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Dog's life reboot (Update April 24th) :-)
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 6:10 am    Post subject: Dog's life reboot (Update April 24th) :-) Reply with quote

Ooookay, as I posted in the thread below, I'm working on some SERIOUS rewriting of the early parts of 'A Dog's life'(A.K.A. 'The Never-ending Story'...Seriously, this was supposed to be a SHORT story, blast it;A short story! Razz )including but not limited to a reconsideration of Rebecca's background and a s--tload of still undetermined(but assuredly significant)size of 'actual story' to better develop Gray's and Rebecca's relationship. Basically and in short, everything before they cross back over the mountains will read nearly like a new(and hopefully much better!)story. Which means for the median future the same goes for what follows hereafter on this thread;more like a new, improved story based on the original than what's posted in the original story thread, which is why I felt even though the story is still incomplete it was best to just start a new 'story:1.5' thread. This will also, perhaps other than finishing the last section written to that thread, be where I post all further updates to the story. Read below and you'll see what I'm talking about. So, here goes what I've hacked out so far. Even if you've followed updates in the other thread, I promise there's enough new material to make it worth a read. Smile

So, read on and tell me what you think - if for no other reason than to let me know you're still out there after lo these many months of near-silence from me. Razz

Here's what I've gotten up to so far:


A Dog's Life

"Is this what you truly want, Wolf?"

Rebecca watches the Wolf's eyes, his face. There's no hesitation there.

Her hand rests in the fur of his neck. She feels it brush leather as she stands, to walk a few paces and turn, look down and lock eyes -

"Show me."

And waits....


She'd been afflicted with wanderlust from childhood. What part of this was her blood calling and what part circumstance she would never know. If circumstance didn't light the flame, it surely fanned it. Her family owned an inn at the last major port - and thus last major settlement, in those days - before one left civilization behind for the wildlands, and the stories heard from trappers coming through(and a few who'd settled in town)set fire her imagination. Especially the Wise - beasts by look and habbit, but wise as men.

One other thing may have fed her passion:Mother.

She'd likely never had a nice thought about Wise in her life and thus didn't think much of her daughter's fascination with them, and by proxy the wildlands which fed it, actively and even angrily discouraging her daughter's 'unhealthy' interest.

And the more her mother did so, the more her sense of wanderlust grew, the greater her yearning when she looked to the fire of the dying sun. So when one week in her seventeenth year a trapper laying up for several days before heading west, into the wildlands, took a fancy to her she sweet-talked him into dragging her along.

Gods, but he must have been madder than she was! Twice the burden with damn little to contribute on her end. And it HAD been rough for her, at first. But she adapted...and the compensations had been worth it. What began as teenage wanderlust(among other things)had become a hunger, images of those months etched and burned into memory: her first glimpse from high in the 'Teeth of the land spread out beneath them, vast and open, her town lost somewhere far beyond the horizon;her first encounter with Wise - and his constant teasings about it - the nights....they planned to marry next time through her village.

Plans change.

He'd taken sick that winter as they headed to her village and died, hand in hers', a week out. She spent ten days finishing the journey. Alone.

She hadn't spoken of those ten transformative months since.

Mother had been furious, of course, when she returned; the moreso when it became clear she planned more treks into the wild...and wouldn't hear otherwise. It wasn't just her defiance - and concern for her safety - that had angered Mother; Rebecca's father died in her childhood, and two older brothers notwithstanding, every extra hand was a help. But if you traveled light and knew your trade - and truth be told luck was with you, often as not - there was money in trapping, and the savings she brought home with her led to - well, call it acceptance of her choice, though Mother still constantly asked during stints at home when she planned to 'settle in.'

Maybe someday.

Not soon; The watch the Autumn sunrise crest the Dragon's Teeth like Creation's dawn, silhouettes against a burning sky; to walk the hidden trails carved by beast common and Wise, unmarked by humankind - to feel yourself first to walk the Earth, stranger to the world; It was in her - a longing, a thirst that broke no denial.

You lived at the boundaries, your boundaries. There was clarity in Necessity; your preconceptions meant nothing to Her.

Take, for instance, patronizing village attitudes toward the Wise.

Trappers learned better; It was their world they must often travel through. It paid to be on good terms with the Wise, and it's hard to disrespect those you spend time and effort knowing. And far side of the 'Teeth, having friends among the Wise could save your life.

Gods knew it saved her ass.

She'd taken a risk, last trip, starting back late; game was better far side, especially late in the autumn season. Still, barring disaster she'd been well on pace to make the pass with time to spare.

Yeah... ' barring disaster....'

Her horse spooked, sending her flying in it's panic and she'd snapped an ankle. She hadn't seen it since.

Losing the horse was bad.

Losing an ankle....

She'd managed to hole up, get wood for a fire and one burning - ten times the work and hurting like hells. The problem was food - gone with an outing's take with her horse. And without horse or two good legs, her bow could be a plow for all the good it did her..

But to try the pass half-crippled, with Winter coming on? She was out of options -

- no, not every option; hoping she guessed right, she'd raised a cry for aid.

A cry carried on a howl to send a shiver through the folks back home.

And Gods-be-praised she'd been right - the pack crying in the night was Wise.

They had her gratitude. Really, they did; Wise seldom hunted Wise(human included), but why divert time and resource in the lean season from real obligations? Fortune smiled on her that night. She'd known the pack that saved her.

Including Gray....

They had her gratitude, yes -

- but Gods, what misery!

She didn't think she fell sick during those nights and days of endless waiting, but she couldn't be sure of it.

No fire once Winter settled in, so - confined to the Wolf-den, inactive save to answer Nature's call(her fortune for a thrice-damned pair of crutches, instead of what she must do with). Weeks and months of half waking from half-slumber to cold, to pain, to hunger dulled but never quelled by raw meat, blood and pap(Ahhhhhhh Necessity....).

Sometimes waking to warmth, a presence(the same?)beneath her soft and comforting, barely noted as she slips again beneath the waves... sleep, to wake again to the hunger and cold, to stiffness and exhaustion, to the waiting waiting waiting through the long dead months for the coming of Spring.

Overjoyed at its arrival. Elated just to be outside the den beneath a pleasant sky. Walking...weak and unsteady at first, but oh to walk freely, skin bare to the wind and stretch her legs; to find a stream and rinse away the months of grime, sweat and blood.

Well, she did still have her flint when spring returned at last; there had been that, at least.


She was exhausted.

Her legs ached. Her body, protesting exercise after weeks of innactivity. She fealt the stirrings of a headache behind her eyes.

In a few moments, Rebecca thought, she'd be as happy as she'd been in her entire life.

"C'mon" she muttered, willing the kindling nestled on the ground between her hands to catch.

Puff. Was there the briefest glow?

A couple more breaths; and again.

"Yes." As the kindling came to life. Shifting back to her knees, she picked one of the smallest twigs from the pile beside her and held it to the kindling. After a few moments it caught. "Yes, yes yes." Adding more and bigger pieces to the pile, she soon nursed it to a blazing fire.

With a whooop of triumph, she looked up at the Wolf - being Wise, a good hand-n-half taller than it's 'cousin'-kind - turning to stare at her from the direction of the den. "Roast beef tonight!" she cried, grinning.

Well, leg-of-elk, anyway. Could be bladder-of-elk all she cared at the moment.

Cooked food again!

Maybe if she had the energy in the next few days and weather permitting, she'd hike up to check on the temp-shelter she'd holed up in before winter fell.(Damned if she'd huddle in that thrice-damned DEN one moment more than she had to!) Dangerous to have a fire inside or too near one, but the buckskin she wore made good insulation, and with limited space reducing heat loss she'd be fine most nights now Winter was past.

She hoped.

Sigh. Well, worst case and Winter cold makes a late comeback, there was always the bleedin' den... Maybe heated stones....

