Leaving the Pack (IC)

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These rebellious kids. Where did they get their ideas from, anyway?

Tyerin didn't make any special effort to find things out, yet he had little trouble overhearing the news, as popular as it was. Five, including the alpha's own daughter and a boy that some thought could someday succeed him, five of just barely the age of knowing how to hunt were leaving the pack today.

It was only a few days ago that things were quite peaceful. Then that crowd of humans showed up. Druids, they called themselves, those who commune with the land. Tyerin scoffed at the thought: They were humans, the destroyers of nature, so what could they possibly know about communing with it? All the same, that was why they preferred the forest to the perfectly reasonable human cities nearby. They were gone not long after they entered, but the controversy carried over into the next day. By the end of that day, the only ones outspoken about the trouble were these five. So by the end of that day Tyerin knew they were leaving. He found out early afternoon the day after that--that is, yesterday--that his mother had agreed to send him with them, and was told about it last night. At the time he behaved as if he hadn't heard already.

So he was late getting up this morning. It was perfectly understandable, given the circumstances he could easily lead everyone else to believe he was under. They were supposed to leave about an hour after first light, when Tyerin had woken up. He had to say his farewells, be handed a small sack of leftover scraps that they pretended were supplies prepared especially for him, and then run to catch up to the group, as they had had no option to wait for him at the camp's exit. Well, okay, he wasn't running, but walking more quickly than usual ought to count well enough, right?

He didn't even understand what brought this little group together--even the ones that had been well-acquainted with each other before didn't make much sense.
The undeniable leader and instigator was the alpha's daughter, Rowan. Living in the innermost part of the camp (which was reserved for high-ranking werewolves), it was impossible for Tyerin not to overhear her arguments with her father. From those, he had gathered she was every bit as stubborn, and angry about being passed over for consideration of succession. He gathered she had a certain sense of right and wrong that he was sure would prove to be all kinds of trouble in the outside world. He remembered that the only time she had been quiet was after her father had dragged her to a lake and threatened to throw her in, and even that didn't last long.
Then there was Aleksei. Tyerin was quite certain Alek had no idea what this episode would do to his reputation, and probably wouldn't care anyway. While physically he could probably punch a hole in a tree, mentally he was still practically a puppy. If there were any important decisions to be made, he probably wouldn't be the one to make them. If anyone was was likely to be fooled by deception and hurt, it was him. The youngest son of the Mystic just hoped he would go ahead and do it quickly so this trip wouldn't last too long.
There were also the twins, Ciel and Freal. Tyerin hadn't heard much about them before, and what he'd heard by now he didn't like. Ciel focused his talents on poisons, a coward's weapon, and based on accounts of his character he was as likely to turn it toward a friend as a foe. Freal was eternally cheerful, and between him and Alek, this could turn out to be a very long trip. What either of them cared for the humans that had been sent away, Tyerin didn't know.
Aysun was the most confusing member of the group. Tyerin had heard nothing about her to hint her joining the group, yet there she was. He did know her relationship with her father was worse than Rowan's with hers, and that was about it--she rarely talked and had virtually no friends, so there was no real source of information on her.
Tyerin tried, but couldn't think of very many links between them. It was going to require effort to avoid work with all of them around, but that was the only kind of effort he enjoyed.

A breeze blew toward Tyerin's back, bringing him the alpha's daughter's scent. As per his plan, he broke into a haphazard run, and in less than a minute caught up with them, panting and looking as if he'd been running the whole way. He didn't say anything, knowing it was best to let someone else speak first.

((OOC Here))
Rowan brushed the tendrils of hair from her face, a contrast she had acquired from her late mother to her father. Where the Alpha was dark brown in color, she was the sweet red-brown, forever announcing to the world that they were not of the same cloth. Or so she thought, although those who met them knew differently. The elders who had watched her grow had seen the playful pup being tossed into the air by her father. Younger members knew only that their tenacity, as well as their obdurate ways, blended perfectly. Whatever they had thought, the rift was now obvious. The precious daughter of the Alpha had chosen to break apart from her father, lead a rough canaille composed of a most unusual assortment.

