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Pacifica Sodhi

0 · 525 views · located in Frozen Wasteland

a character in “The Falls”, as played by J.D.

Description

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β•”

β€œSomehow, even in the worst of times, the tiniest fragments of good survive. It was the grip in which one held those fragments that counted.”
- Melina Marchetta


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Statistics

Full Name || Pacifica Ashana Sodhi

Nicknames || Paz

Age || 21

Sexuality || Bisexual; Female Preference

Occupation || Apprentice Huntress




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Personality

Saccharine sweet with a hint of lemon. Word of mouth would shed a worse light, but knowing her is much different than hearing passerby gossip. Quiet, yet unreserved. She doesn't play by rules, and at the same time she doesn't outright break them either. An Anomaly in a way, she's known for trouble but is usually only the secondhand cause of it. Just as much a leader as a follower, and determined to never slip into the cracks. She's the kind of person thats known for getting others wrapped around her fingers and keeping them there; case in point, she's always getting Julius into trouble because her dear cousin just can't say no when it comes to her.

Passionate, ambitious, and strong willed. A triple threat in a community that wants nothing to do with her or her kin. When she see's an opportunity she snatches it before anyone else can have the chance to slip it out from underneath her. She's a force to be reckoned with on a good day, and downright unbearably motivated on a bad one. Most people have a hard time telling her off, if only because her strong will is accompanied by a persuasive nature.

One of the few women apprenticing to become a Hunter for the community - and getting that position was a feat all on its own. Paz never wanted anything else besides to get beyond those gates and to see the world for herself. Adventure awaits, and she's determined to find it no matter the cost. One of the main reasons that she never balks at the idea of danger just on the other side. If anything is out there besides frozen wastelands and dismal communities, she wants to be the one to discover it.

On the other hand, where she lacks fear she gains a disadvantage. A reckless nature wrought with danger and the very real possibility of dying young. Arrogant in the way that she thinks she's above the odds. Too wrapped up in her own thoughts of glory to see that she's a danger to herself and others in the way that her curiosity leads her.

Its a good thing and a bad thing that she's too damn nice for her own good. Incapable of dredging up any ill will towards most people. She's dealt with hate all her life and then some, she refuses to spit it right back out at anyone. No matter how badly she wants to.






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A Deeper Look

Strenghts || Skills
Determination - Never give up! A motto she follows closely. Even when it pans out badly.
Strong Willed - She doesn't crack easy, and can continue going on just on the fuel of her will.
Persuasion - Paz has a way of getting people wrapped around her little finger. Its a talent really.
Ranged Weaponry - While she's only recently been introduced to heavy weaponry for hunting, she has showed an amazing proficiency at using guns.
Self Defense - A skill that any self-respecting member of the community would learn.
Hunting & Tracking - Being an apprentice to a Hunter has given her plenty of know how.

Weaknesses || Flaws
Reckless - Constantly placing herself and others in harms way on a whim.
Manipulative - The other side of being persuasive, some people don't take kindly to manipulation.
Pushy - She doesn't like to take no for an answer, and can be extremely pressuring.
Stubborn - She doesn't like to back down, no matter the case.
Shameless - She has very little drive to be embarrassed about things, she says and does things that would make other people blush. In fact, she has a mild lack of filter that contributes to this.
Blind To Danger - She has a way of not seeing the very real danger in front of her eyes.

Fears
Loneliness - Theres nothing worse than having nobody to share an adventure with. In her eyes, being alone would be close enough to being nothing at all.
Amputation - She's seen plenty of people lose their limbs to the cold, frostbite is deadly enough. If your lucky to make it out with one less toe thats alright, but people usually lose a lot more than that.

Backpack
Spare Clothes
Full Waterskin
Magnesium Bar and Flint
Hunting Knife and a Skinning Knife
Thermos
Extra Bullets






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A Personal History

A sheep among wolves, in a family that subsists on the simple act of stepping on one another to reach the tip top. Born to perhaps, one of the few sane members of said family. Her mother detached from the rest of the Walcott's in order to live free of suppression. And while their lives weren't perfect by any means, they were much healthier away from the rabble. Essentially, Pacifica grew up on the good side of the tracks. Lake Lofall had no love for the Walcotts, but as a Sodhi, neither her nor her mother faced quite the same level of blatant bias.

Youth lost no small ounce of love for Paz, an adventurer at heart. No matter how often she stumbled upon trouble, she always went back for more. At her side, her partner in crime and cousin, Julius. A Walcott, but not one of the bad ones. He had a lick of sense left in him, even if he didn't act like it sometimes. She loved her cousin more than anything, and for a while, their friendship was the only thing that mattered in the world.

Until they began schooling. With age came a rift, a shift in their perspectives; a small, subtle strain on their relationship. They were splitting paths, quickly growing into their teenager-hood, on the quick and steady path to becoming full fledged members of society. Paz wanted adventure, freedom, she wanted to go beyond those gates and never come back. And she just couldn't reconcile her image of the future with the fact that Julius wouldn't be in it the way she thought he would be. There would be no hunting together in the dim dawns light. There would be no adventure across the barren wetlands.

Paz had to push beyond the sudden, and very scary change in their dynamic duo to continue on this path without growing resentment in its wake. Eventually, and while it came almost too late to matter. Paz began to integrate into various friendships, Reggie being the first, he tied a rope between the gaping chasm that had become of her closeness to her cousin. And from then on, with each new friend, the ties that bound them all became thicker.

She didn't give up on going beyond those gates, but she found a new reason to come back every day. To brave The Falls and its ever growing problems. Becoming a Hunters Apprentice had been a tough and long journey. Nobody really believed she could find the discipline to do it, or a Hunter who would be willing to sign her on as an apprentice. But she found someone who could look past her faults, who saw at her core that even if she wasn't in it with community in mind she would make a fine prospect all the same.

So begins...

Pacifica Sodhi's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cecil Hart Character Portrait: Rowan Cain Character Portrait: Julius Walcott Character Portrait: Genesis Monroe Character Portrait: Noah Calloway Character Portrait: Reggie Burke Character Portrait: Pacifica Sodhi
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They only have a small window to take action. The few moments between dawn and the official start of the day where they would have enough time to get everything they need and get out. Julius had been awake for hours now, exhausted, but incapable of sleeping through the nervousness. Every time he closed his eyes all he saw was Reggie's face, imprinted on the back of his eyelids as if he were still there. Grinning through muted, rambling words. He doesn't know if this suicide mission is more for Reggie, or for the sanity of their little group. The need to know all encompassing. All Julius knows is that it's now or never.

They'd been planning this for weeks now since the first spattering of gossip reached their ears about the disappearances. Mostly rumors, but a few bits and pieces holding just enough merit to seek out. Like the guy in Victoria, who claimed to know all about the disappearances. He was a good place to start, at the very least. And if it panned out to be nothing more than false gossip, then they would just have to push on.

He's up before the first spattering of light can penetrate the flimsy screen of his window. Its ability to hold up despite the constant shift in temperature astonishing. He picks his way through the clothing scattered across his floor, a distant, childhood memory of being told time and again to clean his room cracking a small, unstable grin. He's trying not to let the enormous pressure of the situation crack him, any one thing could make it all go wrong, and he isn't going to be the one that ruins their chances.

While he sifts through the mess he constantly checks the window, hoping that the first slim lights of dawn don't come early today. The weather usually kept the night going will into the early morning. But some days, it would regulate, ruining the pattern of dark days and darker nights. His calm is nothing more than a mask as he gathers things into a bag that'll be more of a hindrance than a help, but there's nothing else he can use. They'd need all the supplies they could get between them.

He knows the others will probably have them covered with the weapons, but he takes a knife anyways, the comfort of its weight in his pocket familiar despite its lack of use. A relic of being a teenager, learning to fight with his cousin at his side. His father teaching them self-defense techniques from dawn until the light of day dipped below the horizon at dusk. He remembers days of being so tired he could barely move but being so satisfied with the outcome of newly gained skills that none of that mattered. It feels like a million years ago. In truth it was only a few.