"Not" she muttered as she sheathed the knife in her belt - used to spark the flint - "that I don't enjoy the company." She slowly took her feet, wavered, paused a moment to steady herself. 'Especially the pups.' she thought with a smile.


Rebecca held the slice of meat in front of her and, eyes closed, took in a deep breath.

"Mmmm-hummmh". She tore off a bite, torn between savoring her first hot food in weeks and filling her stomach with at best speed.

Didn't taste as good as she'd hoped....

It tasted better!

She smiled, and eyes still closed began slowly chewing, chewing and chewing untill, stomach winning out at last she swallowed, eyes opening to reveal twin orbs of ocean blue.

Setting the remainder on her lap, she took up her knife again and began cutting off bite-sized(relatively speaking)chunks, to spear them with the tip, bring them to her mouth and swallow almost before they so much as saw her teeth.

Hells with appreciation, she thought. Savor it later.

An hour yet 'till sunset, the fire allready cast dim inconstant shadows around and on the bank behind her. Catching with the corner of her eye, she turned toward the den, grinning at the Wolf she saw standing there watching.

"'Ey!" She made a motion with her arm. "C'mover here."

After a moment's delay, he began trotting toward her. Yes, she saw as he came closer, he was the same Wolf.

She started cutting at what remained of the Elk's leg as he approached. "You're the one what carried this back for me, aren't you?" she smiled, carving right on through the bone. She looked up to meet eyes that stared back with steady, measured appraisal. "Yep;not that I'm not good enough to be pretty sure've it when I saw you standin' over there, but" - she gave a grunt as the knife sliced through the last fibres of meat, severing the piece in two - "those eyes are a sure giveaway." The usual color for wolves of either kind, including the other members of this pack, was amber. Far less common was that of the pair before her;Gray.

And...with a slight start of surprise, she leaned in for a closer look. She'd never noticed before, but seeing them up close, was there a trace of ocean blue as well?

Yes indeed;there was no mistaking that pair of eyes.

Pulling back again, she picked up one of the pieces of leg. "Anyway, whatever reason it was you that bought it, thought I'd return the favor!" And so saying she drew back and let fly as best she could from ground level.

She'd aimed to send it a bit past the Wolf but in a move that surprised her, with a running jump he snatched it from the air before it struck the ground.

"Huh, nice catch!" She said, laughing to look at him standing proudly, tail held high. With a sweep of his tail, he crouched down to dig into his 'take'.

"Wow", she chuckled as she watched his piece vanish before her eyes. "Looks like I'm not th' only one who likes a lil' 'home cookin'!

She stood up, walked over and tossed another branch onto the fire;turned and
stood for a minute, just watching the Wolf staring up at her, knawing on what remained of his portion. Something'd suddenly begun eating her that she couldn't put finger on, teasing the recesses of her mind;something wasn't quite right.....

Finally dismissing it with a shrug, she resumed her seat. Ah well, sleep on it, she thought. It'd probably come to her if it was anything important. She looked to the sky;great good fortune it looked to be another pleasant evening. Her fire should keep well into the night. She stretched. Tonight, she'd sleep out here! Full stomach, clear skies and a pleasant breeze - THIS was living!


Howls woke her.

"Unhhhh." she groaned, shifted. 'You'd think I'd've learned to sleep THROUGH the damned things by now!' she thought blearily.

They came again. With a sigh, she sat up and slowly opened her eyes to look around.

The fire was low but not yet out;life enough yet to hold back some of the evening chill. Looking in the direction of the howls she was surprised to see a Wolf standing just close enough to be visible;he was turned away from her, twin candles looking back to her. Silent. Somehow, she thought she guessed it's identity;and that he wasn't staying to watch over cubs.

"So, you goin' with 'em or not?!" she yelled.

The candles dissapeared, the shape gone like a shadow, and only then did the Wolf add it's voice to the chorus.


So, there you go. How's it lookin'? Smile

Last edited by Howellfan on Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:39 pm; edited 10 times in total
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, Howell. Read it just like I promised I'd do.

The first time I read the first draft, I felt a bit confused. It was a bit "foggy". Unclear.

But... this one is so much better. I will mix the positive with the negative, but remember I do it to point out where you could polish the story a little more. I can see it still looks like a chunk to carve from, but you're giving it shape. Here I go:

I like the "olden" type of english you're using. Once I got used to that, the story started to open up. Needs a bit more polish ("Habit" not "habbit". "Thrice-damned" needs a hyphen, and such.) but it's starting to take good shape. Make sure to put a space after the commas and ellipses.

The narrative feels a bit disjointed. *BUT* (and that's all in caps) that also seems like the story's strongest point: You're only giving us what we need to know, and leave the rest to our imagination. Simple IS beautiful. Smile

I like the idea of the Wise beasts. I'm doing a bit of the same with Shadows In The Snow, but limiting it only to wolves. Influenced by the Talking Beasts of Narnia? (The fact she had already established relationship with a pack of Wise wolves, and that trappers and hunters know of them is a nice touch. No secret stuff, or magic or anything. Sounds like good social relations at work there.)

The eyes. I try to avoid giving body marks to my animal characters, as it's overdone in the fandom (Stars, lightning bolts, streaks, etc) to make each fur unique. I limit myself to the eyes (Elly has brown eyes instead of yellow, in Shadows), so I applaud your decision here, as it could have been easier to make him white (yawn!), give him a white star on the forehead (Boring!) or a scar on the eye (Anime/Weeaboo, anyone?). Bluish gray. I like that.

Just a little bit more polish. You're on to something here.

PS. What is eating Rebecca inside before she falls asleep?

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

*More story to follow*

Thanks for the response - and a very encouraging and informative one at that! Smile As you doubtless know, it's feedback like this that helps keep us writers at it. Smile

I like the "olden" type of english you're using. Once I got used to that, the story started to open up.

*Whoah...that's proper old English? Confused Seriously, I just tried to find some invectives that added A: ) some variety and B: )a bit of unique 'cultural' flavoring. Looks like it achieved the latter especially to good effect. Interesting to know! Smile And drat, now I've got a dilemma; Keep using the 'improper' form, change form partway through, or 'correct' one at a time in what I've already written and posted. Thing is, you can't - as far as I've been able to determine, at least - re-edit your postings at oort-cloud, and updating your postings on fictionpress('original works' sister-site to be a PAIN! Razz Laughing

The narrative feels a bit disjointed. *BUT* (and that's all in caps) that also seems like the story's strongest point: You're only giving us what we need to know, and leave the rest to our imagination. Simple IS beautiful. Smile

Yeah; While I certainly appreciate detailed world-building, personally as a reader unless the story or the lyricism of the prose REALLY stands up to the world being crafted, I'd rather have a greater portion of story devoted to, well, STORY. Razz Of course - erm - it's also easier to design and write. *cough* *cough* In any event, considering the details of this stories' development it might be inevitable that it'll remain at least a bit 'rough-cut'! Laughing

Make sure to put a space after the commas and ellipses.

*Gaaaah!* *Hurriedly scans post.* I'm not still having trouble with that, am I?! I've been making a concerted effort with the hyphens, at least. And there are times when you're not supposed to put a space after a semi-colon...aren't there? Confused *Sigh* Can I just blame it on the board's choice of formatting? Razz

Influenced by the Talking Beasts of Narnia?

And also - especially - by Jane Lindskold's 'Wolf' series, where every kind of Wise - *Ahem* - can communicate with each other in their own 'language' but can't talk, though they can learn to understand human language as readily as you or I. A bit of 'impetus' for the some of the idea of the story came from Dean Koontz's 'Watchers'(Furry MUST READ!!!)also.

What is eating Rebecca inside before she falls asleep?

Remember that line later on in the first run of this story about Wolves and 'eye contact'? Wink

Just a little bit more polish. You're on to something here.

*Happy* Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile

Thanks again for the awesome reply! Smile

And now - to the afore-promised continuation of our story. Smile Read on:


Rebecca woke in a sweat.

