Private  You lie! said the fool
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Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
On Taggard’s request, the two did not stray too far from the shore just yet. But they continued south, the horned wolf leading the way. Wallace was good company and had plenty to say, and so their trek was filled more of his words than Tagg’s. She found him charming and sweet, and was fond of him in the way that she was fond of her siblings.

They had continued for a long time, Tagg urging their winged companion on when he seemed tired. The sun had climbed into the sky, and though the two were tired, still they walked on. They continued through icy tundra of Beastwreck, and only when the air seemed much warmer and the sun was beginning to settle did Taggard allow them to rest for the evening. Sleep did not come easy, as it never did, and the cool colored wolf struggled with nightmares during their slumber.

Taggard jolted awake, sucking in a gasp as their mind slowly worked what had happened over the past day. A wolf was curled by their side, and quickly Tagg recognized the sleeping form of Wallace. They sighed, eyes closed as they took a moment to enjoy the warmth that being huddled together offered them. She had wished for sleep, but it did not come, so she carefully uncurled herself from her sleeping companion. Taggard yawned and stretched, their joints giving a satisfying pop as they worked the tiredness from their bones.

It was still early morning and the sun had yet to rise, but the birds sang their songs and some smaller creatures meandered around for their morning meal. Taggard left the boy alone to do the same.

Canine 2yo Male, Tall & Thin Immigrant 17 posts 0 Honor 313 ☪ peasnqueues
The walk had warmed him up, but the effort of heating his cold bones had drained his pitiful energy reserves. The further they traveled the slower his steps became and the less he spoke -- though he never quit entirely. Wallace’s horned companion urged him on when all he wanted was to give in to sleep. It was entirely possible that he had managed to doze while he plodded along at Taggard’s side. At least there were brief pieces of time he had no accounting for.

Wallace babbled nonsense interspersed desperate pleas for rest. Just a nap! A tiny one, even. Five minutes, promise. Taggard relentlessly drove them southward until they were satisfied. At their word, the tall boy collapsed more than he lay upon the ground and curled himself around his newfound friend for warmth and comfort. He was out before his head hit his big paws. Unfortunately for Taggard, Wallace snored. It seemed as though he was never quiet after all.

He groaned a wordless complaint the next morning as Taggard abandoned their sleep pile. He lifted his sleepy head, crest standing up straight between his wilting ears. “Hmsat?” Wallace blinked blearily in the pre-dawn light as his horned companion stretched and popped and gave in to wakefulness. The boy was not so quick to give up on sleep and simply snorted and turned to tuck his nose up under his wing to catch a few more restless Z’s.

When next he woke some time had passed -- as had the fog in his mind. Wallace’s yellow eyes were bright and alert and he gave a yawning stretch. His wings beat the air several times to work out those sore muscles before he climbed up onto his feet. Taggard wasn’t around, but Wallace wasn’t worried. His new friend’s trail was still somewhat fresh and Wallace was a decent tracker. With a final stretch and a quick shake, he trotted off after Taggard. 

Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
Taggard's lonely early morning stroll was almost a ritual at this point. Sometimes it could be hard, thinking of the days ahead and the days behind, so it was meditative to walk and simply be in the now. They watched the birds, and enjoyed the cool dew on their toes, and the hum of liveliness in Eden's early morning. After a while had passed, the horned wolf set themselves on the task of breakfast. It had been a few days since they'd had a good meal, but feasting on scraps did them well enough to make it so far from home. Upon finding the smell of rabbit, the horned wolf excitedly followed the scent. There were two, and Tagg crept carefully towards the unsuspecting creatures.

Lowering herself, Tagg readied to jump. Snap! A branch breaking and the light pawsteps of another — Wallace — startled the creatures off. Taggard stood and watched them scamper off, ears pinned in disappointment. Making no mention of their lost breakfast, Tagg turned to Wallace's approaching form, giving a light tail wag in greeting. She looked him over for a moment, and only when deciding that he looked well rested did she relax. "You slept well, and so look it," the wolf commented. "We've more ground to cover today, and perhaps through tonight. Are you ready to move on?"