Rowan smiled at these thoughts. Her father's words had cut her deeply, that harsh sentence summing up the fact that, because of a mere chance, she would forever be second best. Because I'm not a man, father? From then on, life for her had taken on a more vicious, competitive edge.

This was a time, though, to be focusing on other matters as well! The humans interested Rowan, she had never seen one and these had offered no harm. So far, at least, some had warned. It would be unfair to dole out swift, harsh punishment to as of yet non hostile creatures. Rowan sat alone at the first light in the agreed meeting place. She had really no idea why the others, aside from dear Alek, of course, had chosen to follow her. She knew she had fine public speaking skills, but these people had no been present for her venomous exchange between her and her father. The aftermath, she had not spoken much, rigid in her words spat in fiery temper.

Leaving now, with a bunch of pups I hardly know... To find humans, no less. Well, hopefully I'll at least survive this ordeal.
They'd been into another heated argument the night before, Aysun and her father. She'd almost gotten into another battle with him, but instead she simply left. What was the point anymore? She'd wandered a ways off to a small cave she sometimes went to for refuge, spending the night there. She had a big day the next morning. The day of the departure. Curling up on the cold floor she slept as contently as she could. When morning had come she knew it was time to go. Rowan had gathered a small group and they would be departing from the pack to venture out into the world. No one really knew Aysun's reasons for going with the group, but she knew that perhaps it was for the best. Her mother had always told her that if she believed in something to go for it. There was something she believed, so she was going.

It didn't take her long to pick up on the scent of Rowan and soon the young girl came into view. Aysun didn't wave or call out to the girl, instead she just walked up and took a seat on a boulder nearby. They would have to wait for the others before the departure could begin. Others...why are we doing this? Is it possible for a group as ours, with seemingly nothing in common, to survive out there? She had some doubts, but at the same time some hope. Only time would tell. It didn't take long for the group to actually assemble together. What a rag-tag group they were indeed.

Rowan, the strong leader who was looked over as becoming pack Alpha simply because of gender. Where Rowan went Aleksi would follow, surely so he was no surprise. The two twins were there as well, a strange combination but a balancing one. Finally, coming up at the rear and late per usual was Tyerin. Once he finally arrived to join the group Aysun opened her eyes, which she had previously shut to wait for the others, and scratched her head a moment with a yawn. Things were quiet between the group, something she wasn't opposed to, but the silence had to eventually be broken. Per usual, though, she remained quiet.

While not exactly a creature of habit, Alek did, over the years, settle into a comfortable morning routine. Every day, before dawn, he'd get up, jog a couple of times around the camp, go through his warm up routine and then head off toward a small clearing just as dawn rose to take on a morning of strength training and shadowboxing. As the rest of the pack awoke, he'd come bounding back, sweaty and grinning, to chat up the ladies, scarf down some breakfast and hopefully hang out with Rowan, if she wasn't too busy trying to be more bossy than her father.

Unfortunately, his much loved morning routines have become a thing of the past.


The pre-dawn fog was thick and grey, matching his glum perfectly. Alek sighed, trudging behind Rowan as she lead the little party away from the camp. As he watched her march forward, he couldn't help but feel that, somehow, they were going to be in deep, deep trouble. Rowan was not listening to reason anymore; Iluna knows, he'd tried hard enough to do just that two days ago, trying to get her to "just apologize and try to work this out reasonably with your dad!" But she was stubborn, and now it was a matter of pride anyway, he knew. And whenever her pride started up, it usually ended with the both of them being severely grounded.
Rowan turned to find two members of the group already standing near her, though not too close as if her madness could be contagious. Glad to know they have such trust in me already, she thought cynically. Rowan leapt to her feet and stretched upwards, to the canopy just beginning to allow the dull light to filter through its branches. Letting her arms drop, she spun slowly to face the two present.

"You... didn't have to come you know" she looked at them with intent emerald eyes, her expression a mixture of genuine hurt and some irritation. "You two, you have a lot to live for in the pack, from what I know. Lives ahead of you here, children to raise and that sort of thing. I believe in what I'm doing, and part of me really wants to believe in these humans. Part of the pack mentality regards them with disdain, yes, but underneath that disdain I can sense fear. We shouldn't be living with a fear of the outside world intruding upon us, I want to believe these humans can be good, that they can be allies. If you guys don't believe in at least me..."