For long moments she just lay in darkness, waiting, for her pulse to slow, for breaths to come slow and steady. For the ache to again lose it's edge.


Bending knees and pushing with one arm, she sat up, bringing a hand to her face.

She'd been due of course; It had been longer than usual - weeks, really - since she'd dreamt of him, dreamt about -


There was faint, flickering light from the entrance to her shelter. 'Merry f'ing moring', she thought. Grabbing her belt - the leather strap holding her blade and tinder-box was the only article save her boots the hadn't worn to sleep - she crawled through the opening. Got her feet under her to stand...and fealt something impact from behind, sharp points prickling her neck as she went to her knees. Reaching up over her shoulder with both hands, she grabbed and shrugged her attacker to the ground, then lunged -

- but the Wolfling was quicker than she was.

"You brat!" she called after him as he ran back towards the den, though she chuckled as she said it. She saw Gray Eyes looking at her with an open-mouthed grin and snorted.

She breathed in deep, the dream fading to the background of her thoughts as she pulled on her boots. All around, the woods were waking with the coming of Spring, a thousand bird-calls echoed through the budding trees, a near cacanphony to greet the not-yet-risen sun.

The time for depending on the Wolves was past, she thought happily. She'd string up the bow and do some hunting of her own soon. Not today though;there was a stream she meant to visit, if memory served - no line or net, but all she'd need was speed....

And, she thought, looking at the Wolf trotting her way, she might
have help, too - though she wondered what he'd actually offer save the pleasure of his company.

"Pack ever hunt fish, Grey Eyes?"

He gave her a sideways look.

"No? Well, you come along 'n I'm sure you'll be some use anyways."

She chuckled at the look he gave her.

Since the night of that first fire, he'd been spending more and more time with her, not just around the den but accompanying her when she ventured out to gather wood, or whatever other reason. Evidently, he found her company better than the pack's when not on a hunt.

Looking at the Wolf trotting beside her, she wondered at that. Was it more than just her company? Pack politics, maybe? He wasn't exactly low rung on the ladder last she knew....

No; He didn't spend all his time with her, and she'd seen nothing to change her impression. Besides, he'd never looked like he'd been whupped.

Some, she thought, just dance to their own tune.



Rebecca lunged at the salmon - catching just enough tail to feel it slip through her fingers as her bare foot slipped out from under her, sending her face-first into the water.

"Okay -" she sputtered at the Wolf, looking insufferably amused from his perch on the near bank when she'd regained her footing. "- so I'm outta practice. You jus' make sure th' ones I do manage to get don't end up back 'n the river!"

She crouched again and waited.

Lunge. Splash.

"Yeeasss!" She cried triumphantly, sending the fish flying throught the air in the Wolf's general direction. Lunging, he caught it just before it hit the ground, growling as he finished it with a shake. He looked at her and gave a sweep of his tail before dropping it for the next one.

Rebecca just grinned and shook her head.

'Damn crazy Wolf....'


Whatever else you might say, one couldn't fault Mother as a cook, Rebecca thought as she drew the three skewered fish from the fire.

Still, she thought with an appreciative sniff, fish was fish, The predomminant cullinary staple in her town, it was a favorite in allmost any form.

"Uh uh." she told the Wolf, staring intently at the fish she'd removed and just drawn her knife to begin slicing in her lap. "You had two allready an' I don't hafta know th' season to tell huntin's good for yu'all right now."


"If ya couldn't wait 'till they cooked it's yur own damn fault."

He gave a low growl, turned to walk several paces and lay down, directing his gave elsewhere.

Humph. 'That's th' trouble breakin' bread with humans.' she thought with a chuckle. You couldn't fight 'em for it.

Which meant nothing, she soon realized, for what one didn't happen to have in one's posession at a given time.

She was on the second fish, with one left on the skewer stuck end-first in the ground. Sensing with the corner of her eye, glanced up and leapt to her feet - "HEY!" - to grab the stick just ahead of the bolting canine. Not that she could do a damn thing if he grapped the fish....

They both froze. "Go ahead." she said, locking eyes, challenging. And she'd....well, what exactly?

"Well?" she asked when he didn't move. "Second thoughts?"

They stayed locked for a few moments more, then - to her surprise - the Wolf backed down, looked away, trotted back to where he'd been laying and gave every appearance of settling in for a nap.

Rebecca stared at him. She blinked.

Wait a second - what'n Mothers' was she thinking, challenging a rottin' Wolf that way?! One good-natured and friendly with her to be sure, but still - Go ahead and try it??? What stupid, moronic....

And she called the Wolf crazy! Feeling vaguely unsettled, she returned to the meal.

A childhood memory bought a grin to her face as she watched him; Curled by the fire like that, he really did resemble an oversized mutt, she thought with a chuckle.

'Mother would certainly approve.' She thought with a stab of guilt.

Finishing the fish, she slid the third and last from the stick. For a moment she stood holding it, looking at the Wolf. Then, shrugging and giving a theatrical sigh, she resumed her seat, retrieved the knife and, with a few quick slices, cut it neatly in half.

Bringing fingers to her mouth, she gave a sharp whistle; "HEY, GREY EYES!"

He turned to look at her.

She tossed him his half. "Here ya go, brat!" she said with a wink.

He leapt to his feet with a chuff , grinning at her. She grinned wider.

Yes, no question, she thought as he tore in; She would miss him when she left.


One day, and she missed him allready.

Rebecca shrugged, re-adjusting the shoulder straps of the pack on her back, little more than a few beaten-rawhide straps to hold her bow and what-not and some smoked meat anchored between a pair of sticks whose top and bottoms also anchored the shoulder straps. It was, she thought for the dozenth time that day, about as comfortable as you'd expect it to be. She was still in forrest country, cool and soft-lit in the noon-day sun.

'C'mon girl, not like e's the first Wise you've ever met.'

Shrug. Damned, she was gonna have to rework the straps wasn't she?

Hells, she told herself, resuming her pace; decent chance she'd even see him again next time she came through the area. And other side she planned on making best speed to home for a nice long layover. 'So quit bitchin'!'

She drew up for a moment.

Did she hear rustling in the undergrowth just ahead? She stood listening, and hearing nothing further soon resumed her walk.

She'd been surprised at the strength of her reaction sitting with Gray last evening, feeling her throat tighten a little as she said her goodbye. She never fealt quite that way even when leaving home, not even the first time -

'Especially th' first time, prhaps.' she thought, smiling briefly.

She turned a corner - and stopped, staring in surprise.

'Gray Eyes???' Whathehells he doin' here now?

She started to ask just that, then cought herself. After several long moments she resumed walking, the Wolf falling in beside her.

He knew where she was going, that she wasn't turning back. Either the Wolf would turn back before the 'Teeth or he wouldn't, simple as that. Why question the obvious?


Several days later, she sat resting - or, at least, she told herself that was all she was doing - looking at the jagged ridge that towered before her. Finally, she struggled to her feet, reaching for her pack. 'Well, no more delaying it I guess.' She turned to the canine beside her.

"You sure 'bout this, friend? She looked to the 'Teeth as she spoke, then back to him.

He nodded. She turned, and together the two set off toward the mountains a half-day's jouney to the East.

Last edited by Howellfan on Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:50 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Howellfan wrote:

*Whoah...that's proper old English?

Howellfan wrote:
Twice the burden with damn little to contribute on her end.

Howellfan wrote:
"'Ey!" She made a motion with her arm. "C'mover here."

Howellfan wrote:
Puff. Was there the briefest glow?

