxes. Her certainly hadn't ever tried it. Never really a reason to with so many other more orthodox options.
After hearing his pleas she started looking him over funny, her eyes scrutinizing his form. It had been a while since anyone had stared at him like that but he immediately recognized the look. Abashedly he pulled his ears back. He suddenly felt very bitter towards the female, the food quarrel he could reluctantly understand but judging him by his weight was another mater all together. Still he didn't want to provoke her further, so he stayed as submissive as he could.
"Steal him? No! Gods no. I just saw the blood and followed the trail out of curiosity. I haven't come across many foxes; I didn't recognize the scent. I swear I meant you no offense." Mostly true, he hadn't recognized the scent, and really didn't mean any offence. Some how he doubted explaining that he had come in the hopes to aid the fox would benefit him any in this interrogation; so he left that part out. "I'll leave now if you permit it." He prodded experimentally.
Atropos fixed her gaze back to his dark face and seemed to be trying to judge the truth in his words. After a few moments she stepped off of the pack wolf and scurried over to her fox quick-like, all the while keeping her eyes on the stranger.
"Sure, so you can run home and tell all your little friends and come hunt down thecrazy one. Right?" she snarled as she placed one paw on the cold fox corpse and flicked her gaze from side to side, searching the shadows. Of course how could she know if this wolf didn't already have a little group he'd been travelling with? What if they were in the shadows right now, skillfully hidden, just waiting for her to make a wrong move? Atropos hesitated as her teeth bit gently on her tongue, Muscles subtly twitching with the expectation that she'd need to bolt.
VarrickVarrick was slightly taken back by how nervious the she wolf grew. With how brazen her entrance had been he wouldn't have expected fear to even be a part of her vocabulary. The longer he watched her though, the more certain he became that under all her bristled anger she was just a scard loney wolf. Rolling back over on hs stomach the male watched her carefully, empathy slowly replacing his imedieate concerns. He made a point to remain submissive however so as to not cause her any more qulems.
"You must not have met many affable wolves if you think me so malicious. I promise you I share no ill will towards you. I don't even know you. As for being crazy, well if it's crazy to be protective over your own food then I supose we are all a little mad."he objected lightly. He kept a steady eye on her hoping to see her defences loosen even slightly as he tried to keep his mood friendly. "I'm not sure if you just prefer the taste or not, but there are plenty of quails, and muskrats around, you, you don't need to eat fox if you don't want to. I've even seen a couple of turkeys about, the slippery buggers." he joked hesitantly. He wasn't sure why a wolf would choose to eat a fox. He certainly did not want to insult her for doing such; just wanted to make sure she knew she had other options.
AtroposAtropos continued to hover over the fox, nose just above the creature as if she were prepared to snatch and run. Though she continued to stare into the surrounding shadows her ears remained trained on him. His insistence on idle conversation only seemed to make her more on edge.
"I'm not picky." she grumbled before she let her teeth bite into the cold body, only to release it again. Indeed, when Atropos needed to eat she would take the first thing she came across...how could one be so choosy after eating the most taboo flesh of all, that of her own kind?
"Where is your pack? What direction?" came the sharp question. When it came time for her to leave, whether it be in a hurry or not, she needed to know what way to avoid. Of course he could lie..send her right into the waiting teeth of a whole pack..she would have to be cautious.
VarrickVarrick's body tensed up involuntarily as he hesitated to give away anything about his homeland. He didn't know this wolf; didn't know what she would do with that information. She seem pacified at the moment, but a drop of a pin she could be ripping out his throat. Probably be best if he kept her away from Aryn. God knows they've suffered enough chaos.
Taking a big calming breath he looked around the forest nonchalantly. "I'm honestly not sure." again mostly true. He knew the general direction and a couple landmarks, but he wouldn't have been able to point out the exact direction currently. "I haven't been home in quiet some time, and with it being dark, and the thick forest." he explained tentatively."They aren't any where close, at least a couple leagues." he said assuredly.
AtroposAtropos stared at the male with narrowed eyes, suspicion overwhelming her features as a low growl rumbled out of her throat as an involuntary unsure whiny squeak slipped out. His answer only seemed to increase her nervousness, the female's paws shifted in the snow for a moment before Atropos grabbed the stiff fox and ripped it off of the frozen ground. Her paws dug into the snow as she whirled and bolted, kicking up white powder as she ran. Unwittingly, the loner was headed in a diagonal toward Aryn territory but her paranoia was getting the best of her. She felt stalled and the large guy's vague answer worried her. How could he not know where his own territory was? She didn't know she just couldn't bring herself to trust his words. Of course even if he had told her where, the female still would not have trusted him.