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stepping in from the cold — Willow Ridge 
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Played by Jacqueline who has 20 posts.
Inactive No Rank
Merrick
September 21st, Late Afternoon, 3°C, thunderstorm, hailstones.

[Image: c7961705998bd8cec6186407ae2eff62.gif]

The sky had turned dark.

Storm clouds gathered overhead as Merrick surveyed the shadowy forests below, silently contemplating his next move. From the ridge he was standing on, located upon the lower western slope of the mountain, he could watch and listen to the commotion below. He had noticed a lot of movement within the willow trees beneath him, with a number of wolves seen arriving and departing from the centre of the territory over the past week. Merrick had suspected that a pack resided there, though it was only now as the wind began to pick up with the approaching storm, that he had been able to catch their scent.

Sniffing sharply at the frigid air, the male sought to determine their overall health and numbers, keen to know the current condition of the pack. The pack smelt small to average in size, boasting healthy individuals and an even sex ratio. Merrick clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth, contemplating, as his dark amber eyes trailed the steep mountain path which snaked its way towards the willows.

Undecided for the moment, the large male reclined into a sit, his dark tail brushing lightly atop the mountain snow as it curled behind him. However, an unexpected rumble of thunder and the sudden downpour of sharp hailstones forced him onto all fours again. Grumbling in discomfort as the hail beat against his thick pelt, Merrick looked to the steep mud-slicked mountain path again through narrowed eyes. Clenching his jaws together and keeping his head down to shield his scowling eyes from the hail, the large male began to descend towards the refuge of the willow trees.

Another rumble of thunder echoed through the dark blue sky as Merrick arrived at the edge of the claimed territory. Soaked to the skin, his fur fell in disheveled clumps upon his frame, and with mud clinging to his undersides and painting his paws, he looked every bit the swamp monster.

Craning his head, the lone male called out to the residence of the willow pack, his voice partially drowned out by the howling wind and rain.
(This post was last modified: Mar 29, 2022, 08:34 PM by Merrick.)
Played by Kai who has 345 posts.
Inactive No Rank
Avella Archer
Life in the Ridge had returned to normal for Avella. She went about her duties as usual and checked in with everyone as often ad possible. She was rather happy how things were going for the pack despite them still being so new. Everyone was doing their part to ensure the packs success.

Even her efforts to secure a litter for the pack this year had not been in vain. Eecently she'd realized that she was pregnant and that was both terrifying and exciting for her. She felt she was ready to be a mother but she worried about whether she'd be good at it or not. She also had concerns about what would happen if questions were asked of her. It was something that was constantly on her mind.

The early morning had been spent checking caches and doing a little hunting. As the afternoon came in she noticed the darkening clouds as she did her patrol. She wanted to finish before the storm that was on its way hit but she wasn't successful.

The rain came down pelting her with cold water. Slowly her full winter coat begin to become wetter and wetter. The rain was falling fast around her. Ahe thought to seek shelter nearby until the hail started. It stung as it hit her face causing her to squint her eyes. Just as the decision was made to make a run for the communal den she heard it. A voice almost drowned out but the rain amd thunder but she heard it.

It had come from the border she was near amd all she could think was who woukd he calling in such weather. As the leader she had to go though. She had to find out who it was and east they needed, what if it was an emergency? She quickly made her way to where the voice had sounded from and there she found him. He was soaked through to the bone and squinting against the hail.

"I'm Avella Archer leader of Willow Ridge," she spoke loudly to be heard through the din of the storm, "What can I do for you?"
Played by Jacqueline who has 20 posts.
Inactive No Rank
Merrick
A pale figure emerged from the darkness beyond the drooping willow trees, their fur in a comparable state to his own; slick wet against their smaller feminine frame.

Merrick composed himself as the pack wolf introduced herself, settling his rear against the wet slush-covered ground and pushing his chest out in an attempt to appear less pathetic and bedraggled. His dark ears pricked at the mention of her name and high-ranking title, pleasantly surprised to be greeted by the royal lady herself.

"What can I do for you?"

He flashed her a sheepish smile through the curtain of hail. "I came here seeking shelter from the storm." Merrick explained. "Would you permit me a night to rest and dry off?" He asked, his chest slowly falling as his shoulders raised to hunch against the bitter chill of the storm.
(This post was last modified: Mar 28, 2022, 02:52 PM by Merrick.)
Played by Kai who has 345 posts.
Inactive No Rank
Avella Archer
Avella would have shook out her coat upon arriving in front of the man at her border though she didn't see the point. At the rate the rain was falling she would have been weighed down by the water in only a few moments. She looked him over as she waited for his reply to her question.