Canine 2yo Male, Tall & Thin Immigrant 17 posts 0 Honor 313 ☪ peasnqueues
Wallace grinned when he saw Taggard ahead of him. See, there had been no need to worry. His new friend hadn’t gone far. He cracked his jaws to speak and then saw the rabbits bound away -- alerted by his carelessness. Whoops. Taggard looked disappointed for a moment and Wallace felt quite sheepish. “I slept well! I had some fairly ridiculous dreams about a seal, though. Something about accusing me of stealing his fish. What of you? You woke before the dawn, I think. The memory is vague and I’m not sure I was truly awake.”

He turned to look down the way the rabbits had scampered. “Sorry for scaring off breakfast.” It hadn’t occurred to him that he was hungry until the opportunity to eat was lost to him. His stomach growled and gurgled its complaint. Wallace grinned down at Tagg as his red crest flagged and his ears perked up. “Perhaps we’ll have another chance along the way. I’ll promise to mind where my big feet fall.” He pressed his cold nose against the side of Taggard’s head in easy fondness. Wallace was the sort to make friends quickly and expressed affection effortlessly. “Let’s be on our way then, before my feet realize how much traveling you’ve got planned for us and run away completely.”

Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
How lovely it must have been, to be Wallace. He dreamt so simply, and even being in his presence, Taggard felt the vibrance of his youth. Even just being in this place made the wolf feel more... alive, somehow. It had not crossed their mind that the new land that they walked upon may have been more magical that they had originally been led to believe. "I did not dream, but slept well regardless," although the opposite of both statements was true, Taggard felt it too rude to bring their company down by talk of nightmares and sleeplessness.

"Those rabbits will have their day, and I pray enjoy the warmth of the sun until then," Taggard said dismissively, offering a small lick of the boy's red crest as he pressed his nose to her head. "And perhaps we may find a pack whose caches are so full that we feast for a week!" a doubtful circumstance, but it often did morale well to dream. When Wallace confirmed that he was ready, Tagg lifted their head to find the sun, and then chose south. Not far off was the smell of salt of the sea, and around them the familiar scent of their own kind. But there was another scent, one that was both familiar and not, and Taggard had still been unable to place it.

Taking the lead, Taggard was silent in thought as they tried to remember what the scent was. Frustrated that they could not figure it out, they decided conversation may be a good way to pass the time. "Do you know anything of this place, Wallace? I know so little, though my mother had called it..." they paused, the names of thousands of places over thousands of lives crossed their mind. But in the life of Taggard Swift, there was little. The world had been their pack and then... "Ourania." It was a strange name, and often Tagg wondered who came up with the names of so many places, and stood on the soil long enough to make it true. "Though, admittedly... I find it slightly odd that we have not met one of our own kind just yet. And that orb, I wonder what it was..."

Canine 2yo Male, Tall & Thin Immigrant 17 posts 0 Honor 313 ☪ peasnqueues
Wallace could hardly imagine a night without dreams, though he did not offer up any commentary on this. Taggard would learn soon enough that Wally greeted most mornings with a recitation of his most recent subconscious imaginings. He did have plenty to say about praying for rabbits -- and not in a way that implied you were praying for them to come bounding into your waiting jaws. It was only the way that Taggard's warm tongue washed along his red crest of fur distracted him that kept him from asking if the horned wolf often sought the gods' goodwill on the behalf of prey beasts. "They would have to have enormous stores if they were to allow me to feast for a week! I may look svelte, but I could eat a whole whale!" 

