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Canine 152yo Male, Tall & Average Native 15 posts 0 Honor 36 ☪ XIII
#1

The journey south had been nothing short of straining, every step laced with the painful acceptance that the former Varwulf officer was now nothing more than a common peasant, void of both magic and weaponry, scarred but with nothing to show for it. 

It was such that the male sighed deeply into the warm summer air, crushing flowers with a near childish fervor as he followed the outlines of the hills up and down, past small clusters of evergreens and tall grasses until finally stopping at a small stream leading through the seemingly endless expanse of meadows. Dipping in one paw and then the next, Isildur lapped eagerly at the cool water, decidedly dropping himself at its edges for the time being, taking the time to ponder what to do next.

Part of him considered returning to Rune, but the notion of facing any survivors there was one rather avoided. The Rift came to mind next, likely to be a place more of his kind might gather, though that meant the equal risk of running into a group of equines.

Clearly disturbed, his yellow gaze fell blankly on the hills ahead, tail flicking annoyedly at the clear absurdity of it all.


“Across the land, he walked with death
parading his ossuary 
alive with revenge, grand intentions
forever marked for all to see.” 
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Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
#2
Taggard had set themselves forth to small, menial tasks while their journey was put on a brief hold. The den had been dug and now was a comfortable and secure place to sleep, and after having met @Tolkien, Tagg had found a small amount of enjoyment in practicing their climbing-tree skills. The wolf doubted that they'd ever be as skilled in this body as, say, a wolf with wings, or sharp talons, or dexterous paws, but being high in the tree was... comfortable. They quite enjoyed it, and being at a higher advantage offered some benefits. Still, though, Tagg was growing more and more restless. There was little to do now, and with the familiar face of another wolf few and far between, it was about time that they head on.

The horned wolf found solace in small tasks, like hunting without the intention to kill, or honing in on skills that they had not quite learned to do in this body. Admittedly, they weren't the best at hunting, so mainly the wolf did that. They had considered asking Wallace to spar, but the boy sometimes seemed like he may break, should Tagg even attempt to tackle him. Taggard Swift let out a long sigh, wishing that they could expel the frustration in their breath. They had continued south with the intention to head back, hopefully after they discovered something new. Ourania was filled with many mysteries and it was only with time and conversation with their fellow wolf that its mysteries could be solved.

Upon seeing a small fox, Taggard quickly decided that the creature would serve as an excellent distraction for the day. The two exchanged glances for a moment, the fox quickly coming to realize its fate. Its face scrunched up in fear and it took off running, the pale wolf quickly after it. Their chase was long and difficult, as there were few spots to hide, and Taggard let the thing stay a few lengths ahead, but was also ready to snap its neck when they grew tired of the chase.

Sometimes, though, it was just good to run. Upon coming to a river, which had many more hidey holes and dents in the ground where the fox could escape, Taggard grabbed the thing by the tail and pulled it back. The fox stumbled, offering a bite at Taggard's face in response. The wolf rolled the fox over, snarling and placing a paw on its chest to pin it down. The fox screamed and squirmed, jaws snapping wildly at Taggard, who avoided its fangs.

Although only moments away from ending it, Taggard hesitated. Then sighed and let the creature go.

Blood dripped from their pale face, which burned from the fresh wound. The wolf watched the fox disappear under a shrub, suddenly feeling guilty for their actions. Unbeknownst to them, they were in the company of a warrior, who had a clear view to their foolish game.
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Canine 152yo Male, Tall & Average Native 15 posts 0 Honor 36 ☪ XIII
#3

There was commotion further down the stream.

Thoroughly lost in thought, it took a while for the pale warrior to notice the incoming storm of a wolf and its prey rushing through the greenery, the sound of desperate cries whisking his gaze to the theatrical performance playing out in front of him. Brash and wild in the summer heat, Isildur found there'd always been something amusing about watching a fight from the sidelines, the notion bringing him back to the days where he had to study the form of his students, watching spar after spar, training them for the day they had to go out and face the cruel reality of war. 

Never show mercy, that was one of the first laws, and it was such that his nose wrinkled in disdain at the pathetic end of it all. 

Lifting a single brow, he decidedly called out. "Conscience get the better of you, kid?" With a tinge of gruffness in his tone, the words were clearly absent of its familiar warmth, rather looking for an explanation.


