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Shamus

"Matey, want yer luck changed for a meal?"

0 · 283 views · located in The Lands of Nigerius

a character in “Elemental Battles: Rage”, as played by Krypt

Description

Name:
Shamus

Pack:
Saffron

Gender:
Male

Description:
Like most of his brethren in the Saffron pack, Shamus sports a dark pelt, an admittedly hot pelt during the warm season. However, his fur ranges more into the gray color scheme, rather than the deep chocolate brown that is usual to be classified with the Saffron wolves. He does have the amber eyes though, eyes that always seemed to have a certain twinkle of mischief in them. All around he is a smaller wolf, for a male anyway, although he is filled out enough that he would not be torn apart immediately in combat, though he still prefers to not fight.

Personality:
Shamus is not what you would call a good wolf. Exploiting his pack's reputation for being kind, hospitable, and the source of a good fortune, Shamus has made quite the living away from his pack and out in the world, doing everything he can to con other wolves out of a hot meal or whatever else Shamus see's that they have and he fancies. Often he makes a mild spectacle of his Saffron abilities, and claims to be able to increase the luck of anyone that helps him out for an arbitrary amount of time, depending on what the deal was. Give him a cut of venison? He claims to increase your luck for a day. Give him the deer? You'll be set for the season! How valid his claims are, no one has yet to report.

Abilities:
Although most of his scams involve simply enough his silver tongue, he does have a select range of abilities granted unto him from his Saffron heritage. Like other Saffrons, Shamus can prophesy regarding the next seasons crop and nature yields, though Shamus claims that his gift of prophesy can extend to other things, developed through "special training."

Equipment:
Other than the natural armaments any wolf carries around, Shamus also carries around a leather satchel to hold the supplies required by the constantly moving wolf. This vagabond prefers to live a little better than day to day, so if he can manage to steal it, he generally has enough food on him for at least a few days.

History:
Ever since he has been alive, Shamus felt he was better than other wolves. Pack-mates, foreigners, and friends could all be deceived through his craft, and as time went on he decided to take his cunning to the wider world. War has ravaged the hopes and wits of many wolves, and many are turning to the supernatural for relief. That is where Shamus has found his niche. "Helping" the downtrodden, or anyone really who has something that he wants. He lacks a morale compass in the traditional sense, seeing the preservation of his own creature the only "moral decision" that he has to make. And so he goes on, growing in power when he can, fleeing when things go rough, a rather obscure wolf doing as he pleases.

So begins...

Shamus's Story

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#, as written by Krypt
It was a deuce weird, Shamus thought, the more he thought about it. A rather aged male caring for two young wolves from different packs, a male and a female, neither of which belonged to his own kind. Not only that, but those rather unusual pups were strange each in their own right. One appeared to be an Aven, but with one wing coming out the side. Not a pair, but just one. The other was a strange Arlyne that looked more like a barracuda than a wolf, with a strange fin crawling down his spine. Shamus wondered if they would get any weirder as they reached maturity, but he wasn't going to wait another season to find out. Shamus did not like the strange, because the strange were unpredictable. And his work required a full control of the situation.

Not many hours after he had left the strange group, Shamus came upon a more likely target. A lone shewolf marching around a spring. She appeared to be a Kamarian or an Alvan, however she didn't have a skull mask, so it was more likely the former. Either way she was quite far from either, they were closer to the Hemlock marshes than anything. A Kamarian, huh? They were an interesting set. Shamus was always intrigued in how they were able to control light, or rather, the lack of. It seemed like a great skill for an illusionist. He still had a few days worth of food on his person, perhaps he could have a little bit of fun with this wolf in the mean time. She didn't seem to have any friends about, if things did go south, he could easily escape without a hitch.

With the subtle smirk that he always wore as he interacted with other wolves, he strode over to the spring the wolf was by. Strutting straight past her, he dipped his head down into the cool water for a well needed drink. The water tasted sweet, and gave him time to think of an approach. Most wolves he came across were astonished enough to see a Saffron, a fabled sighting that was supposed to mean good luck to anyone who saw one. Deciding to take that approach, the crafty wolf raised his head and looked confidently at the shewolf before she got out of sight. With an air of superiority he took a few steps towards her, and he said cheerfully "Well ma'am, it seem like yer bad luck is a going to get a bit better today."

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#, as written by Krypt
"Easy, easy ma'am! Don't you know there is a war going on around here? You should try making friends more than enemies" Shamus replied innocently, opening his eyes in surprise. This wolf didn't seem too surprised at his appearance, making the conversation a bit tougher. Ah well, perhaps he could just see how long he could keep this going. If he talked smoothly enough he was sure he could even get that pendant off her neck. Likely the Borak she stole that from would pay a handsome price for it.

Taking a shot in the dark, the Saffron quickly followed up with "Say, yer quite far from Black Valley aren't you, doing a little scout'n for your pack, are ye?" He trotted a few paces closer to her, a little closer than what strangers stand when talking to each other, but of course not close enough that she could swipe her paws at him.

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"Easy, easy ma'am! Don't you know there is a war going on around here? You should try making friends more than enemies" Dey was unamused about what he was saying, but a bit... War? What wa- A sudden headache scattered her thoughts and caused her to be confused. Dey blinked and stupidly notice the strange wolf looking at her chest. She followed his line of sight to see a pendant and felt a rise of protectiveness over it even though she hadn't known she'd been wearing it.

"Say, yer quite far from Black Valley aren't you, doing a little scout'n for your pack, are ye?" "What pack? I have no pack." Dey was beginning to get frustrated with this strange wolf and his too smooth yet familiar words. She sucked in an exasperated sigh and took a menacing step toward him, letting her temper get the best of her. "Look here you brute; I am confused, hungry and I don't know what's going on! Yet here you are trying to steal the only thing I have! The nerve of you! What! What did you think I am even doing out here in the middle of nowhere!? Trying to scout for some imaginary pack in some probably made up war?!"

Dey was now in Shamus's face with her teeth bared, her hackles up and her eyes looking directly into his. A would be terrible moment for him if both he and her knew she was Alvan. Yet, nothing happened. No one died of fright.

With a sudden drop in energy, Dey backed away from him. "Forget it. Some scum like you don't care about the problems of a lone wolf." She moved to walk away.

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#, as written by Krypt
Eh, he won some, he lost most. Obviously this shewolf wasn't going to give him the time of day. Other than a slight raise in his eyebrows out of surprise, Shamus did little to react to the sudden aggression of the other wolf. He saw it all in his line of work. He determined he would go find another target, perhaps he could go exploring in the Hemlock marshes, he had yet to go in there. Who knows, perhaps that exclusive pack would be more receptive than this angry Kamarian. But of course, he could always make an investment for later with her.

"Be that as it may, ma'am, you never let me get to why your luck has improved" Shamus sighed, dropping his act a few notches. "You were about to walk right into the little valley of death between the Tenneth and the Dimitrios, a quaint 'lil place called Maxim lake. The two packs 'ave been fight'n there for quite a bit, more so in these days. Best a hungry confused wolf like yourself not walk into that trap."

It was likely he would run into this dazed wolf again, as vagabonds have a knack for crossing paths more than once, so he decided to try and lighten her perception of him a little bit. He had enough rations for a few days anyway. Snarfing his snout down into his satchel that swung loosely at his side, he fished out a cut of salted deer meat. He had made a deal with a couple of Arlyne hunters a few days back that if he found them the deer, they would give him half the meat. Of course the water wolves, not knowing anything about land tracking, happily agreed at the easy meal. Making a show of his powers, he led them to where he knew a group of deer were, and it was in the bag from there, so to speak.

Tossing the steak over to the Kamarian as she walked away, he instructed her with "Why don't you stick that in your teeth? That's a much betta' way of using them than showing off your fangs for a hungry shewolf like yurself. Better come take it before the foxes get it." Then, feigning disinterest, he took a few steps back and made a show of trying to tighten up is satchel, which had a knack for tripping him up.

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Dey was surprised at the strange wolf's gesture, and suspicious of his motive for giving her the meat. She growled at him slowly digesting the bit of information he had given her about her location. Maxim lake, huh? Sounds familiar, yet I can't recall anything. She looked up at the sky before hissing at Shamus, "Don't think this changes my opinion of you, Wolf; I'd gladly shove you over a cliff." And with that she took the steak and devoured it in a couple of powerful bites.

At least im not starving anymore, well, not as much. Begrudgingly, she dipped her snout in thanks to the strange wolf before turning on her way... in the exact same direction she had been going before. To this area, Shamus had said would be a 'valley of death.' For some odd reason, his wording had just made her determined to reach this 'Maxim lake.'

As soon as she was out of the strange wolf's sight, she began trotting and than that trotting, turned into a dead sprint. She didn't known how far Maxim laken was, but she just suddenly knew she had to get there as fast as possible. As to what she would find when she got there, she didn't know.

((Sorry for dropping out a bit, but just a personal crisis going for a bit.))

The setting changes from the-lands-of-nigerius to The Swamps of Nazar

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#, as written by Krypt
Shamus


Standing, or rather, sinking up to his ankles in the swamps of Nazar, Shamus the Saffron found it hard to concentrate on the deal is was trying to propose. Gnats swarmed his face, swamp gasses burned his eyes, and he just knew he would be nipping ticks out of his fur for the next week. And none of this seemed to be affecting the clueless Hemlock he was talking to. What a savage.

"Look, can't you see how this would only help both of us, matey? There has got to be something you need a little luck to help improve your odds. A chance with the ladies? A good hunt tomorra? An even deadlier poison? Anything you can think of, luck can make it better. And all you hafta to do for me to get some of that luck is give me a wee bit of your poison, just so I could kill a few plants. Isn't that what your lot want anyway? Death?"

