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Sanctuary

rank:

gender: Female

age: 1

posts: 153

Essie

Stardust: 955✪
#1

Aurelia Rose



Aurelia didn't know why she had strayed so far from the forest alone and she felt so stupid for doing it. She had been feeling restless, but that was no excuse for her foolishness and now, she was in trouble with no one to help her and no one knowing where she had gone. It had started to rain about an hour ago. That was when she should have turned back. The more it rained, the more things got upturned and the more scents became harder to detect. All she could smell was rain and mud. Grumbling to herself, she kept walking, finding that she had gotten turned around and was unsure of just... where she was walking to.

If she could just find a tree or literally anything to sit under so that she could wait until the rain died down it would be perfect. But it seemed like the plains were devoid of anything suitable, so she was stuck walking around in the mud aimlessly. The rain began to pick up and she just grew more annoyed as she continued to walk. She thought she heard the sound of a river, and her ears twitched. Thinking there might be trees by the river, she headed that way. The closer she came to the river, the worse she felt. A sense of dread washed over her and she wasn't sure why. The rain kept up, but she could have sworn it sounded heavier... or at least, something did All she could hear was the sound of rushing water and before she knew it, she was up to her ankles.

"What the hell?" she said. Unknown to her, the river was swelling, and fast.

The small wolf backed up, but just as fast, the water kept coming. Soon, the water was sweeping at her legs and before she could turn and run, it sucked her in and she was being pulled down stream. "H-HELP!" she screamed, before she was pulled beneath the surface. Darkness was a constant in her world, but this... this was something entirely new. It was a whole new level of darkness, one where she was heavy and light all at once. She couldn't move, she couldn't breath. As she rounded a bend, she emerged and was slammed into the opposing bank and somehow she managed to get wedged between some clinging debris.

Dazed, she gulped air greedily and lifted her front paws and tried feebly to scrape her way out of the river, but she was stuck. The pile of logs creaked and groaned and she let out a miserable whimper.

"H-help... please... someone..." she wheezed pitifully.

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Loner

rank:

gender: Male

age: 5

posts: 30

post log:

Claerie

Stardust: 145✪
#2
sins and virtues...

The rain began an hour ago.

He stood upon a a hill, his paws poised upon yellowed grass and scrub. Earlier that morning, he had gone for a walk. Since meeting his brother in the gully by Earth’s Edge, Renner had elected to name that land “home” if only for now. Home, in truth, was wherever his family dwelled. Sinclair seemed content to stay put, more or less. Thea, Elias, and Calder were all that were left to find. As such, Renner had taken to ranging. While it would have behooved him to search the north, he had found himself down south, his paws tracing a path back to the pine forest.

Occasionally, the silvery yearling would weigh on his mind. At times he remembered their conversations and a fond smile would touch his lips. At others, he remembered her age and felt his stomach twist uncomfortably. Excuses would whisper into his ears and affirm that, yes, he cared for her only as he would his nieces and nephews. After all, she was of age with them or—lord help him—younger.

A lazy, golden eye trailed down toward the rivers. Where once they had been neat, blue ribbons, now they were swollen. The grassy banks of the plain appeared sodden even from his vantage point. It would not be long before they were submerged.

Rain pelted his back and the water’s surface.

Then, shrill and distant, he heard: “H-HELP!”

At once, his lazy gaze became alert. Dark ears perked and he stared down at the floodplains. His muscles quivered as he yearned to leap into the fray—but not yet. From his advantage, he had better sight and a much better chance of finding the wolf in question.

There.

Amidst the rushing waters, debris had been pulled into a dam of sorts. It was the first to have formed and Renner was willing to bet that if he had a chance of finding a wolf, it’d be on that. There was nothing else he could see amidst the onslaught and so this would have to serve as his best bet.

Ears folding against his skull, he bolted down the hill and sprinted along the water-logged plain. Every step squelched and at times he slipped. He was dripping with water, his fur slick against his skin, when at last he reached the mess of logs and foliage.

At first he couldn’t see her.

A mess of spindly branches and orange leaves shivered, dancing against the current. Then, as the debris creeked, he saw a silvery paw. It was stretched out, barely cresting the surface of the water. There, beside it, was an ebon’ nose that strained to stay above. Still the waters rose.