Laughter glittered in Wallace's yellow eyes as Taggard sought the sun and picked their path southward. He fell in line behind Tagg, though he was not silent. No, not ever. He offered commentary about the texture of the ground beneath their paws, the shape of a cloud, and the birdsong around them. When the question was asked--interrupting whatever he had been saying about whether or not mice had lives as rich and complex as they themselves had--Wallace flowed into the topic without any more prompting. "Ourania," he said slowly, trying the name out. It felt a little strange and silly on his tongue--the way most new words did. "It is likely very foolish of me, but I knew little and less about this land before I set out in my little boat. The seafarers simply told me that it was a place for great stories to be found. I asked what they meant, of course, but for whatever reason, they were less than forthcoming."

When an idea struck him, Wallace gasped and bounded forward to stage whisper conspiratorily to Taggard. "Perhaps once you get here, you're sworn to secrecy!" Of course, no one had come by to swear them to secrecy, but surely it was just a matter of time. "Or maybe that magic orb was supposed to do it. Or maybe it did do it already! Maybe if we were to leave we wouldn't be able to speak of our adventures here at all!" The boy's imagination ran wild.

Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
Taggard's brow rose as the boy spoke of eating a whole whale, but only smiled. They doubted Wallace would be able to eat even a flipper, much less the whole thing. But some things were best left unargued, especially because it was doubtful they'd be finding any whales to eat. Her stomach groaned painfully, and Taggard concentrated on the world around them in an attempt to ignore the hunger. Wallace, too, was ignoring his own hunger, but did so by talking constantly. He had so much to say, and though Taggard may have seemed to be ignoring him, listened to each word. She stopped to look for the birds he spoke of, and glanced at the ground when he mentioned it. 

Wallace's suggestion that they were suddenly bound to secrecy was lighthearted and fun at best, and terrifying at worst. Tagg decided the idea was a little too farfetched to be true, even if Wallace had offered more of an explanation on it. "That is... a line of thought," Taggard glanced around, sort of hoping to find another one of the orbs. Perhaps if they were cautious and tread carefully, they could discover its secrets. "But I believe too farfetched an idea to be true." Or Taggard preferred to pretend it would be, anyways. There were all sorts of magics in all sorts of lands, some more powerful than others. Who knew what strength lie within Ourania's soil? And the duo certainly wouldn't get many answered simply by walking, not when there wasn't a wolf in sight!

Frustrated, Taggard lowered their head. "Perhaps we should not ask questions when there's no one to answer them," the woman suggested. "How about we discuss each other instead? I can only assume our journey will be long, and it will do well to get to know one another better.

"If it holds no ill feelings, tell me of your family."

Canine 2yo Male, Tall & Thin Immigrant 17 posts 0 Honor 313 ☪ peasnqueues
It really was fruitless to ask these questions when neither of them knew more than the other in regards to what Ourania had in store for them. So, without complaint, Wallace eagerly jumped into the change of conversation. "Oh, there are no ill feelings there at all! My family was wonderful. Very close-knit, you know. If I wasn't always so hungry for new stories, I would have been happy to stay among them for the rest of my life. I'm sure most of my siblings and cousins have done the same. Although, I suppose at some point a group would have to branch off and leave, or the clan would become too large and there wouldn't be anything left to eat for anyone. My grandpa Reuben told me this story that his grandfather told him about how our family had been part of this huge clan and they became just too large to support themselves anymore and this plague swept through and wiped most of them out."

Wallace realized he'd gotten somewhat off the point there and doubled back. "Anyway, my mama and papa were always really good to us. Kind, you know? Mostly fliers, us. We lived in this biiiig canyon. Generations of the clan had carved dens out of the stone sides all up and down the sides -- and paths for those of us that couldn't fly." Or simply chose not to, as was his case. "Lots of grassland up top. Migrant herds going through all the time. I don't remember ever being truly hungry back then. Mama or papa might have gone without so that we could eat, but those times were rare, I'm sure. My sisters and I -- Yes, all of my litter were girls except for me. Five sisters!" He laughed and gave his head a shake. "Moira and Miranda are identical twins. Then there's Gretchen, Holly, and Faith. Papa sure was glad when I popped out last."