Shamus felt like he was getting nowhere with this wolf. It would be unfortunate too, his future leisure life depended on it. He hated being in this dreadful bog. Mold, moss, mildew, and rot seemed to be everywhere the wary Saffron turned, and he frankly couldn't tell if it was the swamp or the wolves that lived in it that smelled the worst. His only luck so far that day was that he had caught this Hemlock towards the edge of his territory, so that ducking out if this deal looked sour would be an option. Which it seemed to be. He had done all the talking to this fool, and he was no closer to getting an herbicide than he had been ten minutes ago. Maybe he should try the Aven. They knew about plants. Though probably not about the killing part.

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Vander and Wylie of Schemeko's Gang

Standing before Shamus was a large, burly black and greenish wolf by the name of Vander. Peering down at the Saffron with his great muzzle, he continued to ponder long and hard about the Saffron's offer. "Hm....hm....hm." He hummed. It was then a twiggy, twitchy, and mangy wolf stood next to him. Compared to Vander this wolf looked like a pup but he was fully grown as well. This wolf was named Wylie and he was shaking as if he were cold. It was then he spoke, "Yeah, luck, lucky, luck." He sputtered. "Hold on, hold on, I'm thinking here!" He barked as he continued to think long and hard. "Hm, hunting, ladies, poison?" He muttered. "And Death! Deathy, Death!" Wylie spat.

"Hm, so you'll give me some luck if I help you kill off some plants?" Vander spoke. Then the big wolf decided to laugh, "That doesn't seem like a very good trade but there's no taking it back! I'll give you poison to kill off some plants but don't skimp out on me on all of the luck. I really could use a lucky day." Vander spoke. "Yeah we give you poison for a lucky day, lucky day!" Wylie added excitedly. "Shut up, Wylie!" Vander barked. "Oh! Sorry." Wylie stammered. "So you got somethin' I can put the venom in? Unless you like me to bite you instead?" Vander laughed again. "Yeah, we like to bite!" Wylie added as he made gnawing and gnashing sounds with his fangs. "I said shut up!" Vander barked again. "Ooh! Yeah, sorry!" Wylie responded.

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#, as written by Krypt
Shamus

Shamus smiled. Perhaps even these backwater wolves could be made to understand reason. "That's the spirit mate! I help you and you help me. Now as much as I wish I could take your venom in meself, I figure I better just carry it on me instead" Shamus explained, unshouldering the satchel he had been carrying. Nuzzling inside for a moment, he withdrew a couple of bottles, the skin kind that were generally used for carrying water. He would have to make sure he would burn this set when he was done with them.

"I suppose you chaps shouldn't have any problem fillin' up these two bottles. Just give em a bite and I'll seal em back up when you're done" Shamus explained, rumuging around for some bee's wax he had been saving for the purpose. Looking at the scrawny wolf, Shamus began to be grateful he had not ran into him alone. He seemed to have the attention span of one of these blasted gnats that were flying around everywhere.

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((Double Post please ignore))

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Vander and Wylie


Vander look towards Shamus with a glint in his eye and a toothy smile. Especially Wylie whose smile reaches from ear to ear. Vander watched as Shamus took out a bottle with an apparatus that will help to collect the venom. Vander nodded at Shamus's instructions and looked towards the bottle. His mouth began to open wide as venomous saliva began to drip from his mouth. Wylie was jittering and chuckling during the whole procedure. Vander bit down on the bottle as he injected his venom into the skin flask. It didn't take long for Vander to fill one bottle full of the deadly substance. He then looked towards the other ready to fill, just then Wylie dove into bite the bottle.

In an explosion of anger and violence Vander charged into Wylie's side knocking him aside. "Oof!" Wylie cried. Vander then stood over him and snarled as he placed a paw down on his neck. "I'm the one whose gettin' all the luck, not you runt!" He barked. Choking and gasping for air, Wylie muttered, "S-sorry, I r-really am!" With another growl, Vander let off Wylie's wind pipe as he began to cough. Vander then turned back to the bottle and injected his venom once more. Wylie wobbled as he stood back up to his feet and despite having his throat nearly crushed, Wylie went straight back to chuckling as if nothing ever happened. The second bottle was filled to the brim.

"There you go, Harvest Wolf, now give me my luck!" Vander demanded. It was then Wylie walked back to Vander's side and chuckled. "Yes, bring us good luck!" Wylie sputtered. "Well? I'm waiting!" Vander spoke as he anxiously awaited whatever he thought was going to be given to him.

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#, as written by Krypt
Excellent, he had way more than what he needed. A little bit of diluting would make the poison go even farther, and Shamus doubted that the watered down stuff would be any less potent for what his purposes were. Making a great show of plugging up the holes in the bottles left by their fangs, Shamus dabbed a healthy portion of beeswax onto the tips of his claws, gingerly smoothing over every breech in the skin. It is almost like he had done this before, Shamus mused.

Now he wanted something tangible, eh? Why are there so many fools out there who think that luck is something you can hold? Ah well, he had dealt with wolves like this before, they were easy enough to play. "But of course, mate. I wouldn't want you to feel cheated. Naturally, you would want your lucky day to be a full one, so that is why I'd suggest ya wait until sunrise tomorrow for it to start" Shamus explained soothingly, as he slowly played the bottles of poison in his satchel. In their place, he withdrew a small wooden object, a rectangular shape with rounded off corners. Inscribed with markings written in old Saffron, Shamus dangled the wooden pendent from a string.

"Luck is everywhere, my friend. We each get our share, it depends how much is in the air. Some of us know ways of pulling that luck down when we need it most. Tomorrow morning, you must take this wooden emblem and burn it on a piece of ground which has neva' known flame. Make sure you do it alone, otherwise those around you may steal some of your good fortune. When the smoke turns from gray to white, breath the vapors deep. You will feel a mite sickly at first if you are not used to it. But it'll past. Luck will come upon you once it senses you have burned a Saffron pendent, and good fortune will be yours until sunset. So make sure you plan some good hunting, mate" Shamus ended with a smirk, holding out the pendent with great ceremony for the other wolf to take. By the time this silly Hemlock was burning this piece of bark, he would already be halfway across Nigerius!

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Character Portrait: Schemeko Character Portrait: Shamus
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Vander and Wylie

Vander watched with greedy eyes as Shamus placed away the bottles filled with poison as he took out a wooden trinket. It was then that Vander's smiled faded as he looked confused. "What? This piece of wood is suppose to bring me good luck?!" He barked. He then sat down and listened to the Saffron's instructions. Despite it not being what the big Hemlock expected, the way Shamus spoke made him feel more confident. "Huh? Sounds like a bunch of hocus pocus." Vander commented. "Yeah, hocus pocus!" Wylie added. Yet, Shamus had a way with words it was reassuring and sounded intelligent...it kind of reminded him of Schemeko. Their leader had such a way with words, it was like art.

Vander looked back and forth from Shamus and the pendent as he began to become interested in his words. Soon enough his smile returned as greed resurfaced into his eyes. Hungrily, Vander swiped it from Shamus as he held it in his paw. He then began to chuckle with glee. Wylie too chuckled with glee as he looked longingly at the pendent. Vander noticed and this made him angry. "HEY! Piss off! This isn't for you, wretch!" Vander barked as he took his paw away from Wylie's prying eyes. "But, Vander! It looks nice! I would like to play with it." He begged. "I could give two shits what you would like! This is mine and the answer is no!" He shouted.

"B-but, share!" Wylie barked. Vander then growled and snarled at Wylie, "You really want to mess with me Wylie!?" Then all of a sudden Vander bit at Wylie who yelped when he bit his ear. "Vander! You hurt poor Wylie!" He cried. It was then Wylie snatched the wooden pendent right from underneath Vander's paw. He was livid. "WYLIE!" He shouted and with a slobbering snarl he chased after him. Wylie didn't get far at all as Vander came down on his nape with a bite. Wylie yelped again as he dropped the trinket from his mouth. Vander then lifted the Hemlock up and slammed him into the water. He then began to claw at Wylie with clubbing blows as the wolf yelped in pain. It was then a shout was heard.

"CRIPES!" The voice shouted. Vander's rage was instantly cut short as he let of Wylie as he slowly stood up. Out from the misty marsh came a green, spiky haired wolf. "Can't I leave you two alone for ten minutes!? Now I like getting into mischief as much as the next Hemlock, but you two do it to the point it becomes....straining." The wolf growled. "Oh, sorry boss." Vander spoke. "Yeah, sorry boss." Wylie chimed in. "But, I had good reason this time!" Vander spoke up. "Oh? And what would that be?" The Wolf asked. It was then Wylie snickered as he picked the trinket back up in his mouth. He was then clawed by Vander, forcing him to drop it once more. "This!" Vander spoke as he handed it to the wolf. "What? You two couldn't have made that. Who gave it to you?" The wolf asked. "Him!" Vander pointed out Shamus. "Well, hello there...it's nice to meet a stranger in these lands. My name is Schemeko." The Hemlock spoke with a toothy grin. "And who might you be?" Schemeko asked.

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#, as written by Krypt
Shamus

Amused at the fight that had broken out over the wood chip he had carved not a week prior, Shamus took a moment to make sure they were not going to chase after him as he walked away. A moment to much, it seemed as another Hemlock came up to see what the scuffle was all about. From the way he talked, it sound like he was some sort of officer in the pack, though probably not the Alpha based on the way he carried himself.

"M'name is Shamus, friend. I was in the market for a certain poison, and your two fellows here have more than helped me on my way" Shamus returned, giving the new Hemlock a once over. Schemeko. Hm. Seemed to be a wiser character than these last two, at least. Though in Shamus' trade, smarts was generally not something he looked forward too.

