literature

Secrets in the Grotto

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ipann

The morning air felt cool on Jaci’s lungs. Her breath visible in the dim morning light, as the dull wolf made her way into the overgrown forest that surrounded Chandor. Her blind eyes stayed motionless as she moved through the forest, her ears listening for any sounds of danger or being followed. What she had been doing was not looked highly upon, in fact was against the laws of Chandor. But it was her nature to heal and help all living things, including loners. Sloan was no exception to that, he was a loner yes, but Jaci owed the male, and in a way felt as though she was in his debt. Helping him was necessary for her to get on with her life. After she found the male injured a few weeks ago, she had taken his life and care into her own hands. She had not only been using her herbs on the loner but also taking her rations of food and giving them to Sloan who was still too weak and injured to hunt for himself. In a sense she was putting him through rehabilitation of her own design, slowly getting the male to walk, to eat, to drink, and eventually she would get him running, jumping, and hunting again just like before.
Jaci neared the den where Sloan resided. She carried a hare in her jaws, and she let out a small bark as the blind she-wolf neared Sloan and his den. Jaci dropped the hare at the den’s entrance and smiled, ”Good morning Sloan. I brought a hare for you.”
Jaci yawned and sat outside the den. ”How are you feeling today?” the female asked, eyes wondering about the area, but they remained blind despite their desperate movements, begging to see.

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Pilgrimme Droplets from the morning dew fell into the small enclave, they dripped on the nose of the sleeping male. A shiver shook Sloan awake and a small jabbing pain from his wound sent pain through his spine. He groaned, adjusting his eyes to the dark den, it smelled of him and a little like Jaci. Sloan smiled at the thought of Jaci’s scent on the walls, he shoved his nose into the soft dirt, inhaling what remained of her scent. Exhaling abruptly he was startled by a voice--Jaci. Sloan smiled moving closer to the entrance, ”Ah Yes,Good Morning” he had a slight gruffness to his voice. Sloan stretched slow and carefully keeping an eye on his healing wound, it had mostly healed and just left a lingering pain. ”I’ve been better. How about you? Have you eaten, I feel as if you worry for me too much.”Sloan asked while crawling from the depth of the hole, the earth kicked up behind him. He attempted to take the hare from her mouth without making the situation awkward, ”How about we share this?” Sloan placed the hare between his paw and jaw gently tearing it open for the two of them.

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ipann

Jaci chuckled lightly and allowed the male to take the hare from her jaws. For her, physical interaction didn’t spark awkwardness nor an odd feeling in her, but the more time she spent around the brown loner, the more his touch felt forbidden. She had originally felt comfortable with the male; able to press against him and sniff him all about without even thinking about it, but after the last few weeks, Jaci tried her best to give the male the space he needed, in a way, she was scared to interact with him too much. After all, she was breaking enough rules, and yet she didn’t want to get herself caught up in a loner who wasn’t interested in joining a pack, let alone just for some blind shaman. Jaci attempted to give the male space, but his offer caused her stomach to growl. Jaci smirked slightly and laid herself down to share the hare. ”I think I’ve been worrying about you too much too you overgrown pup.” the blind she-wolf joked, a snort in her laughter. The she-wolf bend her head, sniffing about the ground until her nose found the hare that sat between Sloan’s paws.
Over the last few weeks, Jaci had found that she had started to smell more and more like Sloan, enough for some of the wolves of her pack to ask if she had rolled in something different than usual. She of course played it off as though no big deal, but the last thing she wanted was to return to Sloan’s den and find him dead. The she-wolf shoved the thoughts away and nibbled at the hare, her head seemed to be lost somewhere. She took a few bites, enough to make the hunger in her belly stop. ”Thank you.” Jaci spoke, getting up from her spot. The blind she-wolf sniffed Sloan’s face and worked her way down his neck to his wound. ”It’s not infected. Does it hurt too much? I can get you something for that.” the dull she-wolf offered.

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Pilgrimme Sloan sighed loudly, noticed the distance between him and Jaci had grown. Was she actively trying to avoid? Were they not friends as Sloan had originally thought? He wanted to ask, but was afraid of the answer she might give, perhaps it was something else. He tore in the hare trying to calm his mind of the wild thoughts, shaking them would be harder than he imagined. Sloan idly chewed the slender tendons and stared at Jaci eat instead, she too seemed to be lost in her mind. Sloan had gave a slight chuckle at her joke, but his mind was elsewhere to think on it much. ” I’m serious you really don’t need to fuss over me so much.” the male brushed his paw against his maw, blood had stained his muzzle. The flashbacks of his injuries rushed to thought, all the blood he had lost and Jaci fearless in the face of the entire situation.

