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Dog's life reboot (Update April 24th) :-)
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lengthy but only partial update, to show I'm back to workin' on it, again. Smile More to come!

March 12th: And here's the whole thing. WOW, was that ever a biggie! Shocked


At least one of them wasn't bothered, thought Rebecca, as she and Grey made their way along the dusty road bisecting the town in two. Gray, at the other end of the lead wrapped around her hand, walked just ahead and to her right, ears raised and alert, mouth cracked in a half-grin. She wished she could be so relaxed - especially on a day such as this; the sun was out and with the weather warm she wore only a buckskin vest – no need for the jacket – and cloth undershirt acquired at market the previous day. A light, invigorating breeze blew cool against bare skin.

But she wasn't.

“You ARE mine, aren't you.” So she'd said, and he'd accepted without protest - but damned if she'd've said it alert and sober! Still...that exchange had been far more than drink talking – she couldn't deny it. Maybe it only made explicit something beneath the surface of their relationship since...well, since she'd let her mouth get ahead of her about wearing the wretched collar in the first place and Grey'd said 'go ahead and do it', at least. Maybe before that. Not just a game for appearance sake now – if it ever had been. For either of them.

'And I'm still not comfortable with that, damnit.'

And a leash! 'That's something else again. If there'd been any choice with th' damned keeper....' But there hadn't been.

All the same, she could've taken time to remove it when they left the inn. More hassle than a clip-on, true. Even so....

How much, then, did it really bother her? Gray wasn't bothered – hells, was enjoying himself quite nicely at the moment, from the look of him, of that half-grin on his face. And why not? It was perfectly, hillariously silly when you thought about it - look at them! Maybe she just didn't want to find it funny. A smile touched her lips for a moment, then gave way to a more serious look. No; she and Grey wasn't just a silly game, of course. She looked at the Wolf loping beside her. 'Jus' what am I supost to do with this, 'ey fuzzface?'

“Ah, here we are.” The door on their right wore a plain wooden plate, a pair of clippers carved in relief. She turned to Grey. “Ready to look like a new – er – dog? She asked, smirking. Grey's grin widened with a huff, head tilting to the side. Rebecca cupped her chin. “Hmmm; y'know, no-one'd ever mistake you for a wolf if we took off all the fur....” Grey's head snapped up to her.



“Is that a wolf?” the barber asked when he saw them enter.

Rebecca gave her most dissarming smile. “Course not; and you'd be amazed how often people ask me.” she said, sounding put-upon. “Why I'm here, actually-”

“Sure enough looks like one.” said the barber, staring. “Big....”

She let out an exasperated breath. “Look, my good sir” she said, annoyance edging her voice. “'Ave you ever seen a wolf?”

“Ehh – no.”

“Not a wolf.” she said, chuckling. “Trust me.” And who'd say otherwise?

The man gave a final shake of his head. “Heh! You might not either with 'im around. Bet he could take one....” he looked back to her. “You said it's him you're here about....?

“Not exactly; but yes, it is.” She approached with Grey. “People mistakin' 'im for a wolf may be great for privacy, but it gets old quick; fact I'm well nigh sick've it. So...I thought a different cut – er – to his coat, might help with that....”

“A different cut.”

“Yes. Look – I know it's an unuaual request; I'd do it myself, but I wouldn't know what I was doin'. I'll pay double price for your time-”

“Nah.” the barber waved, looking at the Wolf with interest. “Do it 'keepers' purse.”

“Truly; it's no problem-”

The barber just motioned again with his hand, already moving to get his clippers. “An interestin' project.”

Rebecca grinned at the Wolf. “Yeah; interestin'. Don't want nothin' fancy, actually. Jus' get the coat around his trunk taken in; The underside of 'is tail - maybe front of 'is neck as well. Jus' enough to make 'im look less wolfish to the avrage man, get what I'm sayin'?”

“I think so.”

“Jus' keep it simple. Mind if I take a seat?” she asked, gesturing to the chairs used by his customers.

The keeper looked for the briefest moment as if he would say something(she'd be releasing the Wolf.). “Of course.” Rebecca turned to Grey.

“Sit.” She crouched to look him eye-to-eye. “Behave yerself, pup.” she grinned, giving his shoulder a quick rub before walking to take a chair.

A minute later she was back up. “What's wrong?” She asked the barber, also rising from his crouch.

“I don't know. Nothing I did, lady.“ He'd made a start – twice – on Grey's coat, but each time the Wolf had tensed and jerked away, rumbling in his throat. He was on all fours now, a slight crouch, head turned to her. He didn't look happy.