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Schemeko

"Shamus, eh? A pleasure to meet a stranger in our modest surroundings." Schemeko spoke keeping up his toothy grin. "So, in the market for Hemlock Venom are we? Well I do hope my boys here gave you a satisfactory amount, yes?" Schemeko asked while pacing about. "Oh yeah, we sure did boss!" Wylie spoke up. "More like I did-it all, idiot!" Vander barked. "Oh, yeah, mostly him." Wylie corrected himself. "Yes, I assumed as much otherwise Mr. Shamus here wouldn't not be in the midst of his departure here." Schemeko spoke looking between his goons and Shamus. "Of course a well-spoken businessman like Shamus here most certainly payed for such a service, am I right?" Schemeko asked looking directly at Shamus still grinning.

"Well, yeah, with this lucky charm here." Vander answered as he held out the wooden trinket for Schemeko to see. Confused he looked at Vander with such a stare it could make water boil over. "Well...uh...uh...you see it's-," Then Vander was cut off with a tsk, tsk, tsk. "Now, Vander do you think a piece of shoddily carved wood is really worth giving up a Hemlock's pride and joy?" Schemeko spoke, not with anger or disappointment, as he practically whispered into his ear. The tone of his voice, so even and calm, it was a bit unsettling. "No, boss." Vander answered as his face went from shame to frustration. "Then...WHY DID YOU DO IT!?" Schemeko barked in his ear. "W-Well, because boss, he-he's a Saffron!" Vander quickly spoke. Then Schemeko's faced instantly contorted from anger to wonderment as he turned to Shamus with an even wider grin. "Oh? Really now?" Schemeko spoke as he walked up to Shamus.

"So...a little far away from your crops aren't you, harvester?" Schemeko chuckled. "So then would you mind answering a little inquiry of mine?" He spoke with voice as smooth as butter. "Is it true that your kind is inherently lucky? And if so, does coming into contact with your kind will bring good luck upon another wolf? You know as sort of the opposite of crossing a black cat?" Schemeko asked with interest practically beaming from his eyes. "Hey, boss were are the-," "Shut up Vander! Can you not see that I am talking to our mutual acquaintance?" Schemeko interrupted. "Yeah, shut up Vander!" Wylie added. Vander then growled menacingly at Wylie who awkwardly chuckled. "Sorry about that, these two are quite the uncultured handful. So please continue." Schemeko spoke with the utmost politeness.

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Shamus

Something about this newcomer seemed...unsettling. Shamus couldn't put his paw on it, but whatever it was, this Schemeko definitely showed charisma. He couldn't tell if this Hemlock was veiling a skepticism of Saffron good fortune or if he was genuine in his asking, but knowing that he couldn't show uncertainty, he crafted his response with as much truth as he dared to put into it. And, not to be outmatched in confidence, Shamus kept a smirky grin on his maw all while he spoke.

"That it does matey, we are certainly rare enough that it is good fortune just to see one of us, I figure. As for the luck that sticks, well, that is a bit more of our choice, you see. Sometimes we leave behind tangible reminders, like that 'der pendent, to help wolves remember to look for the favors that they are receiving. You see mate, there are enough wolves out there who contribute good luck to just coincidence, when really, it is the work of the Saffron guiding fortune to them. Of course, good luck can neva' interfere with a wolf's agency, but it can certainly make their good choices better, and their bad ones a bit more palatable" Shamus explained, beginning to spice up his vocabulary somewhat to try and leave the other two wolves out of the conversation. Couldn't have anything he said accidentally contradict with what those two fools believed, they may get uppity again. Then again, their leader seemed to keep them on an iron leash, so playing to Schemeko's good side seemed like the best option.

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Schemeko

Schemeko listened with great interest in Shamus's words. He was right, Saffrons are a rarity to see at all, even more so than Ausis. It was certainly quite the opportunity for Schemeko, who began to deviously wonder, how would a Saffron react to his venom? Would their abilities to manipulate probability save his life or simply make his passing a less painful one? What an experiment indeed and with his cronies in earshot of him, he had no doubt Vander and Wylie could detain Shamus and bring him to his lab. Still his face never betrayed his sinister intent and instead he kept up his confident grin. He could tell this wolf too wasn't about to let him win out in the category of charisma. "How very entertaining." He thought.

Schemeko nodded as he followed Shamus's words which sounded more intelligent...no doubt to fool his subordinates. Which speaks to Schemeko that he must have divulged a different truth upon his more, gullible associates. He can respect another wolf who is good at manipulation...at least this one could be sound of mind. That adds more variables to his experimentation. Schemeko then spoke, "I see, quite different from how I was led to believe it worked. But, I guess one should hear folklore with a grain of salt." Schemeko mused. "Hm, I suppose you disclosed to these two that their luck would be automatic and fabricated according to the user's design. As if luck was something tangible indeed." Schemeko then snickered. "A bunch of imbeciles they are, but, they're my imbeciles and wolves of minute intellect certainly have a degree of usefulness." Schemeko spoke as he motioned with his head for Vander and Wylie to come over here.

Soon the two Hemlocks stood beside Schemeko, leering over Shamus. "Since you're able to direct the flow of fortune, can you tell me something? Just how fortuitous do you feel?" Schemeko asked with a disturbing grin.

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#, as written by Krypt
Shamus

Feigning a lack of interest in the conversation, Shamus made a show of washing his face by licking his paw and slicking down the fur that he swore gnats must have burrowed into by now. "Why, I always feel lucky, mate. Some call tell me I'm slippery, hard to peg down, have friends in high places, have looked death in the face; but it's all about luck, mate. Making it work for you. And making sure that curses those who are against you" Shamus responded nonchalantly, his amber eyes flashing briefly as if to punctuate the last phrase. He couldn't keep his paw from trembling as he held it in the air, so he quickly stuck it back in the mud after he was done grooming himself.

He had dropped his normally cavalier accent by now, forcing a touch of steel to come out in his words. He had read the body language on these Hemlock's by now, and the Saffron began to work out ways to extract himself from the situation. Luckily, he still had a clear path of retreat the moment Schemeko overstepped himself, and this still wasn't as bad as that time with the Strigoi, blasted blood wolves. Though then he had had that crazy Borak with him. No muscle to help him this time. His only shot short of a disgraceful flee was to intimidate this strange Hemlock with thinly veiled threats to back down.

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Schemeko eyed Shamus very carefully and even snickered as he made his threat. This wolf talked a big game but can he back up his claims? That is something Schemeko was very eager to test out. Heck, he even wondered if the Saffron's abilities will be the deciding factor that allows him to escape. Still, he hoped that would not happen, a Saffron is far too much of a rarity to be allowed to leave. He must test his venom on him and challenge the odds, if he can successfully test it's potency then it will be hard pressed for wolves from any other pack to survive. It was a challenge and as a scientist one dedicates themselves to conquering challenges during their foray into the unknown.

Schemeko then spoke, "Oh, I'm sure you are...after all a wolf has to be good at either two things to survive in such a harsh world. They must be able to fight or flight. Obviously you must be able to do one or the other, otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation right now." Schemeko chuckled. Vander and Wylie were a bit hesitant over hearing the word, curses. Yet, Schemeko with skepticism and a bit of insanity isn't afraid of a gamble or of curses. Such things are foolish superstition that has no place in his world of mad science. "Yet, it's not often I see a Saffron...you don't understand how valuable that makes you. Besides I do have to tell you, others have called me crazy before...and I believe I'm crazy enough to court misfortune." Schemeko cooly spoke as he looked Shamus dead in the eyes.

"Get him." He calmly commanded as Vander and Wylie were rallied to action. After all, they would rather risk a curse than risk punishment for disobedience to their boss. Schemeko has a particular way of showing his, displeasure. With howls the two Hemlock flunkies lunged at Shamus as they hoped to pin the Saffron down. Fortunately for Shamus, he had enough space to avoid their pounce and make a run for it. That is, if he does avoid the initial pounce.

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Shamus

Nagging at the back of Shamus' mind was the lack of other Hemlock's around. It seemed with this Schemeko being at least two or three cuts above the rest, he would have more than just a couple lackey's at his disposal. At the very least there should be other Hemlocks around in the pack wandering around, and yet there was none. Luck would have it that more would be lurking around out of sight, perhaps he had been surrounded by concealed wolves ever since Schemeko took an interest in him. It would be all too obvious for Shamus then to duck backwards and take off, with the crazed confidence that this Schemeko displayed, he probably had have the pack behind him right now!

One of the unfortunate things about commanding others to do your bidding is that message must be communicated, thus taking the element of surprise out of the equation. Schemeko's intent being telegraphed to Shamus, the Saffron moved quickly to react. Actually, this was more looking almost bad as that time with the Deon. Meddling metal wolves. It was a shame, too, the alpha had had such a cute daughter. It was probably for the best, anyway. Best not to elope with someone who can crush your head between their jaws.

Taking a step back to goad the two goons into overshooting their pounce, Shamus darted forward as soon as they sprang, managing to hit the ground low enough that Vander cleared him with his leap. Not wanting to loose any of his forward momentum, he sprang back up and shot past Schemeko, the direction he thought would be least predictable. Legs pumping and tongue lolling, Shamus felt himself tiring more quickly in the sticky terrain. Thinking that it would take more than a little luck to get out of this one, Shamus began to bank left in a desperate sprint out of the territory. He had more than enough curses to say to this place, though those could wait for when he had more breath.