"What about you, Taggard Swift?" he asked with genuine curiosity.

Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
Taggard did not have any faces to the names Wallace offered, but imagined his family was similar to him. Tall and feathery, maybe with different, earthy browns and reds and yellows and grays. She enjoyed to hear of happy beginnings, as they had lived though so many unhappy ones. She wondered how well he knew to hunt or to fight, or if he'd learned herbs. Or maybe Wallace was less three dimensional, and simply only knew how to tell a good tale. Not to say that it would have been bad, because stories to soothe worried minds may have been a far better skill. Taggard did not think she could spin simple words around like he could, if only because their many lives had still left them hardened to the world.

But hopeful, still, and meeting wolves like Wallace was like a breath of fresh air.

"I do not think my story flows as smoothly as your's, but..." Taggard was silent for a moment, thinking not of her current family, but of previous ones. There were so many faces and so many memories. Different types of lives and different deaths. Realizing their sudden lull into silence, Tagg offered a toothy grin. "This time my mother is kind, and my father hard to impress and so easy to disappoint. I do have siblings," Taggard had tried to commit them to memory, but sometimes it was hard. "But there are so many, I could not name them all. I was closest to my sister, Fife. I lost a bet with her once, and the loser was to get..." Taggard smiled at the memory. "Well, this nose ring," they turned to Wallace, shaking their head to let the silver jewelry dangle. "But Fife found love so early and left to another pack. I visited her once and met my nieces and nephews, but... our paths have gone separate ways. I left after my father exiled me. I do not think he did it out of malice, I believe he simply wanted me to find my own way."

Canine 2yo Male, Tall & Thin Immigrant 17 posts 0 Honor 313 ☪ peasnqueues
Wallace's parents had been very thorough in their education of their children. All of them had been taught how to hunt, fight, and the basics of herblore. He was at least competent in these areas, but his only true skill was his ability to weave and recall a story. It was all he wanted to do. Taggard was spot on with his imaginings of Wallace's family, though, except that Faith had been born, for whatever reason, bright pink. The horned wolf began to spoke and Wallace listened attentively. So attentively, in fact, that he at times failed to pay attention to his surroundings and bumped into this tree or that shrub. The way they spoke was always a little different than what Wallace was used to, but this was something else. 

"I have so many questions."

Too many, probably, but he was going to attempt to not overwhelm his new friend. "First, I want to tell you that your jewelry is lovely and I couldn't imagine you without it. It suits you very well. Secondly, what do you mean, 'this time'? And why did your father exile you? Just to make you leave? I cannot imagine anything like that. We had to force out one of my cousins when I was quite little. He'd tried to kill his own sister because he was in love with her betrothed. To me, that seems like a very serious step to take, just to get a pup to leave the nest. I truly cannot imagine."

Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
Taggard had not originally realized her slip-up. As Wallace bombarded her with his questions, the horned wolf was scrambling to find an excuse decent enough to satisfy him. Tagg had made a habit of not offering details on the type of being they were, as previous lives only proved that offering the information was... difficult. It was far better to live this life as Taggard Swift, just as their previous life had been Rowan Maddox, and the one before -- well, you get it. This life, and even this moment, was more important now to Taggard than any other life or moment was.

"Did I say 'this time?'" Their best option was to play it off coolly. Taggard's ears pinned against their skull, feigning embarrassment. "I apologize. Simply a slip of the tongue. But my father," Taggard hoped that concentrating the subject on her father would leave their small slip up behind. "He was.. not one to speak freely, as you do. I feel no negativity towards him; he told me to go in his own way, and although I miss my family terribly, I was meant to be here instead." Taggard smiled at the young boy. "Plus, had he not exiled me, who would have unstuck you?" Although their words were playful, Taggard imagined a frozen winged boy, dead from the cold. Would he have made it, had Taggard not shown up?