A klutz is never quiet, and he is no exception. He's lucky enough that his mother's hearing has gone with age, the freeze had taken her youth long before it should have. His father is just gone period. Not one of the odd disappearance cases, but rather a force of will. Gone because he wanted to be. Gone because whatever slim string of love that remained had been snipped long ago. His brother would have to man up and take care of their mother now, Julius wouldn't let his friends go on this mission alone.

The bag is ridiculously heavy with articles of spare clothing and a random amount of dried meat. As much packaged food as he could steal from the market without making it too obvious that food was going missing. He'd have gotten more if he could, this would only last them so long, maybe a few days if rationed sparingly. He hopes that the girls will be able to get them more once they were out there. He has no doubts in their skills, but there will always be the nagging fear of starvation lingering at the edge of his thoughts.

"Julius?"

He's just opened the door a sliver, the cold air from outside raising goosebumps along his arms, even beneath the heavy coat and layers of clothing. He half turns, his heart thumping in his throat.

"Where are you going?" His little brother is standing there, rumpled from sleep still. "Geeze, close the door its cold." He grouses, far underdressed. Jules does, sifting through a million lies in his head.

"I'm getting an early start at work today," he hopes that's enough to placate him.

Micah scowls, "It's a Sunday." He points out, "And you have a bag."

Right, of course, it wouldn't be that easy. Luckily, he doesn't have to come up with anything else, because Micah's eyes are widening a second later and he points accusingly.

"Pacifica is making you do something stupid again, isn't she!" He suddenly looks more excited than before. "What is it! I want to know!"

"Micah, just go back to bed." Julius can't come up with anything else to say, he hadn't expected to be caught so quickly. But Micah at least seems to think this is another one of Pacifica's brilliant plans.

"You guys never let me in on the fun, I'm not a baby anymore you know..." He pouts, looking far younger than he is in that moment. "Fine, go blow stuff up or whatever she's making you do. But next time I want in, no matter what." Julius lets out a small sigh of relief. It's unfortunate that there probably won't be a next time. He's almost considering abandoning the plans altogether. The thought of dying out there and never seeing Micah or mom again leaves his chest feeling hollow and breathless.

"Deal, now go back to bed before you wake up mom." Julius watches Micah as he goes, the younger boy giving him a thumbs up before disappearing back down the hall to his bedroom. Julius steels himself against the cold again, quickly slipping outside and sticking to the shadows in the streets as he goes. Hating every crunch that his footsteps make in the freshly fallen snow. There would be hordes of citizens out shoveling the snow once the morning sunlight set it, a futile task that only makes life minimally easier.

He skirts around the edge of the frozen lake at the center of town, the only path he can walk in order to get to the gate on the far side of the Community. They'd found the weak spot earlier that week when planning all this shit out, before that they had spent hours combing the length of it, trying not to seem suspicious when they'd run into anyone else. The weak spot had been a hole, barely big enough for the tallest of them to squeeze through. Over the course of the week, they had started widening the hole, scraping away at the surrounding ice. They'd had to cover it with foliage, and prayed that nothing got into the Community while they bided their time.

It's still dark when he arrives at the spot, pacing a little as he ducks down. Afraid that someone will see him, despite the dense, lifeless branches of dead tree's surrounding them. Evergreens were just about the only things that still survived out here, among a select handful of other, winter hardy plants. He pushes away the covering from the hole, trying not to seem too nervous. They'd all gather there soon, although he knows it might take longer for some of them to get there. Several members of their group had already gathered supplies, but a few hadn't due to the fact that somebody would notice if things had suddenly started going missing. Like weapons.

Julius didn't want to crawl through the hole yet, afraid of the braving the dangers on the other side alone. Soon, they'd all be on the other side. And then, it would all begin.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cecil Hart Character Portrait: Julius Walcott Character Portrait: Genesis Monroe Character Portrait: Pacifica Sodhi
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#, as written by J.D.
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The sight of fresh snow, glistening in the morning sunlight has never looked so unappealing in her life. Once, when she was a child, she sought to mark the snow with as many steps as she could take. Trudging through the morning snowfall until her legs grew tired. Worn down by the consistent cold and worrying numbness in her toes. When she could no longer go on, she would go about her day, carried by sore legs. Only to find out the next day that every mark she's made has been swept away in the night by a fresh layer of gods dandruff.

She has to resist the urge to do that now. Emerging from the warmth of her home into the blistering morning is just about the last thing she wants to do. Really, its too goddamn early to be out and about but she's been awake for a while now. Still on a Hunters schedule despite it being a Sunday, the day of rest or so she likes to call it. Early morning hunts always brought in the best game, but she knows today most people will be snuggled in their beds still.

There's such a small window of time to accomplish what she needs to do that it dredges up a tiny bit of apprehension in her. Not so much fear - she's rarely afraid of anything, let alone breaking several laws at once like she's about to do - but rather a crawling in her gut that has her jittery with false nervousness. Her pace increases as she tries and fails to hide the large, and not at all inconspicuous bag slung over one shoulder. Its not full yet, the contents of which just barely scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of what she'll need out there.

The place she's headed to will fix that problem quickly. Its not so much a habitable home as it is a storage space behind a more suitable lodging. Its contents filled to the brim with random bits and bobs, but most importantly guns. She hurries along until she's flush with the buildings side, hidden from the main buildings view, taking in large breaths of stinging cold air. She'd been running without realizing it.

"Get a hold of yourself," Paz curses under her breath. Sliding the bag off of her shoulder and settling it on the ground for a moment. She knows from past experience that the door to the shack will be locked. The owner being the only one with a key, naturally. But theres a window, slightly too tall for her to reach on her own on one side. She easily surpasses that obstacle by stepping on her bag, the stack of additional clothing inside of it giving enough solid force to keep it from sinking beneath her weight. She reaches overhead and pushes the window open, thankful that its not blocked by anything.


Months of horribly annoying physical training has given her just enough upper body strength to pull herself up and through the window. She makes sure to hook one boot beneath the strap of her bag so she can pull it in with her. From the window its a steep drop into the cluttered storage space, but nothing compared to some of the things she's jumped off of in her lifetime. The impact jars her a little, a small shooting pain nipping her ankles.

She has no time to worry about it however, leaving her bag in the middle of the floor as she begins to dig through the storage. Mentally cycling through a checklist in her head. She knows the more she steals the more that someone else will have to go without, but, they'd have a much better time of it being in the community. Paz and the group would need these things more, out in the wilderness, where anything could happen.

It wouldn't all fit, so she'd have to be careful with what she chose to take. Weapons were a must, but most of those she could fit on her person in general via strategically placed holsters. Even so, grabbing a few extra pistols and knives off the rack for the others, should they need them, feels like a good course of action. A Magnesium bar and flint, for the obvious reasons, goes in her bag next. She also gathers plenty of kindling as well, knowing that out there, they'll die without being able to start a fire large enough to warm them up.

Paz feels almost heartless as she pilfers, taking this and that at will. Stopping only when she catches sight of a weapon that hadn't been up on the racks. A beautiful rifle, much alike the one her instructor carried on him at all times. She stood and made a beeline for it. Examining it throughly. No way could she hide this, it'd stick out like a sore thumb. A flashing beacon telling everyone that she's going outside the gates. But she wants it all the same, impulse telling her to grab it and run before anyone can see. Paz sighs, digs through the overturned boxes for a scabbard, and slides the rifle in.

With her bag now mostly full she contemplates going back through the window or simply unlocking the front door from within and running all the way to the meeting spot. She isn't far, in fact, since most hunters choose to live closer to the gates in order to be out and about by the time the sun rises. She really doesn't want to lift herself back through the window, least of all not with the added weight of her back pack and rifle slung across that. Already, she feels too weighed down to run. Either option hold pro's and con's that she doesn't have the time to ponder over.

She unlocks the front door.

For the second time she feels as if she's been slapped in the face by the cold as she emerges. Casting her gaze about to ensure that nobody is around to see her. Its still fairly early, enough so that she relaxes just a bit. Making her stroll as casual as possible as she heads out.

She's luckily not the first, nor last to show up. Julius, her ever weary cousin is already standing there with Gen and Cecil. Pacifica smiles softly, glad that so far nobody has backed out of this crazy plan of theirs.