She was pacing now, her emotions and her worries seeping into the speech that was initially supposed to resemble a pep talk. She sighed, tense more than anything and mumbled what sounded like an apology as she spun to face the trees. She ran her fingers through her hair, a nervous gesture, while inhaling the earthy scent of the trees. There was a comfort in the smell of the earth that nurtured and protected the tree roots, the gummy sap beneath the bark. It was the smell of home and a nostalgia overtook her before they had even left. What would become of her if no one believed - what if they were all here to watch her fail? All except Alek, he was simply following. That brought a pang of guilt to her stomach - his future was one of the brightest here in the village. Was it fair to bring him down?
"I want to believe these humans can be good, that they can be allies."

Keeping his cool gaze on the ground in front of him, Ciel, the young 'cowardly' wolf thought about Rowan's words. He wouldn't pretend that he was all-knowing about the humans, but he was indeed aware of their existence long before they had turned up in the forest. After all, there were a few of his books that had mentioned other races. Without raising his gaze, he spoke to Rowan directly. "Perhaps those humans were good. But it doesn't mean we shouldn't be on our guard nonetheless..."

His reason for avoiding everyone's gaze wasn't fear or shyness, it was embarrassment that they would see his red-rimmed eyes and realize that he'd spent the previous night crying. He wasn't afraid of the unknown that this journey offered, but when his brother had suggested they leave with Rowan and the others, that it would be an adventure, that they could have a better life, he'd of course agreed. But leaving meant travelling light and in turn it had nearly broken his heart to walk away from his father's collection, his memories, with only 'the most important ones' tucked safely into his pack. But in Ciel's opinion they were all important. I'll come back for them some day, he told himself and shuffled a little closer to his brother's side. The familiar scent and warmth eased his pain a little and he finally raised his eyes up to view the scene around him. The forest was most beautiful in the morning, the fog just thick enough that mist formed on his clothes, tickling his skin, weighing down his lashes.

Of course his gaze was instantly drawn to Aleksei where it lingered over near perfection for a moment before he felt his cheeks grow warm and he quickly directed his attention toward the others.

He knew Rowan, even if he were to become blind, deaf, and unable to smell. The woman had a charismatic atmosphere about her, much like how the air always grew thick and charged with energy before a good storm.

Tyerin he knew almost nothing about. He was aware that he was staring at the youngest son of the mystic but he wasn't sure if they had ever really met face to face until now.

The same could be said for Aysun, though she seemed even smaller and quieter than Ciel himself. However, he suspected that she was tougher than she looked. He'd have to be careful around these travelling companions of his.
Freal stood behind his brother, remaining quiet for the moment. While one would think that he was just being reserved for the moment, the truth was that he was quite tired. Ciel had been heartbroken to leave behind all the books and it had been up to him to console him all night while he cried. But Freal remained adamant about them leaving. The clan didn't understand them, didn't understand their bond and he thought that, rather spend a lifetime here in obscurity, to go out and blaze their own path through life.

Freal also hoped that this would help open up Ciel. While the 2 of them were tight and shared everything, unlike Freal Ciel rarely spoke with others and for the most part it was small talk. He never ranted about history or alchemy like he did to his brother. While he had never said this to Ciel, he was sad that he didn't have anyone else to share his life with. Freal had always been the more popular one, always hanging out with the other youth of the pack, but Ciel always hung back, caught up in his own studies. Hopefully this way Ciel would be forced to open up to others besides him. If not, then he would just be there for him like he always was.

He stood behind Ciel, as if backing up his statement. They had both talked the issue to great end and both decided that the humans should be trusted, but that they should still hold a guarded pose towards the so called Druids. So when Ciel spoke out against Rowan, he supported him. He would back up his brother even if it cost him his life, because in someways he was his life.
Tyerin affected a yawn, leaning against a tree. "You're starting to put me to sleep..I thought I was late, so I ran to catch up."

He leaned forward a bit, moving to a standing posture. As he spoke he maintained a weary pattern of speech, as if he was already very tired of something--exactly what he left up to the listeners. "If we're not out of the forest by high noon, they might think you've given up already. If we start now I won't have to run anymore. They seem just as stubbornly committed to this as you, miss alpha." He slurred the last two words together in a low tone to exaggerate the term's strangeness.

