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Dance with me — Dead Empress Backwater 
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Played by WildFlower who has 127 posts.
Inactive V. Subordinate
Sage Hervok
some fairy tales are more than true
Sage is bringing Ollie a fossil for the site's Holiday RE

The sun's position in the sky was dropping slowly as she meandered alongside the river. The nightmares had proven persistent, and it felt like the snow fell in mockery. She didn't want to allow her fears to overrun her. She loved the water, fishing, finding muscles, and swimming. Green eyes looked longingly over the icy surface. How her heart ached for the warmer months to return and melt it. A warm smile crossed her lips as she recalled Jacy's excitement. She chuckled to herself, then sighed. She missed the warmth on her back and the cool water against her skin.

The wolf felt something gently knock into her paw, looking down at the snow curiously. She nudged it out from the snow-covered pebbles and observed the strange rock. It had delicate swirls and lines etched into the surface. Pretty. She reached down to gently clutch it between her teeth. It'd been a little while since she'd visited Ollie's actual den. They crossed paths a lot, but she hadn't visited his cozy spot in some time. The girl shifted on her paws, turning to depart from the water's edge.

The sky was shifting colors by the time the old tree came into view, dark shades of blue painting the sky. She paused to take a moment to watch the snowflakes drift from the sky. One in particular landed on her warm nose and melted away. She sneezed, flickering an ear in annoyance. As much as she wanted to find winter pretty, she struggled to see the beauty behind all the disadvantages. She shivered as a cold breeze ruffled through her thick pelt.

Sage could smell him before she could see him, rounding around the hollowed-out tree. Bits of moss stuck out between the snow on windy roots that sprawled out over the ground. She greeted him with a soft bark, holding the odd rock between her incisors and reaching towards him in hopes he'd take it.

"She speaks" She walks She thinks

Played by Greyer who has 134 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater V. Medic
Oleander Valle
The arrival of twilight signaled the end of another day. For Oleander, it meant that it was time to settle down. He had done some scouting earlier in the afternoon and, once at home, he began sprucing up his hideaway. Newer, more crinkly empress leaves freshened up his bed. A few good pats on the snow just outside helped semi-redirect the winter breeze from coming in. Lastly, a bit of cleaning in the clearing felt nice in general. Fallen twigs gathered one by one piled up against a nearby tree. Little stones clicked as they rolled into one another and away from the dug-up den. It wasn't often someone came by, but if anyone ever needed to find him, at least a path was clear.

The Valle gave a great stretch and yawn before curling up with a small huff. His lids had been closed for a time when Sage came by, but he had not been asleep. He listened as her footsteps drew nearer and nearer.

A soft bark made his relaxed ears perk up and before he knew it, she was there with an offering. His leathery nose twitched as he blinked up at her. Their eyes met. His voice was quiet, two words almost clinging to his tongue, "For me?"
they say pray it away, i swear,
OLEANDER VALLE
that I'll never be a saint, no way
Played by WildFlower who has 127 posts.
Inactive V. Subordinate
Sage Hervok
some fairy tales are more than true

There he was, curled up in his home, and she couldn't be happier to see her friend. Although, she wasn't sure if friend was the right word for what was developing between them. Their eyes met and she could feel the familiar swirl in her belly as golden hues met emerald. His gentle voice reached her ears with two words she hadn't expected. Was he shocked? Sage nodded softly and leaned forward with the trinket, expecting him to take it from her. Whether he did or did not she gently let go of the fossil before stepping back to maintain a comfortable gap between the pair.

She found herself not wanting the space, oddly enough and recalled him gently touching his nose to hers. Sage was tempted to boop his snoot but instead settled down onto her belly. She kept her legs tucked in close to her body for warmth. Her head lowered to rest against the snowy ground as she watched him expectantly. Hoping he'd retrieve his gift. She wanted him to like it as much as she did, the swirls and etched lines were intriguing. "Isn't it pretty?" She asked in a hushed tone, clearly nervous. The idea of rejection bounced around the young she wolf's mind.

"She speaks" She walks She thinks

[Image: SWS_MostLikelytoGetTogether_tri.png] Dead Empress Backwater [Image: SWS_MostEndearingMoment_tri.png]

Played by Greyer who has 134 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater V. Medic
Oleander Valle
Her nod answered his question. He could only watch as she set it down and then back out of his personal space. He hoped his silence didn't come off as offense or ingratitude. All he could manage was a wag of his tail in the form of a twitch that rustled the leaves beneath him. He smiled, taking a moment to investigate the stone she had brought. As a collector of all sorts of odd things as a pup, he fancied himself a rather decent raven.

"Isn't it pretty?"

Oleander's eyes began to trace the shape of the stone in the evening's last light. He found the bits of blue that marbled with the regular grays and whites of a normal river rock. For a second, he was even lost to the swirls and lines that seemed to form what seemed like a certain shape. His head tipped to one side, a smile growing more clear on his face.

