IC Archive

Lookin' back over my life

Every day had its own little routine to follow. Honestly, it might have been boring to some but for Hiero, it felt safe. Normal. As if he was back home with his parents and carefully following a regimen to keep himself on schedule and make sure everything was working in tip top shape. For someone like him, routine was good. It meant there was a time and place for everything - which often was bringing back fish from the river or small fowl and rabbits to fill caches.

Speaking of which, he was returning from a day of hunting just now. Climbing over the regular path of rocks he had taken to and from the run. Today a few rabbits hung from his maw. Limp and lifeless and ready to be buried for later. 

A part of him wondered what Ira was up to. Probably patrolling and busying herself. With their low numbers there was a lot of land to keep up with, which he had taken it upon himself to make sure there was always enough food for them when they returned. Along with some midnight patrolling when sleep didn't come easy on certain nights.
Defeated, Hiero sighed into the soft fur that muffled his mouth. To bother her now would only annoy the High Queen, even if he wanted to spend some time with the woman more than anything.

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Vanderfell Woods
To assume that the roan woman always found a way to busy her paws would be correct, though everyone had to rest at some point. A wolf could only do so much before they collapsed, and with the size of their pack, she could not afford to overdo it. The mountain queen was just passing over one of the higher reaches when the unmistakable blotched pelt of Hieronymous came into view from below. I see you've been busy.

Her paws came to a rest allowing the other to close some of the distance before she hopped down from her perch to inspect closer. A few rabbits hung limp and fresh from his maw, and if she was lucky one might still be warm. Done for the day or is this just a trip of many? She was aware he had some sort of schedule in place. On more than one occasion now she had seen him along similar paths, taking on tasks without a word and seeing them to completion. To have so few amongst their ranks, it pleased her that the ones she did have were diligent.

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Sleep - come to think of it, he wasn't keeping track of how long his nights were these days. Was he sleeping enough? It was impossible to tell really without feeling tired, perhaps tonight he should focus more on keeping his mind away from those dreams and nightmares and see if he could catch a full night's rest for once since his arrival to these new lands.

Maybe he could start collecting pelts and making his little burrow more comfortable... would that even help at all? Maybe if he found a place near a running stream the sound of water could help ease his running mind as well. And then her voice cut through his thoughts, focussing his eyes on the woman he thought of just briefly moments ago with a silent wave of his tail with a mouthful of fur to keep him from running his mouth already.

Placing the small bodies on the ground he shrugged at her question. 
“Is this not enough?” He teased mostly. “Would you like to join me perhaps? With another maw I could carry more in one trip perhaps?” Smooth, his way of trying to spend some time with the High Queen even if it had to be disguised as work.

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— Hiero has a dull sense of smell, it will affect how I play him and how he acts in threads
The knight’s words were teasing, enough so that she’d tilt her head as if gauging his pile with the hint of a smile. So there is more then? It was no answer, perhaps he would sweat or maybe just take it as her way of joking back. We are heading in the same direction, if it saves your time I have no qualms assisting you.

Not that she would complain even if it didn’t. Hieronymous had proven to be good company so far and his time was well spent. Even in lulls there was never a dull moment around him. Perhaps he had been raised to be an entertainer, he would already have the worlds eyes on him with his looks, it was only natural to make an impression out of them before that attention was gone.

Ira hopped down from the rocky ledges she lingered at, stepping forward to nose through the kills and separate them into two mostly even piles. Though she did not dare move to take her pick. She would wait to see which he wish to carry or what he might think she was capable of.

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“There certainly can be.” He took it as a challenge. Beaming with a bright smile, full of himself and believing he could impress after today as if this was his "do or die" moment to get the girl. Where he had gotten the rabbits he had now were more just waiting for the predator to leave - so perhaps they were out of their dens now, munching on grasses and moving on with their lives.

Or perhaps he shouldn't use up that resource and find somewhere else to let that group recover and breed... yes, perhaps that would be the plan. 
“Wonderful!” Without giving her the opportunity, he swiped up the prey once more himself to carry them on to the next hunting spot. A gentleman would do most of the carrying after all until his mouth was too full to carry more without choking. That would be when Ira's assistance would be necessary.

With a mouthful he still tried to smile while looking over his shoulder to Ira with a silent signal for her to join him, a sway in his tail and he was off to find another hunting ground than the last.

He kept an eye out for signs of another colony, looking over to Ira to see if her nose could pick up anything or even just spot something he missed. 

