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The Pack is Restless
#1
National Geographic wanted to send a whole entorage with her and Sierra declined repeatedly.  "I don't need all of you trapsing behind me.  Stay here I'll call if I need you to pick me up."  She had a satelite phone with GPS for that very reason.  Their expense!

So by the time Sierra was alone in the pack lands she could feel the peace of the woods.  The world was right.  There were no two-legs around for miles and miles.  It was bliss.

Never pounced around Sierra's feet, his exuberance was infections.  She sent a image that said she was coming as fast as her legs could carry her, and he returned it with the equivalent of an eye roll.  Kids of any species were always the same.  But it made Sierra happy to have a companion with her.  Out of sight of two-leggers Sierra had taken out her contacts and she felt free - more her self than ever before.  There was something about the lands where wolves roamed free that made her happy.

She reached out into the winds looking for pack.  Images of safe, and home and may I come to you?  Her pack was far away, but she reached out to the locals.  It was custom, but what she found was restlessness.  She sent an image of her and her pup, looking for pack, needing pack.  But more importantly wanting pack.  The images came back the same, strange things afoot.  Wariness.  

Sierra sent out the offer to help.  Which was accepted, with a bit of caution.  But the wolf divulged their location and Sierra told them she'd be there soon.  They'd be there.  But it was a distance yet.  

Sierra slung her deer skin pack over her shoulder and insured her camera was safely around her neck before setting off in the direction of pack.  And now the fun begins she thought to Never who only happily agreed.
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#2
Never was so excited to meet other wolves. Almost more excited than being in the big city. His getting hit by a car had hampered that enthusiasm but he was doing better now. And he could 'hunt' again. And that was just as exciting.

The wolf pup was frantically introducing himself across the mental connections. He didn't care, if they were new or old, young or veteran, he was sending his introduction. An image of him pressing forward against a tree that was immovable. Sierra always thought it was funny, the other wolves thought he was impetuous and a bit over zealous, but he never gave up. The day his name was formed was also the day he passed out from exhaustion or his mother pushed him away making him give up. He kept fighting no matter what, and that was what got him through the difficult road he'd gone down - because of a cat.

They walked in the direction of the pack, but Never kept looking back. His sending was getting very directed like he was talking to another, but there shouldn't be a wolf behind them. Sierra sent Never an image asking him what was wrong. He sent a strange image - a baby, on two legs with golden eyes. She asked out loud more for her self, "Does the pup need our help?" Sierra sent the corresponding image of helping the pup and Never just started lopping in that direction - at least not in the direction that they'd been going. A human wolf pup needed training and at the very least to be told to hide from site - it was the least she could do. One day she'd know why Aaron died, but it wasn't going to be any time soon.

Sierra sent the pack now behind her a message - the image of her and Never coming back again. First they had to find the baby two legger. It was harder to convey the latter but the return message understood. Come when you can it said. But she felt the wariness of the pack. Something was different. Outsiders might not be welcome.

Her and Never went back towards civilization, Sierra with a long sigh. Hopefully the pup wasn't some long lived city slicker who would laugh at her and the nature of their new found friends.
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#3
Tristan found himself with nothing to do one morning. The weather was solid. He had no reason to stay within the boundaries of their little fjord-side town. He knew about the trail that led to a remote waterfall for some time, but the snows made the passes untraversable. Until now.

"Brenna, come girl," he called and moments later the pup bound to his legs, leaping wildly with anticipation. He raised a finger, his own presence calm and steady, and waited until she was likewise before slipping on her leash.

More trees filled the land than Tristan had ever seen in his life. The westfjords were a landscape barren of giant life, which was likely why the trolls took up their residence in such a remote location. Norway was different, though. The rugged cliffs and invasive fjords were familiar, though. More so, the land smelled like home. The isolation different: like he was never truly alone here after all.

Though he saw nobody for miles.

He released Brenna's collar soon after, letting her roam free. The pup bounded away, but a whistle usually summoned her back. He could smell the directions she wandered, as well. Tristan did not fear losing her.  

Meantime, he adjusted the pack on his shoulders, spared a drink, and quickly consulted the map. They were heading the right direction.
"Don’t waste your time looking back, you’re not going that way."
Rognar Lothbrok
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#4
Never leaped and pranced through the area. They didn't head back to the town directly. They changed direction almost continuously like the new pup was moving too.

Sierra asked Never Where are we going?