"Not as pretty as the one who gifted it," his eyes lingering on the fossil's outline for a moment before beaming at her. "But, still..." He shifted to face her head-on, echoing her, "pretty." His ears burned, the tips growing hot as he looked her over. The snow had not let up since the storm it seemed like, but at the very least it made the world outside seem more ethereal. Here and there, snowflakes drifted down to the forest floor, landing on either side of her. "Thank you," he hummed, fighting hard to keep his composure. "No one's ever... given me a gift before." A pause to acknowledge the sudden realization. He looked at her, hoping she would have an answer, "Um, what can I find you in return?"
they say pray it away, i swear,
OLEANDER VALLE
that I'll never be a saint, no way
Played by WildFlower who has 127 posts.
Inactive V. Subordinate
Sage Hervok
some fairy tales are more than true

Sage watched him inspect the gift, studying the movement of his eyes as he traced the lines. The smile that grew on his face fueled the butterflies in her stomach. Oleander was so handsome when he scarcely smiled like that. Her heart would skip a beat when he brightened up around her. She liked this side of him, and it felt nice that he was comfortable around her. That he wanted to be himself around her. "Where else would I be?" She thought back on the words fondly.

Then he spoke, completely catching her off guard, and Sage sat up at the unexpected compliment. She stared at him blankly. He'd been so straightforward that she wondered if things had gone too far. If this would interfere with her goals in the pack, and whether or not they should be spending so much time together. It stung her heart a little, the thought of pulling away from him emotionally, but she questioned if it was best. She had big plans, and he knew some of her ambitions. The she-wolf was hesitating. Her cheeks were hot from the new feeling he'd given her the first time they'd met. One he'd often given her during their interactions. Was it love, like her mom had talked about? Or was it what led to love? Sage wondered if the warm fuzzy feeling that filled her head to toe was a dangerous one.

She was infatuated with the male, and her desires were torn at the moment, but regardless of such she eased back down into the snow. "Your eyes, they remind me of my favorite flower." That was as much flirtation the girl could offer him as she bashfully looked away. "You're Welcome Ollie."

Her eyes found his own, and a look of endearment swirled within her emerald hues. She was the first to give him a gift, for some reason, that felt special."I uh...I uh." She hadn't expected something in turn. Her still-warm cheeks flushed once more, her head tilting as she pondered what to request.

"Spend time with me." Her voice was a shy whisper as it left her dark lips, paws shuffling nervously.

"She speaks" She walks She thinks

[Image: SWS_MostLikelytoGetTogether_tri.png] Dead Empress Backwater [Image: SWS_MostEndearingMoment_tri.png]

Played by Greyer who has 134 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater V. Medic
Oleander Valle
She faltered, "I uh...I uh."

Inwardly, Oleander braced himself. He knew the bond between them was fragile, new, delicate... like tiptoeing on fresh autumn leaves and trying not to make a sound. He only wanted to tell it like is, to be so transparent and honest with her. To tell her otherwise, to him, was downright superficial. And, he was like that with near-everyone... But, with Sage... oh, for reasons unknown or beyond him, he wanted to share everything in his world with her.

"Spend time with me."

Her words were a mere murmur, but as tuned in to her as he was, he heard every word loud and clear. Sitting upright, she altered her stance. He slowly pushed himself up with his forelimbs to sit, hunched beneath the threshold of his den. First, he looked to the dark skies above. Then, with care, he nudged the fossil out of sight. Up against the tangled wall of roots, it made itself at home in a small nook. Covered up with a large empress leaf, the treasure was out of sight, known only to the two wolves here and now.

"Consider it done," he grinned, standing at last and coming out into the open. "Are ya busy this evening?" His tone curled in curiosity, everything about his body language purveying openness. He was up for anything, even if she had only come for a visit and preferred a later 'date.'
they say pray it away, i swear,
OLEANDER VALLE
that I'll never be a saint, no way
Played by WildFlower who has 127 posts.
Inactive V. Subordinate
Sage Hervok
some fairy tales are more than true

Sage quietly watched as he tucked away his new treasure, waiting for his answer. She wondered for a moment if he was going to reject her request, admit he was busy with being a medic or some other important task, and tell her another time would be best. Then he spoke and her tail thumped against the snow in response. Smiling she stood up, ready to go wherever he so wished for them to go. "I have time for you." Always she yearned to add, but it was simply untrue. While she wanted to spend every waking moment beside the male, she had duties. Some of which she so passionately loved, that saying she'd always have time for him would be a lie in and of itself because she enjoyed her work.

Sage bravely closed the distance between the two of them to gently touch her nose to his. Thus sending a fresh heat through her face, that if she had been a human, a bright blush would've been upon her toasty cheeks. I like you she thought while peering into his golden hues. The complicated mix of emotions jostled within her heart, her mind battling against right and wrong. Where was the line drawn and what were they becoming?

