[AW]  frozen away

Juryoku

11 y/o large Male
Xenon, Female Wood stork
A great hope has crossed the earth.
Every speck within the sky. Those that shone and twinkled were being coaxed to hide beneath a blanket of warmth. Winter dressed the pines, the ground, and there fell a constant drift of powder snow. A few bouts of bleats could be heard in the distance. With a heavy cloud pouring from his nostrils, the beast followed where his whiskers reached and twitched. It did not take long to notice a line of tracks—one of a goat’s, and the other of... a feline?

His gaze drew quick to a bump in the ground. As he walked past it, he noticed it rest a frozen carcass. Luck had seemed to lose care, and so nature took the life of this young billy goat. However, the tracks of this unknown feline continued to trace forward. Juryoku stood unsure on whether to follow the hunter or the hunted. Before he could make that decision, the leviathan caught sight of a bird in the sky. It appeared to circle a single spot, and he would break into a trot heading in the direction to where this bird searched.

All he could ask for was good news at least. It had been a year or so since he last seen his grandfather. Juryoku knew better than to waltz onto the elder’s territory. Surely, he was being nice when he chased the whiskered fellow away. To lay his paw anywhere near that cavern again, it would likely be a fight for survival at this point. Remorse pushed against his chest while he slowed his gait. Why did he still care for the elder? They were both simply mountain beasts living under winter’s rule. And so, they both should not stand each other’s existence.

Was that right?

A boulder rested between where the forest ends and the slopes begin. It was open enough for his familiar to see him down below, so he perched himself up onto this rock—noticing there grazed a herd of goats a few meters away. He watched the young billies and nannies run about, knocking each other over, and just generally being a nuisance. He started to chuckle as the group of younglings became curious of his presence. They’d take turns charging toward him but then quickly retreat back to their mothers. It was an amusing show. The tension within his head released slowly, and the fear subsided for a moment.

“I could not spot him at or around the cavern. It appears abandoned to me.” A voice grew in his mind as he heard the flapping of wings. Xenon approached him from behind, perching herself onto his shoulders. “He might be out in the valley,” he assumed. Juryoku remembered they would often migrate there when supplies got scarce. He could only hope that that was the case.

As he rested with his thoughts building, his attention had snapped back when the herd of goats bleated all together. They began moving up the mountain, making the fellow wonder what happened. His whiskers twitched at the presence of something, and he began searching for the source.

A great hope has crossed my fear.

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Fayre

5 y/o medium Male
Ikhael, Male Spirit Fox
Snow never brought about good comforts to the short coat of the recently aged man. That was what he was this Winter afterall, blossoming from the gangly juvenile he had been into a more lean and refined adult. A step that should mark the beginning of any young wolf's life, but it was tainted by the bitter aftertaste that was often left in his mouth after dealings with his familiar. Fayre looked down at the spectral fox beside him, wishing that he would melt into the Aether, return to the Gods. For good.  Ikhael merely returned his gaze, an exhausted sigh escaping "Do you hink you could've made it this far without me?" As though reading the young man's mind. Fayre huffed back, a cloud of ice crystals forming from the vapour further accentuated by his magic. A party trick but nothing more, "If this is supposed to be destiny, surely I would have made further progress in my usage of Magicka...". Ikhael shrugged and continued trying to paw at the snow, but he merely passed through it as he started sadly at where a hole should have been.

"You're a late bloomer. Don't stress out so much. though it was worrying to the familiar as well. The fox's time within the material plane was limited, and it was without warning as he would once again fade out. Fayre watched as the black visage faded and he breathed out a sigh of relief. It would be many hours before he returned and once again began his rigorous training. They were focusing on manifesting the crystals around him to form armour, something that would allow him to protect himself in combat while also providing an offensive advantage. So far, it had merely ended in the boy getting soaked to the bone. His stomach rumbled, all that was around him was vast plumes of snow and the steep cliffs that lined the edges of the mountain range. All he had allowed himself to do was pick off the carcasses that were left abandoned by others, his fear of offending any other nearby wolves by potentially encroaching on an unmarked territory was high.

Powering his way through the deep snow, he found himself getting vastly overwhelmed by the powder until it was up to his chest. Ahead of him, he could see a small herd of the ungulates and he found the last of his strength driving him forwards towards the food, all sense of awareness that he was in fact about to drown in a snow drift completely left his mind. That was definitely his youth still talking. It appeared they noticed him though, as they bleated and made their way up towards the mountain that loomed so ominously above his right side.