"Hey," she doesn't know how long they'll have to wait, so she settles her bag on the ground again and sits against it. The cold just barely seeping through the tough material of her pants. "Nice day huh?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cecil Hart Character Portrait: Rowan Cain Character Portrait: Julius Walcott Character Portrait: Genesis Monroe Character Portrait: Noah Calloway Character Portrait: Pacifica Sodhi
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#, as written by Ivisbo
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"Light up with me my dear,
Light up.
Under stormy night, tell nobody.


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Noah never really had trouble waking up. He was good at convincing himself to get started with that day; things needed to be done, lists in his head needed to be checked off, and if he stayed a minute longer in bed a certain blanket stealing boyfriend would never let him leave.Currently, Row was curled up as close as he could be to Noah, blanket in a strangle hold around his legs and arms. Noah’d been left with the corner, but with all Rows suffocating body heat he really didn’t need much more.

His room was dark, but he could tell the time easy enough. Right before dawn, when the world was still and unmoving outside. No nightly activity, no guards, just calm and perfect snow. It was the time of the morning that you wake up and go back to sleep, happy to have a few more hours in the warmth of your bed. But Noah needed to get to the clinic before the new shift started- before his dad started- and couldn’t afford the risk of waiting. There was a small window of time that he could slip in, grab the supplies on his list, and be out of there before anyone knew.

Dislodging himself from Row took some effort, Rows sleep death grip a vice around his middle. But he was used to this, mornings since they were young had seldom changed. Noah leaned down and brushed his lips over check, neck, ear, ghosting touches to wake him up slowly- till Row was pulling away searching for more. Noah took that opportunity to slip away, earning him a bleary eyed death glare as he stood from the small bed.

β€œS’ too early” Noah rolled his eyes, digging around the floor for a pair of boxers as Row rolled away and shuffled back under the comforter. It was cold without the body heat and warmth of the bed, so he made fast work of finding his clothes.

β€œYou better not go back to sleep, you gotta get shit down and meet us on time” Noah walked around the bed, hunting down his socks and boots near the nightstand, β€œIf your late we’ll just leave without you”

There was some muffled reply under the blanket that he didn’t bother to figure out, probably just more complaints about the wake up time. He knew as soon as he left Row was going straight back to sleep, but there was no way Row would let himself get left behind. He'd show up, probably late, but he’d show. And currently, Noah had higher priorities then dragging his boyfriend out of bed.

He pulled the blanket back to kiss the mop of dark hair tucked underneath and Row struggled to get him to stay longer. Grabbed at him, tried to get him back in bed, but his half-asleep feeble attempt didn’t do much. Noah called out another warning to be there on time as he gathered his pre-packed bag and headed for the door. He paused though, glancing back at his room... clean, tidy, but messy wherever Row had had his way with it. A pile of clothes in the corner, books stacked on the ground, a snack hidden on Row's side of the bed he hadn't noticed. The room was small, but it had been his since he was a baby... and it kinda hurt him to leave. Not the last time, he had to remind himself, even if that nagging feeling of dread followed him out the door.

Noah walked through the house without glancing around, knowing nostalgia would only slow him down. He'd already said his goodbyes- in his own way- to his sisters and father. His sisters understood, they knew what his disjointed group of friends meant to him, but his father wouldn't. He'd left a letter in the kitchen for him to find in the morning, explaining where he was and the stolen medical supplies. Noah would hate for one of the nurses to get blamed for his crime.

He pulled the fur lined hood of his parka over his head as he exited his childhood home, avoiding sending a glance back in order to keep the keening ache in his chest low. Focus on the task, ignore it all, it'll be okay once you get this done and meet the others. The clinic was only a few block from the house, close enough that the distance could be covered in ten minutes. Ten minutes of frosty breath and checking every street for others, cause Noah was damned scared of getting spotted. Dressed in full outdoor winter gear, also stolen from his medic training, and lugging around a half filled bag, Noah was sure anyone that spotted him would know where he was headed. Only things he'd packed from himself were a blanket, tent, change of clothes, and as much random cans of food he could fit in the lower half of his bag. The top was reserved for as much medical supplies as he could fit, cause he was one hundred percent sure his group was going to need them.

The clinic was eerily quiet when he arrived, but he knew the three over night patients they currently had would be sleeping. Only two nurse's were on staff right now, another on call, so all he had to do was avoid their station and he would be fine. Didn't stop his heart from hammering wildly and his steps to quicken at any hint of a sound. He got the supply closet without incident, shutting the door and keeping the light off as he riffled through with his flashlight.

He'd planned out what he needed before hand so he moved automatically, fitting everything into the bag systematically. CAT tourniquets, muslin bandages, gauze, sterile gloves, bottle of iodine, medical tape, trauma shears, scalpels, sutures, burn dressing, bottle of morphine, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and assorted antibiotics and vitamins. Everything fit exactly how he'd planned, tight, orderly, and little room for much more. He paused at his stethoscope, handing near the door next to his fathers, stared at it because he knew he didn't need it. Unnecessary baggage to take with- but his father had gotten his name engraved in it last month, before Reggie went missing and he'd thrown away his life plans to go on this wild mission- Noah grabbed it and made it fit in the last bit of room in his bag.

It was still dark out when he slipped from the clinic, keeping his head down under his hood just incase. He did a loop around the block cause he's paranoid as shit and then headed in the direction of the meeting point near the wall. Its cold out, but with the adrenaline running through him he barely feels it. Has to force himself to stay at a walking pace cause all he wants to do is run. Wishes Row was with him, cause fuck he could use something to keep his breathing steady.

He gets himself under control just as he nears Jules, Gen, Cecil, and Pax, nodding at each of them with a warm greeting smile. Happy everyone had made it safe, but instantly aware of the one person he'd berated on being on time.

"Morning everyone" His words send frosty breath upwards like a chimney. His face goes strained for a second, cause of course Row wasn't there yet, "For all I know Row is still under a pile of blankets in bed, anyone heard from him?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cecil Hart Character Portrait: Rowan Cain Character Portrait: Julius Walcott Character Portrait: Genesis Monroe Character Portrait: Noah Calloway Character Portrait: Pacifica Sodhi
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ROWAN CAIN
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To say he wasn't excited about their plans for the day was a gross understatement. He wanted to go, sure. He might have been one of the last to sigh and raise his hand, but he knew they had to do it. To leave. For Reggie.

Fuck Reggie. When they found him, Rowan was going to beat the shit out of him.

He turns sleepy eyes towards the window, it's frost covered but he can still see out easily enough to guess the time. The sun will be up so quickly, and soon the early risers would be getting to work. He's already pushing his time. He should move, the bed's cold anyway, but if he closes his eyes he can still feel Noah there. His warmth, his kisses, his nagging tone telling Row to get up. Barely remembers Noah going. Might have threatened to leave him?

As if.

He wishes they would have had just a bit longer. He doesn't worry a lot, but he's worrying now. There's so much out there they don't understand, and regardless once that gate is breached... things will never be the same again. This is it. His last second of normalcy. And he's alone.

He gets up finally. Finds half his clothes wherever they fell the night before. Laces his boots tighter than usual, drags a beanie over his messy hair and glances at the room one last time. It's Noah's, but it might as well be his too. Thinks about making the bed - he never does and it drives Noah crazy. But that feels really final. Like it'll mean they never expect to get back into it.

He grabs his bag off the ground, swings it over his shoulder, and pulls the baggie of nuts free from the corner between mattress and wall. They're too valuable to leave behind, and anyway, he's hungry.

He walks out of the Calloway house like it's any other day. Like it's not some ungodly hour of the morning. Like he's just going to work - a few hours after Noah, as always. Like he's not leaving with the possibility of never coming back.

He didn't say goodbye to anyone. Not his brothers or his parents. Didn't know how, and if he'd tried, they would have known something was up, so he didn't bother. It won't matter anyway, because once Everett realizes his ice tools are gone, he'll know Rowan did it. And when he doesn't come back for a couple of days, they'll know he's gone. They'll get it.

It's fucking cold outside but it's not like he expected any less. It's just going to get worse too, the farther away they get. He glances at the outline of the gates he can see from here, wonders what they're doing. But then he imagines Reggie's smiling face and remembers.