She gave a whistle, motioning the Wolf over with her finger. “C'mere boy!” Grey trotted over, sitting unasked when he reached her. She leaned in close. “~What is it?~” she whispered quietly. He tilted his head, looked downward with a growl, clearly frustrated. She shared the feeling. She looked up to inquire of the barber again; when she saw the light catch off the clippers, suspicion dawned. She turned back to the Wolf. “The clippers?” He just stared. “Stay.” She stood and approached the barber, reaching with her right hand. “I see those a moment?”

“Sure.” he handed them to her, clearly curious. She took and held them closed, thumb and last two fingers in the handles' loops and first two held against the flat of the blades.

The Wolf's eyes were locked on the blades as she resumed her seat. “Look here.” she ordered curtly, reaching her left hand around to stroke the back of his neck. “Relax.” She slowly brought the clippers up, until they rested flat against his side. He jerked when he felt them touch. Yup; the clippers, alright. She quickly wrapped the lead in her left hand, close to his neck and gave a pull. “Look HERE!” she said, tugging him back; locking eyes. She returned the hand - lead still wrapped around it - to his neck. “Calm.” His fur was up; she could feel the skin twitching beneath his coat. After a few moments, she lowered the clippers again.

Sharp blades. Pointed; Like teeth, or claws. Things a top predator didn't want pressed against it's body - certainly never relaxed when they were. Even play was rough(and often serious)sport. She could understand. Never would've pegged him for it, though.

“Stand up.” Rebecca looked up at the barber. “Gimme a minute with 'im, alright?” The man shrugged. “Okay.”

She leaned in close, resting a hand on his shoulder and whispering so only Grey could hear. “~Look...Grey, we don't hafta do this if it troubles you so much. Say 'no' and we're out the door. We all 'ave issues – I understand; BUT~-” she cupped his chin - “~I think you won't.~” she paused a moment, holding his eyes. “~An' do you know why?~”


“~Because~” - Rebecca drew a breath, considering, and leaned forward, nearly nose-to-nose with the Wolf. “~ You're MY pup. I won't let anything harm you; Trust in that. MY pet is strong; a fighter.~” Rebecca moved till her mouth tickled his ear. “~I'll be very proud of you, dear one, as I was back on the trail. And...there's a reward, later, my pet.~”

She saw the barber watching in the corner of her eye, and sat up straighter, resting her right hand on the Wolf's shoulder. “So, -” she said sweetly in her best 'puppy-talk' tone of voice. “-feelin' better now, buddy? Ready to try again?” she asked, giving it a rub.

Grey stood straighter, for a few seconds just staring at her. Then stretching he shook himself and with a bounce turned to face the barber, eyes turned back and up to face her.

Warmth filled her laughter. “Good boy!” she said, patting his shoulder. She stood to signal the barber. “I'm bringin' the chair over.” She quickly drug the chair over, scraping the wooden flooring. Grey followed; she turned to him. “Siddown.” She placed the chair in front and to the left of him, facing him side-on. Reaching around his neck, she pulled his head down across lap. “Close yer eyes, pup.” she ordered quietly. She turned to the barber. “Get 'is chest an' around th' sides of 'is stomach first; get that outta the way. Leave the top o' the tail and base o' the neck alone, everythin' else to about thumbwidth's. Sorry we gotta do it this way.”

“Eh, whatever's needed to keep 'im relaxed.” Actually, HE looked a little tense now, Rebecca noted with a smirk. She turned back to Grey as the barber bent down, and began stroking.

“Jus' relax, baby....Easy.” she squeezed gently when she felt him tense at contact from the clippers. “You know you'll be fine. Jus' relax.” she could feel him struggling to stay still – but he didn't budge, this time, as the barber began snipping at his coat. “That's it. I”m so proud of you baby. Good job....”


It really made quite a difference, Rebecca thought, staring at the Wolf. With eveything but the base of his neck and part of his tail taken in, Grey looked like a different beast – and yas, a great deal more 'doggish' in the bargain. Rebecca grinned as she wrapped the leash just removed from the Wolf, thinking of the artcle she'd just acquired at market before they returned from his 'trim'. She hoped Grey hadn't glimpsed it before she slipped it into a side-pocket of her breeches.

“I tell ya Wolf, -” Rebecca said as she pulled the vest over her head, “- it is GOOD to have clean cloth underneath again!” With a grunt, she sat on the bed. A mischievious look crossed her face. Oh, I am WICKED.'

Reaching for her hip, she pulled out her Knife and began – very deliberately – to polish it with her shirt, making sure the Wolf took note. She looked up at him and smiled. “You did well today, pup. I'm proud.” Grey grinned, tail sweeping in recognition of the praise. She looked again at the blade, holding it in front of her and turning it this way and that, seeing it from different angles. She turned and thumped the bed with her right hand. “C'mere, Grey.” She stood as he jumped on, turning to face him, arms folded – and blade still held in her hand. She leand over, whispering in his ear as she nudged his down; “Close yer eyes.” His eyes shifted, looking up at the knife in her hand. Grinning, she lightly rapped his nose. “Trust.” He shut them.