He sat down in front of her which she didn't begrudge considering the weather. She may have been more critical had the situation been different. She soon found out that what he wanted was shelter through the storm. It was a good thing for this man that Avella wasn't heartless.

"You may have shelter within my pack. However I have two rules. The first, you must stay with me at all times." She would not have him sneaking off to steal the food that her wolves had worked so hard to collect. "The second, should you choose to stay after the storm we'll need to have a conversation." It was as simple as that in her opinion. "Can you follow these rules?"
Played by Jacqueline who has 20 posts.
Inactive No Rank
Merrick
Merrick's frown softened and his dark amber eyes widened in delight when Avella agreed to provide him shelter for the night. Impatiently, he rose up to stand and moved to approach the female, his salmon-pink tongue sweeping across his charcoal lips as he anticipated settling down in a warm den and out of the storm that was currently pelting them both with hailstones.

However, his ears pricked up and he halted momentarily as the leader went on to state the conditions of his stay. The large male canted his chin down to one side as he hovered outside the boundaries of her home, interested to hear what rules the smaller female planned to present him with before she would permit him to step another paw forwards.

Avella's rules were simple, though Merrick could tell from the flatness of her voice that they were rules to be taken seriously by him, as it seemed that they would be strictly enforced and he would be given no space for wriggle room. At least, not whilst he was under the watchful gaze of the leader herself. The large male's tail swayed as he mentally digested her terms.

"Can you follow these rules?"

"I can." Merrick answered, without a moment's hesitation, a satisfied smile pulling at the corners of his lips as he once again stepped forwards to approach Avella — a rumble of thunder echoed loudly overhead then, followed shortly after by a flash of lightning. Merrick flinched, his amber eyes darting up to watch the lightning fizzle out against the brooding blue sky.

"Please, lead the way." He encouraged, his voice revealing his growing agitation regarding the worsening storm, as he moved quickly now to nudge his muzzle against her thigh impatiently.
(This post was last modified: Mar 28, 2022, 02:53 PM by Merrick.)
Played by Kai who has 345 posts.
Inactive No Rank
Avella Archer
Avella wasn't afraid to bring this man in from the storm. Should he try to pull anything she had wolves to back her up. For that reason she was more than happy to allow him shelter. Though should he turn out to be a good man she wouldn't mind giving him a home. She didn't get her hopes up just in case since she hated being disappointed. Her gaze glanced up at the sky as the hail continued to fall. They needed to get inside before they recieved any real injuries.

That was where her rules came in. She had rules for nearly ever situation because she didn't want something to go wrong that was merely and oversight on her part. They were simple rules in her opinion that any wolf should they choose could follow them without problems. She was an Archer so therefore she had a reputation to uphold as well. So she'd presented them to the man and waited for his response. Though if he couldn't follow her rules she wouldn't have any trouble turning him away.

The rain continued to fall upon them. By the time they'd reached that point in the conversation she was so soaked through it didn't even matter how wet she was. It was the constant bombarding by the hail that was the biggest annoyance. Thankfully it didn't take the man long to speak again.

This time it was a confirmation that he could indeed follow the rules. This pleased the leader very much mostly because she didn't want to have to turn him away. Before she could say another word there was a loud clap of thunder that would have drowned out her voice. It was followed by a bright flash of lightening that she could see in the man's eyes.

Once it had ended the man spoke telling her to lead the way and a moment later she felt his nose against her thigh. "Let's go," she stated firmly before taking off at a run toward the den. Not that it mattered much how fast they ran. They were soaked through to the bone. Once they reached the shelter and safety of the den she would speak to him further about food.
Played by Jacqueline who has 20 posts.
Inactive No Rank
Merrick
"Let's go."

Merrick needed no further confirmation.

A second after Avella ran off, presumably heading towards the sanctuary of the pack den, the large male moved to chase after her. He caught up with her quickly, following her pungent scent trail and the sound of her heavy footfall against the wet snow which was now melting beneath the heavy rainfall. Whilst the gathering willow trees provided some shelter from the thunderstorm, their wispy branches proved dangerous as they whipped at his soaked body in the wind.