@Juryoku
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Juryoku

11 y/o large Male
Xenon, Female Wood stork
A great hope has crossed the earth.
For a moment, the flow of time seemed to freeze. His deep red eyes were locked on a creature that bounded through the snow—or at least tried their best to do so. It was a lackluster sight as he watched the stranger make their way to the goats who were nearly at the top of the slope by now. The leviathan shook his head with lips curled in a small smile. A part of him rest happy that he didn’t have to see another young goat perish, but Juryoku did have a bit of sympathy for the other wolf’s fruitless attempt at a chase.

The sun finally reached over the horizon and painted the skies in a more deeper palette of warm hues. Its light touched the tops of mountains, and as the day goes on, the sunlight would creep its way to the ground they walked on. The shade these trees provided was comforting, but he had little plans on lazing around for the day. No, that would have to be for another time.

Large paws sunk into the snow while he slid off the boulder he rested on; like snowshoes, they helped keep the beast from sinking into the deep snow so quickly. Xenon remained nestled on his shoulders, preening her feathers while he trudged along. Juryoku’s neck was leveled with his spine as ears stood high and eyes focused on the stranger wolf. It would seem he had a bone to pick with this canine, but once a considerable amount of distance was closed between them, the scaly fellow’s movement became more relaxed. His whiskers took in all of what scent it could gather from the other. That is when he slowed down three or four meters away from them.

Memories flooded through his mind. In his decade of living up here in the north, he has never seen this soul. He would admit that he hasn’t been as diligent of patrolling this part of the region as he usually did. Maybe his olden soul need not see the presence of all who wandered through—or, he just got lazy. Likely the latter. “A record for them, I’d say, to reach the top that quick!” he chuckled to the stranger while looking up at the mountain goats. “You’ve chosen the wrong prey to go after.” Unless the other wolf was that desperate or had another plan lined up, the leviathan saw this as a waste of energy. Something one should preserve with the rougher winter storms ahead.

“Are you new around here?”

A question he needed to ask. Juryoku stretched for a bit with another plume leaving his maw.

A great hope has crossed my fear.

•• | ••


@Fayre
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Fayre

5 y/o medium Male
Ikhael, Male Spirit Fox
Crestfallen, he watched his potential quarry disappear into the deep splits that created the jagged peaks of the maintain range. As his adrenaline and attention drained from food, he became aware of the cold again. Even though he was an ice wielder himself, it didn’t spare him from the harsh elements that were not created by him. It was an odd sort of symbiotic relationship he had with the frozen water. Granted if he had absolutely no affinity to ice, he have perished by now. Shivering, he heard Juryoku speak and turned to gaze upon the finned wolf.

Fayre’s eyes widened at the behemoth, the sea coloured scales that rippled along his back reminded him of the beaches with his snow coloured fur like the frothy breakers as they crashed into the sand. Immediately he flushed hard as he realised he’d been staring a bit too long, almost seemingly ignoring the question he was asked, ”Y-yeah, I usually don’t venture North but I was encouraged to in order to practice with my Magicka. It’s my birthday so I thought maybe... I should move away from the water and try out with the snow. Especially if I want to be useful to a future pack.” really, it had been a terrible idea and he just found himself more isolated and alone. The ram-horned boy wanted nothing more than to be surrounded by familiar faces and feel like he was a part of something, than to go another year of solitude.
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Juryoku

11 y/o large Male
Xenon, Female Wood stork
A great hope has crossed the earth.
A light hum trickled from his throat while he waited for an answer from the horned wolf. There was a look of embarrassment hinted on their face which made the water beast cock his head. Juryoku stood used to the gawking eyes and intrigued souls—how often was it that one got to see a being so freakish? Formerly held on a leash by fear, he was an eel that finally slithered out of its burrow. Vulnerable to the world yet starved to see what it held beyond frigid lands.

Steps brought him closer to this individual. He began to circle them once words had eventually left their maw. It wasn’t long till the fellow halted in piqued interest. What he heard rest foreign; what he heard sounded promising. For any who knew him well, to see a hopeful gleam present in his eyes, it would be staggering. It was as if a slumbering spirit has been reawakened with a few favors to bestow.

So, another dewdrop beneath Atlahua’s great flippers. He had no reason to deny his contentment for the stranger. Those that share his affinity were like a sturgeon to him—elusive. He’d let the steam within his core escape before parting his lips. “Encouraged? Well, whomever that was, knows the right place,” he told, now watching the sky as some birds flew over. “What of snow would be beneficial for a coven? Have you found a way for it to aid you yet?” Juryoku attempted to gauge the stranger’s experience, to see if they were truly a larva or at least had their full fins.

“I may be able to assist,” he breathed. The leviathan’s core temperature wasn’t near subzero for nothing. Perhaps the horned male may not have the same physiology as he, but he would think there was a way to at least jumpstart the stranger onto the path of ice and snow.

A great hope has crossed my fear.

•• | ••


@Fayre
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