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— Hiero has a dull sense of smell, it will affect how I play him and how he acts in threads
A choice was made, though it was not one of the two she had predicted. Instead, Hieronymous snatched all three leaving her with none to carry. Hmm, A gentleman. She snorted, but wouldn’t complain. She was more than capable carrying them, but she was certain that was not why Hieronymous had swiped them all for himself. Very well, lead the way.

The painted man waved her along to another hunting location. He seemed to look around though ultimately he turned for her nose. The roan woman lowered her head, sniffing at the ground before ultimately taking a few steps towards a smell then pointing with her nose.

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Cheekily he grinned through the fur muffling his mouth at Ira's comment on how gentlemanly he was being. Well, he didn't need assistance now and she could just enjoy his silence for once while he did the work until later. What kind of man - no, what kind of packmate, follower would he be if he asked the High Queen to carry something he could certainly do himself for the time being?

Naturally she was quick to find where the prey were, his eyes scanned the grasses for signs where she pointed off to - only to slowly slower his head and leave the dead ones where he stood. What good would they be? At least here they wouldn't be too far for scavengers to come and take away with two sets of eyes on the watch.
“Would you like to join or keep watch? We can even make this a sport, see who catches the most before the sun fades away.” He whispers, getting in just close enough for her to hear without him speaking too loudly to alert any of the rabbits near by. This time she did have a choice in the matter - help him catch more in less time, or watch him show off - or laugh at his failure. Regardless of her choice, he skulked off. Keeping low to the ground and following the signs of the delicious little creatures.

They only had a couple hours before the sun would leave them in darkness, so they had to start.

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— Hiero has a dull sense of smell, it will affect how I play him and how he acts in threads
Hieronymous was set on his path quickly, carefully setting down the prey he had captured earlier. Not once did she take her eyes off the direction of their hunt. She could smell they were close now, potentially just past the growth. A soft voice came to her ear, Hiero’s, as he asked if she wished to join to stay put. Well… she had never been one for sitting put.

You’d fancy a game? She would have chuckled had they been trying to startle their prey. Really though, a wolf with no nose challenging a queen in a sport involving scent. It seemed silly, perhaps in the water he would stand a chance, but they were on land now.

If they were going though, they might as well go all out. Have anything to wager? Perhaps it was cruel to take from a disabled man, but he had been the one to suggest the competition in the first place.

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Perhaps, definitely. But like most who had a disability, Hieronymous flourished in other aspects. Not letting one little malady take him down completely. Where there were accidental trespassing, he had boundless charisma. Where he lacked in smell, he was as sharp as a fresh needle.

Where he should be concerned at the wager being offered - he was instead, very excited. “A wager?” He almost blew their cover with surprise. Now he had to pause and think... what could he possibly offer Ira? On the other hand... there was one thing in particular he would have loved to win from her. 
“How about a kiss on the cheek when I win?” He was quick to blurt it out, confident in being successful at the end of the day to get a little peck on the cheek from the High Queen herself. What could he even wager in return? Well... he left that up to her as his eyes waited patiently on her face, breath caught in his lungs with anticipation for her response.

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— Hiero has a dull sense of smell, it will affect how I play him and how he acts in threads
It seemed the offer of a wager was more than enough for the other as his next response came louder, shock plain as day across his face. After a moments pause though he would have his wager, or well, what she would be wagering.

“How about a kiss on the cheek when I win?”

My my, aren’t you bold. Though if I recall, I asked what you would be wagering not wished. I’m afraid I’m not going to just roll over for your self proclaimed victory either. It wasn’t often she found herself in games, but Ira always did have a bit of a competitive spirit to her.

Very well. I’ll allow it since you won’t be winning anyways. But what would she want with her victory? Her tail flicked behind her as she went through a list of potential prizes, but ultimately she’d settle. When I win, I want a large goat’s hide. Do we have a deal?

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“I can't trust myself to think I have anything you may want.” He grins, explaining his little thought process. There was no way he was going to admit that he wanted to know what Ira ultimately wanted... that was for him to surprise her with later should he win this little wager of theirs.

Honestly, she was going to get the pelt she wanted regardless of how today ended. Hieronymous however... really wanted that little bit of affection. Now all he had to do was win - then surprise her later with a gift. “We have an agreement, my Queen.” A little flattery before the knight moved forward to begin his own process. 

Into the tall grasses he remained low, collapsing any holes he saw along the way to reduce any hiding places the rabbits might retreat to. With a lack of smell, he had to be clever - think ahead, cover his bases and move cautiously. Focussing on his own work, he wouldn't let any of Ira's progress distract him from the ultimate prize.