They have to find him.

He deserves better.

His place isn't far from Noah's, but if he goes the right way he can swing by the Den - the large enclosure on the edge of the community that held the wolves. It'd take a few extra minutes but he doesn't care much. Just wants to pop in and pop back out. He's not sure who will pick up the slack when he's gone. Regardless, they'll do a shit job. But the dogs are strong, they'll be fine.

It takes a few minutes but he has a key that lets him in through the front door. The Den is half building, half fenced off land. Always cold to keep the dogs acclimated, but providing them some shelter for health reasons. The wolves are awake mostly, though still curled up together, watching him without moving though their ears are perked up.

He drops his bag and crosses the dark cabin to pull down the jar of frozen peaches. That gets their attention, and he smiles as he listens to them all hurry stand and paw at the gate, needy whines reaching his ears. "Calm down I'm coming."

The way they're trained they sit when he raises the jar, and one by one he calls out a name and tosses the frozen treat high over the gate into a waiting mouth. It's only when he's nearing the end of the list that he realizes someone is missing. "Where's Mika?"

No one answers him, so he stands up on his toes to look passed the others and near the back. Mika's still laying down, half inside half out, his nose buried in the snow, both eyes focused on him. Right one amber, left one icey blue. Rowan taps on the gate and frowns at him. "Hey. Lazy ass. Come say goodbye."

It takes awhile, but eventually the wolfdog stands, shaking snow off it's face and walking over. It takes Rowan only a moment to catch sight of the angry red welt across Mika's snout. It's not deep, not bleeding, but it looks like it hurts. His jaw snaps and every levelheaded thought he's known for having flies right out the fucking window.

He's so sick of this shit.

He opens the gate and whatever his posture says keeps the others off of him, but Mika saunters through, more interested in the peaches in his hand. The shortest of the pack but still comes up to his waist. Rowan tosses him a treat and watches him move. Seems okay.

He sets aside the jar and drops to his knees to get on Mika's level. Lets the wolf press their noses together in greeting before he moves gentle fingers over the welt. Mika rumbles at him in warning, but Rowan just gives him a sharp look. It was a belt this time, he thinks. Can see where the metal dug in. Where the leather lashed. There are other scars. Criss-crosses that disrupt the pattern of his fur, one that's still pink beside that amber eye. It'd taken Rowan months to heal that one.

His blood runs hot and he's pissed. He stands up and grabs his bag off the floor, throwing open the office door and turning into the small vet clinic. There are lightweight emergency backup kits under the sink and he has a key for that too. Grabs one and tosses it into his bag before retracing his steps.

There isn't much in the office, but there is a big fuckin map, and it stops Rowan dead in his tracks. He doesn't think it's exactly reliable. Distance isn't measured. But the communities are on there. The fucking wilderness is on there. He grabs a chair and climbs up it, digging his fingers into the cloth at each corner until the damn thing comes down. Folds it up and shoves it in his bag too.

For the hell of it, he goes through drawers and opens cabinets, looking for anything else. The area is mostly for the dogs, information on them, shit he already knows. He grabs a spare knife, thinks about tipping the desk over, but freezes when the last drawer falls open to show walkie talkies.

They're solar powered, work long distance, and valuable as hell. The hunters use them in case of separation, or in case a dog gets too hurt they aren't going to find the others through howls.

Rowan grinds his teeth so hard they hurt.

He takes three.

"Noah's going to kill me," he decides as he walks through the Den without looking back. Mika's watching him with interest, and stands to attention when Rowan snaps his fingers in the wolfdogs direction.

"C'mon," he says, shouldering the door open. "Don't fuckin howl."

Mika slinks out ahead of him, like even he understands what they're doing is breaking so many laws. He snatches the peaches off the counter once more, opens the gate, and throws the jar hard enough most of them fall out before it hits the ground and rolls away. The other dogs are much too interested in the treat to care about what he and Mika are doing.

He pulls a still full jar down and pushes it in the last empty space in his bag before following Mika outside. It's getting brighter now, and he's flying by the seat of his fucking pants. There's no time - or space - for him to get Everett's tools now.

He sighs and cracks his neck. His friends are going to hate him. But his decision is made, and he doesn't have the time to hesitate. He motions to Mika to follow him, and hauls ass to the meeting place.

He tries to be nonchalant when he descends. Eats his nuts casually, like maybe if he acts normal enough no one will notice he's got a fucking wolf following him. The rest of his friends are already there, sporting bags that had much more helpful shit than he was carrying.

He catches sight of Noah's and winces.

Oh.

He's in so much trouble.

"Hey."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cecil Hart Character Portrait: Rowan Cain Character Portrait: Julius Walcott Character Portrait: Genesis Monroe Character Portrait: Noah Calloway Character Portrait: Pacifica Sodhi
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Luckily enough, Julius didn't have to wait very long before his friends began to appear. One by one, each greeting a reminder that this would probably be the last time any of them saw this community again.

β€œHey, it is fuckin' cold.” Julius nods as Gen appears, unsure how much worse it's going to be out there without solid shelter. "Fuck yeah it is," Julius grumbles his agreeance, rubbing his hands up and down his arms, wishing that the cold didn't seep through the material of his coats quite as much. He can't tell if its the quiet panic that's got him feeling chills or the wind.

"Hey Cecil." Julius greets, and a few minutes later nods his head towards Pacifica as she too comes around the bend. Their quick arrivals just barely spaced out. They'll only be waiting for Noah and Rowan now. Knowing the latter, they'll all be waiting a while. "Nice day huh?" Julius shoots Pacifica a glare. But softens when he realizes she isn't being sarcastic. It's always hard for him to decipher when she's going to be confrontational and when she's going to be sweet.

"I hope they hurry," He frowns, glancing up at the sky and the light that bleeds across it in different hues of pink. Leaving anybody behind would suck but they couldn't afford to get caught out here now, not with all of the stuff they've stolen. Julius glances again at Pacifica, and the rifle that clearly isn't her. The weapons alone would get them all thrown in a cell, the food on top of it would be a death sentence.

Noah's sudden appearance manages to assuage his fears a bit, however, the lack of Rowan at his side does not. Jules schools his expression carefully, refusing to show just how antsy he is underneath the calm exterior. He isn't one for a show, and certainly, doesn't want to be the one causing issues by freaking out and drawing attention.

"For all I know Row is still under a pile of blankets in bed, anyone heard from him?" That's just great. Always the root of Jules many problems. "He'll turn up sooner or later," Jules tamps down on the hopefully lingering at the end of his sentence. His faith in Rowan does not extend very far.

They wait for what seems like ages, long enough that Jules almost considers just leading the charge ahead without Rowan. But, at the last moment, the devil himself shows up. Carrying with him the usual nonchalance that means he's done something stupid. Further confirmed by - "What the fuck is that."

As a child, Julius had been told many stories about the wilds and what lurked within it. So often would those stories involve beasts that stalked through the snowy landscape, wolves, awaiting their prey. His mother had been liberal with the nightmare fuel, delighted that her children would be too afraid to venture beyond the walls because of the monsters that lurked beyond it. Unfortunately, in turn, that had given Jules an irrational fear of the dogs in the community as well. He could handle them, if only from afar.

With one staring them down now, that small spark of childhood fear reignites. Unconsciously, he moves closer to Paz, and further from the animal following dutifully behind Rowan. "Rowan, you can't be serious." Some sort of brain injury must have occured for the other to even think this would be okay. Maybe he was dropped one too many times on his head as an infant. That seemed the most logical to Jules, who couldn't stop staring at the Wolfdog, resisting the urge to put as much distance between him and it as possible. He knows that the domestication of the dogs is without question. They live their lives in this community, among humans, without hurting them.

"I can't believe you," Jules gripes, feeling angrier than he should considering the situation. "Actually, no wait, I fucking can believe you. This is the exact shit you would pull.

He doesn't have to like it - but right now there's nothing he can even do about it. Time's running short, the day is beginning, and they need to get as far from the community as possible before people start noticing their shit's missing (including them.) Julius turns to Noah, pursing his lips. A silent, 'he's your problem' passing between them before Jules turns back towards the hole.