The pup gave a resounding I don't know. And kept following the thoughts of the young one who didn't talk back. It had to be fustrating. For both Never and whoever they were tracking.

But soon Sierra caught wind of the trail they had been following. They were finally truly following them instead of trying to catch up. Never kept sending random images out. Trying to strip up a conversation but nothing return except the wolves in the area who were still eager to figure out what had transpired. She sent images back to them that they'd speak in the dream. They could show them the sight then. And everyone could work on it - as a pack.

It sounded like a good idea but for now she had a human pup to find and help. She prayed whoever this was wasn't lost to the wolf already. Like her brother. It was a terrible life but to be free and run that would be the life. But it wasn't human, and it was hard on the bodies given to them. They weren't meant to live like wolves.

The sound of water could be heard up ahead. A waterfall, Sierra smiled.
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#5
The hiss of water cascading upon rock filled his ears some time prior to laying eyes on the waterfall. Many streams slithered the Iceland countryside, toppling haphazardly over jagged edges. It was no coincidence that he encountered Thorn Paw in the Runners’ Dream at the base of another beautiful feature.

He sat poolside, tossing stones into the pool while Brenna explored the rocky outcroppings. Although content with the experience, golden eyes were inevitably drawn to trees looming high overhead. The hulking monsters were scarce in Iceland, a dearth of scenery Tristan never noticed until now. Surprisingly, no sense of claustrophobia caged him down. Open skies hovered in Reykjavik, but cement and walls were more fearful chains.

He drew a deep breath while Brenna nosed at the ground. Dirt and water stirred in his nostrils. Then something faint swirled with the rest. Something familiar but distant, like his eyes couldn’t quite find a bee he knew to be buzzing nearby.

The sensation expanded more swiftly than his mind could process. He sat up, tensed upon the rock, and pushed the hood of his jacket down to his shoulders. Air brushed at the sides of his shaven scalp, but the chill did not bother him. Ice ran Tristan's veins; the cold would not bother him.

Meanwhile, shimmering eyes flared as they searched the ridges, knowing that something was coming, but not quite sure what it was.
"Don’t waste your time looking back, you’re not going that way."
Rognar Lothbrok
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#6
Never was excited. He was sending a massive amount of images, Sierra wasn't even sure if the pup he was trying to talk to was responding. But he was telling him 'we are coming'. And he didn't seem bothered by the fact that the pup wasn't answering.

The waterfall sound grew louder and soon it was in sight. They were surrounded by trees and down the path was a pool that probably was colder now in this Spring weather but warmer than the Moscovian winter would have made it. Still they were farther north, the air was chilly in the wind. Which there was little of at the moment.

Sierra watched as Never lopped down the path to the pond to dance around the feet of a man with golden eyes. A true pup indeed. Though there was no telling if he was a pup or just Never not knowing how to respond - he was a pup after all. Sierra was glad she'd removed the contacts before leaving. It gave common ground to start from.

Sierra waved from a distance. "Don't mind Never, he is really excited to meet another of our kind." Did he even know what he was? Never was sending images introducing himself, and her, he was so excited that the image of the wolf trying to push over a tree stump flew by before the image of Sierra with the camera in front of her turned into a long eye. It was a silly image, but that was how they saw her. It was amusing to say the least.
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#7
An explosion of senses flooded his awareness a heartbeat prior to a great leap of a wolf bounding into view. The animal was nothing like Thorn Paw, least of which was its size. Ears were prickled forward, its mouth panting with ferocious excitement, a tongue lagging from sharp teeth. For a moment, Tristan braced as though two massive paws might perch themselves on his chest and collapse him backward.  Instead, the buzz of excitement swarmed like the beehive was kicked.

Strangely, a scent of welcome swarmed his mind, followed by images of enormous eyeballs and tree stumps.
"Whoa, whoa," he put up his hands as though to halt the massive amount of energy hurling his direction. Through his veins flowed the blood of Trolls. Monstrous even by wolf-standards, despite the act of betrayal of his own kind demonstrating his truer nature.

Nuggets of his eyes hardened so that his own calm may absorb the wolf's energy like a sponge. Finally, his fingers nestled in downy fur and he was surprised to find the wolf smaller than he first assessed. Not grown. A teenager, likely.

A woman's voice pulled his gaze away. Never was a strange name, he thought, but the imagery threatened to spill again so he banished further distractions for the moment.