"The world has a way of putting things in place. My place is here, just as your's is." There was a sort of peace in not having control of your own fate. The gods, or whatever greater beings there were, pulled the strings and played their games with mortals. Not all games were meant to win, and most ended in their deaths.

Canine 2yo Male, Tall & Thin Immigrant 17 posts 0 Honor 313 ☪ peasnqueues
If there was one thing that Wallace knew, it was where a story was hiding. Taggard acted embarrassed for their slip-of-the-tongue but there was something about it that had hooked him in. It tickled the back of his mind and he wanted to keep digging until he found out exactly what it was. He narrowed his eyes for a moment as he considered doing just that, but it was clear that Taggard didn't want to talk about it. Wallace had to exert quite a bit of effort to pull himself away from the juicy story that was no doubt hidden there. He inhaled deeply and then let it all out and forced himself to relax. He'd find it out eventually. Hopefully, he wouldn't have to ruin their friendship to do so. That would be heartbreaking.

"There are few that have my gift with words," Wallace agreed and offered Taggard a smile in return. This time. "I am glad you were able to discover and save me from my undignified and completely insignificant end. I do not expect for my story to be as grand and adventurous as those that I tell, but it would be a shame for my end to be so terrible. I am grateful that Fate brought us together, but I am sorry that you had to endure your exile. I wonder what else it has in store for us." 

The slender wolf ruffled his feathered wings and lapsed into an uncharacteristic silence as he thought hard on their conversation this morning. After a moment he turned and bumped his nose against Taggard's shoulder in a friendly and fond, "I'm here for you," sort of gesture. "I think there is more truth than you've given me so far, but I can be patient. I will not badger you. Perhaps, in time, you'll trust me enough to share your secrets. Until then..!" Wallace lept forward and bounded off ahead of Taggard. There had to be something around they could catch for breakfast.

Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
Taggard felt relief as the boy let their small slip up slide, chastising themselves for allowing for such a foolish slip up. This time! What a wholly obtuse thing to say! The pale wolf tried to remain present in the conversation while Wallace continued to speak, and managed to catch the last bit of what he had to say. Fate, then something about their exile, then a curiosity for the future. Inwardly the horned wolf sighed, looking curiously towards the sky. "What, indeed," was all they had to offer. It was a thought that often passed Taggard's weary mind. What would it be for this life and, maybe more pressing, how long would it be? Would Wallace come to be a close friend or a distance acquaintance? Was Taggard Swift destined for love or heartache? And would she see her family again?

Their thoughts were suddenly drowned out, but this time by the strange silence that held heavy in the air between them. Their journey so far had been Wallace filling the air with his beautiful voice, and although Taggard enjoyed the silence, this pause was unnatural and alien. They felt the young boy's nose against their shoulder and looked at him curiously, only to find his words bringing them dread. Wallace pranced ahead and Taggard studied the boy suspiciously.

Wallace was more intuitive than they perhaps had originally thought. It would only be right that Tagg think the boy a little absentminded, especially having found him half-frozen to the ground. Both thankful that he confessed not badgering them, and concern that he may not keep true to those words stirred in Taggard's heart.

It wasn't that Tagg enjoyed the secrecy, but more that... well, mortals often had difficulties understanding the type of thing they were. So quickly were they to believe that Taggard -- or whoever they were for that life -- had betrayed them. They had lost so many close friends and family by offering their True Name and a story far longer than any of their lives were destined to be. To tell their story — the original story — was a type of trust almost unheard of. Taggard did not think Wallace, though kindhearted and sweet, could be trusted with such a heavy story.

Allowing the wolf to bound ahead of them, Taggard Swift stayed behind as the familiar feeling of being truly alone whilst in the company of others wrapped around their heart.