"We need to leave, now," He insists before a fight can ensue between the members of the group. He already knows that it's going to happen, and if so, it'll need to happen while they're all out there. Without speaking another word, Jules squats down to the hole. Clearing out various twigs and branches that had been placed there to conceal it. Without waiting for the rest of them, he crawls through. Though, the group isn't too far behind. Squeezing through one by one until they are all on the other side, facing the dense wilderness around them.

It's startling how breathtaking the outside is. Julius has never been beyond the walls, but as far as first impressions go...well, it isn't quite the haunting place that dominated his nightmares as a youth. But the vast lands surrounding them give him a slight pause. How the hell would they ever find Reggie when there are so many places to look. The general idea had been to make it to Victoria, the closest community to them and seek out the source of all the gossip surrounding the disappearances. It would take them days to get there on foot.

First, they needed to get beyond the point where the Hunters of the Falls would be able to track them down.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cecil Hart Character Portrait: Rowan Cain Character Portrait: Julius Walcott Character Portrait: Noah Calloway Character Portrait: Pacifica Sodhi
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Location: Headed to Fuckin' Death
Mood: Fuckin' cold and Slightly Amused
Dialogue Code: #5DADE2
Thought Code:#2874A6


Genesis leans back on her heels and watches the steady approach of the other members of their group. First Cecil who gives a lack luster 'Hey'...Though she did not blame him. Not only is it too fuckin' early for even the birds to be awake, but its cold as a polar bears balls out, and death is likely waiting for them beyond the wall.

Then came Paz in all of her exquisiteness. Even in the icy hell they currently loved in she managed to look like a god damn goddess...and that gun. Gen wishes for a moment that she had been chosen to be the Hunter's apprentice. She knows why she wasn't, she has an obvious disdain for authority of any and all kinds.

Finally came Noah, it is obvious he is irritated by the lack of Rowan. Gen smiles absentmindedly while watching the group settle and wait for the last of their crew. She says nothing, only greets them with a slight nod. This plan is fuckin’ ridiculous…and crazy to boot, basically her kind of plan.

The last to arrive is Rowan, and Gen is far from surprised. What does catch her off guard however, is the B I G Fuckin’ wolf-dog following him. After her initial shock, she can’t help but grin at Rowan. Ironically that was how they had met, once upon a time. She had creeped about the cages feeding them whatever she happened to have on hand and loving on them. He had thought her a strange one she was sure, but for some reason they had hit it off.

Fuckin’ Rowan.

Why hadn’t she thought of stealing a Wolf-dog? Probably because she would have taken them all. Can’t have favorites.


ImageThe group reaction is less than enthused. Gen gives Rowan a look that she hopes conveys her amusement and appreciation of the situation. She is eager to know what persuaded Rowan to take one of the regal creatures. They would simply have to talk later, when they were successfully out of range of the pursuers she was sure they would have.

"We need to leave, now," Jules cuts the quickly rising aggression short short, then he squats down to the hole.

Gen is excited to have Mika on their quest. She is naturally fascinated with the wolf-dogs, and for some reason she always has been. Perhaps it is their ability to be silent as death itself while stalking its prey…or perhaps it was the loyalty and love wolves found in a pack. Their devotion to each other enamored her.

The pack, the basic unit of wolf social life, is a family group. It is not just made up of animals related to each other by blood, it is a family tied together with affection and mutual aid. Gen ponders that thought for a moment. She supposes that is how she sees her cohorts. They are her pack so to speak. She realizes that everyone has a role within a pack, and she wonders for a moment what her role is.

The crack of a twig snaps her out of her reverie, it sounds hollow and endless in the deep dark forest. The sound rebounds from all the trees which causes a long echo. Looking out at the vast expanse of white nothingness that would likely be her death, Genesis should have been scared, instead she feels somewhat giddy with excitement. The sunrise fills the entire sky with the deep color of rubies, setting the clouds ablaze. A gentle hush cloaks the land.

β€œSo…what is the game plan?” Genesis asks as they walk out into the cold crystallized world and she falls into step with group.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cecil Hart Character Portrait: Rowan Cain Character Portrait: Julius Walcott Character Portrait: Genesis Monroe Character Portrait: Noah Calloway Character Portrait: Pacifica Sodhi
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#, as written by J.D.
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The cold isn't so bad once the body has become used to it. Theres small relief in the puffs of breath that exit her mouth as clouds of smoke. The thermal gear she's wearing beneath her goats only extend so far. Her fingers go numb from inactivity long before the last of them deigns to make his grand appearance. She'll need to stuff some heat packs into her gloves if she's going to keep her fingers from falling off.

Pacifica doesn't so much as blink when she notices the wolf trotting along behind Rowan. But she knows, before Jules is stepping closer to her side that this is going to pose an issue. She sighs, stands, and gathers her bag in one swift motion. Making sure that the Gun she stole is easily within reach.

She follows through the hole as well, hating the way she has to squeeze into herself to fit. She's never handled tight fits very well.

Another glance at the wolf, now that they are on the other side. Rowan couldn't have made a more genius fuck-up. No matter Jules views - he'll always be obscured by his fear. Where as, Paz can see the obvious advantages of having a trained dog along with them. A natural guardian, with sharply honed senses and the ability to hunt. Their survival chances are significantly raised with the dog there. Assuming that Rowan knows how to handle him.

β€œSo…what is the game plan?” Gens voice is the first to penetrate the barriers of her noisy head. Jules raving had gone in one ear and out the other, she didn't know whether his nervousness made him more grouchy or if he was really that annoyed by their surprise addition to the group. Whatever the case, Paz isn't going to push his buttons just yet. Not until they are in the clear.

She suspects that nobody really knows where to go or what to do. Paz has only had the privilege of hunting in the nearby woods on her trips beyond the gate. Nowhere near far enough into the wilds to feel any real danger.

Half the time the gate had still been in view, something that never failed to make her feel twice as trapped.

"I don't know but...there are camp grounds not far from here, for the hunters." she informs more as a warning than anything else. Overnight hunting trips aren't uncommon, as much as they are frowned upon. Theres no telling who might be out and about in general. "We should have gotten a map," she chews on her lower lip, in thought. Theres nothing worse than wandering around with no direction at all. She has a compass, but what fucking good would that do without knowing where anything is?

"I guess we just keep walking till we get to Victoria then." Jules cuts in, apparently still irritated.

"You do know that the whole world isn't as small as the Falls right? We can't just find this place blind." Its either the general atmosphere or the cold thats beginning to seep into her, the dawning realization that they are really doing this - theres no going back now - has her on a dangerous edge. Somewhere between dropping the nice act and running wild through the tree's singing about freedom. She can't tell if she's annoyed and scared, or overjoyed and ready to celebrate. Whichever she is, she's fucking ready to pop.

Jules has gone quiet though. she find that boring but doesn't blame him. Its no use harboring any fight out here, not when thats the kinds shit that could get them killed in an instant. She drifts away from his side and closer to the others. She'd prefer to keep her mood from dipping into the dangerous lows.

She's simply trying to keep the chatter from dying out the next time she opens her mouth, loud enough to fill the silence that swelled in her chest with every step. The pressure of this adventure had begun to press in on all sides, impossibly daunting.

"I heard the people in Victoria are like, insanely old-world-religious." She wrinkles her nose at the thought. Who could possibly uphold beliefs like those when faced with a world like this. She had heard plenty of other rumors circulating about the other communities too though. Things that made her feel like the whole world was teetering on the side of a cliff named crazy. They were all so weird, but - well, to be fair there was nothing normal about the Falls either.





Jules line contributed by Finch.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cecil Hart Character Portrait: Rowan Cain Character Portrait: Julius Walcott Character Portrait: Genesis Monroe Character Portrait: Noah Calloway Character Portrait: Pacifica Sodhi
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#, as written by Ivisbo
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Noah stared at Rowan.

Stared at him, and the turned murderous eyes down to the fucking wolf he’d brought with on their life or death mission.

There was this weird moment of silence where Noah didn’t react, just stared. Cause he knew Rowan was going to do something stupid, but he thought it would be brining a huge bag of candy instead of a necessity.