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Shamus quick moves did help to narrowly avoid a pouncing from Vander and Wylie as the two collide into each other in a comedic fashion. Schemeko saw the Saffron run past him but did nothing to stop him as he ran the opposite direction from Vander and Wylie. "What are you two playing in the muck for? Get up and bring him to me, now." Schemeko commanded holding back his anger. Vander and Wylie quickly got back on their paws and headed into full pursuit. The two wolves howled indicating that they are on Shamus's scent and will hunt him down. "We gonna get him! We gonna get him! We gonna get him!" Wylie sang out. "Shut up, Wylie!" Vander barked. As they ran the discovered that Shamus's trail suddenly went cold.

"So, uh, Vander! Where is he? Is he here!? Is he here!?" Wylie shouted. "Shut up, Wylie! I'm trying to sniff him out!" Vander barked as he sniffed around. "Oh, yeah, sorry. I'll sniff too!" He sang as Wylie sniffed about. Vander's nose went from the ground and up in the air. Wylie was already trailing off in the opposite direction. "Hey! The Saffron is this way idiot!" Vander barked as he ran off. "Huh!? Oh, yeah! Wait for me! Wait for me!" He shouted as he ran after Vander.

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Shamus

It was no use, luck and adrenaline could not keep the tired Saffron moving through the marsh. He needed to take a break and catch his breath before his lungs burst. Not knowing whether he had half the pack behind him or if he had lost his pursuers, Shamus decided he needed a bit of insurance. There had to be at least one superstitious wolf in the lot of them, perhaps he could use that to his advantage, as long as Schemeko was not with them, that is.

Slowing to a halt, Shamus quickly nuzzled through his pack between breaths. Finding what he wanted, he removed a glass vial of deer blood, something he used for another one of his tricks. Removing another wooden trinket that looked pretty identical to the first from his satchel, he burst the bottle over the pendent with his teeth, covering the necklace in dripping red. After that, he attached it to a overhanging branch at a choke point in the trail that forced any wolf heading that direction to go that way. He didn't know if any wolf would take it as a bad omen, or if anyone would even stop, but it was worth giving up his head start to try.

The whole procedure took about a minute, which gave Shamus a hope that perhaps they had lost his trail. Still needing time to rest, Shamus dove into a hollowed log nearby that was so rotten it could barely maintain its shape. Snuggling in as far as he could go and screwing his face up from the smell, Shamus waited as he caught his breath.

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Vander and Wylie continued to hunt down Shamus through the marsh. Wylie was laughing manically the whole time through while Vander only growled. While there are many strange, pungent and often putrid smells within the swamp and it does make it hard for a wolf to track anything in it. Except for a Hemlock of course. Natives like Vander and Wylie can differentiate the many smells in the marshlands, including the smell of wolf. They were hot on his trail when all of a sudden Wylie stopped. He pointed his nose into the air as he frantically sniffed the air. Soon he was salivating as he exclaimed, "DEER!!" Then Wylie ran off to the smell of deer blood. "DEER, DEER, DEER, I LOVE DEER!!" He laughed manically. "What the hell?! WYLIE!! WHERE ARE YOU GOING YOU DUMBASS!!" Vander angrily shouted.

Soon Wylie came upon the wooden trinket covered in deer's blood. Without a moment's hesitation he leaped forward and pulled the trinket off the branch and began to chew on it. "Yes! Deer! Deer! I love deer, yes I do, yes I do! Deer is good, good is deer! Eat it up, eat it up!" He sang. It was then Vander came charging through. "Have you finally lost it you idiot!? There are no deer in Nazar!" Vander berated as he saw Wylie chew on something. "What? That isn't a deer you fool!" Vander shouted. Yet, Wylie didn't respond he kept on chanting, I love deer, deer is good. "Wait? Is that?" Before Vander could say more Wylie spat out the chewed up trinket. "OW! Dumb splinter!" He cried.

There it was cover in slobber, blood, and splinters was the wooden trinket Vander was given by Shamus. Then a look of terror came over him as he searched for his trinket but could not find it. He had forgotten he left it with Schemeko. In his frantic state of mind he believed it was the same one. Wylie, haven all but forgotten the splinter from earlier reached in to chew the trinket up some more. Then Vander angrily swatted the trinket away and then pounced on Wylie nearly crushing him. "YOU DAMN FOOL! ARE YOU TRYING TO CURSE ME FOREVER!?" He yelled. "What!? N-no!" Wylie wheezed. "I d-don't...get it!?" Wylie choked. "THAT WAS THE CHARM THE SAFFRON GAVE ME!!! DON'T YOU KNOW THAT HE WAS PUTTING A DEATH CURSE ON ME!? AND NOW THAT YOU CHEWED IT UP, I COULD DIE ANY SECOND!!!" He shouted at the top of his lungs as he latched his jaw on Wylie's throat and began to throttle him. Wylie yelped and screamed. Vander then tossed him over to the nearby log as the Hemlock crashed into it. He was then gasping for air.

"I...is...sorry....," Wylie wheezed. Yet Vander didn't respond he just looked around frantically with a look of fear upon his face. "No! I need to run, I need to get out of here!!!" He screamed as he ran off. "WAIT! VANDER!!" Wylie shouted as he shakily stood up and ran after him. "WAIT FOR WYLIE!!" He shouted after him. Soon the two ran off into the distance.

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Shamus

What luck! They had taken the bait. It truly was fortunate that it had been those same two cronies that had found the 'cursed' amulet, he doubted that any wolf would have reacted the same way Vander had done. Admittedly, he had come within a hair of being caught, for Wylie's trajectory when he was thrown by Vander had caused him to smash right into the log that the Saffron had been hiding in, landing so close to Shamus' nose that he almost gagged at the smell of his rotting fur. The Hemlock had been too preoccupied with his crushed windpipe to even notice, it seemed. Excellent.

For cautions sake, Shamus waited a minute more after the last sounds of the two wolves died away before edging out of the remains of the log. Perhaps they really had been the only two pursuers. Even the stealthiest of wolves could not keep a large group quiet when in pursuit. Perhaps this was going to be another happy ending, with a venomous bonus. With a smirk on his face, Shamus decided to finish the ruse by burying what remained of Vander's other pendent, though Shamus doubted the burly Hemlock would ever come near this spot again. His stamina now restored, Shamus judged quickly the quickest route out of the swamp, and began a brisk trot south through the marshes.

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It was true, the Saffron managed to outwit Vander and Wylie but then..., a laugh pierced the silence of the veil. "Your not out of the woods yet, or should I say the swamp?" The voice spoke with a laugh. There was no wolf in sight and the voice echoed making it sound like it was coming from all sides. "Before you jump out of your skin, allow me to reveal myself." Then rustling came from just ahead as Schemeko stood before the Saffron's path. "Nice job with the pendant," Schemeko spoke as he held out with his paw the other trinket, "The moronic often believe in asinine things like, superstitions." He chuckled as he dropped the pendant before them. "I have to admit, you're a clever one, but not clever enough to bewilder or beguile me." Schemeko spoke. "Now you might be wondering, why would I appear before you, if I'm after you? Wouldn't have been smarter to attack you in secret? Not to mention leaving you the option to run the other way...but I believe you are clever enough to see past the obvious. So you could wager to guess that turning tail and running might not be such a good idea." Schemeko then grinned. "Of course you could also be wondering why I am just sitting here and not making any aggressive actions that would suggest I am attempting to capture you. No, I am simply just speaking to you, and well, I hope you would show me the decency to respond...as much as I find talking to myself an enjoyable past time." He then chuckled.

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Shamus

Bah! Why doesn't this haughty Hemlock give up? Shamus slowed his speed to a cautious walk as Schemeko revealed himself. Did he really just appear to gloat? Shamus didn't believe that for one minute. More likely this Hemlock was just trying to delay him so that his mates would have time to surround him. The Saffron was careful to keep moving in a wide circle around Schemeko at a cautious pace, his intent being that Schemeko not be sitting between him and where he wanted to go. As Shamus circled, he decided to humor the wolf who had just ordered his capture minutes before. Besides, Shamus knew the cadence and tune of his own voice pretty well, so it would be easy for his ears to tune that out and listen to the swamp while his mouth jabbered away.

"Matey, I should give you credit where its due. You manage to boss around two fools in a rot filled swamp, and are at least a notch above them in cunning. But really, your like every other wolf I've dealt with. Homebound, and distrustful of outsiders. Blast me if you've ever been more than five klicks from where you were born. As for me mate, I've seen the world. I know what its like. I've dealt with wolves twice your stature and that smell a lot better. I know there is more than the juvenile games like the one you play. I have much better ways to use my time than sitting around chatting with you, while you wait for your two goons to find their wits. Heck, I even have more uses for your own venom then your lot could ever think of" Shamus replied staggardly, his mind focused more on his surroundings than the content or accuracy of his speech. He wasn't about to let this wolf engage him emotionally, for that is when he would loose his focus.

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Schemeko

Schemeko then laughed and laughed as the Saffron spoke, finding his choice of words to be rather ironic. "Forgive me and my laughter, but your choice of words...well I just find them funny. To be honest, a few months ago I would of have to give you that one. Yes, I can boss around fools and idiots but," He then paused and with a huge grin continued, "You're wrong about me, matey." Schemeko mocked in a sing song voice. "You shouldn't assume so much about a wolf on the account of one meeting. I know more than you think and I have seen more than you could possibly imagine." He spoke enticingly. Despite going under the assumption that his ego would naturally wish to contradict Shamus's words, the way Schemeko responded made him sound quite genuine. As if one could almost believe in him.