The young wolf took two steps backward, looking up at the taller male expectantly. She wanted to forget formalities right now and just revel in his company. She also wanted him to lead in whatever activity they partook in, a concept that humored her. She knew she needed to talk to him about taking his rank. Maybe it could wait just a little longer?

"She speaks" She walks She thinks

[Image: SWS_MostLikelytoGetTogether_tri.png] Dead Empress Backwater [Image: SWS_MostEndearingMoment_tri.png]

Played by Greyer who has 134 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater V. Medic
Oleander Valle
Sage moved away by two steps and Oleander moved forward two steps. She had initiated a dance and he was all too willing to be the frame to her artwork. Formalities aside, he gave a light chuckle, "Good." Then he was off, bounding into the forest on four springy limbs. "Come on then!" he called to her from behind a tree.

Out to the river, he raced over the underbrush and between the twisted tree trunks. He ran only fast enough to keep her at his flank if not somewhere right behind him. If it was quality time she wanted, he already had an idea where to take her.

The stretch of riverbank along Heartleaf Creek he traced was familiar underfoot. While he could have continued on this path, he decided to cross one of the wrist-deep weirs. He cast a glance over his shoulder at her, still smiling and waving his tail happily in the air like a banner. They were drawing close and he wondered now if she had an inkling of where he was leading them. "I hope you're ready," he grinned. A slight tip of his head to one side to catch the expression on her face then he was off again at a slow trot.

He continued along the opposite side of the Creek, turning north when it split into two waterways. Every so often, he scanned the surface of the water, checking where the winter frost had turned it to ice. His eyes drew into a squint before blinking normally again. As they came up to what seemed to be an ordinary channel, he stopped and sat down. He waited until she was closer to ask, "Ever been this way before?"
they say pray it away, i swear,
OLEANDER VALLE
that I'll never be a saint, no way
Played by WildFlower who has 127 posts.
Inactive V. Subordinate
Sage Hervok
some fairy tales are more than true

He took back the space she had given, closing the distance so that their fur barely touched. She kept looking up at him, her tail wagging, and a sense of thrill starting to ignite. She could feel the game coming on before it even started. With a single word he initiated the start, and she was quick to give chase. A fit of giggles cut loose from her maw as he called out from behind a tree. She watched him frolic around the trees, eyes darting to follow his every movement. The pair raced through the Backwater territory like a pair of lovestruck teenagers. Her smile never faded; laughter on the tip of her tongue.

Sage only hesitated when Ollie crossed the dam, stopping to inspect the water, and glancing at him nervously. He just so happened to glance back, instilling confidence in her, and ultimately her trust in the male won her over. She briskly crossed to catch up to him. Her brows knitted together into a quizzical look, one that was light-hearted and playful. "Ready for what?" She asked with a chuckle, paws racing to keep up with his long strides.

She did her best to stay on his flank, watching the creek as it split, her curiosity only growing the further they traveled. It seemed they were here, though, as he slowed down. She peered out at the unsuspecting water, the channel seemed like nothing peculiar. She looked at him in confusion, but he was asking a question before she could, "I don't think I have." Sage wasn't too sure. Maybe? She glanced back out to the creek and shook her head, it didn't seem familiar. The woman drew close and sat with just enough of a gap their fur didn't touch.

"She speaks" She walks She thinks

[Image: SWS_MostLikelytoGetTogether_tri.png] Dead Empress Backwater [Image: SWS_MostEndearingMoment_tri.png]

Played by Greyer who has 134 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater V. Medic
Oleander Valle
The anticipation began to build. It was like static in the air that teased at his guard hairs and whiskers. He observed as she scanned their immediate surroundings. It was easy to get lost on any part of the Creek; but, it took a master Scout or navigator to keep one's bearings. Oleander was honestly neither, but he understood the way of the river like the pads of his forepaws... and, he always tried to take paths that would lead him back to pack territory in the evenings.

She inched closer. Heat seemed to radiate from him, he could feel it in waves. His ears drew skyward. Anytime now... Surely they weren't too late. They couldn't be. Twilight had only just begun to wane, edging away for the arrival of nightfall. He swallowed, thinking maybe it was too much of a gamble to have come here. But then...

Bloop.

In the middle of the partial eddy where the river began to angle south, a ripple began to grow then ebbed away.

Bloop. Bloop. Bloop.

A splash. A plop of a large droplet. Even more ripples.

Oleander's tail began to wag, looking at Sage in unmistakable glee. Like a pup experiencing his first snow. "Catfish," he whispered, lifting his whiskered brows. How much Sage enjoyed fishing, Oleander was {still} oblivious to it. Beyond them, the resident "channel cats" had begun to feed. Their occasional splashing and air-gulping sounded like music against the river current. Nocturnal by nature, it fascinated him. While he had a feeling she might want to investigate the phenomenon, he wondered if she too might find it captivating. He likened it to rainfall, something simple and soothing. It was the sound of home.
they say pray it away, i swear,
OLEANDER VALLE
that I'll never be a saint, no way