NOT a fucking pet.

"What the fuck is that." Jules’s spoke exactly what Noah was thinking and he wanted to kiss the boy. Let someone else yell at Rowan, his brain was still trying to catch up with the fact that Rowan had just pulled a jail-break on his favorite wolf. He just hoped that he at least did the one job he was supposed to. Jules lays it on his boyfriend and then turns to Noah, a clear, β€˜im done with this shit’ look on his face before he moves towards the hole they’d cleared in secret.

Noahs eyes shift away from the retreating group, the whole group leaving this little shit to him. I mean, he always dealt with Rowan’s insanity, but this?

He locked eyes with Rowan and give him his most withering stare, anger leaking through his entire posture. Shoulders tight under his large parka, arms crossed, stance rigid in the snow.

Imageβ€œRowan. Explain”, He growled, pointing with his eyes at the overgrown dog.

And Rowan knew that stare so fucking well.

He’d expected to be in trouble, sure, but it’s a lot different knowing than looking up at Noah when he’s pissed like that.

There’s a stretch of silence and he almost forgets there are other people there until Jules yells at him. His expression twists in distaste but he doesn’t look away from his boyfriend. The other’s he can deal with later. Noah’s the catalyst.

The group leaves but Noah isn’t budging and oh, he’s in for it now.

Rowan licks his cold lips and drops a hand down towards Mika. The wolf noses at him, searching out peaches, and he runs his fingers through grey hair and nods down at him. β€œDo you see his nose, Noe?" he asks, the irritation seeping through his tone. "I couldn’t leave him there. I fucking couldn’t. Hatford’ll kill him one of these days. So what’s it matter if I take him?”

β€œWhat’s it matter?” Noah repeated like he hadn’t heard him or couldn’t believe what he’d heard, β€œWe aren’t going on a vacation. We aren’t going out to see the sites, explore the frozen tundra, fucking walking in the woods. Reggie could be dead or dying or taken” Noah was seething and he knew he was being unfair, but he’d just stolen equipment from his family and left them. Left that future at the hospital and whatever Rowan and him were gonna be. Cause they all planned on coming back, but Noah wasn’t so sure.

And Row had stolen a wolf.

Rowan’s jaw clenched and he let out a sharp breath through his nose. β€œYou fucking think I’m stupid? I know we aren’t going on a goddamn vacation, Noah. I’m just as much in this as you are!” He was obviously gearing up to snap some more, but the man’s last words stop him cold.

β€œPlease tell me you got your brothers equipment at least”

Rowans fingers twist in Mika’s fur and the wolf shots annoyed, mismatched colored eyes his way. β€œPretty sure you know the answer to that.”

Noah exhales, eyes slipping shut and brows furrowing more. Feels a headache coming on right at the front of his skull and holds it like it’ll make this annoyance go away (not that he’d ever really want that though, Row wasn’t something he’d ever wish away).

β€œSo you woke up late…stole Mika…” Noah opens his eyes warily, β€œAnd didn’t do anything of what you were supposed to” There’s a venom in his tone that Noah usually refrains from using on his Row, but he was beyond livid. It’s been years since he’s actually been inconsolably angry at his bestfriend.

Rowan doesn’t even have the right to be angry and he knows it. Noah’s fucking right, but the tone he uses cuts deeper than anything else. It’s been a long damn time since he’s been talked to like this.

β€œFuck, yeah. Alright? I did. And no, I’m not sorry about it.” Well, that’s not exactly right, he’s a little sorry. The missing tools are going to hurt them, but not too bad. β€œI’m not completely useless alright? I found some extra stuff I just. Fuck, Noe, I couldn’t.” He pauses for a moment, hands curled into fists, and lets out a sigh.

It’s not going to help, but he says it anyway. β€œI’m sorry.”

Noah stills, his gaze still angry but his body relaxing. God, he knew what that wolf meant to Row. Knew that while he was removed from other people, he got those animals. And he also knew that Mika had been hurt before and Rowan hadn’t reacted well back then either.

The group had moved on through the hole by the time Noah exhaled, letting a bit of that tension go with it. He moved forward, right into that space he fit in so well, and slide a gloved hand over Rowans cheek, β€œThings are gonna be hard enough out there. Are you really sure we can handle another mouth to feed?” He looked down at Mika, those mismatched eyes staring up at him with more thought then he was comfortable with, β€œWe don’t know what we are doing as is” Standing next to Rowan the morning felt warmer, but the thought of how unprepared they were shot a cold shiver down his spine.

The fight eases out of Noah’s shoulders and Rowan feels himself relax a little. He could have ran this one to the ground, stubborn as always, but something in his chest refuses to let them cross that gate if they’re fighting. The world out there is vast and unknown and he needs this. The stability that is them. Together. He can’t lose that foundation. Not for a second.

The touch to his cheek grounds him, and he lifts his own hand to lay over his boyfriends. The gloves were an irritating barrier but one he was used to dealing with. β€œHey now, he’s not useless either. Boys a hunter, he’ll be fine. Fuck ... he might actually feed us.” Rowan glanced down at the wolf himself, and Mika tilted his head in response. β€œC’mon. We better go before someone fucking catches us out here.”

Noah nods, but doesn’t move yet. His grip tightens and he pulls Rowan forward, bumping foreheads, β€œCan you promise me one thing?”

Row sighs softly, a promise requested of anyone else would have him saying no before the question was even asked, but from Noah he only hesitates for a moment. "I can try," he mumbles.

Noah pulls him in closer and brushes their cold lips together, heat blooming instantly. Relishes in it, the warmth they can create. It lingers between them when he pulls away, β€œYou get three stupid moves, this is your first. Save the rest for something real important alright?”

Rowan breaths out a surprised laugh, caught off guard, but there's a reason why he doesn't make promises without knowing the details and this is why. He leans in for one more kiss, one more moment of normal. "I can try," he says again. "I definitely promise to try,"

Noah sighs the rest of his annoyance out and steps away, passing one last wary glance at the wolf before turning around, β€œCome on then” He calls back, making sure to keep Rowan in between him and the canine. Not that he’s afraid of the beast, but he’s still unnerved by the intelligence there. He’d been to the kennels more then enough to know they were not just normal domesticated animals. Maybe Row was right and Mika would turn out to be an asset- or maybe the wolf would eat them in their sleep.

ImageHe moved through the hole quickly, sure that if he took his time he’d second-guess himself. Breathed in deep on the other side, chest heavy and light all at the same time. The air shouldn’t be any different, but it was. Colder, like liquid ice running through his lungs. He moved closer to Rowan on instinct.

β€œWe should have gotten a map," They catch up to the rest of them just as Paz makes this very important point and Noah wants to slap himself for being so stupid. All their planning and they forget a map? He shoves his hands in his pockets and frowns, looking for all the world like he’s pouting. He hates when he fucks up and although this wasn’t really his fault, Noah has a tendency to take on all things as β€˜his fault’.

Next to him, Rowan had wordlessly dropped his stuffed backpack to the ground. Noah had to avert his eyes at the poorly packed bag, reign in that frustration. He’d spent the last few weeks re-packing his own bag to make sure he knew how when the time came, and Rowan had spent that time napping. Mika was snuffling at a bag of what looked like peaches- of course Rowan had wasted valuable space on wolf treats, he’d expect nothing less.

He could feel that anger rising again but it dissipated immediately as Rowan pulled out a folded up piece of paper. Torn at the corners and slightly yellowed with age, Rowan slapped the map into Noah’s hands and turned back to zip up his bag.

This was one of the many reasons Noah loved Rowan so much. He’d fuck up over and over again, so many times you’d think something is wrong with the guy, then pull off something like this. Unintentional brilliance. β€˜Course he just threw on the backpack angrily and pretended he hadn’t just saved their asses.

β€œUh, here” Noah fumbled out, having to forcibly remove his eyes from Rowans unfazed glare, β€œRow found a map”

He unfolded the map and just blankly stared at it, then hands it off to Paz. Looks back at Rowan, who’s doing his best to not look at him.