At least that's what it sounds to me. This tale is set in a fantasy world, which usually is modeled after Medieval Europe, right? What I'm trying to say, make sure not to Americanize it. As a suggestion, of course. That way you drench it more in mystery, and make it feel more... antique... if that makes any sense. No point in making it sound like an American sitcom. Use words like "Hence", "t'was" "Morrow's eve" and such. It is just my blasted suggestion, which you are of course free to ignore, lad.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahhh, so it wasn't just the in invectives you meant. *LOL* Some of that, though, is just how I imagine her speech:a little run-on, dropped vowels and syllabyls, etc. - y'know, a lil' bit country, y'all. Razz And apparently, some of my personal writing style has a bit of old English flavor to it? Confused Cool. Since it would seem to add an element to the story, I'll keep in mind as I write, though; S'why reader feedback's so appreciated, 'ey? Smile

You're right about not going to far, too. In the first write, I may've gotten a bit too enamored with the idea of small town/village inn as choke-n-puke. Very Happy

There's definitely a bit of America/s in this world though;the mountains dividing East from West, the 'Western wilderness', the wildlife, etc. I imagine much of it as a moshup of 'medieval' Europe and frontier-era America/s, shading from one to the other as you move East to West, with MAYBE traces of some other(I.E Asian/old China)sprinkled in for good measure. Again, there's much influence here from Lindskold's 'Wolf' series - or rather, the first book or two, where the 'civilized' lands of the humans are medieval-European style, ancestor-worshipping 'New World' colonies who a century or so before shrugged off their oppressive 'old world' overlords after a plague that wiped out those with strong magical gifts, and the terrain and wildlife of the 'wilderness' lands could be compatible with either(though somehow wolves and mountainous terrain says'America/s' to me. Confused )

Thanks again for the feedback! Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smallish update added, with some slight re-edit/rewrite(yeah, yet again... Rolling Eyes )thrown in for good measure. Further updates will probably be in seperrate posts to follow. Not a whole lot in the update, really, but...I'm back! Smile

Hey, with them crossing the mountains now, my, 'er, 'significant'(to say the least)elaboration of the development of their relationship has finally caught up with material from 'ver.1.0'( Razz )of ADL, so for some time time henceforth updates will be material already written, albeit sometimes/often significantly reworked(for example, will probably lose the leash early on, at least Rolling Eyes ;subtlerer is betterer. Wink )! Yip-, Yip-, Yippee!!! Smile *relieved*

More laters. Wink Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

UPDATE!!! Wow, that didn't take long, did it? Cool

Yup, like I said, things can start rolling a little faster for a bit, now. Wink

So now that all that new exposition of how their relationship starts off is d'you think it turned out on the whole? Personally, I think it came out great...I definitely feel I'm a better writer than when I first set out on this tale WAAAAAY back when I first joined. Smile Be interrested to hear now how the re-written material compares to the first run-through....


"Y'know furface, there's a reason Wise don't venture East o' the 'Teeth."

The Wolf laying a few feet to her right looked up from the hare's-leg he was devouring, eyes catching the inconstant light of the fire as the last dregs of Sunset faded in the West.

"My kind...we're not all trappers." Rebecca continued. "You think other Wise never roamed in the East? Hells, some still do if you believe the rumors;never more than that though. Do a prime job keeping near to ground, can't imagine why...."


"Alright alright...if you wanna know, aside from statin' th' obvious my point is, in a few weeks we'll be somewhere I can lighten my burden a little, prefrably in exchange for at least a horse"-

'ANY horse.' Rebecca flexed her shoulders;buckskin gave her skin some protection from the ropes, but rot did it chafe anyway!

-"and with any luck, lodging as well; and that could make things difficult."

Truth be told, she'd intentionally avoided thinking about the problems his accompanying her back might present, but now they were other side of the 'Teeth she had to face up and start planning how to deal with them.

And Gods but was she GLAD to be other side of the 'Teeth! Every step upside seemed to add another Stone to the weight on her back and shoulders - only adding to effects of the thinning air, topside was cold even in Summer, the pass - some parts nothing but rock and no good camp, for three days on foot - was more 'fun' than usual and, in higher altitudes, her ankle throbbed incessently. It always would, now; hidden scars were just as real. And just as permanent.

"I mean, think about it; sight of you could be enough to clear the market! Don't laugh!" she grinned "I'm being serious."

She finished cutting the last leg from the hare and tossed it to the Wolf. It was already cooked;easier all-around that way, though it must try Gray's patience! 'Hah! Still worth the wait ain't it, furface!' She sniffed, took a deep breath. 'mmm mmmmm'.

"An' tellin' 'em you're Wise won't help either." she continued, still cutting. "People find a cousin' scary enough; just wait'n see when we tell 'em behind them big scary fangs there's a mind lookin' back from behind those eyes."

"No, no sense in bein' the center of attention an' scarin' people half t' death 'n th' process; be more trouble 'n it's worth." She popped a slice of meat in her mouth."Humans can be funny 'bout other kind that way. Liver!" Switching the knife now buried in the hare's gut to her left hand, she pulled the liver with her right and tossed it to him.

'Would've shuddered at the thought of eatin' that once' she mused wryly as he caught it in the air and tore in. Hells, she still wouldn't eat it if she had any choice! Blech.

"So what then?" She rubbed her chin, thinking. Maybe they could split up, meet up again other side of town. Problem was unless the plan was 'in an' out' there were some obvious headaches with that idea.

"But whatever we say or do, people 'r still gonna be intimmidated by the likes o' you;it's human nature." Unless...if they thought he was 'under controll'; Maybe if-

She winced at her thought, but it did make sense...

"What if...what if we make out you're not even cousin - not wolf at all?"

She looked up to meet his quizical look.

"We could" - she emphasized the word - "could make out that yer jus' a mutt, a dog; uh - close kin to yur cousin, 'cept usually a lot friendlier and more controllabe, least to us. We use 'em for herding, nightwatch an' protection, or sometimes jus' because we like having 'em around."

Gray tilted his head to the side; he looked dubious.

"'Ey! We're pack creatures to, remember? Mutts can be lots o' goofy fun - an' damned usefull, too."
She looked at him. "Ehh, maybe not." She chuckled. "Showin' you as jus' another mutt! Heh! No worries, sirs, nothin' to look at here - jus' another pet!" She rolled her eyes. "And tryin' to pull this at every town we go through....I mean, whatever we do you're still a Wolf; big, toothy - and a sight t' scare th' piss outta damned citybound!" She rubbed a hand through her hair, unbound for the evening, leaving the knife in the hare. "Maybe pull it off if we put a collar on that neck-"

She stopped; 'Oh...real nice, jackass....' For a moment, she just looked at him, then waved it off. "Uhh, yeah; forget it, bad i-" Seeing his nod, she stopped short once again.

She blinked. Did he really mean.... "A collar?" She brought her hands to her neck, tracing around front to back. "You're joking; You even know what a collar is?"

Nod. Wait - how'd he know what a 'collar' was?

Same way they picked up her tongue, she guessed....

"You're serious?"


"You're not serious!"


"Come on, you can't be serious. Look, this isn't a big deal either way, jus' inconvenience, that's all." She chuckled. "It's more about everyone else's comfort than ours, really." She stood to stretch her legs.

Her eyes came to rest on her knife, inlaid handle glinting in the firelight; a circle trisected by lines that swooped back as they curved away from center, the three sections so outlined like teardrops stretched and bent, each curving 'round the one behind it and the flat bottom and straight sides of the teardrops and circle defining the rim laid in silver plait. Other trappers, now...she wasn't sure she wanted to try explaining....

"Okay" she said, looking at him, "so you know what it is; but you don't get why wearing one should bother you?" Was he smirking at her?

She glared at him "Y'know furface, a lotta my kind wouldn't think twice about you wearin' a collar even knowin' that yer wise. An' if you had the experience to understand you'd see why that should bother you. For too damn many of my kind, the Wise're nothin' more'n a rotted cousin with a few more tricks and a bit o' extra wits thrown in. Cute 'n entertainin' diversion, maybe, but it's not like they're human, though. Not like they're persons, deservin' a person's respect." Her voice began to rise; she didn't notice. "My own damn family's that way. Oh, they'll listen ever so politely, almost like they give a damn about it. But they won't get it, same as half th' damn human race - I'm feelin' generous - an' it's nothin' to do but shut your trap an' move on to other things, grit yer teeth and promise yurself to never be like that! She turned back to him "So your pardon, Wolf, if I'm less than amused at the thought of leadin' one of those Wise around collared like some GODSDAMNED STREETMUTT!"