"So what's your call, hmm?"
Rowan flicked her gaze to Tyerin. "You've showed up, then. Well you are a bit late, thought I'd wait up to make sure everyone who wanted to come was present, seems like we've got them all though. You'll not be so lucky as to get out of it, Tyerin, if you're bound to coming with me because I'm going". She favored the others with an attempt at being cheerful, a small smile or an attempt at one as the corners of her lips tweaked upwards. "Let us be going then, we have a ways to travel now".

Being in human form always seemed restrictive, binding. Her body was less compact and energetic when she was wearing the skin of humans. Without a question to any of the others, she began to lead the group as a sleek red wolf, her pace slow at first, pushing forward to let them know that she was very intent on moving out now. Waiting, head raised, the watched the others from roughly ten feet into the forest.
Aysun had listened quietly as what little conversation being passed around was spoken. Soon the leader, Rowan, had her last words with Tyerin and had taken off into the woods. Her footfall was muffled as she assumed she must have changed into her wolf form. It was time to go. Without so much as a goodbye to her past or a look behind her, she opened her eyes, rose quietly from her place of rest upon the rock, and followed after Rowan at a brisk pace. She chose to stay in her human form, unlike Rowan. She had long since trained herself to be versatile and agile in both human and werewolf form so it took little effort for her to reasonably keep up with the female leader. She still remained quiet, trying to figure out what would come of this little adventure for them and for the pack. She wouldn't admit it to anyone yet, but the thought of not knowing thrilled her and the adrenaline of adventure on the horizon almost brightened her spirits. She had a slight spring in her step, possibly the only visible sign of her anxiousness about the ordeal.
The young werewolves continued their trek, each taking the position that felt most natural. Tyerin took the back, going just fast enough to not lose track of the last of the others. They were quiet in those hours. Whether it was a time of contemplation, or of focusing on the task to avoid thought, was anybody's guess. The mist slowly cleared, to show the trees thinning; already they were beyond where most hunting parties would bother to tread, and before long a road presented itself to them--one paved by human hands. Before the understood leader, the alpha's daughter Rowan, could think on which way to go there was a noise from behind a nearby tree...
Each step that took them further away from home had Ciel wanting all the more to just turn around and go back. Of course he had no intention of following through with the urge but it nevertheless was there, annoying him. His footsteps were just as light as the others' were, perhaps a dash lighter, not because he was a better hunter than the rest but because he was very good at going undetected, even in his human form. Being physically weak meant one had to make up for it in other ways, right?

Several times he'd glanced to his brother, wanting to strike up conversation but that somehow felt wrong to do, as if making too much noise would ruin the peaceful blanket that had settled over the forest. So he simply followed, keeping Rowan in his sights with a brisk pace. And just when he felt like he'd die of boredom, the scenery did an abrupt change and he found himself staring down at the human creation. He crouched to touch the cool surface, the faintest smile reaching his lips as his eyes sparkled with fascination. "Looks like it's made of--" But at that moment, there came a noise that startled him enough to make him jump up and cling to his brother.
Rowan's fur stood on end and she leapt protectively toward the noise, changing as she did so, making it possible for her to stretch to full height as her feet made contact with the ground once again. Rowan could still feel the sensation of her ears being perked, even in this form, she could feel her lips curling upward to reveal razor canines... The smooth cold of the human's path beneath her feet was foreign and chilled her small feet, the scent of it alien in the air as well. The sound however, was a more immediate and tangible threat than this road, though if Rowan thought the road could move she would have been eyeing it just as carefully.

With her fingers clasped around the hilt of her dagger, Rowan spread the other arm to gather her "pack" behind her. Whether or not they would recognize her as the alpha, well, for now they would have to let her lead and wrath come to whoever challenged the authority vested in her. Rowan held her slender body stretched across as much space as she could with one arm, her eyes fixed intently on the spot where the noise originated.