As quietly as possible, she lay her knife on the bed, reaching into her side pocket to retrieve her purchase from the market.

Markets allways surprised with their size and variety, out here on the edges of settlement. One easily forgot the sheer number of farmsteads scattered around the small town, hidden all through the forrest surrounding it on every side. On any given day one had a surprisingly decent chance of finding -exactly- what one was searching for...such as a groomsbrush, for example. She'd been very pleasantly surprised. She'd hoped to find any brush that would service, but the one she'd purchased was absolutely perfect – a simple wooden bristle-plate(no handle) with a strap nailed each end to a side behind to secure her palm against the plate.

The right hand in her pocket sliding into the strap with ease, she withdrew it, and quietly leaned over the Wolf, running her left through the rough of his neck. She fealt him tense when she fist touched on account of her stunt a moment before, then relax into it. She'd bet it was more responsive now, as well. At last she brought the palm of her right up to the base of his neck, pressed the brush down into the fur, and ran it down the length of his spine.

His head snapped back to her. “Eyes closed” she said with a gentle tap on the nose. He lay his head back down again. Stroking with the brush, she leaned up from behind to whisper in his ear.

“You did -very- well today, and I am VERY proud of you, pet. You earned this. And everybody's gonna see what a beautifull pup I've got; you're gonna SHINE before I'm done, friend.”

And as she worked around the collar, a pang of protest stirred.

'Shut. UP.'

She fealt his body relaxing under her efforts, turning limp. She didn't doubt behind those eyelids his eyes were glazing. Suddenly she paused, listening. She couldn't possibly be hearing.... She leaned in closer, feeling with her hand.

“Well, I'll be damned.” she grinned in amazement. Learn something new every day.

Until that moment, she'd have sworn a Wolf couldn't purr.

Last edited by Howellfan on Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:05 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

*Points at message above* FINALLY got the full update finished and posted. WHEW, what a monster! Laughing Hope what played out wasn't 'just a bit. Too. Much.' Razz

And so, with this last update I am officially and finally past the point in the story where I left off last time and started this 'reboot'. Uh-oh; now I've got to come up with more new material. *ulp* Razz Anyway - how'd it shape up by comparison? Better writing, characterization, etc. I hope? Any ideas what you'd really like to see down the road?

Thoughts/suggestions/reviews(!) welcome, as allways.

*Sees a vixen rushing by in the distance, kit in one arm and bag of groceries in the other.*

*Hurries after her* "Hey, what about you lady?" *She walks faster.* "Awh-come-on-why-not-come-on-over-and-write-something-why-doncha-huh...hey!...." Razz
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another big update - pretty intense this time, so hang on! Shocked

Enjoy! Cool Smile


They were returning to the Inn when Rebecca cheated death a second time.

There'd been nothing to suggest danger until the it was upon her. It was another pleasant – if partly clouded – afternoon. They both being restless(and Grey's practical needs beside), they'd taken a slow, winding walk 'round the outside of town(It was silly, but she'd been secretly glad for some privacy this once when Grey did his business.). She'd had a look through the market again and was nearing the Inn, when Grey drew up, sniffing the air, eyes intent.

“Grey, what is - “

She stopped as Grey leaped around and moved toward her -

But too late; a leather-clad hand clamped over her mouth, choking her -

“'Member me, dearie?”

-as a blade bit into her neck, body far larger and heavier than hers' bearing down on her shoulder as the man from the tavern pulled her in against him.

“Ah ah a-ah” he hissed, rocking the blade against her throat to freeze the arm that started for her hip. “I'll take that.” She fealt him reach around for her knife- switching hands to do it from the other side. 'BASTARD!' His hand was an airtight seal, the breaths thorough her nose coming in gasps, drawing in the reek of his breath; she fealt nauseous.

She fealt her own blade press against her neck, the other leave and sound of an impact in the alley to their right fast behind.

In the corner of her eye she saw him look up, very deliberately at Grey, crouched and bristling, growl rumbling low in his throat like a tortured purr and face drawn taught with rage. “Stay.” A single word, hissed against her ear.

“You owe me, love,” he said, pulling her to the alley; turning her and slamming her hard against the wall. “You wronged me, that little stunt in the tavern -” he stopped as she opened her mouth, driving her shoulder full-weight against the wood, driving breath from lungs. “You wronged me, an' I demand satisfaction – come no closer WOLF or avenge a corpse!” He spun her again to face the Wolf now at the alley's entrance, pulling her back against and biting in with the knife. Rebecca looked at Grey and gave the smallest of shakes, still stuggling to regain her breath.