She couldn't've been five Hands from where he lay holding a leg he'd been worrying, glaring down at him, eye-to-eye. And he turned, backed off.....


She could feel her pulse racing, her quickened breaths. Damn; Where'd that come from? She consciously relaxed the hand gripping her knife, clenched hard enough to tremble. Past year must've frayed her more than she realized.

She shook her head; 'And the Wolf's still crazy....'; brought a hand up to rub her neck.

"Sorry. I'm -;Sorry." She turned back to the still-unfinished hare. "Just bothers me, that's all. Feels wrong;. But-" she knelt down and began cutting a length of intestine "- you're probly right, much as I hate to admit it. Good idea, if we're tryin' to hide you in plain sight."

She turned to toss the piece she'd cut to the Wolf; stopped. He was standing right behind her.

Looking at him, she had a sudden impulse; she took the knife on a sudden impulse and cut off a smaller piece;held it out to him. He took it, threw back and swallowed...then nosed her palm and gave a lick.

She reached out, feeling again the sense of vague disconcertion, stronger this time as she rubbed his shoulder; he pressed into it, back arching.

She reached out, hesitant almost, to scratch his neck. His back sank to the ground; his tail was still.

Her heart beat a little faster, a discomfort prodding from beneath, pushed aside. She cupped under his jaw with her other hand, brought his face up to meet her gaze, locking eyes again....

"Y'know, furface," - she said a bit tightly - "this could get interesting.'"


More to come; really! Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rollin' right along here. Hey; The fight doesn't read like one long sentence anymore! Razz

Mostly minor rewriting here, though - mostly of the 'less is better' variety. Smile

So without further ado...


They were nearing civilization; The trail beneath their feet was more dirt and mud than grass, with sparrodic signs of use.

She kept scanning ahead; this was mainly because scanning the dense and towering forrest to either side of the trail - itself bathed in near-perpetual twilight - was a futile effort.

She hated this stretch of forrest, between the mountains and the plains. Too many things could happen to a lone pair of travelers. Even a pair as strange as theirs'.

Here real predators lurked in the shadows.

DAMN, she wished for a horse!

At least trappers were small fish....

The Wolf paced a steady rythym on her right, ears and eyes forward, alert.

'Reading me?' She should probably try to relax. Wasn't doing either of them any good.

By the time you saw it was probably too late, anyway.

Still in hill country, their trail ran between two wooded slopes, the path barely three shoulder-widths between them. They came to a bend in the road, a long turn, and halfway through Gray went rigid and in a blink was a silent blur disappearing into the undergrowth to their left.


"Uhhhhh...NOT GOOD!'" She was looking around, scanning for -

From somewhere beyond the bend she heard a scream and the sound of panicked horses. She ran ahead -

- which proved one of the dumbest decisions of her life; Two mounted figures blocked the road, in full armor - 'Whaddafuk?!' - , chain with plate curving in rows around the trunk and over shoulders with bows at full draw and by the time she saw, she could do nothing but drop like a stone to the dirt and hug the ground, to crawl on elbows to what she knew she would never reach as eternal seconds raced by she was moving too slow too damn slow as the trees drew closer and somehow, she was at the trees, pushing off to stumble through the brushline into the woods - why wasn't she hit? - shrug off the damn pack with the useless damn unstrung bow, flatten her back against a tree and peer over her shoulder at the road below, a glimpse of black, gleaming silver and gray -

'Godsammit Gray giddout!'

She turned at a sound frrom above, a horse bearing down at full gallop, rider drawing sword as she crouched and drew and let fly at the horse, letting the momentum of the throw carry her to the ground and rolling over, and over and over she was going downward she couldn't stop and she was back on the Godsdamn road.

Behind her the horse came crashing from the woods, stumbling and hitting the ground in a tangle of legs and armor, and a fierce smile bared it's teeth to see the rider caught beneath the rolling horse, and she gave a shout, a roar when she saw the blade burried in it's chest.

Gambler's luck; but not that lucky - the rider was moving to rise, not so injured as she hoped and her only weapon stuck in the dying horse beside him. Try to take him still on the ground or make for the woods? She saw a movement in the corner of her eye and turned; Gray, coming full speed - but not to her. A glimpse of bared teeth, of his eyes...and he was past her, on the rider not yet to his feet, scream cut short with a crimson spray. Gray turned to run again, stopped, flew over the horse and had her blade in a single motion before he landed. A running snap of his head and the knife was flying, skidding toward and past her as he disappeared again into the trees.

She stood, turned to pick up the knife - and froze. An armored figure stood in the road, bow drawn. And she knew she'd had too much luck already. Knew he wouldn't miss. Knew she was dead -

- and the man held, turning at a growl that filled the air and chilled the blood and the beast was on him. Rebecca turned away. Crash of metal, choked-off scream and it was - Over?

She held up a hand to Gray. Hoofbeats echoed in the trees, and only when long minutes passed without incident did she finally let herself relax. To take a knee, exhausted, trembling, shock chasing adrenaline.

Lucky, so damned lucky.

She should be dead.

Would be dead, save for - 'Gray Eyes'. He was trotting towards her.

"I'm alright, jus' a little shaken - ey'! Take care where you stick that! I'll be fine. Now siddown, 'ere...."

She knealt and fealt him over - his legs, back and sides - but none of the red in his coat seemed to be his. She ended roughing his neck.

"Mmmmm, my braave Wolf. Huh, some killer!" she said, when he reacted to her scratch between the ears; the way his eyes slitted. She liked that.

Picking up her knife, she stood. Gestured over her shoulder with a thumb at the dead horse behind her; good mount from the look of it, a charger with skin white as winter snow, now crimson in spots. "So tell me, friend - what's a gang in full dress ridin' mounts like that doin' out here?"

He stared.

"Yeah. sense wastin' it; least I contributed somethin' to the fight. Hungry?"

He leapt to his feet.

She laughed. "I'll take it that's a yes."

She picked up the knife, a brief, painful memory flashing as the handle's silver-laid design catches the light;of the man who brought her into the guild, who taught her to throw it. 'Thanks, Jack; Found a use after all.'

A single slice to split the horse along the middle: "Dinner is served."

She tried not to look at the dead figure a few hands away.


Later, back on the trail again, she thought back over the fight; Gray bolting into the woods, in full attack - how much of his actions had been on good evidence, how much guess? This time he guessed right(thank Gods), but guesses could be wrong. Dangerously wrong. Maybe she'd talk with him....

They came to a bend in the road, and Gray stopped, gestured with his head..

Rebecca's heart skipped a beat. "What is it?"

A low growl as he gestures again, more emphatic. Wha-...OH. "Go on ahead?"

Nod, and a look roughly translatable as 'Gee, ya think?!'

"Aright aright, I get it."

She cautiously followed the bend - and froze.

'Lucky, LUCKY Wolf!'

A stallion stood in the road, pure, jet black, in full tack and harness. It could only be one of the mounts from the earlier fight.

There had been four waiting for them in ambush; two in the the road and one to each side. Their armour and mounts spoke of money, maybe even professionals. Why way out her, going after the likes of her?

She didn't like her answers.

She walked toward it slowly, clucking and cajoling. The horse was nervous, and moved farther up the trail a couple of times as she drew near, but in the end it let her approach and take the bridle.

Well, all right then; Problem solved.

That night:

Rebecca sat, glaring at first the Wolf, then the wide-eyed stallion straining at the end of it's lead, then back again.

Gods-be-praised she'd had the sense to be on the ground leading it when it first caught sight of the Wolf! She'd had to fight the entire trip to keep it from bolting. With her pack still on her back, naturally, until she could rig something appropriate for said horse. Her shoulders hurt in new and interesting ways.