In a matter of seconds he already caught his first trophy, a rather small rabbit but it would hopefully be the first of many - and began a separate pile away from the previous catches.

1 small rabbit caught

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— Hiero has a dull sense of smell, it will affect how I play him and how he acts in threads
A smirk pulled the corner of her lips as their deal was made. Hieronymous took extra care to flatter her with a title, though flattery would do little to help him win. Words were done, now all that was left to speak was their skills. The knight wasted no time bounding off and while he ventured, Ira would follow her nose. He may have to work faster with fewer senses to rely on, but to her, he would only scare off what he sought.

For that reason, she kept a wide berth, creeping slowly through grass and growth until she was near enough to spot her target. A plump rabbit, seemingly distracted chewing on a flower...though unlike her opponent, as she lunged for it the creature scattered tearing way into a nearby burrow she had failed to see. Ira would not dawdle on the loss, it would only waste her time, and considering that the painted man already had another creature limp in his maw, she would need more time than she thought.

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Perhaps he was a little too cocky after his first catch. Feeling pretty good about it, he was quick to return on the prowl. Slithering through the grasses on soft pads, careful not to disturb the grass too much as he walked - something he observed with hunting felines as they took a softer approach than what canines normally did.

But even with all that effort - his second attempt left his maw empty with nothing but air in between his jaws as he snapped at the ass-end of a rabbit just too swift for him to catch as it vanished far into the tall grass.

He wouldn't be distracted by Ira, instead he focussed on his next target. Hoping for his next catch to be bigger.

Total rabbits: 1 small

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— Hiero has a dull sense of smell, it will affect how I play him and how he acts in threads
The roan woman doubled down this time, carefully selecting a fresh path of prints to tread after. Somewhere along the lines she had lost Hieronymous, not that it mattered now, it would be just her and a very plump rabbit. The brown hide sought to blend in with the barks of the trees, though as it scavenged for berries it betrayed its true nature.

Ira kept her ears alert, listening for the sounds of the forest ensuring no hasty paws ruined her hunt. Somewhere in the distance, she heard the snap of jaws on empty air, the all too familiar sound of teeth clicking together told her that perhaps this time Hiero had not been so lucky. With newfound confidence, the mountain queen crouched down and proceeded. One foot in front of the other, she stalked until she was within reach.

As the rabbit tugged at the vine of a bush, she rushed, and for her efforts, the greedy rabbit hung from her jaws.

Total rabbits: 1 large rabbit

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Ignoring the world around him, Hieronymous focussed on the task at hand. He couldn't smell the blood in the air at Ira's successful catch which made it all that much easier to focus and not get distracted by her victory. Perhaps it was a hidden blessing that he was so nose-blind for moments like these.

Collapsing a few more dens as he walked, stalking the grasses for little rabbit trails that carved their way through the greenery. Little rabbit droppings too were easy to spot and follow. With his unusual coat it helped to keep him relatively blending with the environment, breaking up the silhouette of a wolf as dark and light broke up his figure.

Where there was unfortunate circumstances, to those willing to work around them, there were positivity to be found as well. 

And Hiero had just the right motivation to keep trudging forward as the sun was setting, announcing that their little competition would soon come to an end. The rabbit's fat ass and white cotton tail signalling he was just within striking distance as he carefully moved foward - this time as he lunged forward, grabbing the rabbit with a paw and a strike to the back, he was victorious. Bringing back one more rabbit to his pile of two to see what Ira would bring next.

Total Rabbits: 1 small, 1 large

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— Hiero has a dull sense of smell, it will affect how I play him and how he acts in threads
Finding her next target would prove to be more challenging. As the sun set, so came the night and with so the dangers that pushed her prey into their burrows. More trails led to dead ends or fresh burrows just deep enough to persuade her to try elsewhere.

She would find the few bold enough to linger, though as she stalked, they grew more and more wary of their surroundings. By the time she thought she might finally be close enough, her jaws would snap closed on hollowed air. There was disappointment in her failure, but the rays of the sun still shined and with them a chance for her to still win.

Total rabbits: 1 large

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After placing his prize down with the other, Hieronymous waited a little while for Ira before heading back out. With her nowhere in sight, he wasn't about to waste the last moments of sunlight for their game just to watch her bring back something that would blow his lead... judging by her own pile seen away from his, and the previous hunt.

Back into the grasses he went, back on the trail he had come from to follow the trail of other creatures. None... all trails lead to nothing, no one around as they all seemed to scurry off into their dens. No longer did he see any small furry creatures running around, or chewing on some grasses casually.