Unable to risk being caught within the current, Renner scrambled up onto the mess of logs. They bobbed beneath his weight and inwardly he cursed.

Straining, he tried to sink his face beneath the water and grab hold of the wolf beneath. His hold was strong, perhaps enough to just barely brake the skin—if he even caught her by the neck or scruff.

"..."
...drip like gold down my skin
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Sanctuary

rank:

gender: Female

age: 1

posts: 153

Essie

Stardust: 955✪
#3

Aurelia Rose



As she sunk beneath the surface, she felt herself growing weak. Too weak to fight anymore, too weak to even think of how foolish she had been to come here in the first place. Was this what it was like to die?

She thought about just letting go when she felt a sharp pain against the back of her neck and a hint of fear trilled through her veins. Her eyes opened and she felt herself floating upward as those jaws hoisted her from the depths of the river. Again, her lungs swallowed the air and she began to climb onto the debris with the help of her savior. The more she breathed, the more she began to come to. Dizzily, she looked around, not that it did her any good. "Thank you," she wheezed, her voice cracking as she tried to speak. It was too painful so she didn't say much else.

Now that she was out of the water, she began to crawl upon the logs uncertainly, she turned her muzzle towards the wolf beside her burying her snout into his soaked fur wherever she could. "R-Renner?" she gasped in surprised. She didn't know what else to do. She had no idea which way to do, she was too afraid to move in the wrong direction and be sent back into the river. Her body trembled against his and she felt so... ridiculous. If her throat didn't hurt so much, she would have apologize over and over for putting him in this situation.
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Loner

rank:

gender: Male

age: 5

posts: 30

post log:

Claerie

Stardust: 145✪
#4
sins and virtues...

Oh thank god.

Renner was no religious man but he had picked up a few spiritual phrases during his time traveling. In this moment however, when he managed to hoist the water-logged wolf up, he felt an overwhelming sense of relief. It flooded his veins, mixing with the adrenaline that coursed throughout his body. He strained whilst he pulled, dragged the wolf over twigs and broken branches. The man was not a delicate savior for he knew one thing in war: better to have lived than to have suffered no wounds in death. Renner was one wolf against a mighty storm, one that might shatter their tentative dam and leave them to drown in the current. He had no energy to waste being gentle. All he wanted was to keep the wolf alive, to bring them to shore.

When he had her there upon the ravaged logs, he dropped her. His jaw ached and riverwater polluted his tongue. His breaths came out in great gasps and, for a moment, he reeled. Pain lanced through his shoulder and neck but, at least, the wolf was safe.

Through sheets of rain, he peered at the woman.

He had been unable to recognize her at first due to the way her fur clung to her small body, but now he realized just who he’d plucked from the river’s belly.

She crawled toward him, shivering and shaking despite the rain, burying her snout into his chest.

He had wanted to say something before but he had been so shocked, and his heavy panting had stolen away his words. Aurelia, however, croaked out his name. Then she began to tremble, be it from the cold or tears. In truth, he could not tell.

“Shhhh, it’s okay.” Renner wrapped her in a hug, holding her close so that the rain might not drench her further. His chin pressed against the back of her neck and pulled her in. A paw braced against her spine as well as he hoped to drown her fear in the security of his presence. “I imagine these are the floodplains you warned me about.” His voice was soft and soothing. He’d allow her to rest for a few more moments but, in truth, his gaze was fixed on the swollen river. Renner had hoped that they could make it to the shore before the whole of the water flooded the reeds and fronds of the plain. Such was a fever dream, for murky water extended to the distant hills. Still… it might not be too deep yet.

"..."
...drip like gold down my skin
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Sanctuary

rank:

gender: Female

age: 1

posts: 153

Essie

Stardust: 955✪
#5

Aurelia Rose



He wrapped her in what little warmth he had to offer, whispering words of comfort in her ear as he tried to protect her from the pelting rain and raging river. She curled against him, feeling both grateful and saddened by his presence. She had tried so hard not to look weak in front of him and now that was ruined by her carelessness. Why did she even care?

"Y-Yes..." she murmured, her silver eyes gazing out upon the flooded plains miserably. She didn't need to see them to imagine what they looked like.

She'd lived it.

The young woman tilted her chin up, gaze apologetic. "I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have come... it wasn't raining... then..." It just started and it didn't stop...

