Full Version: King, Underground : for Antares
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H e hadn't come to this place so much as he had stumbled into it chasing an auburn squirrel, which was promptly disguised once it found a nice orange tree just the same color as it. Once up high, it was so still he couldn't see it anymore in the orange, yellow, and brown leaves, and he got bored. The squirrel had been a good sport about it, though, hadn't even chattered at him angrily like they sometimes do once they get treed with no escape but his mouth. He'd left that tree on the outskirts of this autumn land an hour ago and had continued to venture in, exploring, smelling, marking interesting things. He found a patch of mushrooms that smelled suspiciously like cinnamon and mold, so he'd rolled in it to show someone later, but after he'd finished rolling, realized that he wasn't sure who he'd show it to. It made him feel home sick and lonely. He needed friends. He missed the company of others.

But being young and full of needs and new experiences, he didn't have time to dwell on feelings. He trailed the scent of strange clovers until he found them. He walked to a dozen trees with moss growing on one side. He saw a tree that was living inside another tree. He supposed plants did silly things sometimes by chance, just like him. He smelled apples and wandered in that direction until a new scent roused hunger and he followed his saliva to the remains of a corpse. A raven sat atop it, calmly pecking off some morsels from the bones, and the raven gave him a single, ear-peircing caw, as if to say 'Funny-lookin' four legs, this here is mine, no funny business.' It watched him as it chewed the piece from one side of the beak to the other, calmly observing him. He could see his reflection in those great big beady eyes and it freaked him out a bit. This bird seemed smart. Maybe smarter than he was.

He edged forwards to see what the bird had and it let out such a large, ear-splitting noise that he couldn't process what it meant, only that his brain felt as if it had been rattled around his skull from the sound-wave impact of it. He decided that's what the bird had meant by it. And thought no more on it, walking forwards to inspect his prize. There wasn't much left, but he could chew on the bones, perhaps extract a little more marrow. And he could smell it. It was an earthy smell, as if it belonged so deep underground in the moist, spicy damp where things liked to grow in the cold and quiet dark. 

His legs sprawled beneath him as he collapsed into laying position (bad posture), and began the dirty, time-consuming work of extracting nutrient from bone. As he worked at it, he observed raised dirt. Rustled leaves. And a hole very near the creature. He got up and inspected the hole. It smelled like the creature. He could dig at it a little but it quickly got deep. He could still smell the scent in the hole, in the tunnel, and if he listened closely, he could hear the slightest muffled sounds. Ah, there were more of them.

A good fourty feet away, he saw a brown head pop out of the ground with a long, pink nose. He didn't know what moles were, but he knew this creature was small, hiding, and looked nervous because it disappeared back the way it came as soon as he spotted it, therefore it must be food. It had to be another one of the bone he had been eating.

As yellow leaves swirled through the wind, rustling the fur around his hips, he trailed the scent, digging here and there, stopping to listen, scratching spots, and all other manner of a non-expert wolf at killing underground things. He did manage to spot a few others of them, but they disappeared quickly and didn't seem as big as the first one he had seen.

He imagined up an entire scenario as he worked. That the one he had first seen was the king of the underground, his brown dense coat his royal robe, and that he lamented when he saw his son, and his son's murderer (himself), gorging himself on his remains. He imagined that the king rallied up all the other troops to spy on him, gather intelligence, and begin to mount a trap whereby they would attack him with all manner of ... he had no idea. And then when he was dead, they would all return underground to their vast kingdom of castles and mushrooms and fairy unicorns.

He imagined. And he worked. And he was oblivious to much else. An elephant could have snuck up on him if it wanted. The smell of apple blossoms was ever at the back of his mind, and even though he didn't eat things that grew from plants, it made him feel hungry, and he worked all the harder to figure out where the mole tunnels were, and how to get to one of them.


There was a lot to be said for childish wonder, how every new experience brought forth a precedent as to how it would be handled next time. How something such as maybe an oddly coloured leaf, or a pool of dirty water would would trigger something inside a pup, that it needed to be looked at, splashed in. Antares had long since grown out of these habits, he tried to hold onto what he, though his innocence had been destroyed through his own need to fit into a place where he only half-belonged. It wasn't that it bothered him anymore, but he found little sense in divulging in childish antics and imaginary worlds. Flicking his bobbed tail, he had once again resumed his search for answers as to what greater purpose the Mundane were set to fulfill. So many wolves were blessed by their own gods with Magicka, yet he had worked hard for what he had under the watchful eye of Elutheria as he continued to forsake his paternal lineage.