Noah’s trying his best not to beam with pride, but he’s pretty sure his lips quirk slightly at the effort.



Collaboration by Ivisbo and CharlotteV

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Character Portrait: Cecil Hart Character Portrait: Rowan Cain Character Portrait: Julius Walcott Character Portrait: Genesis Monroe Character Portrait: Noah Calloway Character Portrait: Pacifica Sodhi
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His mother had always been convinced that you could never get the chill out of your bones once it had found a way in. If your clothes weren’t good enough from the moment you stepped out the door, they never would be. It was strange how he already thought of her in past tense, although she was probably fast asleep– alive and well not too far away from where he was standing. Her advice made him acutely aware of his body while he waited in the snow, worrying about his legs and arms– the restricted movement of his fingers in the heavy gloves, even though he would rather live with that than lose any of them.

People started to arrive, and in the end they were only waiting for Noah. Cecil looked at their faces, searching for signs of apprehension, or guilt. He wondered if everyone was thinking the same as him: that they would probably never come back. And then it doesn't matter because Rowan walks over with a wolf and for a second Cecil wished the snow would swallow the lot of them. Those who care were too shocked to speak until Jules broke the silence. That seemed to wake Noah up who, in all honestly, was probably the only person who could talk some sense into the man. They had to get moving, and fast, because the sun was still climbing and soon people around town would be out of their houses to complete their daily chores.

By the time people realised how much they'd taken, they needed to be long gone. Luckily the group seemed to be in general consensus on that point, and began to move away from the other two. Great start.

"What happens when it gets hungry and we're the easiest meal around?" Cecil shook his head as the forest grew darker– the sun finding it harder to sneak between the branches. "He didn't plan this at all. We're going to get eaten while we sleep, or it's going to attract some beast from the undergrowth who feels like its territory is being threatened and then we're going to get torn apart, limb by limb, or eaten alive, or it'll just eat our legs and leave us on the cold ground, dragging ourselves forward between the trees until we die from hypothermia or blood loss."

He gulped for air as he realised he'd forgotten to breathe for a moment. "It's a bad idea, is the point," he added weakly.

He'd promised himself he wouldn't do this, "this" being panicking at the first sign of things not going according to the plan they made. He sunk his chin into the scarf around his neck and was for a moment glad that his cheeks were already red with cold so they couldn't grow red from embarrassment. Still, his curiosity got the better of him and he still peered over Paz's shoulder to get a look at the map that Rowan found.

"Whichever route gets us far away from here as quickly as possible," he said. "I don't much like the idea of being dragged back to the Falls and prosecuted for theft."

He wondered if Paz was right about the religious beliefs in Victoria. He hadn't considered it himself, but he knew many of his mother's friends found solace in the belief that their righteousness would earn them a better afterlife. For some, it was the only thing getting them through the hellish conditions they were forced to live under.

Although. You did hear stories.

"What do you think?" he looked at Paz. He was beginning to realise he didn't have much experience with maps– surprisingly they were widely different from the blueprints he handled at work.

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Character Portrait: Cecil Hart Character Portrait: Rowan Cain Character Portrait: Julius Walcott Character Portrait: Genesis Monroe Character Portrait: Noah Calloway Character Portrait: Pacifica Sodhi
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Jules wants nothing more than to forget about the mongrel trailing alongside Rowan, the overwhelming fear of its teeth finding a snug place around his throat wavering at the edges of his thoughts. A constant stutter in the way he breathes. He keeps as close to Paz as he can without drawing too much attention to the fact that he's put several paces between himself and the Wolfdog.

"What happens when it gets hungry and we're the easiest meal around?" Oh no, oh no, oh no. Why hadn't that possibility occured to him, why didn't it occur to Rowen. That thing would make an easy meal out of any one of them. "Why..." Jules moaned pitifully, more so to himself. Verbalizing the overwhelming sense of impending doom thats been weighing heavy on him since he first awoke this morning. Still, despite that the motivation to keep moving forward couldn't be stifled. No matter how many stumbling steps there are in the road.

Cecil's continued comments on their current issue only fueled that flickering of panic in his chest. Though the longer they moved on the more he felt like he could maybe handle this. Or, in the least he'd just make sure to keep atleast one other person between himself and the mutt. If they were lucky it'd eat Rowan first.

"It's a bad idea, is the point," Cecils final words were more than true, in fact, Julius nodded along. "Man, I agree." He shoots another glare towards Rowan, but bites his tongue from saying more. They definitley don't need to get in an argument out here, at least not yet. All things aside, the only thing that really bothered him was the sudden topic of Religion. Jules had never been comfortable with the thought of the old world practice, it seemed insane to him. Though he knew his mother still carried his grandmothers Rosary with her, he didn't know what it was for and had never asked. His disinterest wasn't uncommon. These days, Religion didn't much matter.

Thankfully Rowan managed to do something right by grabbing a map. Julius tries not to let his inferiority complex show as he sidles up to Pax's other side, the one not occupied by Cecil as he peers at the map over her shoulder.

However, his thoughts of actually praising Rowan for being a contributing member of the team dies in his throat as he looks over the monstrosity of a map. Its not exactly accurate looking, hand drawn or maybe a mish mash of shit glued together. There are obvious landmarks, things that none of them can miss and a measurement system that goes beyond his knowledge. He has no idea how to read it, which, he supposes is why Paz has it. If anyone could read a Hunters map it was her.

Despite that he keeps roaming over the various markings on the map, theres several that make sense to him at least partially. Theres a large red circle labeled Lake Lofall, and several similar large red circles spread out over the length of the map. The one labelled Victoria doesn't look very far but without an accurate portayel of distance there's no telling. And besides that there are smaller, different colored markings inbetween. Several green crosses, a few blue x's, and a handful of black circles. In fact, theres a large black circle what looks to be a short ways from Victorias red circle.

He's unable to find a key on the map besides a few chicken scratch co-ordinates and slapdash notes too illegible to read properly. Thankfully he doesn't have to reveal his painful inadequacies when it comes to map. Cecil asks first, and Jules hangs back, waiting for an answer. He knows logically that they must be going in the correct direction. There's at least one familiar marking on the map, being the cardinal directions. And so far, since they haven't veered left or right they should still be heading South out of the Falls.

"Its a personal map, I don't know what most of this means but we should be able to get where we need to go with it." Paz admitted apologetically, glancing over her shoulder at Cecil momentarily, examining the map with a more critical eye than Jules had.

"We should just get as far as we can today, there's no telling how far we'll get before the sun goes down and we'll need to have enough time to get a shelter thrown together." Jules thought about it for a moment. Logically, those markings will have something to do with the hunters. He would almost bet anything that the Green crosses are campsites, being the most spread out markings on the map with very few being nearby the Falls. Avoiding them would mean heading straight into the black circle though. Maybe a hunting ground? He wished he could figure it out.

"Any advice here Paz?" He turned back to look at her, she was the one who always carried a compass after all. Something he had never failed to roll his eyes over. Who knew the trinket would be so useful these days.

"We keep heading South," They kept walking as she spoke, "By mid-day we can start looking for a good area to camp,we'll want the extra daylight hours to make sure we aren't stuck trying to build a shelter in the dark." Jules notices the way she seems fairly confident about it, he's used to her being the more sure one. He could at least put the blame on her if they wound up dead.

"Well," Jules chewed on that for a moment. Glanced towards the others, "That seems more sane than running around blind. Lead the way."

As they continued to move steadily forward he fell back a bit towards Rowan, still keeping as much distance as he could from the Wolf, though his earlier panic had begun to dissipate as it made no move to harm them - yet.

"Did you get anything else useful?"




Paz bits contributed by JD.

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Character Portrait: Cecil Hart Character Portrait: Rowan Cain Character Portrait: Julius Walcott Character Portrait: Genesis Monroe Character Portrait: Noah Calloway Character Portrait: Pacifica Sodhi
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________________________________________________________________
ROWAN CAIN
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β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€Xβ–€Xβ–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€β–€


Rowan knows he has a habit of redeeming himself directly after fucking up. It’s the only thing that keeps Noah from being annoyed at him 24/7. It’s a weird little talent that he has absolutely no control over but always seems to work in his favor. So yeah, he’d fucked up with choosing Mika over Everett’s tools, he can recognize that, but at least he’d gotten a map. Personal or no, it was made by Hunter’s, and surely Paz could find a way for it to help them.