“Smart girl.” the man hissed. “Cut suits him.” and he gave a laugh. “Should've seen it back 'n the tavern. But of course, that's what you were counting on. NOBODY sees Wise this side of the 'Teeth, especially -” he brought his mouth to her ear “- especially not where they belong. And with a TRAPPER holding the lead!” He laughed again. “Now what in Hells' name is he spying over here for?” he hissed “...or is he really just a beast what knows his place for a change, hmmmh?”

Grey snarled in rage.

Laughter. “I wonder -” He laughed quietly again before continuing “- I wonder whose idea it was, 'eh trapper?” Laughter once more at the hiss that provoked.

“You cut me” Rebecca finally found breath to hiss “yer dead before I hit th' dirt.”

“You think so eh'?” He sounded AMUSED. “Perhaps.”

“Why don't you cut it an' find out?” she hissed.

“Allready told ya', darlin'” he said, running his other hand along her thigh. “I want satisfaction first.” she felt his hand move up the inside of her leg and -

'F—kin' BASTARD!!!'; Breath choking in her throat. Grey was in a white rage. At least he didn't plan on ending it here....

“ your four dead friends?”

A hit. She fealt a knee impact her thigh with viscious force, driving a cry from her as her legs collapsed. Only the man's vice-grip kept her from hitting dirt. If only....

“So it WAS you brought the horse. Any of them get this close?” he hissed in her ear, shifting the knife, reaching down with his other hand. “Any of them have these?” The gloved hand in front of her face held a pair of tri-blades, three bladed corners curving like fangs from the triangles' center. “Don't need luck with these, darlin'.” he grinned sweetly. “Play my chances.” She shuddered when his lips touched her ear.

Grey looked in a near-frenzy now; lunging, snarling. Shifting and jumping back and forth. He was being very loud-

...Wolf was being very loud...TOO LOUD?

Demanding attention. Delaying? 'Nice idea' she considered as the man talked on 'but he'll cut me for spite it comes to it.'

Unless – she'd learned to read his eyes well. There; the briefest instant. And again. She caught his gaze, a question asked and answered.

'For Godssakes, SPEED.' She thought, readying herself -

She heard footfalls – and if the man heard he had no time. His hand jerked, going slack and she was moving, down and hitting like a stone before the scream had died to push off and roll into the open street -

- She was rolling over and over and out of controll down the hillside, no weapon and a plucked goose for the charging horse -

-again and again, scraping bare arms in the dirt before at last stopping herself. Coughing, she turned to push herself up and look to alley. Grey was crouched there, hunched over what she sincerely hoped was a body now, and -

“I thought I told you 'watch your ass'!”


She slowly stumbled to her feet, grimacing as she tried her bruised thigh. He was a mess, she saw when she looked again - leathers splattered with blood at the shoulder and chest; on his hands as well, both holding blooded blades.

What was he still-... Favoring her thigh, she half-limped past him, to where Grey stood over the body of the man from the Tavern, slouched and still against a wall streaked with blood. She bent down, to pull his face up, to look him eye-to-eye.

She shook her head; “No friend...none of them were that close.” She spat in his face, stood and kicked. Again and again and suddenly -

- she felt sick, dizzy and weak; dropped to a crouch, hands on her knees, heart POUNDING and gasping in air against nausea. “'Bec?”

A hand on her shoulder; she swung without thinking. Her arm was caught, held fast. “Rebecca!” When a few beats passed with no move from her he released it; and she returned it to her knee, waving him back with her other hand. At last she looked up.

“You okay?” asked Nathan, picking his own blade back up to clean against his vest.

She took a few more breaths, before swallowing. “I will be.” Dampness blurred her eyes, but didn't fall.

'Of a sudden Mother, I am TERRIBLY anxious to be home....'

In time, she rose. “I thought you were -”

“Gone day before last?” he finished. “We'd planned to. Then we started thinking 'bout the crap's been flyin 'round in recent months, and thought we'd take another day to decide which way we wanted to move out. Well, you know word gets around a place like this, an' we heard about your little run-in with beauty here” he gestured to the body “and we got curious, started checking around.”


“Well” he answered her unspoken question “turns out you're not th' only one to come through with a nice mount. All things considering, we thought he'd bare keepin' an eye on.”

She brought a hand up to feel the nicks – some still seeping blood – laced around her neck.

Discreetly keepin' an eye on.” he hastily ammended. “Too discreet, evidently.” Again he put a hand on her shoulder; this time she didn't flinch. “I'm sorry, Bec.” She only shook her head, looking again to the dead man's body.

“That's twice.” She looked back to him. “Not for stories, this one, I think.”

“Look, Bec, go get some sleep, tomorrow mornin' we can meet in the dining area to talk about where to go now – ”

“No.” she cut him off curtly. “I'm movin' out tomorrow morning.