And time was ticking down.

Even with the extra dens collapsed by the knight, they must have huddled up more than one per burrow in certain areas to wait out the predators they surely had caught onto now with 3-4 of their brethren having being snatched up.

And so he returned to his little pile of two rabbits as the sun left over the horizon leaving them with darkness as the stars began to erupt through the sky. Holding his breath, Hiero could only hope that he was the victor so he may get that innocent little bit of affection from the one woman he had any interest in.

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— Hiero has a dull sense of smell, it will affect how I play him and how he acts in threads
Time was ticking and each moment cast another layer of colors into the evening skies as the sun dipped. Just as Hieronymous would encounter, so would she. Each turn yielded nothing and when she was lucky enough to spot the white rear of a hare, it was quick to bound into its burrow with the others. As the last rays of light threatened to dip out of existence, the roan woman resorted to digging at holes, though no matter how far she reached her paws would just catch on tunnel walls before she could reach anything.

Eventually, she would have to admit that she was not catching anything else tonight, rather it be from the time of day or from her prey catching wind of their little competition. She would return to the piles empty-handed with nothing but her plump rabbit to her name. From the looks of things, Hieronymous had pulled through with just a measly rabbit, but it was a victory nonetheless. It appears you would have beaten me after all.

Unfortunately, that meant she would not be receiving her pelt. Oh well, she would just have to get one on her own time. It would line her den well, but until then she would continue to sleep on the smooth rock. And that would mean this is yours. The queen padded closer, slowing as she reached the knight's side before leaning over to give him a few licks near his jawline. She wouldn't even complain, he had won their deal fair and square.

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With bated breath he waited, eyes watching for Ira to appear and only when he saw her approach with nothing hanging from her maw as well - he could feel joy bubbling up in his belly. Honestly if he could cough up bubbles he would. A shit eating grin spread across the man's maw, just shining in his moment of victory.

Perhaps now he would show that regardless of his "disability", the man was far more than capable despite it all. But even then, boy did he feel lucky that it all worked out. “It appears so.” If he hadn't used the "my queen" line already, right now would have been a good spot to slide it in as well. But Hieronymous was not the kind of guy to keep repeating the same cheesy lines over and over - especially when a woman like Ira just didn't seem to appreciate that constant barrage.

His heart thudded wildly in his chest which took everything to remain as calm as possible as she walked over. Feeling her little licks against his jaw brought absolute joy to the man, letting his tail swing happily as he basked in the glory of his victory. Never would he forget this day, this moment. Give him a break, he's a simple man

Once it was all over, “Don't worry, I will tell no one of our little wager.” He said with a wink. Certainly her pride would feel better with this moment being just for them and no one else. 

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— Hiero has a dull sense of smell, it will affect how I play him and how he acts in threads
The man's overly excited tail did not go unnoticed. It was funny how one moment he could be a charming man then the next he would be a child who had just felled his first elk. The sight was a comfort though when she had grown up in such a hostile environment. It was a reminder that they were alive and they were allowed to live, not just survive in a hardened world.

“Don't worry, I will tell no one of our little wager.”

Ira snorted with a roll of her eyes as she pulled away hiding her smile. I do not fear rumors. I've had plenty in my life. She would scoop up her kill grabbing two of the older rabbits from the first pile as she passed, though before fully parting, the queen shifted her hips to give a friendly shove to Hiero's side. You won't be so lucky next time.

Then without missing a beat, she would continue on her way to take her bounty to the nearest cache.

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Okay so, not fearing rumours was all fine and dandy - he wouldn't have put that past Ira with how strong willed she always seemed to be with such a steady head on her shoulders. “Plenty?” As she turned away, he was quick to follow. Highly curious about what she meant by that. What nefarious things were rumoured of the High Queen? Now he was curious, drawn in like a child in the playground when some tea was about to be spilled.

A lesser man might have thought of something else when Ira bumped him with her hips instead of just some playful act to rile him up. Naturally he laughed, the notes simply fluttering before being cut off by the curiosity that still bugged him. “Hold on - what rumours?!” Well, it was safe to say that the next wager they would get, Hiero had a different prize he might inquire in than a simple kiss.

He wanted to know of these rumours, even if it was just to get to know Ira further. As he called out in a near whine, childlike with a lighthearted mewl in his tone, the man picked up the rest of their kills and trotted off to follow Ira home.

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— Hiero has a dull sense of smell, it will affect how I play him and how he acts in threads
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