"Still I can't expect a vagabond like you to understand or even trust in my words. Because your the one who hasn't seen the real world, matey. My experiences would only serve to confuse and fluster you." Schemeko chuckled. "Another correction, matey, you're deluding yourself if you believe you can use a Hemlock's venom better than I. In that field I know more than even all the others know, but I won't waste your obviously valuable time on such technical prattle." Schemeko mocked as he then watched Shamus scale around him trying to avoid him. "Forgive the humor in these words but, you're in luck! I find you quite entertaining so I will present upon you an option. Give yourself up now and I promise you, this will not get any more violent and uglier than it already has been. Hell, you just might find yourself enjoying the time we'll spend together, trust me...I know how to have fun." He then laughed aloud. "So then what do you say, do we have an agreement?" He asked. "After all, it's better than being knocked unconscious and dragged off like a recent kill."

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Despite his commitment to not to, Shamus felt a little irked at Schemeko's response. There was no phasing this wolf, it seemed. This proud one is going to have a might long ways to fall when it all come down on him. Having successfully circumnavigated the Hemlock during the interlude, Shamus' senses began to prick. The way to leave was open, but they were not the only ones around, it seemed. Had those two idiots returned already? Doubtful, there is no way that twitchy one could remain quiet for this long. Perhaps he was wrong, but the only way to be sure would to have Schemeko flush them out.

"I figure you think you are giving a generous offer, matey. But there is no way you could close the distance between the two of us to knock me out and drag me off. Why would I join myself to be just another one of your lackeys in a place that smells like the underside of a rotten deer, when I could just walk off and leave you to yourself? You seem to be your own best company, matey" Shamus replied condescendingly, attempting to goad any hiding wolves out of the trees. He was rapidly depleting his bag of tricks, and he began to wonder if he was going to be able to implement his plan after all. His view of a life of ease did not involve serving another wolf. A cracked one at that.

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Schemeko

Schemeko then laughed once again as he turned to face the already leaving Shamus. "That last bit was funny, because it's true!" He spoke as he laughed out loud once more. "But you know what else is funny? You being wrong again." Schemeko snickered as he stood on all fours. "Allow me to show you why distance no longer matters." He vaguely spoke as he began to shake as if drying the water off his fur. Venom began to secrete and slowly drip off the tips of his fur as the quills were being forced to the fore front. Then all of a sudden a bark boomed from across the way. "SCHEMEKO!" A wolf shouted. Then came the sounds of several paws sloshing in the murky swamp water. Soon a large, green wolf appeared and following behind him were several other Hemlocks, two Shamus recognized to be Vander and Wylie from earlier.

Schemeko stopped whatever he was doing as he groaned when the newcomer appeared. "Ugh! Why do you always cut things off just when it's about to get good? I have to tell you brother...you've got a real gift for being a pain in my neck." Schemeko spat. "And you have a real gift for being a pain in everyone's neck." The wolf quickly retorted. "Well what can I say? I consider myself an artiste." He slyly responded. The new Hemlock strode between Schemeko and Shamus. Unlike the other Hemlocks, this brawny wolf carried himself with a certain grace, almost regal in nature. He certainly carried himself better than this snake of a wolf. "I don't what I would consider you to be, but it certainly wouldn't be an artist." Integra sternly spoke.

Integra then intensely stared at both Schemeko and Shamus, an act that didn't take long for Schemeko to respond to. "What do you want, oh noble Integra? Came to gawk or do you have another riveting chapter of scolding in store for me?" Schemeko mocked. "Watch your tongue, Schemeko. I came because I found your band of hooligans disturbing the peace of our Swamp, yet again." Integra laid in. Schemeko then looked over to his cronies being detained as he smirked. "Well, it wasn't because of me this time." Schemeko spoke with a still mocking tone. "Then who?" Integra asked. "Try the Saffron over there, he's quite the trickster himself." Schemeko snickered. Integra looked over to the wolf and raised an eye over the word Saffron. "A Harvest Wolf?" He said surprised. "Oh yes, why don't you try asking him for some good luck? He's seems to be drenched in it after all." Schemeko said while looking over at Shamus, narrowing his eyes and nodding as if they shared a secret with each other.

It was then Wylie spoke up, "Yes, yes! Lucky charm he gave us! Lucky, lucky, lucky!" He sang. "Shut up Wylie!" Vander barked. "You mad because it was cursed!" Wylie retorted. "Why you little-!" It was then Vander was interrupted by a bark and snarl from Integra. While the two Hemlocks seemed to be equal in muscle, it looked as if Integra stood ten inches taller than even him. Vander naturally backed down. Integra then looked at Shamus as he walked over to him. "Stranger! Who are you and what are you doing in these lands?" Integra asked with authority,

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Shamus

Closing his eyes for a second and letting out a heartfelt sight, Shamus wished with all his dark heart that he could fling his eyes open and see that he had just been dreaming. He tried, but alas, he still saw half the Hemlock pack standing there. Perhaps not all of these Hemlocks were morons and weasels. But Shamus tended to despise any authority that wasn't his own, as it was a constant reminder that there were certain things he could not do as he pleased. Like steal, lie, and cheat. What was wrong with a little larceny, after all?

Almost wishing he was still dealing with just Schemeko, Shamus responded to the newcomer with almost an exhaserbated tone, having had to to explain his business now for the third time. "Shamus, at your service, matey. I was just looking around for an herbicide, which your wolves graciously provided, and have been trying to leave your lot to their lands for the better part of an hour now" he responded to Integra. In truth, he didn't even know what time a day it was, not to mention how long he had been there. The canopy of leaves covering an already overcast evening sky took care of that.

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Integra sniffed at this wolf as he spoke. He wasn't quite pleased that his tone was not more respectful but he is a stranger in his lands, he can at least abide a strange wolf's disrespect for a time. He then nodded as he explained his business here. "I am Integra, Son of Morel, Alpha of the Hemlock Pack." Integra formally introduced himself. He can at least take the high ground and show respect himself. He then looked over to his bag where he assumed he collected the herbicide as he called it. "Then why haven't you yet?" Integra asked. Integra suspected it was because of his brother but he wanted to hear it from Shamus's mouth. All the while Schemeko looked quite annoyed at all of this. He even exaggerated a yawn as Integra spoke. To which Integra firmly ignored, even so his lackeys also followed in suit, both of them snickering as well.

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Shamus

Judging that he wasn't making any friends by letting his true colors seep through, Shamus forced himself to shape up his attitude a little bit with this wolf. Integra seemed to be more able to carry out his will than Schemeko, who seemed to be happy letting others do his work and making somewhat vague threats. In fact, now that Schemeko was so clearly foiled by this newcomer, Shamus found his own personality was probably much more akin to the former. Was the way he had been acting with Schemeko the way he would have reacted had he met a copy of himself? It was not often he got to chat with someone who was equally manipulative.

"Well Integra my mate, I suppose I was held up in negotiations with the little faction your brother leads here. He was trying to trade his mates poison for my freedom, which I didn't think was quite a fair shake. You seem to be a bit more reasonable than he, though. I don't mean to disturb the peace of your pack any more than needs be, it was meant to just be a quick visit" Shamus coaxed, lightening his voice and stealing a glance at Schemeko, who seemed to be in immense displeasure. Good, it seemed that at least someone could rain on his parade after all.

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Integra listened as he took glances towards Schemeko whose sour faced turned into a disrespectful smirk every time he looked. Still he was used to Schemeko's childish antics, it's been that way ever since they were pups. As often as Schemeko made mistakes, Integra didn't. Morel was always an upstanding and strong leader of an often mischievous pack. While Hemlocks are used to playing out the stereotypes the other packs give them, many do not see the truth to the Hemlock. In fact, there are many pillars of the Hemlock pack that are honorable and stalwart despite popular opinion. True, this attested to the fact that these pillars are much older wolves, but good-natured fun has always been encouraged and accepted. Yet the Hemlocks do have limits and Schemeko is one of those Hemlocks that like to cross that limit.

Still, even Integra does understand that his brother is a result of a wartime world. Many Hemlocks have been crossing that line between mischief and malice. Many Hemlocks have left the Swamp in order to take advantage of a world at war, many becoming mercenaries and assassins. While there are some like Schemeko and his, faction, as Shamus called it, where they feed off the chaos and use it to cause even more for their entertainment. These rogues have stained the name of the Hemlock who anymore are seen more as vile and deceptive. Gone are the days of playful tricksters as some elders have said. Integra looked back to Schemeko and then to Shamus. "I see." He spoke.

Integra turned to Schemeko. "So have we resigned ourselves to harassing travelers now?" Integra spoke accusingly. "Well, perhaps if they weren't coning my associates of their venom then...I may of had let him pass on his merry way." Schemeko spoke with a smile. "Oh, yeah, that wolf tricked us!" Vander shouted. "Yeah, he lied and stole, lied and stole!" Wylie spatted. "Yes, he lured them with the false promises of receiving luck as if it was a commodity to be traded." Schemeko spoke as he picked up the pendant on the ground before him. "Yes, he deceived them with this trinket. As far as I can gather it was personified as luck and would work for the poor sap who was in need of a little fortune." Schemeko cooed as he handed it to his brother. Integra looked at it and then sniffed it. While it smelt like Hemlock he did smell Shamus's faint scent upon it. He then looked over to Shamus, while he would trust a stranger over his own brother, the two buffoons did describe this exact pendant as being cursed. The writings on it definitely didn't remind him of any Hemlock writings. He then walked over to Shamus.

"While I do believe you, especially when you said my brother ransomed your freedom for their venom, I do have to ask, what is the meaning of this?" Integra spoke when he handed him the wooden trinket.

