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Moving On
#1
Their trek through the wilderness had yielded many pictures some of which Sierra would have to pull from the card before delivering it to the National Geographic.  She might be called a hack photographer for such images - but they weren't faked or modified, and any true photographer would see that, but newbs wouldn't.

The stayed in a small village on the edge of the wilderness they'd come from. Sierra needed the electricity to power the laptop and send her final photos on.  She sat staring at the flowers and the tree man they'd seen, no one would believe it - she wasn't sure she was.  Sierra wasn't exactly sure if she really believed she'd met Tristan either. Except he was real even for all his talk about fairies and trolls. She wasn't sure about any of it, but she could talk to wolves and men could do magic and there was a walking tree - what were fairies and trolls in comparison.

But what was next?  Follow Tristan wherever he wanted to go?  That felt right, pack felt right.  But there was pack back in Moscow - except the city was full of concrete and pollution and the wolves avoided the city - except the pups they pulled into that world.  Never happily played with the pup of Tristan's.  Never didn't understand why she couldn't speak like him, but it was a friendship he was happy to have.  She was glad to have met Tristan.  

The strange flower sat next to her laptop still warm, still in bloom even after having been plucked days ago.  It was a strange thing, but she felt attached to it as much so as she did to Tristan himself.  Their night in the dream had yet to happen in the real world. Though maybe that was a good thing.  He felt like coming home and Sierra wanted to stay there - with him - home - pack.  It was hard to explain.  

She said out loud to nobody in particular "Photos are sent. Now what?"
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#2
He looked up from eating: scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. Memories from the night before followed him through the morning. He'd recently bathed. His hair and beard were still wet. "Sierra. Do you ever dream - like the way we dreamed - but with other people? People who aren't walkers of the wolves?" He wasn't sure what to do about the women in Moscow who needed their help, but Sierra knew the cities. She could know how to navigate them.
"Don’t waste your time looking back, you’re not going that way."
Rognar Lothbrok
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#3
Tristan smelled clean - like himself but clean. It was nearly distracting. And his question - rather the preface to his question made it even more so. The memory of that dream still drew on her body. It was an effort to push the thoughts away as she thought about it. Dreaming with another. "I suppose I have. With my mother and father after I left them. I haven't in years though. Do you mean with strangers?' Sierra asked.

She turned from her work and looked at the rugged man she was sharing a room with. "It is possible, I know the wolves speak of watching over others at times. Those who don't walk with us, but are friends. If a wolf could ever be friends with two-leggers." Sierra's lips quirked up into a half-smile. Wolves didn't watch over humans for the reasons humans thought. Sometimes the farmers were friends, the wolves would only cull the herd of the weak, and the farms didn't retaliate. Wolves knew their place in nature if only Humans could understand theirs.
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#4
He shook his head. "Not the wolves. With others? Strangers, yes." He rummaged around with the dishes after finishing up. "I had a dream last night about these women. Real women. One said she is in a mental hospital in Moscow. Both were strange." He grinned wolifishly, aware of the irony in that statement. 

"Any ideas?" 
"Don’t waste your time looking back, you’re not going that way."
Rognar Lothbrok
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#5
Sierra giggle softly at the way he said strange. As if they weren't strange themselves. People who could talk to wolves, who visited the dream world like it was another place on this earth. No they werne't strange with their golden eyes. Maybe it was they were more human? Or maybe they were just different. There were lots of strange people in Moscow. Elyse was one of them. She was like them, but was other too. She sighed at the memory. Humans were all so complicated.

"To their strageness? Or to Moscow and the mental hospital?" Sierra grinned playfully back. "There are many hospitals there, where humans tend their wolves. There is a nearby pack, and I know of others like us there." Sierra wasn't sure she wanted to complicate things worse by bringing Tristan to Elyse - her first kiss and he was a first but not a first too. It was strange...