“Across the land, he walked with death
parading his ossuary 
alive with revenge, grand intentions
forever marked for all to see.” 
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Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
#4
It was only fitting that Taggard had an audience. They did not turn right away, ears flattening in shame as they felt the urge to just flee this altercation altogether. Their new wound pulsed uncomfortable, the blood tickling their fur as it dripped onto the warm soil below. They had been rightfully punished, and so there was no need to feel shame. The wolf turned to take a look at their new company, who was rather plain compared to many of the wolves they had met. And yet... far more scarred. There was a story there, and even then Taggard could almost imagine Wallace bantering the man to tell it. They offered the man a smile and a slight wag of the tail, but then concentrated on making their way to the water. "I am not at war with a fox, nor am I hungry enough to make it my meal. It would only be... incorrect to end its life today," Taggard looked at the water, seeing a rippling bloody reflection of themselves. It was rare that they saw themselves, and each time that they did, it felt odd.

Tagg quickly dunked their head under the water for a moment, feeling more refreshed. "Plus, is it not more strength to spare a life than to take it?" Taggard shook the water from their pelt, thought still felt blood seeping from their wounds. Rightfully punished for their actions, the wolf felt the world righted again. The water had washed not just the blood from their face, but the shame in their actions. Finally, the wolf faced the stranger and gave a small bow in greeting. "I am Taggard Swift, traveling south with my companion to see the Rift." It was becoming redundant to write the same greeting, but Taggard was not a wolf who cared if they said the same things over and over. It would be impolite to not explain who they are and what they were doing, after all.
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Canine 152yo Male, Tall & Average Native 15 posts 0 Honor 36 ☪ XIII
#5

Isildur found little solace in the justification of the horned wolf, expression unchanging as he protested. "You speak as though its life matters." Which was a silly thing, in the former-warchief's eyes, similarly absurd to aligning with them -- prey. 

Blinking dully, the white male found his footing again as the stranger dunked their wounded face in the water, not bothering to shake off the remnants of grass but instead protesting again. "And that would depend entirely on circumstance." Perhaps it was the lingering agitation, but Isildur couldn't find himself to force a smile with the words, tail flicking more so in frustration than friendliness. 

Nevertheless, the aged warrior had manners, offering a small bow in return, accompanied by his name. "Isildur Nóruidor Dagron." And stepping closer, he decided. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Taggard. Though, unless your goal in Ourania is to chase more innocent critter, may I suggest a better way to hone your skill?" 

Clearly in need of letting off some steam, the wounded and tired wolf would do just fine, if they agreed. "A spar, perhaps?" Finally taking on a hint of amusement, the warrior's expression softened at the notion, hopeful.


“Across the land, he walked with death
parading his ossuary 
alive with revenge, grand intentions
forever marked for all to see.” 
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Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
#6
The scarred man was... interesting, to say the least. It did not escape Taggard how he lacked a smile, and even seemed frustrated. Certainly Tagg had not done anything to offend him, unless he found it so wrong that they had spared the life of an innocent fox. This seemed a little too farfetched to the horned wolf, and so they tried to not take the man's demeanor personally. He was not unfriendly, necessarily, and at least had the decency to offer a name (would Tagg ever get over the rude dark beauty that had refused them the same courtesy?).

Taggard's ears perked forward as he hinted at doing something else, and finally he allowed his tone to not seem so bored and dull. A spar? Taggard wondered if they looked like the sparring type, or if it was common for Ouranians (which Tagg could only assume he was) to ask strangers for a spar? He seemed so hopeful, but Taggard was a little uncertain as they thought it over. "I must confess, it has been... a considerable length of time since I last sparred," they tried to size the man up to figure what sort of fighter he may be. It was so hard to tell, each wolf could be so different.

What better way to learn of the Ouranians and their ways than to scuffle? Plus, Taggard could not deny that ridding themselves of the frustration that continued to bubble within them with a spar would be... fun. "Vladimir Le Couer, I hear your request and I choose to accept it." Taggard finally decided. "I state the terms as.. whoever can pin the other to the ground be the winner," the horned wolf offered a bow, and then spread their weight evenly between their four paws. A mischievous smile found way to their face, and their tail wagged teasingly behind them.
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Canine 152yo Male, Tall & Average Native 15 posts 0 Honor 36 ☪ XIII
#7

Ah! "Wonderful," The white male replied, squaring his stance for the oncoming tussle, warmth slowly creeping back into his features. "I accept your terms." 