The Wolf thought it all about the most hillarious thing imaginable.

She glared. 'Lucky Wolf, my ass!'

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll need to ask you to give me a week to catch up. I owe it to another furiend to proofread his story, and I barely have time this week. I promise I will get to it, okay?

*waves and wags*

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure. Smile

Like I said, bulk of it's just reworked from Ver.1 anyway. Razz
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And we're rollin' rollin' rollin'....

Pretty good-sized update here. Lotta reworking - or at least rewriting - after the fight.....ohhh, just read it and see! Razz

Enjoy! Smile


The tavern door opened, two entrants silhouetted in the light of the afternoon sun. Nobody took note of the buckskin-clad woman who entered first, mid-to-late 20's, average height with blond hair gathered in a ponytail; Female trappers were unusual, but not remarkable.

Everyone turned to look at the beast that came after, behind and close at her side; an enormous canine, coat rippling in shades of white and gray, with a predators' gaze.

"~I have lost my damned mind.~" Rebecca muttered through her teeth as everyone turned to look. She walked up to the counter.

"Haven't seen you through here in a while." said the bartender, smiling.

"'Ey John; how's business?"

He shrugged; "Same as ever, nothing changed; still the crossroads to nowhere."

'If you say so.', she thought.

"What'll it be?"

"Same as ever; cheap licquor 'n a few days' rest."

"To sleep it off, no doubt. Good thing you like the cheap stuff, 'cause it's all we get here. The usual?"

"You remember?" She raised an eyebrow.

"You're hard to forget." He was looking at her companion, then glanced at the window; "Say; that your horse outside?"

"'Aye." She held up her hand. "Don't ask." The horse had finally (finally!) begun to relax around the Wolf; She still didn't trust it to carry her, though.

She took a seat. "And don't worry 'bout Gray here;" she said, reaching down to pat the Wolf laying next to her. "He's harmless."

He gave her the price, she paid and he went to get her drink.

"Godsdamn trappers!" Patron sitting on her left. Staring at her. He was big. And drunk.

"How's that?" She asked, not turning to look at him.

"Sellout to the godsdamned guild fer a buncha fuking brutes is how!"

"Ah" still looking straight ahead "you mean on petty little things like 'don't steal their land, don't murder 'em, keep your godsdamn hands off their _persons_'...things like that?"

"I mean putting thir own people second to a bunch o' frak* BEASTS!" he said, standing. Rebecca followed. Now she did turn to look at - er, up at him.

"Awh, th'poor mistreated humans. I'm all teared up - seriously, I - I think I might need a hug."

"I'll give you huuug!" He made a clumsy swing at her.

She ducked, and in an instant had him over the bar, arm bent behind his back with one hand...and her knife at his throat in the other. He froze.

"Momma never told you it's not nice to hit a lady?" she hissed in his ear.

She stepped back, sheathed her knife - and the asshole swung at her again, a ceramic jug this time. He missed, stumbled away from the counter and suddenly -

"GRAAAAY!!!!" 'Oshitoshitoshit....'

The Wolf had the man on the ground, was bent over him growling, claws on his chest and teeth bared inches from his throat.

She ran over and bent down by him; heart racing; 'Rot, this could get ugly!' 'Ummmm' Reaching out, she grabbed the collar and yanked. " ~ Play along ~ " she hissed in his ear as she dragged him off, praying he'd take the damned hint. She grabbed a handfull of scruff and shook hard. "NO!" Grabbed his chin to glare eye-to-eye; "No! Bad dog!" She rapped his muzzle lightly. "NO!"

She bent near his ear; " ~We'll talk later.~ " She rose back to a half-crouch. "Lie down an' stay!" she said, pointing at him. He dropped to the floor, eyes following her as she rose.

She looked up; Everyone was looking at her. "Sorry 'bout that, John." she said, moving back to the counter. "He can be protective."

"Can't say as I'd blame him." John's voice was loud enough for all to hear. "Jackass had it coming!" Judging by the response of the other patrons, some on their feet, he wasn't the only one who thought so. She flashed him a grateful look

Still, his eyes didn't leave the canine.

The man slowly struggled back to his feet; took a step forward, looked around at the patrons on either side now shifting their attention to him and finally got a clue. He glared at Rebecca and pointed:

"Watch your back, trapper; trails are getting dangrous these days."


And stumbled out the door.

"I should probly leave too; Sorry 'bout the fuss."

He grinned. "Don't think of it, an' he did have it coming." He looked to the door. "You not worried abou - "

"No." She half-drew the blade at her hip, motioned to Gray with her thumb; "Y'think he's that drunk?"

He laughed; "And if he is, what's to worry 'bout anyway? Look, inn's just up the road; you go on ahead, I'll see to the horse."

She smiled; "Thanks, John." 'You have no idea.'

She grabbed her shot off the counter, tilted back and drained it in one swallow, then got her and Gray the rot out of there.


"Damnitt Gray, you can't do that." Rebecca said as she closed the door behind her.

They were at the inn, just arrived at their room; spartan, bare unpainted wooden walls with a single small, dim wavy window set high in one and barely enough room for the bed and two of them.

Grey, in ahead of her, lay down..

Good idea. She sat on the bed(Feathers now! Nice.); bent over, pressing both hands to her forehead; sat up again.

"D'you have any idea how ugly people can get about a beast with a taste of human blood? Any beast? Your defense, mine; wouldn't matter. You don't let a man-killer run free, and Wise 'r not might not matter either - assumin' we were even allowed to dem'n'strate that minor detail." That some might think it more reason to kill him, she didn't say.

"Look, I know" - 'I think' - "you weren't gonna kill 'im; he'd've been dead when he hit the floor. But they damn-well didn't! That kinda crap'll get us tossed out!"

Gods, maybe the hassle wasn't worth it, after all....

She looked at the Wolf. "Look - the whole point o' this damn circus act is so people don't feel scared around you - they feel safe." The Wolf grinned. "Well, safer leastwise - and th' only way we do that is if they think you're under 'control'. 'Jus' another mutt', remember? That's your role - least in public. Don't stay in character an' the game's over." She rubbed her eyes. "Now" she said, leaning forward, "if you've come to your senses, an' don't feel like playin' 'dumb pet' every town we stop at, we can find somethin' diffrent...."

He shook his head.

"No?" she leaned back. "Well then, if you're a dog out in public then ACT LIKE ONE, DAMNITT!"

'Whoaaaah; easy, girl!'

Th'hells did that come from?

Feeling the room sway a bit, she closed her eyes a moment. Oh...right.

She looked at Gray. He'd taken a couple steps back, watching her from the corner of his eye.


What had his rank been back in the pack? Pretty high from what she remembered(though what she'd seen had been little enough she could be mistaken). Not low, certainly. But it was Omega, more like, for all of how he acted around her - thin-skinned, temperamental her, not a Wolf even!. What was it with him?

Course back an the trail had been anything but; the image of his face when he'd run past her during the fight would stay with her for a while -

Ahhh, damn....

"'Ey!" She gave a quick whistle, beckoning him over as she took a knee down on the floor. "Come 'ere." He trotted over; she tapped the floor in front of her. "Siddown, friend." She wrapped her arms around his neck. "Look," she said, looking him eye-to-eye, "all I'm saying is; sit back, relax, an' follow my lead here. The guy back there - jackass was drunk damn-near cross-eyed, and I'm pretty damned quick myself, case you hadn't noticed. I could handle him." Well, usually...barring bad luck, anyways....

She ran her hand down the side of his neck. "Ya gotta trust me, Gray. Back there on the trail you saved my ass, sure 's shit, but if we're gonna keep playin' this little game, here, I need you to trust me. Do you thnk you can do that for me?"

"Jus' let go, and trust."

His head dropped, pressing forward until - to her surprise - his muzzle burried itself under her arm. She heard a soft whine, then he pullud back to raise his muzzle - and give her several licks on the chin, making her laugh, not near as startled as she should've been....