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Shamus

"Why, it is nothing more than a Saffron charm, Integra" Shamus responded, gently taking the pendent, as one would when taking an object of great personal value out of a forgotten vault in a cave lost to memory. The inscriptions on the pendent were indeed legitimate ones he had seen when he was younger, but their meaning had been lost to time. If there was anyone in the group who had happened to be well versed in Old Saffron, they would have seen that the markings said nothing more than "flax" and "barley." Even since before recorded history the Saffron had been keeping careful logs of their seasonal harvests, and much of their sayings and culture were derived from the tradition of keeping field logs. As with all forms of languages, however, it evolves, and the records and characters of yore are now hardly legible to anyone save the wisest of the pack's elders.

"It is a shame, matey, that what some wolves hold dear to them is seen by others as 'conning', just because they cannot see anything tangible" Shamus continued with indignance. "Why, does not even your own pack believe in a god that you cannot see? There is more to life than just what you can see with your mortal eyes. Courting fortune to us Harvest wolf's is just a part of life to us as your deity is to your lives. We would never be able to depend on the coming harvest if there wasn't a little luck involved. I didn't think that my asking of a little favor to be brought down was in any way a scheme to steal from poor Vander over there, matey."

Shamus couldn't quite play Schemeko's game of making faces every time Integra was not watching, as he had more pairs leering eyes on him than just one. He would just have to content himself with keeping up a steady face for now.

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Integra nodded as he looked at it. It could be a charm and it looks like nothing more to him. Even so he seemed to take it with great care and even furthered that point by saying it out loud. He then went on about things that where existential and what not. Of course Integra is a firm believer in their God, Claudius. Often known to be one of the most cunning Gods in the entire pantheon. He is smart, but also mischievous and knows how to trick but his tricks were never malicious, they were always for fun. He nodded in agreement to his words. Still, somethings didn't sit quite right with him. If it was so precious, then why did Schemeko of all people had it? And what's this he heard about a cursed trinket? They said it was covered in blood but there is no blood on it. It was most likely a lie but he could smell the fear on them when he caught them, and that can't be faked.

"Hm, I understand where you are coming from and this seems like an unwarranted attack upon you. Still, I am confused over a few points. Like, if this charm is that valuable to you, then why did Schemeko have it in the first place? I imagine he may have stole it from you, but, if he did, then why would you fail to mention that? If someone took something I deeply cared about, I would do whatever I could in order to get it back. So far, you didn't seem to mind it, and well, you sound like you completely forgot about it until I brought it up to you. I would express all the wrongs done to me if I felt like justice could be served, not just some." Integra spoke with a hint of suspicion in his voice.

"Also, I don't know what Vander you were talking to, but the miscreant I know, never does anyone a favor. Least of all a wolf he's never met. So, how did you get the venom from him? He would never willingly give it to you especially if he suspects it has some worth to you. You would either of had to steal it or pay him for it." Integra spoke. "And I doubt you could have forced him to give it to you, so I am curious as to how you got it? And while your earlier story makes a lot of sense, what doesn't make sense is how you have possession of the venom. The Schemeko I know, would make sure he held all of the cards, not just half." Integra spoke as he stared at Shamus. Which at this point his eyes felt like magnifying glass trying to find any and all imperfections. It was then Schemeko snickered. "Leave it to my brother to not even give the victim the benefit of the doubt!" He laughed. Integra then snarled over his shoulder at Schemeko as he turned his attentions back to Shamus, waiting for an answer.

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Shamus

This wolf was certainly becoming irksome, Shamus inwardly glowered. There wasn't much for it but to keep plowing through this muddied conversation, without plowing himself into a hole while he was at it. It wouldn't do to simply lie here, as anyone who has every tried that sinful art knows that the speedy replies needed to allay suspicion came at the cost of the time to think. Those hasty comments could quickly spin a web that would ensnare any frivolous miscreant that was caught in the act. No, he would just have to continue putting out just enough truth out there for Integra to be satisfied, and make sure it was consistent. He didn't have to worry too much about Schemeko it seemed, his brother Inegra trusted him about as much as he could throw him. Probably not that far.

"I care not for the seed as much as the life that it hides, as the Aven say. Our charms certainly are dear to us, matey, but only for what they represent. If I had lost this one in your swamp, I would have simply acquired another. Nevertheless, I am happy to have it back" Shamus explained, his tone wavering back from the odd extremes of annoyance and relief.

"My matey Vander over there was more than happy to try and get some good fortune for his date, or what have it tomorrow. He was more than happy to trade a little poison, which is as common to you Hemlocks as spit is to me 'n others, for a promise that my deity of fortune would smile a little more gracious on him tomorrow, as shown by this pendant" Shamus concluded, shifting his weight to his back paws.

"It appears I have much overstayed my welcome, however. I thank you, matey, it was honorable of you to sort out your brother's shortcomings" Shamus finished with a slight bow, hoping that a last minute appeal to vanity would get these wolves off his tail.

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Schemeko

Integra nodded after Shamus finished his explanations. Integra then let loose a smile, "Well, I have to thank you for being honest with me. It's rare to see a foreigner show integrity to one they consider to be foreign." Integra spoke, his tone more noticeably lighter than normal.

"It appears I have much overstayed my welcome, however. I thank you, matey, it was honorable of you to sort out your brother's shortcomings"

"Well, someone has to...it's been sort of my unofficial job since he and I were pups." Integra spoke as he looked over to Schemeko who merely feigned a smile. He then turned his attentions back to Shamus. "Well, I shall let you go and try and be more careful with the wolves you deal with...not all are honorable." Integra warned as he began to walk off. When it seemed the inquiry was over Integra suddenly stopped in his tracks. "One more thing though Shamus." Integra paused. "What do you intend to do with that venom you carry? I mean, you are a Saffron correct? I find it slightly odd that a wolf that cares about plant life would ever want anything to do with something that kills it, that's what herbicide is correct?" Integra spoke as he turned to him. "You are right, venom to a Hemlock is as common as spit is to you, but, I've never known spit to be anything hazardous." Integra spoke as he eyed Shamus once again.

Integra then walked up to him. "It's also curious as to why you would go to such lengths for something like a herbicide? I'm sure if you spoke with the Aven, they would have happily told you what could kill certain plants and without any added danger. Besides you can't possibly have wanted it this badly, unless, you plan to do something with it that might be...questionable?" Integra spoke with a stare that can bore into pure stone. "You should know this isn't the first time wolves have come to our swamps, looking to abuse our venom for their own gain." Integra warned. It was then after a period of uncomfortable silence that Integra suddenly laughed. "But hey! If you were planning to hurt someone, Vander would have done it for free if you asked!" He joked as he laughed some more.

"Anyway, you are free to go, but, SCHEMEKO!" Integra called out to his brother. "What now?" He groaned. "For your crimes against this wolf, the beginning of your punishment is to happily escort Shamus out of our Swamps. Oh, and Nail, Greytooth! Make sure Schemeko stays true to the course." Integra ordered as two Hemlocks came forward and bowed their heads. Schemeko grumbled as he walked over to Shamus. "Come on, I don't want this to drag on any longer than it needs to." Schemeko grumbled as he waited for Shamus to follow. "The rest of you, take these two back to New Lichen and let them stew there for awhile." Integra ordered the other Hemlocks as they pushed the two goons along. "Well, I apologize if your visit to Nazar has been less than desirable, if only we can run into decent wolves anymore, am I right?" Integra spoke with a chuckle. "Well Shamus, good luck out there, or is that a poor choice of words?" He then chuckled as he dismissed them with a nod.

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Shamus

The Saffron bit his lip as he returned the nod to Integra, letting his sigh of relief only manifest after he had trotted over to Schemeko and the escort. His nerves had been strained from that encounter, and would have snapped had Integra been a little less hasty in dismissing the conversation. Granted, he had thought ahead what he was going to say about why he needed the venom, but bringing up the Aven was a curve ball he hadn't seen coming. Shamus quickly made a mental note of that hitch in his story, and vowed to address it later.

Only...why bother? This blasted swamp was the last stop on his travel home, and he had all that he needed to put his scheme into effect. A wave of self confidence quickly filled the vacuum left by the relief from the tension just moments ago, and Shamus could feel a grin slowly returning to his face. This was going to be even better then the time with the Deon's after all!

Feeling rather secure and almost a bit giddy, Shamus couldn't resist passing a few remarks to Schemeko as they walked. The Hemlock looked like the wind had gone from his sails. "Shame we can't all have a matey like Integra, eh matey? Don't have to worry about a thing with him around. And your lucky enough to have him as your brother!" Shamus remarked, tempering his comments for the sake of the two escorting wolves. The things that guards must hear sometimes, especially those who held the Alpha's life!

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Schemeko

Schemeko made a low growl throughout the whole charade. He wasn't happy but then again, despite how low Schemeko appeared it didn't seem like that of anger but rather anticipation. He then looked towards Shamus who was hamming it up after his ordeal with his brother. Schemeko only scoffed. "You think so huh?" Schemeko spoke, no sign of insanity his voice. "You'll change your tune soon enough." Schemeko spoke as he looked over to Nail and Greytooth. "Do you two mind? I can positively feel your noxious fumes being breathed down my neck!" He barked as the two decided to step back a good, few feet.

Schemeko then looked to the giddy Saffron and then spoke in a low, agitated whisper. "You seem so happy...I would hate to spoil your good mood." Schemeko venomously mocked. "But, I guess you wouldn't care anyway, since Integra is such a matey." Schemeko continued to quietly rant. "I guess you wouldn't care to hear the words of a liar as well. And I guess you wouldn't give a thought or care to how suspicious this all is." Schemeko continued. "I mean, you are a vagabond, why concern yourself with the laws of other packs? I mean I'm sure it slipped your mind about why you had to travel all the way to the Swamps of Nazar in the first place. I mean it's not like you see traders in any major town, thoroughfare or outpost selling vials of Hemlock venom or anything like that?" Schemeko spoke sarcastically truthful. "But you know, why care? Venom is as common a spit right? A regular commodity traded like Saffron wheat or Jera clocks." Schemeko continued to speak in a hushed tone.