Taggard the brave and merciful, or, perhaps that simply made them foolish. Isildur assumed the fight to be stacked in his favor, but even he couldn't pretend to not be out of touch, rusty. And without his armor and magic, this felt like a wholly different game. 

Bowing once more for good measure, the male finally exposed his canines in a less-than-friendly taunt, charging so as to not spend too much time deliberating. Jaws agape and seeking purchase on one of Taggard's front legs, the warrior felt hopeful he might grab it and knock the smaller wolf off-balance.


“Across the land, he walked with death
parading his ossuary 
alive with revenge, grand intentions
forever marked for all to see.” 
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Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
#8
Barred fangs coupled with scars and bright, yellow eyes, Vladimir was a terrifying sight. But Taggard was unafraid, and although it had been a long time since they'd sparred, they still were confident. Having practiced tree-climbing, they felt more sure footed than they had been as a youngling. And although Taggard was, without a doubt, an incredibly merciful and forgiving creature by nature, they also were not one to be underestimated. Taggard was unafraid to be hurt, and in the terms of a spar, was unafraid to hurt.

Not ready to go on the offensive just yet, Taggard kept themselves low to the ground to protect their legs from Vladimir's jaws. Head low and charging forward, the pale woman's lips curled back in a snarl — though fierce, it was also clearly playful — as they attempted to grab hold of Vladimir's scarred face to distract him from his originally intended attack.
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Canine 152yo Male, Tall & Average Native 15 posts 0 Honor 36 ☪ XIII
#9

Unlike Taggard, Isildur's expression lacked the playful nature of a friendly tussle between the flowerbeds, rather being one of determination and ferocity. He wanted to win to prove something to himself, and just as much to this stranger, that his losses didn't mean what he feared they did -- weakness.

But his eagerness was punished as he felt Taggard's jaws grasp painfully at the skin at his nape, the notion leaving him uncomfortable but not entirely deterred from his initial goal. As the hold was fleeting with the motion, it released plucks of fur and the faint hint of blood as he pushed forward, seizing the opportunity to push his thick neck under the wolf, still aiming for a leg or paw.


“Across the land, he walked with death
parading his ossuary 
alive with revenge, grand intentions
forever marked for all to see.” 
Reply


Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
#10
Even as Taggard managed to get a hold on the larger wolf's neck, Vladimir held firm to his original move. They were close now, and the pale woman feared that their spar would be a quick one, should they let the man grab her. They shook their head a few times, but Tagg didn't feel as if they could pull Vladimir to the ground; he felt sturdy and hard to topple. The horned wolf would have use a little bit of creativity if they were to win this spar.

Vlad's jaws found her paw and Taggard growl-yelped at him in protest, letting go of his neck. Needing to act quickly, the pale woman shoved her paw forward and into Vladimir's mouth, and with their free paw did the same on his forehead. Kicking off of the ground, Taggard pried themselves free of his grasp. The move was not without consequence, as the white wolf's teeth raked into the flesh of her paw, and Taggard fell to the ground as they fell back.

Tagg used the motion to roll back and put a bit of distance between the two, stumbling back onto all fours -- well, threes now. Their paw was hurt, and Taggard only briefly glanced at it to see a stark contrast of red on the white of their fur. Shaking it in an attempt to shake off the pain, Tagg gingerly placed it on the ground and focused on their opponent. Tail raised high and face wrinkled in the threat of a snarl, the horned wolf surged forward, this time trying to get a grasp on his cheek to pull him down.
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Canine 152yo Male, Tall & Average Native 15 posts 0 Honor 36 ☪ XIII
#11

There was something exhilarating about the spar. Maybe it was because he hadn't done it in so long, but there was some childlike excitement as his teeth ripped into Taggard's paw, savoring the blood on his tongue as though it was one of prey.

But his giddiness wouldn't last, as he felt the dirt-ridden paw forcefully shove into his jaws, it nearly gagged him in the process. A growl of annoyance followed, and as Taggard recuperated, Isildur was quick to close the distance. This time allowing Taggard to lead the charge, the male winced at the bloodied canines that connected with his cheek. Ultimately, the smaller wolf was quicker to strike, but the male had his size, and four healthy paws that dug into the earth pre-emptively, bracing against the painful pull downward.    