The perpetual autumn of Red Gate Woods was something that, despite previous thought indicating he no longer had wonder, brought a wistful smile to his face. The crunching of brown leaves beneath his paws as he strolled, brought a pearly-fanged grin to his maw. You know what? F*ck it, it was a brief reprieve from the rain, the leaf litter had crisped up and his belly was full. Today was going to be his day. The overwhelmingly sweet scent of apples filled his nose as he inhaled, but it carried with it the scent of wolf. Freezing in spot, he didn't have to look far ahead to see a white ball of fur scarpering between mole mounds. He was young, probably one of the youngest he had seen since Spring, he snorted playfully as he called, "Boy of the Mundane, what, might I ask. are you doing?" There was no Familiar in sight, and no Magicka oozing out of his pores. This was one of his own, a regular, hardworking, Mundane wolf. 


"Y IPE!", he yowled, so surprised that he hadn't even bothered to use a word, and just the sound of the word was enough for his brain to convey the surprise that he felt. His skin had jerked back and his head whipped up at the surprise sound, not able to compute yet that the sound was speech, only that it wasn't expected, it was near, and that it was much louder than the noises he had been carefully scrutinizing.

He looked at the other tense, searching his muscles for signs of imminent attack, and not seeing any, relaxed up enough to curve his body outwards in friendly greeting, licking his lips as an attempt of apologetic embarrasment and wagging his tail a little in greeting and to show that he was a friendly, non-canabalistic pupper. Technically he was an adult, though, so he also lowered his tail  from excitement to proper submission in instant acknowledgement of the other as his superior, as he noted that the other wasn't a puppy and that was all it took to make him more dominant, and hence the leader. Wherever there was a wolf, there had to be a leader, even if there was one or two, or, however many, one was the most dominant and therefore the leader and that was simply how things worked. All this movement and posturing and conversation in a few seconds.

In the next second he gave a cursory glance - not staring into eyes as challenge, of course - at the fellow, noting he was brown, and nearly dismissing the rest except for his brain triggered a 'what, WHAT' type response and his eyes naturally widened in surprise as he spent more seconds really looking at the other. He resembled a forest or a fire or a deer or a bramble bush for all his horns, ok, not that many horns, but like a doe plus a ram plus more horns plus a wolf. He looked like that. Satisfied that his brain could compute what he was looking at, his attention turned back to the noise that had startled him and replayed back the sounds in his auditory memory, but this time as understandable speech.

Olu forgot to use his words - his poor brain was doing so much there wasn't much power left to power the speech part of his mind - and instead let out a high-pitched whine, "HaRRRooooUUoooOOOoooo", that conveyed anxiety, anticipation, frustration, and hunger in the easy to understand native-wolf-language that all lupines knew instinctively. Olu's nose was now well-embedded in mud from the hole-dirt and his own salivation, and he sneezed unwillingly and put his nose back in the hole for a moment, at a loss for what else to say. He pawed at the hole for added emphasis, and then paused, not impressed even with his own flabbergastedness.

He shook half-heartedly, trying to clear his mind from THE HUNT enough to even find word-capacity again, though he was unwilling to stop Hunting completely. It helped.

"There's a ....", but that wasn't correct. "There's lots of...", but he didn't know what the word was for what they were. "Underground kings.", was all he could think of to describe them, remembering his imagination-fueled fantasy of these musky furry creatures and their subterranean court intrigue. He pointed his noise at a few newly crunched-up bones not far from the man, which were the remains of his scavenged meal (finders keepers!) and which had triggered this whole escapade. He noticed now that the sun was definitely quite different from when he had started, so it must have been very entertaining - and he noted with a proud pant of relieving excess body heat - that it was.

He cocked his head at the man, using all of his brain power to compute a new thought :

More entertainment


But more.

More winning.


New wolf = More winning?



And with that series of thoughts, his brain was done computing and his normal speech power was restored, if only he could remember to use it. He had decided to enlist this fellow in his entertaining food. But that might take forever. What if he cheated and killed them all at once, so he could eat them all? Ooooohhhh....

"USE YOUR POWERS!", he shouted excitedly, not aware that he'd just dumped the poor clueless fellow into the middle of a complex thought-process with no context. He looked like a wolf who had spent his entire life dreaming and obsessing about one single thing and now had gotten the thing and was on the very verge of passing out from so much excitement and joy and fulfillment that he Couldn't Even! Olu's breaths came in little raspy pants and his entire body quivered as he anticipated what he could only dream of as meteors falling from the sky - no that might be scary - all of the critters coming up of their own volition and dying in a nice heaping pile in front of him like a lavish, all-you-can-eat buffet. A human might call Olu's current state a "nerd-gasm".

Commentary: An entire mini-novella chapter for 12 words of speech. Yep, sounds like Olu.