“Bec -”

“I'm ready to be home, Nate.”

“Then we can come with you - “

“All the way?” she raised an eyebrow.

“Some've it at least, damnitt - “

“Don't worry about - “

“Damnitt Bec, will you listen!” he held up her attacker's blade – simple dagger, utillitarian but lethal; still smeared with blood. “This isn't a joke! The Isles' fall CHANGED things, and pretending otherwise won't change it back; people – trappers – are DISSAPEARING out here – you almost dissapeared!” Bending over, he pried her blade from the attackers grip.

“Luck runs dry, Sunshine,” he said as he handed it to her. “Don't push it.”

“I won't – I'll have company with me.”

Nathan turned, and she followed his gaze to Grey, now lying flat on the ground gazing with intense interest - in the opposite direction.

“Nice cut.” he finally said. And nothing more.

“WHAT THE-” they turned at the voice. “About time” Nathan muttered. He turned back, resting a hand on her shoulder before leaving to find – whoever dealt with law out here. “Don't dissappear, damnitt.”

As he walked away, it suddenly occurred to Rebecca that her attacker had been quite litterally and visciously stabbed in the back....

Turned out she needn't have worried. Word gets about, in these frontier towns.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Again, some minor typos. "Forest", not "Forrest".

Use adjectives, italics or underlined words to emphasize instead of capitals. Looks better.

Other than that, much better, if it doesn't explore much the relationship between Gray and Rebecca. Very well-thought the issue of Gray not liking the feel of the scissors on his body. He may be sentient, but he still has instincts.

It wasn't really clear to me how is it that Rebecca escapes the grip of her assailant, but it's good Gray can communicate with her. The would-be killer surely had very bad intentions. Simple but believable way of vilifying him. For a moment, it made me think of Ledger's Joker. Wink

Did Gray speak at the end? Why are trappers disappearing? What is the "Fall of the Islands"?

Sorry for the loooooong delay. This is the first week I can finally dedicate to reading and creating more furry arts.

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And I'm sorry it took three days to replay. Razz

No, Grey didn't speak - they've just spent enough time with each other that they can read each other pretty well.

I pictured how she got free as Nathan takes the guy by surprise and hits stabs his shoulder with one hand and back with the other, so his arm goes slack, and she drops and rolls clear. Not as clear as I hoped...? Confused

Basically, The 'human-progressivists'(VERY open to suggestions for a better name for them! Razz ) just don't like them, as they tend to be most vocal and active re: respect and treatment of Wise. And the isles fall was mentioned in her first conversation with Nathan earlier, remember?

LOL In the original document, I DO use italics, bold, etc. but copy 'n paste doesn't preserve it. Evil or Very Mad I tried once to post as an attachment, but it wouldn't accept it. Confused

BTW, I AM still working on the story. Can't settle on one of a few ideas for what I wan't to write next, I'm about ready to just sit down and write whatever comes. Razz

Anyway, thanks for the continued interest and feedback! Smile More soon! Smile
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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back on it! Smile A small snippet of what's coming next(Hopefully in the next day or so). Whaddya think?


She feels herself falling, spinning, bursts of sensation. Falling away she knows, ahead of the rushing - Danger. Closing fast behind as she tumbles, helpless -

On hands and knee, dirt path ahead filling her view. A sense of movement and she looks up. A body lies before her, crimson puddle seeping outward as blood pools beneath the grey-furred corpse. A pair of lifeless eyes locked on hers, pupils grey tinged with turqouise, filling her vision, as she stares frozen, numb. NO....

"Awhhh, why so angry, luv?" She shifts her gaze.

A man stands over the Wolf. Tall, broad and lean even so, dressed in leather, tri-blade in his leather-gloved hand, humorless smirk on his lips. A feeling at the sight - predator. He points to her.

"'Is blood's on your hands, right?"

And she looks down, dumbly. Her right hand, knuckles to the ground, clenching tight a pair of clippers, point stained with-

Slowly raises the shaking hand. Uncurls stiff fingers, slow to open, not wanting to see....

Red-smeared palm, and at the falcrum where the whetted blades join in gleaming silver-outlined relief, the swirling, trisected circle of the guild.

And the world dims, fading save the rythmic, pounding hammer of her heart. A moan as she -

Sat bolt upright, cover sliding over damp skin. "Grey...." Shifting shadows in pale moonlight, through the round-topped window behind.


I can has feedback? Confused Laughing
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

this is not bad Very Happy

i will not talk about typos and stuff cause i feel i'm not qualified to do so but i can say i liked what i read anyways and will be checking around every now and then

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay - first off, thanks for the kind words, Shadu! I sent you a PM Smile - anyway, one of those smallish 'Hey! I'm still working on finishing this story!' updates, below. Not a lot really happens - *shrugs* - but it does flesh out this world a little bit, and it's forward prgress again so, 'meh'.