Snarling in frustration, he sought purchase of his own, preferably around something as sensitive as an ear. If it were to turn into a tug-of-war, he was assured he could overpower them. 


“Across the land, he walked with death
parading his ossuary 
alive with revenge, grand intentions
forever marked for all to see.” 
Reply


Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
#12
As Vladimir's jaws found Taggard's ear, they toyed with the thought of yielding. The bite from the fox, an injured paw, and now a bloodied ear were probably injuries more suited to wolves who could limp home and have the comfort of a pack to lick their wounds. But still, Taggard was enjoying their spar. Although it was uncomfortable, there was something also comforting in the sting of fresh wounds; it allowed Taggard Swift to be truly present, and to be present only in the moment was a gift in of itself.

At a disadvantage, Taggard decided to give in just yet may even be dishonorable. They would fight until their terms came to fruition: until one of the wolves was pinning the other to the ground. Taggard had been sparring defensively, it was time to start acting. Still holding onto Vladimir's cheek, Tagg shifted their body so that the two wolves stood beside each other. Tagg pressed themselves to Vlad's side. He was bigger than her, and the difference was painfully clear at such a close proximity.

The horned wolf took a quick breath, letting go of the man's cheek. They then placed one back leg between Vlad's back legs, and one of their front legs between Vlad's front legs, using their weight to try and sweep the scarred wolf off of his feet.
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Canine 152yo Male, Tall & Average Native 15 posts 0 Honor 36 ☪ XIII
#13

It was an unfortunate stalemate. With two painful holds, both pulling down on one another, there was little happening in terms of movement, and a lot in terms of endurance.

For one, Isildur was starting to feel the growing sting of blood trickling down the wound on his cheek, teeth still digging into its flesh in a way that made it hard to focus. But there was a change in Taggard's stance, a flurry of movement that, instead of fighting, Isildur indulged in. Feeling the inevitable loss of balance, the white wolf tightened the grip around his foe's ear, suddenly dropping his weight to the opposite side that, combined with Taggard's painful paw, he hoped would take the wolf down with him in a mess of legs and dirt.  


“Across the land, he walked with death
parading his ossuary 
alive with revenge, grand intentions
forever marked for all to see.” 
Reply


Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
#14
Taggard had expected to catch Vladimir off guard enough for him to let go, but instead he held firm. With their ear clenched firmly in the white wolf's jaws, Tagg had two choices to make right then, and one seemed more obvious than the other. Taking the fall was their only chance to finally get the wolf pinned, so Taggard had to take it. Their ear was painfully tugged down, and as Vlad fell, Taggard used their last second of their paws on the ground to kick off, slamming their shoulder into Vlad as they fell. The horned wolf scrambled to find their footing again, trying to stand and pin the larger male to the ground.
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Canine 152yo Male, Tall & Average Native 15 posts 0 Honor 36 ☪ XIII
#15

Unsurprisingly, they both fell, and as the former-warlord hit the ground with a loud thud, he was all too aware of the compromising position he'd put himself in.

But he was nothing if not prepared, and as the sharp pain shot through his side on collision, dirt and strands of grass gracing the air, the male placed his powerful back legs against Taggard's stomach, using the motion of the fall to kick the horned wolf off to the side, leaving him scrambling to regain his footing and get back on four paws.

Determined now more than ever, Isildur was starting to feel the exhaustion from the fight, a bruised side and battered face and nape making it painfully obvious he had to end this sooner rather than later. And still close to the ground from the fall, he decidedly went in again with an all-too-aggressive snarl, jaws aiming for any of the legs closest to him.

OOC: Not entirely sure if this is how it works (?), but I'd like to use Isildur's attack on Taggard's leg as his guaranteed hit, courtesy of his warrior skill!