"W-We have to move," she said, trying her best to gather herself. Aurelia stood up, but her legs were still weak and shaking from trying to hold herself above the current. She turned, unsure of their location, and so she had to rely on Renner. Frustration welled in her chest as she realized she could do nothing to help them out of this situation.

The debris they'd been standing on bucked lightly beneath her paws and she wobbled, her ears folding fearfully. She took a tentative step, but stopped, not wanting to move further without him. They needed to get to land, now.

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Loner

rank:

gender: Male

age: 5

posts: 30

post log:

Claerie

Stardust: 145✪
#6
sins and virtues...

Her stress was palpable.

It rolled off of her in waves whilst she shivered, quaking from every chilled muscle. She tried to apologize, her words tangling as fear and guilt and regret consumed her. Renner, however, did not need an apology for this. Aurelia had been in danger. It didn’t matter how or why she had ended up in the floodplains—at least, not until later. Right now, all the man wanted to do was get the maiden to safety. They were not out of the fire. In fact, they were far from it.

Whether it was the bobbing debris or a moment’s clarity, Aurelia soon voiced the words that had been bouncing around his skull: We have to move.

She drew away from him, brave despite all that she had already gone through. Renner had expected her to cling to him but, in truth, he was pleasantly surprised to see her take a step into the unknown. She was not half as helpless as she seemed to believe she was.

Drawing up alongside her, Renner spoke as calmy and carefully as he could. He was loud against the backdrop of pounding rain, but anything quieter would cause her to lose him.

“Three steps forward. Move with me.” Shoulder to shoulder, Renner eased forward. The logs bucked and bounced beneath them as the current began to rush more swiftly. His ears folded against his skull and his heart lept inside his throat. Still, he forced an illusion of serenity.

The submerged bank was before them. They would need only to step down into the water (which was now at shoulder level). It would only continue to rise and he did not trust in their bridge to hold.

“I’m going to grab onto your tail. You’re going to step down into the water. Tell me when you feel stable, it will be high on you. If the current grabs you, yelp. Otherwise, I will release your tail and follow you.”

Normally he would have forged the path but he didn’t trust leaving her up here on the logs. He also didn’t want her to get swept away if the current had diverged onto the bank. This was the best he could offer.


"..."
...drip like gold down my skin
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Sanctuary

rank:

gender: Female

age: 1

posts: 153

Essie

Stardust: 955✪
#7

Aurelia Rose



Aurelia felt him beside her and her bravery was renewed; she wasn't alone. Her heart pounded in her chest as the roar around them tried to suffocate his words. She moved with him, somehow managing to make her way across the debris with little failure. She could feel the turmoil inside him, but he played calm for her sake. Her ears tilted, straining to catch his words as he directed her. The thought of moving without him, back into the water, frightened her. Hesitation clenched her body. But... she trusted him, and so she did as she was told.

Why fish her from the river, just to throw her back in?

The silver woman slipped into the water, it quickly rose up to her chest and she tilted her chin back as she drew in a panicked breath. Just as she was about to panic, she felt her toes grasp muddy earth. She could feel his grasp on her, and the pull of the current was strong, but she had to be stronger or they both might not make it out of this alive. "I-I can touch here," she called out shakily.

She wondered where they were going. A hill? The forest? Could he see the trees in the distance, or a place they might be safe to wait out the rain?

As soon as he let go, she would move forward until he told her otherwise.
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Loner

rank:

gender: Male

age: 5

posts: 30

post log:

Claerie

Stardust: 145✪
#8
sins and virtues...

As the girl slid forward, he squinted his eyes and hovered his muzzle along the contour of her side. Amidst the onslaught of rain and the bobbing of the debris, he did not wish to lose her. Later, he would recall the sodden brush of her hip against his chin and feel vast remorse. For the moment, at least, adrenaline numbed his sense of decorum. With jaws tense, he opened his maw to take the tip of her tail in his mouth. The idea, while hypothetically useful, was not so ideal in practice. The she-wolf stepped into the murky water, flinching just before she stood still. Water welled around her chest and hips whilst Renner released the tail he had felt too silly to grab. She had not needed the lifeline, and he feared that if he snagged her tail, worse things could happen. The idea that he could pull her up to the logs by her butt had been a fever dream to begin with.

Dropping down into the water alongside her, Renner pressed his shoulder into hers.