"Who goes there?" she ventured finally.
There was a brief pause after Rowan's question, followed by a deep sniff, the kind intended to clear one's nose. A female voice from the person behind the tree said, "Err, just a simple druid, um.." After that, a head peered from the other end of the tree, and pulled back immediately on seeing Rowan; It was there just long enough to make out a fairly well-tanned face with evidence of recent tears, and brown hair that seemed fairly clean, but rough and ungroomed. Still from the other side of the tree, she began a very clearly frightened apology: "I-I-I-I'm sorry! I didn't know your territory went out this far, I'll leave as soon as I can!"
Rowan tilted her head, keen eyes wide and a small smile on her lips. This was it! Do or die, she had already encountered the purpose to the whole endeavor. Rowan was, to state the least, thrilled. This human did not look dangerous, though one could not assume, and she appeared to be alone. It would be difficult to tell either fact, but for now it was a working knowledge. Another point in favor - she seemed terrified.

"Are you... a human?" Rowan stepped curiously forward, sniffing the air before her, it was a foreign smell the likes of which she had never before encountered. Rowan was eagerly watching the girl, who did not seem to be moving fast enough for her. Leaning forward more, Rowan tried to look around the tree at the girl. "Come now, we're not going to harm you. We already knew your kind was out too far. Come here" it was not a forceful command, just one born from curiosity and the natural instinct to lead a group complicity. Rowan had not entirely let down her guard, she was prepared to transform or pull her dagger, whichever the situation lent itself to, at any moment.
"Er, y-yes," she said, stepping out, her hands raised to either side of her head. She was wearing a loose, tan cloth cloak that fell as far as her ankles; one of its sleeves, which now hung off the other side of her arms, was wet. She didn't look much older than any of the group now facing her.
Tyerin had caught up by now and was, again, leaning against a tree with his arms crossed; the way he was facing was nearly at a right angle with the woman's position, and only his eyes were turned toward her. He had a distinct air of absolute disinterest in the situation, but spoke up anyway. "That's funny, I thought I heard that you druids stay in a group."
"W-we do," she said, eyes darting about the group a bit; her eyes had been focused on Rowan until now, and not even noticed the others. "I mean, usually, but...t-they left me behind." She was still shaking a little bit, almost involuntarily, in fear.
Aysun had kept quietly with the pack. When they stumbled across the girl she'd moved a bit further forward, looping around so she was a little ways behind the girl. Sniffing the air she glanced around and then back toward the others. Moving back she stood behind the girl just as she explained that she had been left behind, "Why would a pack leave you behind? Did you commit some crime against the pack?" she said in a soft tone, her voice carried easily and was almost soothing, yet still held a slightly cold edge to it as if reflecting her rigid personality. Her ice blue eyes glanced up toward the girl, since Aysun was shorter than her.
First the strange paved road, and now an actually human. Alek shifted nervously, taking a few moments to stare intently at the druid girl before stealing away. Like Tyerin had said, druids didn't normally travel alone, and Alek was still suspicious, despite the girl's tearful confession that her pack had left her behind. While Rowan and the others talked to the girl, he loped around in a large perimeter around them and scoped out the forest, taking in the scents and the sounds. When he was satisfied that she was indeed alone, he bounded back to the group and, bumping into Rowan to catch her attention, quietly confirmed to her, "She's right, there aren't any other humans around. What should we do?"
Ciel watched from the safety of his brother's arms how the rest of the pack reacted. They were all hunters, so he wasn't surprised at how both Aysun and Alek had made sure she really was alone. With one hand gripping Freal's shirt, Ciel's free hand quietly moved to the alchemy needles strapped to his thigh. They weren't much of a weapon, but they were long and metal and very sharp. He knew the best places to stab someone to make them hurt.

"What's with that sleeve?" he murmured, knowing the wolves would hear him, but not the druid. "Maybe it's nothing but...why is it wet?" He didn't trust his own pack, let alone a strange human so of course he was suspicious.
The woman seemed to see some of the werewolves saying something to each other, but clearly doesn't hear them. Instead, she focused on answering the question: "W-well, um, sort of. I mean, Druids are supposed to be willing to leave everything behind, but..there was someone I couldn't leave."
She seemed to want to stop with that, but after a moment of hesitation blurted out more of the story: "A group of bandits attacked us, shortly after we left your camp...Inni--err, our leader said we didn't have anything, but they searched us anyway, and found something on him that convinced them he was worth a ransom to somebody."