“Across the land, he walked with death
parading his ossuary 
alive with revenge, grand intentions
forever marked for all to see.” 
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Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
#16
Taggard grunted when the man offered a forceful kick to their stomach, a small yelp escaping them as they collided with the ground. They went to roll over and force themselves up, but instead saw flashing fangs. Vladimir's jaws wrapped around a hind leg and Taggard instinctively kicked, but then paused to consider their actions. Bleeding and bruised all over, and tired in the best way, Vladimir had managed to get them on their back. The wolf rolled over to expose their belly, panting heavily. "You offer a good spar, Vladimir Le Couer. I would hate to be your enemy on the battlefield," adrenaline kept the wolf from aching badly now, but already Taggard could feel a sharp sting in their open wounds. Taggard Swift was defeated this time, but at the very least it was a satisfying defeat. It seemed that so few lives could be offered such a good loss.
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Canine 152yo Male, Tall & Average Native 15 posts 0 Honor 36 ☪ XIII
#17

Bloodied canines connected with Taggard's hind leg, and as they pulled, he felt his partner give in to the motion, rolling onto their back in a clear sign of submission. The admission was enough to grace his lips with a victorious grin, tongue lolling from his jaws as short and quick breaths merged with the warm summer air. Stepping over the horned wolf, it was a show of dominance that was ultimately unneeded, but felt good all the same. A reward for his patience, for the restraint, keeping himself from tainting the innocence of a spar and turning it into something more volatile. 

"It was a pleasure, truly." The warrior responded through haggard breaths, tail lashing with remnants of tension, finally allowing Taggard some space to get up if they so desired. "I must say, I was not expecting such ferocity after your.. tussle, with that fox." A mix of honesty and judgment lacing the words, the pale wolf found himself unable to sit just yet, still needing to shake off the adrenaline.


“Across the land, he walked with death
parading his ossuary 
alive with revenge, grand intentions
forever marked for all to see.” 
Reply


Canine 3yo Genderfluid, Average & Average Immigrant 36 posts 0 Honor 687 ☪ Marina
#18
Taggard felt no shame at their loss, and no fear as the larger wolf stood over them. Perhaps they should have, but Vladimir had given them no reason to not trust him. He soon moved, allowing the horned wolf to get up to their feet, which they did. This time Taggard was offered the pleasure of inspecting their paw. The wound wasn't terrible, but Tagg knew that they'd be limping whilst bombarded with an unending amount of questions from their chattery companion. In the end, the pale wolf didn't mind, so long as he steered away from a topic that was more sensitive. The wolf licked the dirt and blood from the wound, glancing towards Vladimir as he offered something that was the mix of a compliment and a dig at their previous actions.

"You have so much strength in tooth and claw," Taggard smiled, moving back towards the river. They placed their paw in the cool water and continued: "No doubt you are a fierce opponent and a ruthless warrior," they had come to the conclusion easily. Vladimir was a wolf not to be messed with, and it had been clear how there was more feeling in his voice when he spoke of a spar than when the two exchanged greetings. The scarred man enjoyed the fight, and Taggard would be a liar if they had said that they hadn't enjoyed themselves too. "But what of the heart of Vladimir Le Couer?" Taggard let the words hang in the air for a moment, lifting their paw from the water to inspect it. "Has it been too hardened by the world? Does it have room for anything besides the thrill of a battle?" Satisfied with their paw, Taggard lapped at the water.
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Canine 152yo Male, Tall & Average Native 15 posts 0 Honor 36 ☪ XIII
#19

A singular yellow eye followed the horned wolf to the river, blinking dully and unapologetically at the damage he'd caused to their paw. The compliment they gave was a welcome one, stroking his ego in ways it desperately needed at the moment, and Isildur found there to be a growing respect for the stranger that left his complexion considerably warmer now than it had been before. "You will find your body healing more rapidly on Ourania's grounds. Should that magic still hold true." The admission soft, Isildur could only guess they were an outsider judging by their young exterior, and he would gladly indulge them in more information for their willingness to participate.

Backtracking a few steps to the comfortable shade of the trees, he finally planted his dirt-and-grass ridden hind back in the grass, his body finding comfort in ways one would when just cozying up in their den after a long run. Allowing his gaze to wander over to the messy ground they'd sparred on, the question that was offered caught him wholly off-guard, ears pinning at the notion of sharing anything personal with someone that hadn't spent years tearing down the walls he'd built around himself

Allowing silence to envelop the air for just a beat too long, his response was decidedly honest, for the most part. "My heart seeks only vengeance." Of course, it was so much more intricate than that, but his ultimate desire for power was hardly their concern. "How much do you know of the war that took place here, Taggard?" Fowarding the subject, Isildur was admittedly curious about their allegiances, and the possibilities a similar mindset would bring to the table. 


“Across the land, he walked with death
parading his ossuary 
alive with revenge, grand intentions
forever marked for all to see.” 
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