“Just keep moving forward. I’ll tell you if anything is in our way.”



Beyond a few drifting bushes and stray branches, their treck back to the hills was largely uneventful. Once or twice, he or Aurelia would get a paw tangled in the murk. After a few minutes of struggling, they would be free to carry on. The water level had began to rise steadily, such that Renner had resorted to swimming. He could have attempted to treck forward on his tippy-toes, but the action was both uneffective and undignified.

When the water dropped off to his shoulders, belly, and then heels, he knew the hills were near. The rain had not relented, but at least there was cover near the trees.

Covered in mud and smelling of riverwater, Renner pulled himself up onto sodden ground. Turning, he helped Aurelia find her way.

He was panting. The effort of wading through water for several miles had drained him. Still, their work was not done.



Renner flopped against a tree. The pines were more sparse here but at least there was some semblance of comfort. His eyes closed as he focused on breathing.


"..."
...drip like gold down my skin
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Sanctuary

rank:

gender: Female

age: 1

posts: 153

Essie

Stardust: 955✪
#9

Aurelia Rose



As soon as he let go, she felt him take up beside her and together they moved through the water. She was so grateful he was there because if he hadn't found her she didn't even want to think of what might have happened. The very thought of it was enough to send a chill down her spine.

The trek was so long and arduous she was beginning to think they might never get out of the water. Her legs were aching just as bad as her lungs, but she had to keep going. Eventually the water began to sink as they started climbing a hill and Aurelia let out a short laugh of happiness as she slipped from the murky water entirely. Finally!

She heard something collapse and assumed it was Renner and she moved towards the sound, though the rain had not stopped, she could not feel it's heaviness against her back so she assumed they had either found some coverage in the plains or he had managed to lead her back towards the pines. She thought that perhaps she could smell their sharp scent through all the murk and grime. She pushed her muzzle against Renner's side, feeling his chest rise and fall and a sigh escaped her as she dropped down beside him. He was alive. Relief washed over her and she lifted her head, appearing to look around but really she was just trying to catch the scents in the air. Now that she was slowly relaxing, she could smell rain, mud, pines, Renner... her breathing continued to slow down.

Aurelia crawled closer as she began to shiver from the cold. She nestled against his belly and hoped he wouldn't mind. "Thank you," she said, her voice still a bit hoarse from inhaling water earlier.

She lowered her muzzle to his chin and nudged him. "Are you ok?" she asked.
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Loner

rank:

gender: Male

age: 5

posts: 30

post log:

Claerie

Stardust: 145✪
#10
sins and virtues...

A stray wind blew by, its touch icy cold despite the summer sun. Or, at least, it would be if the sun had not hidden itself away and forsaken them with rain. Droplets drummed against the pine nettles, its rhythm more gentle than it had been an hour before. Renner might have felt a spark of joy if not for the dull pound of a headache within his head. The stress of getting Aurelia to safety had weighed on him and, admittedly, he was not a young man anymore. He had herded the maiden threw murk and mud, and now he felt sleep leadening his limps. Absently, he felt a soft touch along his side. Renner hummed softly in answer, eyes cracking open to take in Aurelia’s face. It was one last assurance that she was well before the pull of exhaustion became too great.

He had a vague awareness of Aurelia cuddling closer, and his ear did twitch when she thanked him. Her sodden side melded with his own and, at first, a chill wound down his spine. Steadily, however, some meager warmth began to pass between them.

“Are you okay?”

Renner’s muzzle wrinkled as she nudged him. “Just tired,” he breathed whilst he patted her shoulder lazily with a paw.



He must have fallen asleep.

The clouds had been chased away and the sun burned brightly in the sky. Dappled light danced upon ebon’ and gray fur. Motes of dust glittered like gold and, for a moment, the man felt at ease. His body ached when he breathed but his headache had faded away. Sweet was the scent of the forest as it wafted along the breeze. Nearby, a bumblebee bzzzzed. Crickets chirped and dew adorned him in small jewels.

He lifted his head and paused.

Slowly, his gaze trailed down.

Swiftly, his body freezed. His heart lept into his throat as he saw the girl there at his belly, her eyes closed and her breathing peaceful.

It was almost like a dream—but one that made him feel tremendously guilty.

"..."
...drip like gold down my skin
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