Growing uncomfortable in her crouch, she drew both legs under her; ended with his head resting in her lap, raking lines along his neck, his back, liking - no, loving - the site of him now; relaxed and vulnerable, eyes half-lidded, given over completely.

She reached over, grasped the scruff of his neck and shook it gently. And fealt a shiver run down his spine....


She woke with a moan.

The dreams again; of Jack. Not of the final days. Worse; of good times, on the trail, talking, teaching, teasing, of sweet. sweet evenings, all somehow heightened by a small part of her mind that even in her sleep knew the truth and remembered the loss, giving the pleasure of those moments a fierce, desperate urgency...

...until it was suddenly, inevitably wrenched away, shades burned off in the morning light and he was lost to her again.

Knock at the door; once more.

'Horse must've gotten here.' She was still sitting. Gray stood facing her; it was his movement that brought her awake. "Coming!" She made to rise. Youch; Rot! Did her back ache! How long had it been? Not long enough for the drink to burn off.

She opened the door. A young boy, early adolescence, stood there. "Man 'ere with a horse he claims is yours?" He sounded slightly dubious. 'Boy, you'd never believe....'

A short time later, the rest of her belongings brought up and secured - well, as out of the way as possible in the confines of their room - she sat on the(literally!)feather-soft bed. She was sore, bleary-eyed...and quite happy to miss as much of when the licquor wore off as possible.

Ugh, good NIGHT. She quickly undressed and sat, ready to collapse into slumber. "G'night mutt" she said, half-teasing, reaching down with her right hand to fuss his neck.

She stopped, hessitating; "Gray...." She raised his muzzle with the back of her hand, to meet her gaze.

Fealt again that strange sensation; of dislocation, vague anticipation, and the prickling of guilt. Saw this time the wave rushing towards her.

Another day and time, with defenses raised she'd have likely fought it; for guilt or fear, of misreading, giving offense, crossing a line she'd only imagined there leading to one Gods-rottin' mess....

Not here, now; she let it crash into her. Grabbed the scruff of Gray's neck with her right hand as she cupped - HELD - his jaw with her left, pulling it up to lock gazes; new, fierce intensity in her eyes.

"You _are_ mine, aren't you...pup?" Low. Commanding.

She didn't need the confirmation in his eyes.

She already knew.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ookay, because according to the views counter at least a few of y'all out there are still checking in for updates(and because I'm also impatient! Razz ), here's a VERY partial(teaser?)update - just a brief scene; more to come, obviously. I also like this new scene(New to this version of story.). Smile

Regarding the last post: the scene in the previous update is probably the one I'm most interested in hearing feedback on, being somewhat important to the story - to say the least! Do the character's thoughts and actions - especially Rebecca's - feel like a natural outgrowth of the circumstances and context of what preceeded them? I've very deliberately aimed for more subtlety and care in fleshing out developments in the story this time around, but I find I really can't stand back completely and look at that scene from an independent reader's perspective, so meh.... Confused

Anyways, back to the next scene; enjoy! Smile


The darkness faded to gray; then to light.


To black again. Thaaaaat hurt.

Hand over her eyes; one more time, now. SLOWLY.

Rebecca groaned as she pushed herself up in bed, palms over her eyes, rubbing; turned to sit on the edge. Slowly - and not a little painfully - the room came into focus. She licked her lips - Ugh - wincing at the light coming through the window. It WOULD be East-facing! What had happened last night -


Her eyes snapped to Gray, who stood watching her, tail sweeping slowly back and forth. Damnitt; she had lost her damned mind - no! She was drunk. With one shot? Well, at least he'd -

Rebecca put her face in her hands. Groan....

Looked back up at the Wolf.

For several moments just stared at him.

Finally asked; "Been out since yesterday?"


No, he wouldn't have would he? Damn. "Okay; alright -"

She brushed a hand through her hair. "Gimme - uhf - give me a few moments to get dressed."

She struggled into her leathers - a bit stiffly - and bound her hair. Comb it out later. Hells she thought, pulling her belt tight, maybe just cut it short; less of a hassle.

Pushing the door open, she turned back to the Wolf. For a moment she stood like that, hand pressed against the door. The smallest of smiles touched the corners of her lips. She crouched in front of him. Roughed along the top of his neck, moving to below the ears, the back of his jaw. Ending, as she rose with a tap on the ginning Wolf's nose.

"Let's go, pup."

He followed her out the door.


More later(obviously!)....

Edit: And heeeere it is. Smile


A short time later, they entered the dining area; open and well-lit, with wavy windows filling the ceiling and walls between, the addition functioned both as common area for the inn's tennant's and restaurant -at price- to the local community( Doubtless the Inn's true source of primary income!). Rebecca fealt her mouth begin to water at the smells as they passed the door and made for the counter.

The few people within looked up as she entered with her 'pet'. A couple were trappers, and she waved to one she knew as she walked by.

They arrived at the counter. "What ya got today, girl?"

"Duck stew. Bread."


Out at the moment. Course ma'am, you could check the market if you gotta have some today."

"And pay extra?" Meals were free to the inn's guests. Ohwell. "Eggs?"

The girl smiled; "That, we can do for you."

"Great. How 'bout some wake-me-up?

Smile; shrug again. "Sorry ma'am."


"Hey, lady!" the 'keeper, who'd been helping with the cooking approached the counter; he was looking at Gray. "Heard there was trouble with that beast of yours. Heard he attacked someone yesterday."

Rebecca cursed under her breath; "No, sir, he didn't attack anyone. If he'd attacked 'im, hed've been dead."

Hmmm...that probably wasn't the reaction she was looking for. She spread her hands; "Drunken...idiot took a couple o' swings at me. Gray can be protective sometimes, an' the guy got knocked over an' scared a bit; but he didn't take a scratch. Dealt with the dog right there an' that was the end of it - look, go ask the tavern's owner if he's dangrous. 'E look dangrous to you?" She turned to the Wolf lying quietly on the ground to give a scratch between his ears and -. She had to bite back her laughter; he'd never even SEEN a dog - where'n hells he get that idea?

His tongue was hanging out. Was he panting? 'Oh, for godssake....'

The keeper still looked dubious. "You got a lead for that dog?

Uh-oh. "No sir, I don't." she said, eyes narrowing.

"Then get one - fast."

"Uh, I really don't think that's nec - "

"Ah, but it is, m'lady, so long as he's in my inn. Or just tie 'im outside for the rest o' your stay - it's all the same for me." He tilted his head briefly. "See - I'm leaving it completely up to you!" He said, giving her a mock grin.

"But I really dont think - "

His expression changed to something decidedly less pleasant.

"Erhhhh, FINE; alright, I'll get one." she growled through her teeth. Maybe Gray'd decide to drop the damn act . "Suppose you'd be s'kind as to make exception for this meal?" she asked in a mock-pleasant voice.

"As the customer asks!" he replied in kind.

'Choke on it!'

She finished ordering - for the two of them.

"'Bekka!" The trapper she knew, a few years younger than she was waving her over.

She took a seat, giving the Wolf beside her a pat as she pulled up the chair.

"'Ey Nate." He was a hand-n-half taller than her, with green eyes, sandpepper hair.

"Where'd you pick him up?" asked Nathan, looking at Gray.

Ohboy. "Long story. So who's your friend?' she smiled.

"Ah, apologies m'lady." He turned to the man beside him, who looked about ten years his senior. "This fine fellow 'ere is Jake Runner...crankiest ass this side of the Rivers." She and Jake chuckled "And Jake, this fine lady here is Rebecca..." he paused, grinning;she was trying to wave him off -no, no no- "...Sunshine." He finished. Ah, rot. "Which she doesn't like people knowing on account of it bein' such a misnomer and all." She flashed him something obscene. He laughed again.

"Looks like she's ready to prove it, too. Now that any kind of behavior for a refined lady like yourself?" said Jake, chuckling.