"But hey, nothing to worry about with a matey like Integra right? It's not like he grew up with the greatest liar in the pack for all his life." Schemeko remarked with a scoff. He wasn't sure if Shamus was getting the hint but at this point he didn't care. They could do whatever they wanted to him for all he cared. Strange, only Integra can put him in such a bad mood. What a prick.

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Shamus

"Perhaps I was just tired of getting dealt snake oil, matey" Shamus responded, dismissing the remark about why he had to come all the way to the swamps to seek what he sought. Good moods were getting harder and harder to come by these days, and he wasn't about to let this one be dampened in unpolite conversation. So he chose to tune most of the conversation out, only responding so that the two guards would not have something unresolved let to speculate about.

Little black flies and insects that were even smaller had been bugging his face and fur ever since he had come to the marshes, which led Shamus to idly ask his escort after a few minutes, "So are there any other critters here besides flies and wolves?" Probably was. Probably some poisonous swamp weasel or venomous water bird that had the displeasure of calling this place home. The Saffron wasn't as completely ignorant as he made his question sound, after all, who hadn't heard stories about the great swamp crocodiles that could swallow a wolf that inhabited these rotting water ways? Rather, he was almost as curious just to here the manner of reply he was going to get than just the answer itself.

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Schemeko

Schemeko and Shamus's entourage were approaching the borders of their lands. To which one could tell that the marsh wasn't so deep and the land seemed drier here. "Well, here we are...I bet your pleased." Schemeko grumbled. He looked towards Shamus who seemed to not have a care in the world. It was then he eyed the two Hemlocks towards the back of them. He decided to look away as he cared very little. It was then they began to creep up on Shamus as they began to bear their fangs.

Then suddenly, Nail and Greytooth lunged as one grabbed Shamus's satchel and the other the strap. With their sharp teeth they easily relieved him of his possessions. During the confusion they prepared to poison the wretch but, against his better judgement, Schemeko defended him. Schemeko spat poisonous saliva at Greytooth as it coated his nose. With a yelp he dropped the bag as he began to violently toss and kick trying to remove the spit from his nose, the poison clogging his sinuses. Nail turned tail and grabbed the bag and tried to flee.

"You're not going anywhere." Schemeko chuckled as he rustled his fur as quills began to show. Then with a sudden shake, the quills detached themselves and flew at Nail, striking him in his hind legs. He too yelped as he dropped to the ground. He furiously bit at his legs trying to remove the uncomfortable quills. Yet his movement soon became slower and slower with time. Eventually he found himself paralyzed. Schemeko casually walked up to Nail and took the bag away from him with ease. He soon began to foam at the mouth. He continued to nonchalantly stroll up to Shamus as he dropped the bag at his feet.

"There you go." He abruptly spoke. He then looked at Greytooth who was howling in pain as he shoved his nose in the marsh's water trying to ease the burning sensation. "Oh shut up!" Schemeko barked as he bit down on Greytooth's scruff and slammed his head next to a nearby tree, knocking him unconscious. He then turned to Shamus whom he assumed might be confused about all of this. He then stared at him for a while then he snickered, "Sorry about that but these two dolts have not the interest in our native flora and fauna as I...besides they simply are bad conversationalists anyway."

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Shamus

During the course of the scuffle, Shamus' heart beat wildly as he searches his body for signs of infection. Fear gripping his stomach, it was not until Schemeko had dealt with the guards quite nicely that the Saffron was satisfied that he had not been poisoned. No amount of charisma could save one from the adder's bite.

"...I have never had such warm hospitality...from any pack..." Shamus muttered in a fit of confusion. Still trying to order the events in his head, he almost automatically grabbed his belongings at Schemeko's prompting. Looking over at this struggling and the unconscious figure, the Saffron realized that this had to have been the closest of scrapes he had been in as of yet. Yes, it was even closer then that time with those stupid Avira mercenaries.

Fully aware that Schemeko was able to shoot liquid blindness at him without a moment's hesitation, Shamus relented to asking the obvious. "Why bother saving my worthless hide, matey...seeing you already tried killing me yourself earlier today" Shamus asked mildly, rather afraid that the answer was going to be something sinister. He knew that seizing control of the Saffron pack was going to be difficult, but he never expected that he would have so many hang ups at this step of the plot.

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Schemeko

Schemeko tilted his head as he looked at him curiously. "Is that how you show your gratitude to someone who does you a kindness, with inquiry? I must say your manners are worse than my own." Schemeko laughed out loud. "But I understand, I found myself asking that very question...but, in the end I realized, there aren't too many interesting wolves out there in the world. To have Nigerius lose another would only serve to make this world more boring than it already is." Schemeko then sighed longingly. "Yes, it has been quite awhile since I ran across anyone as half as interesting as you...oh dear, I fear I'm feeling nostalgic." Schemeko then finished with another maniacal laugh.

"Anyway their lack of hospitable behavior could be blamed on my brother. His silly laws have taken affect and unfortunately he sniffed you out as a violator of such laws. Don't feel bad, very rarely things get past my brother...I often wonder if he's just that good or just paranoid?" Schemeko spoke as he looked up into the sky. "Anyway, I fear I'll start rambling on about the past, you best clear off before too long...once Nail and Greytooth here fail to report in...well, lets just say retribution will be swift and terrible." Schemeko warned Shamus. "Although before you leave good sir, tell me, what is it that you REALLY plan to do with that venom. Because it's obvious to me that herbicide excuse is pure and utter malarkey. No, there's something more to it, hm?" Schemeko asked curious as ever.

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Shamus

More than willing to take Schemeko's advice to flee, Shamus hesitated for a moment at his request to reveal his plans. He had already brushed this question off several times before, but given the change in circumstances, and the fact that he was desperate to confide with someone if only to show his genius, the Saffron finally relented. Besides, Schemeko wasn't in any position to ruin his plan, and Shamus doubted that the other wolf would even want to given his fascination with...interesting wolves.

"Well, matey, the herbicide excuse is the frankly the most honest thing I have said to you, but let me give a view from a thousand feet about the mischief I plan to cause, because you seem to like that kind of thing" Shamus began with a light chuckle, releasing some of his pent up nerves. "We Saffron are harvest wolves, and believe what you want about what our true element is all about, but indeed the harvest is very important to us. So much so that we elect our leaders based on how well they predicted the coming harvest. I won't bore you with the finer details matey, but suffice it to say that the omens have been such that our leaders have predicted a bountiful crop this year, and many preparations have been made for it. I alone was the dissenting voice, calling for famine."

"I am tired from the scamming and the fleeing matey, and I intend to ensure my election so that I can take a life of ease for a season. Your pack has given me the needed insurance, matey, and I thank you for it, if there is anything I can be thankful for here" Shamus concluded, picking up his pack.

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Schemeko

As he watched Shamus preparing to depart Schemeko laughed the loudest, most maniacal laugh yet. It seemed to last forever until he looked at the Saffron with a toothy grin. "So, the Luck Wolf makes his own luck eh? How hilarious!" He then laughed again. "Oh, I love it, I knew I sniffed out a fellow schemer...hehe." He then lightly chuckled. He then looked at him for a moment and then spoke, "Of course if you wish...I can make you a better offer than only one season of leisure?" Schemeko spoke placing emphasis on one. "Then again, I understand the life of a schemer, so many things to do and so little time...I best let you go and get on with your life." He spoke sing-songly. He then turned around and looked like he was preparing to leave himself.

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Shamus

Satisfied to have cleared that point of contention, Shamus mirrored Schemeko's movements as he turned to head to dryer ground. "Well, while your resume has been rather impressive matey, I'm afraid your work environment leaves much to be wanted. I'll leave the swamp to you Hemlock's" the Saffron responded, declining whatever the mischievous offer was. While it would be interesting to say the least to stay and observe Schemeko, Shamus simply couldn't stay in this infernal swamp any longer. Going from his native wheat fields to this horrid marsh was as much of a culture shock as a Ausi trying to find a home in the Vulcan volcanoes.

Perhaps another life, as another wolf, he could have had fun causing trouble with Schemeko. But petty pranks were below him, and he had planned far too long for this coup for a spur of the moment change."Though if you ever manage to find the Saffron Fields, matey, look me up. I may try return your gracious hospitality!" Shamus called over his shoulder to his new acquaintance, turning to walk away to his own aspirations.

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Schemeko

Schemeko perked his ears up as he looked over tilting his head in confusion. "He declined?" He thought to himself. While he probably wouldn't care so much about Shamus's ambitions, the gears were turning in the Hemlock's mind. He has ambitions himself and using a wolf like him and placing him in a position of power, would make Shamus too valuable to give up. He then turned around as he watched him then grinned. "Well then I guess you don't want to be the Saffron who accurately predicts the greatest famine in Saffron history." He cooed.

"Too bad, you don't have the imagination I thought you had. To remain in power season after season, with everyone saying how lucky of a Saffron you are." Schemeko sighed. "Yet I know these surroundings are quite, and can be literally, intoxicating. So I understand the wanting to leave but, I guess you're not that ambitious either...what a shame." Schemeko then chuckled once more, trying to entice Shamus into listening to his proposition.

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Shamus

Slowing his to gait to a halt when he heard Schemeko calling out more words than the usual goodbye required, Shamus paused to listen. Was he really trying to entice him by pandering to greed? Schemeko clearly didn't understand how often he himself conned people by playing to just the same sin. Besides, he just wanted to have an easy life for a while, not cause a famine. After all, the Saffron did actually eat their produce, bread being an essential part of their diet and meat only being a supplement. The easy life and hunger didn't exactly go together well. Some wolves go as far to call that state unemployment.