Canine 2yo Male, Tall & Thin Immigrant 17 posts 0 Honor 313 ☪ peasnqueues
Wallace had to keep fighting back the urge to turn around and badger his new friend until they spilled all their secrets. What did Taggard mean by, "this time?" He wasn't even sure what kept him from believing it was a simple error of speech. By the gods, he certainly made enough of his own to be sympathetic. Yet, Wally simply couldn't let it go. He felt that there was something more going on -- something secret. Something that might be dangerous. Oh, he wanted to know. He was dying for the story. He hungered for it almost as much as he hungered for his breakfast. Still, he owed Taggard a life debt. They had saved him from certain death there on the icy shore last night. He had promised to stay by their side until this debt was paid. It felt wrong to hassle them now for information the other was unwilling to give, at least yet. 

To distract himself, the boy ran up ahead. Other than "south" they didn't have a direction and so he didn't pick his path with much care. He hoped that they would stumble upon an easy breakfast, but he wasn't actively hunting. He didn't scout for the scents of prey. He simply bounded around and sometimes through the forested underbrush until he heard the trickling sound of a stream somewhere ahead. It was the angry honk! of a goose, however, that skidded him to a halt. Alarmed, Wallace's hackles rose and from the left, a big gander exploded through the foliage with his wings spread in an impressive display. Before he could twist away, the bird's tough beak pinched his side and Wallace let out a sharp yelp of surprise and pain. As he jumped away, the goose pulled out a large tuft of fur. 

He was going to be bald by the time they got wherever they were going.

Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
Wallace was off ahead, Taggard easily hearing his pawsteps as he went this way and that. The horned wolf followed his path, not minding if they went a little east or a little west. They were headed somewhere, and that was good enough for them. Hopefully sooner rather than later they'd stumble upon a wolf or two so they could get more information, as Taggard did not like the feeling of being so lost and having more questions than answers. There was something about Ourania that they had not been told, and the idea that there was a magic swearing wolves outside of its soil to secrecy was, frankly, terrifying.

The sound of an angry honk and a painful yelp pulled Taggard abruptly from their thoughts and into the present. "Wallace?" they called, fear clear in their voice as they sprinted towards the boy. What they saw, though, calmed the wolf down, who sighed in relief. Taggard watched curiously, unable to hide an amused smile. "Are you a wolf or a hare?" the horned wolf called to the boy, deciding to let this play out for itself. Although Wallace may have been keen in the ear, this felt like a teachable moment. There was a flurry of fur as the large goose honked and slammed its wings on the boy. They were such strange creatures, almost as if not knowing that they were prey and not predators. "You've got teeth, don't you? And are you not hungry from the lack of this morning's meal?" Taggard still hesitated, though was ready to jump into action before the large goose plucked every last feather from the poor boy's crest.

Canine 2yo Male, Tall & Thin Immigrant 17 posts 0 Honor 313 ☪ peasnqueues
stories have to be told or they die,
and when they die, we can't remember who we are
or why we're here

The goose was angry. Waaay more angry than he thought seemed rational. Not that Wallace was any kind of expert on the rationality of geese. Or anything, really. He yelped as the creature buffeted him with its wings. Taggard had arrived to rescue him, although they seemed content to sit back in amusement and let him battle the beast on his own. At least they called out with some mildly helpful and only slightly hurtful advice. It did snap him out of his fear and surprise enough that he was able to deal with the situation he found himself in. 

The gander beat at him with its wings, but Wallace had wings too. He reared back on his hind legs and returned the gesture with bruising strikes. The bird's furious honks and Wallace's snarling yelps filled the morning air. As Taggard reminded him, he had teeth and he was quite hungry. It turned him from the defensive and into offense mode. The boy jumped and snapped at the goose before finally ending their dance with his jaws around the wicked beast's long neck. With a crunch, the squawking stopped and the bird fell limp. Feathers and fur drifted to the ground. 

While the entire situation was foolish to a degree that Wallace did not want to acknowledge, he still felt some manner of pride. He grinned at Taggard around his mouthful of goose-neck and wagged his tail like he was a pup again. "Brefkas!"


there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you

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