The girl was small, but not in the way of a teenager like the wolf of her preferred company. She was dressed for the outdoors. Most surprisingly (other than journeying in the company of a pet wolf), was her lack of surprise at finding him there. In fact, she stood like she expected nothing less than their encounter.

He stood to greet her, "Our kind?" He called in query, voice deep and thick with the Icelandic tongue. Though a churning of his stomach gave him idea as to what she meant, he was still taken aback by the intrusion of his solitude. It was a little overwhelming.

Brenna slunk wary at his feet by then. Of them all, she was the truest pup to be found, and she warily eyed the much larger wolf that seemed to invade her human's company.
"Don’t waste your time looking back, you’re not going that way."
Rognar Lothbrok
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#8
Sierra smiled at his question. She expected it. "Some people call us wolfkin." Sierra shrugged as she walked. He was handsome, his accent was thick and she wasn't sure where it was from. Hers wasn't typical for her birth place - having only familial contact didn't really have a impact on her voice or lack there of.

"That's a cute puppy you have. Do you know what kind she is?" Sierra said to break the ice, but then she thought better of her manners. "I'm Sierra, by the way, Never thought he found a two-legged pup who might need help. So we came. I don't know if you know much, or even can understand Never. He's overly energetic and tossing images around so it might be confusing." And now she was rambling, why was he making her nervous the closer she got to him. People were never her strong suit. It was so much easier to talk with the wolves. That was what she focused on - he was a wolf... he was a wolf.
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#9
Tristan stared at the approaching woman like he worried she had lost her mind. He came to be standing at some point, though was unaware of the exact moment he took to his feet. Brenna slunk at his ankles, both curious and frightened of the visitors. The wolf – never – as Sierra named her, continued to watch him like he was batty for not understanding.

As he stared into the wolf’s eyes, he knew them for the gold that stared back in the mirror from his own. Thorn Paw was his only connection, but that was from the Far Realm: unreal dreams.

He put a hand to his temple, images, scents and feelings flooded furious. It was like falling under the ice, he froze to shock, inches from the surface, but unable to move and reach it.

Where he stood without realizing it, he gasped and sank to his knees immediately before Never’s snout. The wolf curled a lip like it might be laughing, but the glint of teeth did not frighten Tristan.

Through the crashing of image after image he focused on those golden eyes and pushed back one of his own. A fire that streaked through open fields, the prickle of wind flattening fur, paws pounding like thunder wyld as the runner sprinted.

Sierra’s word hovered the back of his mind. Kin to wolves, he thought, and it seemed one small chain snapped from the cage around his heart. A smile touched the corners of his lips as he laid a hand on Never’s head and turned toward Sierra. “I’m Tristan Ulfarson,” he replied quietly, “A kin for wolves.”

He nodded like it made more sense than any familial connection come before. The Hidden One was right, his true name awaited on eastern shores.

A chill crept through his pants about then, and he swiped mud from his knees. The images seemed to fade then, from a roaring storm to a distant rumble. “There are more wolves aren’t there?” He couldn’t determine where, but none felt near.

“You are kin to wolf?” he looked at her curiously. “Has Thorn Paw found you also?” He tried to share the image of the melancholy wolf to them both, but was not sure of its success.
"Don’t waste your time looking back, you’re not going that way."
Rognar Lothbrok
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#10
Sierra watched with curiousity as the man confronted Never. He seemed to understand and Never was even more excited. He danced around with happiness. He tried to get the pup to play with him but she seemed to have none of it.

His introduction was given and Sierra smiled offering her hand, "Sierra Lupita, and I am kin to the wolves."

She shook her head at the name of Thorn Paw. "No. I do not think the wolf who found me was your Thorn Paw. I was taught by another pup who I called Snow. I found him in a snow drift with his dead mother. But poachers took him from me." Sierra frowned at the memory. Never rushed over and pushed against her legs. "Never is happy that you are trying to speak to him. He sent me the image of Thorn Paw, but you and I cannot talk the way we do with the wolves. It's highly annoying when we have to use our words." Sierra grinned at him.

"There is a pack here in Norway. That is where Never and I were going. I was going to take photos of their lives and the other creatures here for a piece in the National Geographic. They have seen strange things I hear from them. And they are being cryptic about it. Would you like to meet the local pack? I'm sure they'd love to meet you. And guide you in your new kinship." She gave him a bright smile. "They still consider me a pup - most two leggeds never get past that status. We are so unteachable." She smirked.
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