Thing is, I do have some ideas for the final few scenes of the story, which have some 'drama' but only one - and it's better'n even odds I won't use it - of which is really 'actiony', per say. It's just a question of how quickly I want to jump into them. I could add more action to the story, but right now that looks like it'd mean committing to a novel-sized story, and this( originally planned to be a )one-shot has already gone far longer than originally hoped! Razz And except for those last two or three scenes(?), with only one speaking member between this pair I'm not sure how much more 'relationship' I can add(again, without committing to a whole new storyline. Razz) At this point, I just want everything said and considered that I want said and considered and be done with the d--n thing; preferably before the end of this decade! :LOL:

In any case, hope you enjoy it anyway. Smile

She feels herself falling, tumbling, bursts of sensation. Falling away she knows, ahead of the rushing - Danger. Closing fast as she helplessly -

On hands and one knee, dirt path ahead filling her view. Sense of movement and she looks up. A body lies before her, crimson puddle seeping outward as blood pools beneath the grey-furred corpse. Pair of lifeless eyes locked on hers, pupils grey tinged with turqouise, filling her vision as she stares frozen, numb.


"Awhhh, why so angry luv?"

A man stands over the Wolf - Tall, broad and lean even so, dressed in leather, tri-blade in his leather-gloved hand and a humorless smirk on his lips. A feeling at the sight - predator. He points to her.

"'Is blood's on your hands, right?"

She looks down. Her right hand, knuckles to the ground, clenches tight a pair of clippers, their point stained with-

Raises slowly the shaking hand. Uncurls stiff fingers, slow to open, not wanting to see....

A palm smeared red, and at the falcrum where the wetted blades join, in gleaming silver-outlined relief the swirling, trisected circle of the guild.

And the world dims, fading save the rythmic, hammered pounding of her heart.

With a moan she sat bolt upright, cover sliding over damp skin. "Grey...." Shifting shadows in pale moonlight, through the round-topped window behind.

Rebecca fell back to the bed, waking world slowly coming into focus.
Just a dream.

'Well...that was diffrent.' she thought wryly. What was it with those she grew close to? 'Good dreams', she thought, pulling the cover over her again. Normal people have good dreams, on ocassion. Turning, she glanced at the three-quarter moon shining bright through the wood-lined opening in the single curving wall of sod, just below the rim of the domed ceiling, open now the storm was past. She'd be glad to move on, Spare bed or not, she disliked imposing on people's good graces.

She turned to the ladder's exit in the center of the floor. Twin silver orbs met her gaze. Their hosts had been duly impressed when with a running leap, Grey manged the climb in two bounds. So had she - as well as curious to see him manage the climb back down.

"Jus' a dream" she said softly. "Don't worry." The lights shifted slightly, stayed locked on her. Rebecca pushed herself up on one arm.

"I'm fine." she said more firmly. "Go back t'sleep." A rustle of movement, and the lights went out.

But as she settled in her mind was restless, and it was a good, good while before she again fell to sleep.


"Well, you goin'?"

Grey pulled his head from the hole in the center of the cellar's floor to glare at Rebecca, who stood with arms folded, wearing an amused look on her face.

"I'm waitin'. Or should I go first an' hold out my arms like a treed cat?"

Growl. Rebecca just laughed.

Turning back to the entrance, the Wolf crouched lower, tensing, and with a push disappeared through the hole. A creak as the ladder strained under the weight, then a thump and sound of a little girl's laughter below. Rebecca ran over to look, in time to see Grey finish shaking the dust from his fur to look up at her with a glare.

"Guess th' ladder held!" she called down to him.



Reaching up to hand off the freshly scrubbed pan, Rebecca took a wipe at her and, with a gratefull heave, climed to her feet above the pail of water.

"Your luck we still 'ad some vennison." chimed the blond, slightly heavy-set lady of the house as she stowed it. She turned to Rebecca with a smile. "Don't 'ave meat that often."

"Meal was excellent, ma'am."

"It was, wasn't it." They grinned at each other. "And what's with the polite, still?

"Whatevr you say, miss Debbora-ma'am."

'Deb' rolled her eyes. "I get the joker of the lot."

"Huh," Her eyes rested on the stove near the large first-story window; a long cyllinder with short 'shelves' sticking up around the rim at the top to hold the cookware, fed by a short tube directly beside it next to which a few long twigs(all that was necessary for a meal)sat ready for use. "That's so practical. Always wonder why some still stick to open fire – messy and wood-hungry as they are."