"Perhaps we see ambition in different ways, matey!" Shamus called back, over his shoulder. Turning around to face the Hemlock, Shamus paused, before saying "Though if you really want to keep a tab on me, why don't you send one of your lackey's that isn't a complete scatter-fool with me! I'll send him back your way once I'm more established, and have time to play some of your games." Despite having just been saved by him, Shamus still didn't trust Schemeko as far as he could throw him. Which wasn't all that far, for Schemeko was a good sized wolf!

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Schemeko

Schemeko grinned at the thought as he looked at Shamus. He thought about going himself but, no, he needs to bail out those two imbeciles first. Then again the urge to cause some trouble may in fact hamper the Saffron. No, he will need to send someone dependable and trustworthy for such a thing. There was only one wolf that came to mind. "Perhaps I shall take you up on that offer." He then mused. "They should reveal themselves not too long from now." As soon as he said that, from the direction that Shamus was heading, two Hemlocks came into view. "Well here they are now, punctual as ever." Schemeko gleamed as the two Hemlocks reached the two.

One Hemlock, a she-wolf, possessed the more common green fur and sported a sour face. As for the other, he had a less common fur color color to the Hemlocks, a light gray. The She-Wolf replied in an ill-disposed manner, "Hello, Schemeko." Schemeko merely smiled, "Hello Sadie, and Hello Felonious!" The Gray Wolf, Felonious took a bow. "Greetings. Who's your guest?" He asked in a debonair manner. "This my friends is my new acquaintance Shamus! Like me, he too has a fondness for schemes, he's got a particularly underhanded one that he intends to enact." Schemeko responded.

"And I should care, why?" Sadie asked sounding as unpleasant as one could be. "Well, I don't expect you to care but I do hope that Felonious is a different matter." Felonious looked at him curiously. "You see my friend, I think we could form something worthwhile with this wolf and I would like you to, as put it to me, keep tabs on him?" Schemeko asked. "You would like me to accompany him?" Felonious asked. "Of course! There's no one I would trust more! After all I can't rely on the two imbeciles, and while lovely Sadie is efficient, well, lets be honest she makes for a terrible company." Schemeko laughed at Sadie's expense, causing her to give a bone chilling growl. "Now, now, now, sense of humor? Remember?" Schemeko said with a smile as Sadie scoffed. Felonious looked at Shamus and then nodded. "Of course, is there anything special I should do when we get to wherever he's going to?" He asked. "Nothing specific just be a good traveling companion and of course keep me updated if you can?" Schemeko responded. "Alright." "Alright! It's settled! Now if anything comes up I'll send for ya if I need you back real bad. Now off, off you two, have fun with your mischief!" Schemeko laughed.


"Come on, Sadie, we need to help Wylie and Vander again." Schemeko spoke as he wandered off. Sadie merely groaned at the prospect as she lagged behind him. Felonious then looked at Shamus and with a smile, "Well, whenever you are ready?" He said.

The setting changes from the-swamps-of-nazar to The Lands of Nigerius

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Shamus

After exchanging the usual pleasantries with Felonious, Shamus began to lead the way. So it would seem he was going to have a travel companion after all. He did prefer traveling along, more flexible that way, but he couldn't deny that having a Hemlock around when he got home would have certain advantages.

After walking for a few minutes, the minimum time Shamus figured it would take to be away from Schemeko's seemingly endless network, the Saffron began to think aloud. "Your boss there certainly seems to have a silver tongue, if not a venomous heart. What does he pay you lot, anyway? If I hadn't seen him personally dispatch those two guards, I would have thought he made you mateys do all of his work" Shamus wondered, hoping that Felonious would enlighten him.

This new wolf at least seemed more competent than those other two lugs, so he figured he may was well probe around to see how loyal he was, or if he was just going to scurry soon. They were going to be traveling some distance, after all, and it was getting toward evening. Did he really trust this wolf enough to let sleep lower his guard?

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Durandel and Mydnyte

As Mydnyte laid there he noticed that Nova and Durandel had nodded off. He then snorted as he looked over to Fang Hunter and BattleDemon or Dey or whatever, were still awake. He didn't expect the She-Wolf to take over the first he watch, in fact he suspected her to be too weak to do so. He then spoke up, "Fang, you take first watch, once the midnight moon passes over, I shall take over the next watch." Mydnyte ordered. "Yes, I shall wake you up when the time comes." Fang responded as Mydnyte fell asleep.

Fang looked over at Dey who seemed troubled. He then sighed, "You should get some sleep as well, you're body needs the time to heal. Do not worry, my eyes are exceptional in the dark...nothing harmful will get past without my knowledge of it." Fang spoke reassuringly. He felt bad for the She-Wolf, not only was she hurt but she was mistaken for another wolf. That must be annoying. "Besides we will be leaving early in the morning and trust me, Mydnyte isn't very good at good mornings." Fang chuckled trying to make light of the situation.


____________

Felonious looked over to Shamus who asked him a peculiar question. Felonious shrugged, "Schemeko is complex and at times can seem confusing. Often we are given commands to assist in his enterprises...but the wolf isn't an invalid in the slightest." Felonious spoke as he sniffed the air. "We are nearly out of the Swamps. I suggest we find a dry spot, preferably a cave for our evening rest." Felonious suggested, whether or not Shamus would agree, he didn't mind. He wasn't here to direct, but merely follow. "As for the matter of compensation...well, he's not impoverished either." Felonious answered.

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Shamus

Well, it looked was going to be traveling with a regular stooge, Shamus thought with a groan. Still, even if he was a yes-wolf, he did have enough sense to suggest they stop for the night. And so long as Schemeko hadn't some how given him a secret instruction, Felonious would probably be loyal enough throughout the duration of their trip in order to please his boss. Was that enough of an assurance to trust him enough to sleep? Er, he'd still have to figure that out.

"Over there looks like a good spot, matey" Shamus suggested, pointing a paw towards a small cave cut into a ridge. It was actually a fortunate find, the Saffron didn't know of too many caves in this district. Without waiting for the affirmation, Shamus proceeded to gather a bundle of grasses and dry leaves to take inside. Backing himself into a corner, Shamus made a show of throwing the bundle on the ground, and after a few return trips, build up enough padding to make a sleeping pad. He was sure to leave plenty of the dried leaves about his mattress, so that any wolf trying to pad close to him while he slept would crinkle and snap with every step. "Tell ya what, matey," Shamus said after he was settled, "why don't you take the first watch, and halfway through the night wake me up for the next watch?"

As if he assumed that the other wolf would agree, he laid his head down and closed his eyes. No, this wolf wasn't going to try anything funny, not tonight. Not when they had barely begun. Nor would any wolf bother them in this part of the land. When Shamus was waken up to watch, he would just fall back asleep! Let's see how loyal that Hemlock is tomorrow when he is walking on half sleep!

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Durandel and Mydnyte

Mydnyte headed the group as the made way to the Acacia Woods, there Mydnyte hoped to meet up with a certain contact. Following him were his allies, Fang Hunter and his old acquaintances Nova and Durandel, and of course the daughter of BattleDemon, Blue. Mydnyte came to terms with that bit of information, he wasn't pleased, but he was convinced to keeping Blue around. After all she could be their only key to finding her mother. Even so they trudged forward as the Kamarain followed the forest paths determined to reach the edge of Aven territory.

As they walked Fang heard the conversation that Nova and Blue were having and decided to add his knowledge to the situation. "Why the Aven are one of the Great Wolf Packs of Nigerius. Meaning their one of the largest." He spoke. "It would be a good idea to learn what you can about them since we are heading for their lands. First of all these Wolves are known for their control over the Element of Flora or plant life. They are also known for their cultivation of plant life especially for the practice of herbalism...which means using plants for medicine." Fang went on. "I can't say I have ever been to the Aven lands myself...it has been hard to reach them ever since the beginning of this war. These wolves have no interest in the affairs of others and would prefer to remain neutral in this conflict." Fang spoke as he looked towards Blue to see if she was paying attention.

"Still that hasn't worked out so well for them. The Aven are masters at the art of healing and are highly sought after by the other Packs to become their ally. They have denied to be aligned with any one pack but still continued to give their medicine to all the packs. This has made the other packs suspicious of their intentions and have attacked them because of it. It's sad, because of their caring nature they are treated with paranoia and violence." Fang finished with a sigh. "Speaking of which, all of you should be careful...the Aven may attack us if they feel threatened...they aren't as trusting as the legends say." Mydnyte added gruffly.

Durandel nodded. "I don't think I've ever visited the Aven lands either now that I think about it." Durandel pondered. Mydnyte looked over his shoulder at Durandel and said, "I would suggest you make yourself scarce when we get close...the Aven have a particular grudge against the Fire Packs for burning down their forests." Durandel then looked down at the ground feeling ashamed for the careless actions his people have made in the past. The Tenneth have made many enemies in this longstanding war because of their militaristic behavior...even now they struggle to find allies in spite of their past deeds. "Yeah...I probably should have guessed." Durandel added pessimistically.


______________

It was morning finally but Felonious was tired, having only gotten very little sleep. The Hemlock wished he could just nap the day away but the Saffron was in a hurry, and in accordance with Schemeko's wishes, he had to escort him. Felonious wasn't a fool and gathered that Shamus had done this on purpose but the Hemlock would not address it. He suspected the Saffron did this out of mistrust...which he could understand. He had considered abandoning this wolf just to get some decent rest but Schemeko would find that behavior unsportsmanlike. So Felonious opted to endure as he tiredly followed the Saffron to his homeland.