He quickly learnt to move beneath the base of the trees, close to the trunks, rather than risk another painful sting to the face as the willow branches swayed violently from one direction to another. Merrick travelled closely behind the leader, make sure to keep up as he navigated his way through her territory, his head held low out of respect whilst his dark amber eyes scanned the shadowy forest around him for signs of additional company lurking nearby.
(This post was last modified: Mar 28, 2022, 03:03 PM by Merrick.)
Played by Kai who has 345 posts.
Inactive No Rank
Avella Archer
Avella was glad that their conversation at the border was over. Now they were heading through the willows toward the communal den. Avella wasn't worried about the low hanging branches. She'd been doing this since she was a pup, it was almost second nature to dodge them as they swayed in the wind. She glanced over her shoulder a few times to ensure their visitor was still with her.

The alpha was also glad that she knew exactly where the communal den was. In the darkness it was almost impossible to see but Avella knee she was coming closer. Then the tell tale signs that they had found it reached her. The rain washed many of the scents away but she could smell the rest of the pack inside. Then the dark void where the entrance was came into view. She didn't stop until she was in the shelter of the den.

Shaking her coat out she waited for their visitor to come in behind her. Once he had she spoke to him. "There is some food there," she indicated a rabbit laid out just to the right of them. "You are welcome to it. No need to worry about the others you will be safe as long as your with me."
Played by Jacqueline who has 20 posts.
Inactive No Rank
Merrick
The scent of other wolves began to tickle his nostrils, which caused his black nose to wrinkle in anticipation, as they approached the den. Picking up his pace to move alongside Avella, he shifted to peer over her shoulder as he attempted to get a glimpse of his accomodation for the night. A deep, dark void appeared beneath a fallen willow tree, its presence suddenly illuminated by a flash of lightning.

Merrick halted, giving his female host a chance to enter the den and escape the bad weather, whilst he took a moment to blink and readjust his vision do the dark. The large male graciously attempted to shake out his coat before crawling into the dry den hollow, though his pelt was still soaked through and dripping as he squeezed in behind Avella.

The rabbit almost went unnoticed by Merrick as he sniffed at the concave dirt walls of the pack den, trying to take in the scents of all the individuals who inhabited it. The male glanced across to the meal being offered to him, his mouth instantly beginning to salivate at the prospect of an easy meal. He leaned towards to nudge the dead creature with his nose, before glancing back to his generous host, a smile pulling at the corners of his lips as he swept his tongue across them.

He wondered if this was how Avella treated all the loners that called at her borders, or if perhaps, he was somehow special.

He paused for a moment, his dark orange eyes studying Avella for a moment as he sought to gauge her intentions.

"Is there somewhere more private I could take it? A separate den chamber perhaps?" He asked, glancing around behind her for a second, before explaining. "I'd appreciate a moment to clean and dry off before I eat." He waited with bated breath, unsure of how far her patience and hospitality would extend. A charming smile still lingered on his charcoal lips as he let a cold shiver ripple through his hunched frame. Still covered in mud and soaked to the skin, he looked a sorry state.
(This post was last modified: Mar 29, 2022, 10:29 AM by Merrick.)
Played by Kai who has 345 posts.
Inactive No Rank
Avella Archer
The man kept up with her as they made their way through the willows. He was right behind her as she entered the den. The masked woman was Thankful of the scents of her pack as they entered. Whether or not they could be seen in the darkness didn't matter. It was a clear sign that there were others close by should she need them. They were wolves she trusted would come to her aid should this stranger decide to try anything.

The rabbit she'd offered the man had been left there earlier in the day in preparation for the storm. She'd never imagined it would be as bad as it was. She didn't mind allowing the man to have it since she knew food was hard to come by this time of year. Avella sat back on her haunches as she spoke of the rabbit and the Man's safety within the pack. She was certain that he would be under her protection.

Her gaze narrowed slightly as he asked for privacy. She shook her head, "This den doesn't have extra chambers," she told, "As a visitor in this pack I'm afraid to inform you that there is no such luxury as privacy." Avella wasn't stupid, she had not known the man long enough to just be handing out her trust. "You can clean up and eat here. You won't be bothered. I hope it won't be a problem?" She asked with raised brow.

She wished she could offer him the privacy that he asked for but not knowing him made that difficult. The storm didn't help matters. So unfortunately it was this or nothing. Part of her did hope that it wasn't just for the night, her pack needed numbers and despite his bedraggled appearance he looked strong and healthy. He'd make a good addition to the pack. She would play this by ear and see how it went.