"Like you don't?" said Deb. "Huh" Rebecca grunted. "Mmm hm, exactly. Convenience – or at least laziness in a lot o' cases I s'pose, sticking with what people know. Hard to appreciate the diffrence of a good stove 'till you see yourself. And I'd guess some places have the luxury of waste more'n others, too." Like in the middle of the forrest. She strolled over to look out the window. "Like dearmeat." She grinned. "Bet Chris's stuffed himself sick've it by now out west; he's crazy for it."


My son. Been about a year since 'im and his wife left to try their luck. "

"Ah." Rebecca joined her at the window. It was a bright, warm morning, air thick with the scent of growing things and beneath the smell of the rich, fertile mix of soil and char that was the base of the world's economy - so important, learned men said, it's introduction marked the dawn of history. In the distance, stretching to a flat horizon grew fields of mostly wheat, interspersed with occasional rows of fruit, tomatoes and other staples to lend a touch of variety to the picture. On the left a barn rose in the median distance - better luck for her horse - and a few dozen paces out her husband busily 'walked' the pedals of a piston pump which fed a trough that eventually, by dint of gravity through a branching system of feeds, watered the roots of their various crops.

And to his left - a young girl stood giggling as she watched the back-and-forth play of two canines(a casual observer might have said dogs), one golden brown and panting, the other gray, keen eyed - and much, much larger.

Rebecca leaned forward, putting a hand by her mouth. "Havin' fun, furbrain?" she called out. The only response was the sounds of mock-growls as the two tumbled unto the ground. She rolled her eyes, turning to a chuckling Deb - "Damn-crazy mutt." - and turned to the bucket. "I'll get the dishwater."

Seeing the girl eyes following her as she returned to the hut, she set the bucket down and walked over to her. "Hello dear." she said, smiling as she bent down. "Your name's Anya, right?"

The girl hesitated a moment, suddenly shy. "Yes, ma'am." she finnally nodded, then turned to Grey, who'd broken off and was trotting toward them. "So" Rebecca said, reaching over to give the canine a scratch when he arrived, "whaddya think of ol' Grey, 'ere?"

"He's really BIG!" the girl half-shouted, then giggled.

Rebecca grinned. "He is that."

"Can he do any tricks?"

Gray and Rebecca exchanged looks.

"Try him."

The girl turned to Gray. "Sit!"

The Wolf's rear thumped to the ground.

Rebecca folded her arms. "Speak", she said, grinning.

Gray gave her a look. Anya giggled. "Speak!" Gray barked, tail sweeping back and forth.

Hmm. "Roll over." Gray just stood. "Roll over!" Anya shouted. The Wolf rolled once, regaining his feet to grace Rebecca with a panting grin. The little girl squeeled with laughter


Leaning in close to look the Wolf in the eye, giving him her biggest grin; "How 'bout, 'play dead'?" Gray gave a whine, making her grin even wider, then dropped to the ground and rolled to his back, legs in the air, head flat against the ground and tongue hanging from the side of his mouth, eye watching her. The girl squeeled again. "He's funny!" she shouted bending to rub the Wolf's stomach. Rebecca rolled her eyes. "E's a royal pain." She crouched, reaching the Wolf's neck. "But I think I'll keep 'im." She turned to Gray. "Ain't that right, boy?" She roughed his neck, letting her hand slip briefly inside the collar.

Leaning toward him, she touched the side of his nose with her left hand."Mmmm" she mumbled with a smile, letting the knuckles of her right trail across his throat. "Mine."
She turned the back of her left for him to lick. "You - " she tapped his nose. " - You are such a clown. He let his tongue loll out the side of his mouth; she stuck her own back at him. Giving his neck one last pat, she stood and turned back to the girl. Well, come to think she really didn't feel that much hurry to move on. "You two 'ave fun." she said, turning back to the house. "Don't play too rough with 'im."

After all, Rebecca thought with a small grin, that was entirely her job.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last section slightly rewritten, edited - and, COMPLETED!

Okay, okay, It's still spittin' little, but the point is that I finally have kicked myself into getting back to work on the story, and this time I've finally purposed in my mind that I'm going to finish. I've decided to finish it the lazy(I.E fast but certain)way. Maybe a transitional scene, then one or two 'serious', talky and possibly annoyingly 'preachy' scenes(Bab5 fans will understand - season 5, anyone? Razz ). Pacing might end up being jerky and the whole story feeling more like 'just a series of events', but I just want do get the damned thing finished so I can post the entire work whereever(including here, of courese), anyway, just showing that I'm back with it..

(Now how about some more 'Shadows In the Snow, Syrius? Wink )
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You flatter me by asking. I am fighting a lot to follow the next chapter, as I feel I am unintentionally copying Avatar. (Which copied Dances With Wolves, Mononoke, Pocahontas, Halo...)