Rebecca snorted. Refined hells! Trappers were a different breed, especially in each other's company. "So what's the news?' she asked, trying to change topics.

They stopped. "How long you been out?" asked Nathan

"Too long; why?"

He leaned forward, completely serious. "Rebellion in the Isles."

So; it finally happened. Storm'd been brewing for years; not that the despotic jackass would've seen it coming, even so. "And?"

"And the 'human-progressivists' -

"Godsrotted bastards." she mumbled. They were of a mind the only good Wise was a dead Wise. Her eyes snapped back to him. No....

"- are the main beneficiaries of this 'people's rebellion'." He confirmed.

"Shit." she whispered, the implications sinking in. 'No one saw that coming'. "So they own - damnitt, they've got a Godsdamned REALM?!" 'MOTHERS....'

Her meal arrived; duck stew in a simple clay bowl, boiled eggs in a similiar bowl and cooled water in a wooden cup..

Allready it's flashing over." He continued after the hostess left. "There's rioting in neighboring states on Mainland, states with strongest sympathies - and most need of land. There's tension all up and down the banks. Rumors everywhere - What other surprises they got? Who might be next? Some that say they're allready using their new position to strike out in secret, of attacks -"

"~SHIT!~" Her hand was clenched. " I've had a personal encounter with those 'rumors'; four of 'em on horseback."

They looked at her.

She grinned knowingly. "I got the better of it, though...."


She took a sip from her cup. "The mounts they rode; they were nice. Very nice...."

Silence. "Yeaaaaaah...."; From Nathan.

"Hey! Would I lie?...'Ey! I'll take you out back an' show you the damned horse if you won't take my word. 'Is tack as well." She'd just leave out a couple minor details....

They stared a few moments longer. "You're serious, aren't you?" said Jake.

Nathan gave a drawn-out whistle. "If you're being honest....girl, you are somethin' else."

"Damned lucky!" Jake again. They both looked suitably impressed.

She bent to scratch Gray between the ears. "You can say that again."

"We should be so lucky" said Jake; "we're leaving first light tomorrow. Together."

"Which way?"


Ah. "Well then; I stand warned. Watch each other's backs, y'hear?"

Nate leaned forward, put a hand on her arm; "And you, watch your ass."


Some time later, they were standing outside her room..

Rebecca crouched in front of Gray. "Well, I'll bet you're feelin' hungry." One thing or another, neither of them had eaten anything after their arrival in town yesterday. Gray still hadn't.

Yes. Emphatically.

"Wonderin' if I jus' forgot about you, huh...tell me!

Short nod. He looks at her sideways.

She stood. "Stay." she said, pointing with a grin.

She entered and closed the door behind. The room was fairly narrow, bed against one long wall on her left, window on the right. Against the wall opposite the bed there were two buckets, nearly identical; about three palm-widths wide and half as high, spreading upwards with wooden plankings for sides One of them was covered with a fairly heavy board, sealing the top;removing this, she opened the door - "C'mon in"- and stepped back into the room.

The Wolf smelled it as soon as she removed the cover; duck stew, still warm and filled near to the brim! The other of course held water.

"Suprise." she said, gesturing with a flourish. "Dig in!"

Sitting on the bed, she began taking off her boots. "Innkeeper didn't mind havin' food brought up for you if it meant gettin' my 'dangerous beast' in and outta there sooner." she chuckled "Though 'e did think the lid a bit odd. Didn't wanna give it away too early, did we?" Course Gray'd had to wait a little longer to eat.

She laughed as he suddenly jumped up on her knees and started licking under her chin. "Hey, 'ay! Giddown and eat, now." She pushed him off.

She looked down at him. "How could I 'ave forgotten about you, huh? I told you t' trust me; I'm here for you."

"I promise."

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

___________.l . Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay. Done reading. Will re-read this weekend.

This may not be exactly what you're expecting... so brace yourself. I'll be nitpicky this time.

Typos. Typos. Typos. "Allready" should be "already".

"Felt" not "fealt".

And some others. A couple of times you still don't enter a space after the commas, semicolons and ellipses. That's minor stuff.

My biggest beef, and please, please, PLEASE don't take it to heart. It's IMHO: why the swear words? We go from Olden English-sounding ("Thrice-damned" was excellent.) to Goodfellas ("Whaddafuk"). You can still express dislike and use insults without having to drop F-bombs, lad. OF COURSE, this is your story, and if you think that's how Rebecca talks, well, fine. It's not like I don't swear myself. Razz

Now the good stuff:

While it feels odd not to be in the wilderness anymore, what had me thinking were the reasons of Gray to play along and pretend to be Rebecca's mutt. Heck, he proposed the idea to begin with. Why? Does he have a specific reason of his own? Altruism? Is he just using Rebecca for his own benefit, for down the road?

The bit where she explains the dislike of people for beasts, and why they do even more for Wise beasts was very, very well done. You explained why using a very simple and logical reason: the power of a beast with an intelligent mind is indeed something to fear, and I feel it was the best part of that update. You'd think people would feel safer knowing that a Wise beast would hold back and not deliberately hurt anyone, yet it turns out to be a bigger reason for them to fear or distrust one, born out of prejudice or simple ignorance. Brilliant.

The part where he kills one of the "mercenaries" or whatever they were, reminded me a lot of Wolf's rain, when the wolves brought down the armored soldiers of the Nobles. Simple brutal struggle for survival, bloody but not morbidly descript. (Don't worry if you don't understand, ladies. Testosterone, competition, struggle. You know. It's a guy thing.)

Hope to see character development in the next episode. Feel free to defend your points of view. Just because I disagree or feel that something doesn't fit in the story, it doesn't mean you are wrong.

Expecting your reply with anticipation.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, in THIS story, feAlt is spelled with an 'a'. Razz Worked for Tolkein; elFs FTWI!! Laughing

In all seriousness though, beyond a certain amount of proofread and correcting, I'll just leave it untill the final cut. Besides, as you lose bold and itallics with copy-and-past, a little bit's already lost in translation here, anyways. Razz

As for the have a point there; PARTLY.

To a degree, it's part of her character:

She flashed him something obscene. He laughed again.

"Looks like she's ready to prove it, too. Now that any kind of behavior for a refined lady like yourself?" said Jake, chuckling.

Rebecca snorted. Refined hells! Trappers were a different breed, especially in each other's company.

And especially true when talking about a character's thoughts in the middle of a high-pressure, life-or-death situation.

Still, you're right that the presentation perhaps clashes a bit, and is maybe a bit over-the-top(while I'm thinking of it, your opinion on this set of lines - [ "Great. How 'bout some wake-me-up?" Smile; shrug again. "Sorry ma'am." DAMN! ] Keep, or toss as too anachronistic? Isn't supposed to be coffee proper, but still....) Honestly, I'm still fighting with all those little things that make a story 'alive'. This is a 'short' story that just kept growing, remember? Wasn't supposed to need a world or extensive character development, blastit! Laughing

Seen 'Wolf's Rain' mentioned a few places; starting to think I'll have to go ahead and look it up on Chinese sub-titled japanime has a certain logic to it! Very Happy

Btw, while figuring out what I'm gonna do to get my writing off of my other computer, I've had another plot-bunny slowly making itself known in that strange lil' head o' mine. A story that would put the human on the other end of the relationship for A Dog's Life...KIND of. Except I'd play the concept completely straight, which I've never really seen attempted. I've a few ideas to see how far the concept can be pushed while keeping the protagonist fully and actively human, with all freedoms and capacities intact. Maybe a short(short!)story that can also serve as the beginning of a longer story if anybody else decides to pick it up and run with it. Just an idea right now, so we'll see.

Expecting your reply with anticipation.

*Flattered* And here you go! Smile Thanks SO MUCH for your feedback; it really does make a world of difference in keep us writers going(Which you already know of course!).

'Till later. Smile
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