They walk as they talk and Mika either keeps a close pace with him or wanders off to snuffle at the snow or head down paths he’s more used to. Row keeps an eye on him, mostly for the other’s. Mika could run off completely and Rowan would be confident that he’d find them again. But no one knows the dogs as well as he does.

Paz doesn’t seem completely bothered with his decision which relaxes him a little, she was always hard to argue with. Then again, she had the right kind of background to not see Mika as a threat. Gen won’t fight him on it either, he knows. She looks far too amused, what a weirdo. She’ll bombarded him with questions later and he’ll have to bury his face in Noah’s neck in order to get her to go away. He loves her, he really does. Sometimes he just gets prematurely exhausted when thinking about dealing with people.

Paz seems confident as she rattles off their beginning instructions and that settles his nerves. He glances at Noah, but the guy’s wearing his ’trying real hard not to beam in pride over my boyfriend’ look and that always makes Row want to roll his eyes. Still, the corners of his mouth lift slightly. He hates when they fight. He’s glad it’s over already.

He runs his hands through Mika’s fur when the wolfdog appears at his side again and tunes out the conversation. There’s nothing they’re saying that he can really help with anyway, it’s not his area of expertise. Noah will let him know if there’s something important he’s missed.

He hangs back a little to make a snowball for Mika and throws it out away from the group, watching the wolf take off after it and jump in the air to catch it. He’s small for his species, but no less powerful, and Rowan’s keeping a watchful eye on him to see how much damage Hatford conflicted with his last use of displaced anger.

Rowan thinks the jerk must have a real tiny dick, to hurt a dog like that.

Mika seems alright, though he has a slight limp in his left front leg. Not an obvious favor, might just be bruised, but he mentally writes it down as something to check on soon. He makes another snowball to throw and just gets it launched when Jules appears at his side.

Over his friend's shoulder he gives Noah a look that clearly says if Julius decides to say one more stupid thing about Mika, he’s going to sock him in the face.

"Did you get anything else useful?"

He rolls his eyes and thinks about not answering just out of spite, but decides now isn’t really the right time. Instead he swings his bag around and digs in it for the walkies. He hands one to Jules without a word, tosses another to Noah because he knows he’ll want to look, and considers with the last. He and Noah are usually together, and Jules rarely left Paz’s side, which meant if they somehow got separated Genesis and Cecil would likely end up together.

β€œGen!” he calls, and throws the last one her way, knowing she’ll catch it.

β€œI figure getting separated is something we’ll want to avoid, but shit happens. They’re solar powered so just make sure to keep them out if the sun’s up. We’ll have to stay off the Hunters station, but that shouldn’t be hard.”

Rowan slowed for a moment and tilted his head in thought. β€œActually. Might not be a bad idea to check theirs on occasion. Just to listen in. Who knows what we might overhear.”

"Damnn thats the smartest thing you've said all morning," Julius praises. "Round of fucking applause."

Rowan hates him.

β€œKeep pushing at me, Jules, and I’ll make sure to point in your direction when Mika gets hungry.”

”Fuck you Rowan.” Julius mutters, and moves back to his safe spot on Paz’s other side. ”You and your demon dog.”

β€˜Demon dog’ comes out a lot weaker than it should, and Row knew it had been a low move to play on Jules like that, but he can’t help but grin. If they’re gonna talk shit, they’re gonna deal with the consequences.



Jules lines from Bartholomew Finch

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Character Portrait: Cecil Hart Character Portrait: Rowan Cain Character Portrait: Julius Walcott Character Portrait: Genesis Monroe Character Portrait: Noah Calloway Character Portrait: Pacifica Sodhi
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#, as written by J.D.
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...and the fight goes on

"Damn thats the smartest thing you've said all morning, round of fucking applause."

β€œKeep pushing at me, Jules, and I’ll make sure to point in your direction when Mika gets hungry.”

”Fuck you Rowan...You and your demon dog.”


"Shut up!" Paz snarls. The usually resistant cords of her patience pulled too tightly. Snapping all at once. She rubs a hand over her hair as she gives Jules her meanest glare. Which isn't all that mean, all things considered shes used to being the sunshine-y one. At least, when she can be. "Voices carry out here."

She doesn't know what they'd do now if they got caught, it isn't something she wants to think about.

A group existing at their level of ragtag should have absolutely no chance surviving out here in the wild. That is, if they were anyone else in the world. The determination to continue on alone is enough to keep Paz on her feet, despite the sudden dawning that their chances are slim. Its easy enough in theory to play the part of capable, its another thing entirely to look at a map made up of cryptic symbols and vague sketches and pretend to have the slightest clue as to where they're going.

The compass helps, at least. There's a basis there.

Paz runs her hand along the mark on the map that they're heading for. Tries to gauge miles based on the key. If they keep walking south they're bound to find it at some point. Its the only good thing about being the farthest Northern point on the map, to get anywhere all they have to do is keep going South.

She doesn't put the map away for a while as they walk, scans it every now and again as if she has any sense of directions. At best, they can avoid the obvious marks that are Hunter camps. At worst, they'll have to do some running. All in all, the reward outweighs the risk any day. She can see why this would be daunting - is daunting. There's a horrifying level of we're going to die involved with the wilderness. A learned habit of avoiding what lays beyond a locked door. Figuratively, and literally in the case of The Falls Gate. They're beyond that door now, and Paz can feel the chill down to her bones with every aching step.

They're at it for a while, walking mostly in silence but sometimes speaking. Paz keeps her eye on the Wolfdog from her peripherals, because while she trusts the capabilities of a born hunter she can see the logic in her other friends fears - he's still a predator, even if he's cute, and the hunters certainly don't use them for the companionship aspect. For Rowan's sake, she hopes he's an asset rather than a hindrance or heaven forbid a danger. The community raises their wolves to hunt down the things they can't.

Every small noise sends a distinct thrill of anxiety rushing through her gut. At one point, she notices the lights shift from the mornings soft harsh glow to the darkening afternoon glare. Soon it'll drift into dusk, darker than anything that used to be - in tales told - normal.

Shelter first, then they'll worry about the night.

"Turn one of those on, we should check and see if there are any Hunters around." So long as they're in range they'll be able to pick up the signal. A dangerously useful tool, and Paz is much happier with the knowledge that they'll have them.

A few hundred feet later Paz pauses, tries to ignore the ache in her legs and the burning of her lungs as each mouthful of air becomes colder. The telltale signs of night drawing near, a chill much harsher than anything they've ever known inside the communities walls.

This is as good as its going to get.

"Ok." She drops her pack to the ground in what feels like the center of a thicket - it could go on for longer, but this is dense enough to keep the majority of the wind off of them, branch litter and hardy weeds will be good too. They can build a fire, maybe get some crude structures built. Enough to keep from losing any fingers or toes in the night. At least, for now.

"This is as good a place as any," She announces, unzips her pack and digs through it for several items of interest. She stands a few seconds later, looking at the scattering of branches around her. The snow has made most of them too wet, but ones that are propped up on rubble and piled on top of other sticks should be dry enough. They can always cut off a few more branches too, they've got strong enough knives. If they can cut through animal bones they can certainly cut through a tree branch.

Within fifteen minutes, give or take with a few misfires, she's got a fire going. The warmth it gives off a relief, despite having to temper it down. They don't want the smoke climbing past the tree line. After dark they'll have to get it down even lower. Less heat, but risking having a beacon of light out in the wilderness isn't all that smart. Both from threat of over confident predators and hunters. The tree's, as thick as they are, can only do so much to prevent broadcasting their location.

"We should eat," She prompts, already set down in front of the fire to warm herself. Its almost cruel knowing that soon she'll have to let the cold sink back in. "Then we can rustle up some shelter from the wind."

She had planned on maybe finding time to hunt but with the way the sun had begun to dip she doubted there would be time. The later it got the more terrifying the animals got. She had never been out past dusk, it was a whole new monster to tackle. One that they were all facing together on even ground.