"Moscow is full of concrete and pollution, did these women want something?" Sierra left the images of Tristan with other woman in the ether or her mind. Never growled she hadn't meant to send, but Never only growled he didn't move from the spot he was curled up in. Sierra relayed part of the conversation to the wolf pup and he yipped with excitement "Never would like to go back to Moscow and see Sting. He misses his pack."
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#6
A frown delved lines into his weathered face. He desired not to see large cities, especially most Moscow. He’d been content to sit on the fjord, build walls and mending fences, for the remainder of his days. The girl that was locked away, though, pricked his mind like a thorn that he could not yank away. She was deemed a monster because she was different from the others. Now she fought against those who feared her and they tightened the locks all the harder. Wolves roamed the wilderness of Russia, and he was sure that if he tried, he could find their minds. They would be useless without the leadership of a man – for even a pack of wolves would be unable to penetrate the high walls of a modern prison. He could go himself, leading the charge teeth bared and war cry billowing murderous intent from his lungs.

Mind settled, he nodded. “Come with me to rescue the girl and we can retreat to the wilderness afterward. We’ll take her with us if we have to,” he grasped her hand in his own and nodded eagerly her agreement.
"Don’t waste your time looking back, you’re not going that way."
Rognar Lothbrok
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#7
Sierra nodded, "We can try to rescue her. There are others who might be able to help as well if we need." There were more of them in Moscow. There were other things out there too. Strange powerful powers high and low.

"The wolves won't come into the city, but there are more like us." Sierra squeezed Tristan's hand. "Do you have a name? Or anything we can go on? I can send word ahead to my friends and they can look."
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#8
Tristan growled irritably, but only because it was fruitless to ignore the call of his own heart. The fire was already coursing his veins, fire to move, fire to act. Wildfire, the name given to him by the wolves, was only part of his identity. It was a slow, slumbering danger that when sparked, sped dangerously in all directions, consuming, destroying, and most importantly, reanimating the old ways to give birth to the new. 

"I finally found the wolves," he said, glancing at the puppy he'd only recently acquired. Could she handle a city? It would break his heart to leave her behind, but he may not be able to care for her there. Here, she could roam at will. A city was not a safe place for a pup. "But I cannot enjoy my freedom while others are locked away like animals in a cage," golden eyes flickered toward Sierra. "Will you show me the way?" He asked.
"Don’t waste your time looking back, you’re not going that way."
Rognar Lothbrok
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#9
Sierra went to Tristan, he was frustrated but she could understand. "Of course I'll show you the way. I'm not very good at it myself, but I will not leave you alone in the strange new world."

She took his hands in hers and smiled happily. "I know the wolves around Moscow we can visit them anytime, and the pups will be fine. I have friends who can look after them while we find your friend and rescue her." Sierra was sure they could do that. But getting someone out of a hospital was not going to be easy. Especially since they didn't know her name or which hospital.

Sierra reached up and stroked Tristan's cheek, the courseness of his beard was like home - the wolves winter coats. "We will find her."
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#10
The arrangements for travel were made. In the end, he couldn’t bear to part with Brenna. So they would need to find a way to accommodate a growing half-wolf, half-dog puppy. So far, she was tame and content, but the wild ways of Nordic lands differed from the tightly packed avenues of major cities. The night before they were to travel, Tristan stood outside, looking upon the Milky Way sprawled pale across the sky. Would they see stars in Moscow? He sighed. From the sky to the smell to the very vibration of the earth. He told himself the change was temporary and went to sleep.


The next morning, he woke to soggy sheets and a surprise splayed across his chest. The mirror showed him the extent of the markings. The shapes that appeared in the dream were not distinct, merely echoes of what he remembered. They were angular and harsh, almost like the stroke of a rune, but nothing was clearly demarcated as such. At their center was positioned a black ribbon, almost delicate compared to the jagged edges of the rune-like shapes. It was a sort of upside-down u-shape that curled at the ends. Not the Trollkors, but close.

He splashed water on his face and scrubbed hands through his hair worryingly.
"Don’t waste your time looking back, you’re not going that way."
Rognar Lothbrok
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