I'll see what I can do if I can sleep for a change.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You flatter me by asking.

And your asking for more is probably the biggest reason I've finally decided to get off my but and give this story some kind of ending. Smile

I am fighting a lot to follow the next chapter, as I feel I am unintentionally copying Avatar. (Which copied Dances With Wolves, Mononoke, Pocahontas, Halo...)

To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, the worst thing to do is try to be 'original'. Instead, just focus on the story and characters you want to tell about, the best you can, as your own ideas and creativity lead you. Do that well and 'originality' will follow. Wink Smile

Bah, sleep's overrated. LOL Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is this how your story ends? Sad

Please say it ain't so, Joe!

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No no no. That would be awkward, wouldn't it. Razz Rest assured, there's at least a good three or so scenes left. Can't leave those first few lines that opened the story hanging, can we?

It's just that there won't be anything 'big' happening(well, maybe in a sense, but...). No big quest, or epic world-building. No kidnap and rescue or revelations of conpiracy within the guild, etc. Possibly not even a look at Rebecca's home. All of these would be interesting places to go with what's been set up, but to bring some kind of closure to the story It's just gonna stay small(though the backdrop of the story might not) - a couple conversations, maybe some different thought on the guild and what's driven some of the troubling things beginning to happen to the point they're at, she and Gray cement their relationship, and it's a wrap. But there is _some_ sort of conclusion still to come, no fear! Razz
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

See, told y'so, Syrius. Wink More soon. Smile


Back on the road, a couple days later.

Rebecca pulled the horse to a stop, motionless, listening closely. Ah. there it was; finally. Straining to hear, she barely cought the sound. Even this far out, the cool wind carried already the scent of distant water. Aside from that – no sign. Except, for the occasional tree towering in the distance, surprising admist the grassy steppes.

"Huh." she muttered, turning to Gray, "Only took me a good mile further'n you t'hear it."

They continued on, trees becoming denser and more numerous, till they no longer traveled mesa but true forrest; air fresh, soft breeze cool to the skin and the barely heard clamour grown to roiling, rushing thunder, the strange traveler, come here unawares by this time surely wondering that the souce of the tummault was hidden yet. Drawing close and closer, 'till suddenly and nearly without warning the ground simply dropped, plunging down and down, a hundred feet, two hundred and more to bottem where it vanished in the depths of the rushing river, far below.

A short distance downstream, and the river grew broad and slow. Follow the river upstream, to it's source....

Bringing the horse up short, Rebecca pushed off to dismount. For several quiet minutes she stood motionless, staring silent, the Wolf at her side; enthralled as ever she passed this way by the sight of the falls, river cresting the edge to fall crashing, against the cliffs below, rivulets spraying and branching as they rebounded from smoothworn stone to plunge still further on, falling, falling, lost at last in a shroud of mist at the new river's mouth.

Dragon's Tail, they called it; A waterfall where none should be, in a valley where there aught be no valley.

As if some God struck his ax to the ground and drug a trough in the flat mesa surrounding. Or the obvious inspiration for the name bestowed on river and valley both.

And sign too, they were nearly home. An easy, shady walk from here, as the shurrounding earth dropped to slowly meet the river. Two days perhaps, and that on foot to the outlier settlements – towns now in their own rights. Then less than a day's travel.

Home. Never before had she welcomed that return with more eagerness.

Never before had she anticipated with such fear.

Ever since departing the farmerstead two days before she'd fealt it, the reluctance to finish the journey. Or was it rather, perhaps, the first time she took note. She'd worried the issue for a time before teasing out it's source.

There were shadows in the wind. Until now all she'd heard, the rumors, the ambush, even her near miss soon after were personal, incidents without context. What the larger picture was she couldn't say. But now, coming home, to the western most settlement(of any import)before the Teeth – there would be news, of some kind at least. Opportunity perhaps to speak with other trappers. Soon, she'd have a sense of what she missed, in one too short season away.

She was very much frightened of what she would learn.

Rebecca stood watching the falls, taking in the spectacle. And watched.


Something was up.

That much was evident from the mass of people crowding the central thoroughfare of the town marking her last stop before pushing on to home – outpost of her own hometown, in fact, so to each side of the road mostly double-floored appartment rows interspersed at lower level with the occasional smith's shop or tavern. The owners of said establishment making the bulk of the tennants as well as those who fished the river or traveled to the neighboring town to barter and sell. The balance of the residents, of course, lived in the wood and plains surrounding. And the central road, this late afternoon, was packed, with men, women, childeren – half the village and some to spare it seemed were gathered. Curious, and oddly, worried, Rebecca pulled the horse to a stop.

What, she thought as she lifted her leg to dismount, was going on?

Last edited by Howellfan on Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And, a little more added above. I'm getting there, folks. Smile
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