Sloan shook the memory from his head, he decided to think of a way to thank Jaci for all her hard work. He smiled, ”I don’t think I ever said thank you” and then he nuzzled her soft neck fur, impressing himself in her scent, she smelled of him too. ”Thank you, I really mean it” Sloan stayed like this for a while.
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PaintedPeaches The early sun cast a yellow glow over the earth as a Gaila made her way around the living quarters of Chandor--popping her head into the main den and the usual places the wolves liked to hang about. Her footfalls on the well worn earth of the camp were quick in her search but with a slight limp to her usually steady pace. She had set out extra early that morning in hopes of catching some easy prey drunk with the haze of sleep. With something light and small in mind voles became her target. She had crept in the still dewy grass but a slight misstep in the dim light had cut her hunt short as she went tumbling into a bramble bush--leaving her a bit scratched up, sticky, and with a nasty thorn in her paw.

She had come back to the camp to find Jaci but her search was to no avail. Lately the sister was more hard to get a hold of, she had heard talk of it being because supplies are low and she was always out gathering but Gaila didn't have much of an opinion on the matter seeing as she herself was always on the move. She sighed and checked her paw, it was becoming red and more uncomfortable by the minute so she finally decided to ask the Uncles on patrol if perhaps they had seen the blind she-wolf heading out; and thankfully they had--carrying a hare and heading east toward The Valley. Gaila smiled and thanked them, then began her search once more, hoping to catch Jaci as soon as possible.

While her pace was slowed she was able to pick up Jaci’s trail through the forest fairly easily, the smell of rabbit and herbs fresh in the air. Her tail wagged with relief, she’d soon have her paw taken care of.
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ipann

Jaci didn’t want the separation she was forcing on herself to be so noticeable, she figured the male was happier now that she wasn’t nosing in his business. She was so worried over the male’s wounds she hardly noticed him sit up. It was when Sloan’s sudden affection and nuzzle that had caught the blind she-wolf off guard. It wasn’t often that other wolves returned her affections, let alone give it to her with their own free will. Sloan wasn’t the happiest of wolves, in fact, Jaci knew he had a history, but she was so afraid to ask. Despite that, Sloan was a loner and he felt close and bonded enough to Jaci to give her physical affection. For the blind she-wolf… it was rather… nice to finally feel comfort from someone other than Artemis. Jaci felt  her heart swell, knowing she had done the right thing helping Sloan. The blind she-wolf smiled at the male and pressed her muzzle into the rook of his neck. He still smelled just as nice as when she met him. She let herself linger in his comfort. ”I couldn’t have just left you to die.”</b> Jaci spoke, her eyes closed, but still the blind wolf saw nothing different then them being open. The she-wolf let the two rest for a time but she pulled away and figured she would take off to find some more yarrow and leaves to cover Sloan’s wound for the rest of the day. She felt her pelt burn a little with embarrassment and a sense of happiness. It was rare for someone to show her affection willingly… and for it to be from Sloan, who she was sure didn’t care for her at all, she could feel her belly flutter with butterflies at the idea that the two could be friends. ”I should uh- go get you herbs huh…” a smile appeared on the wolf’s maw as she licked her chest fur, avoiding Sloan’s eyes.
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Pilgrimme Sloan let the moment settle for them, it was nice getting some alone time with a wolf who could possibly be his best friend. He always enjoyed the quiet moments of the forest, just before it got too crazy and he held Jaci dearly close to him--a one of a kind relationship he shared with no other. However the tranquil moment would be cut short, Jaci yanked them back into reality. ”Course not you have such a kind heart.” he teased, but it was true Jaci had one of the kindest hearts he ever saw and he wanted to protect that. ”Do you want some company? My wounds aren’t too bad and I could use the exercise.” Sloan pushed aside his share of the hare, he stretched his forelegs before making an effort to stand. He hopped on three legs letting his wound settle and then he placed his last back leg down letting his weight shift into place.

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PaintedPeaches Gailas paw began to create a low throb of pain with each step deeper into the woods and she paused to give it a couple reasusung licks and attempt to remove the thorn herself-a slight sting, however, caused her to wince, huff angrily, and stop trying. The thought to turn back surfaced in her mind but she pushed it away, she had come so far-and Jaci’s scent was getting fresher the more she walked on. Gaila began to ponder just what the she wolf had come out so far for and why carrying a meal along; her curiosity made her cut her short break and continue with new resolve.
As Gaila turned a bend in the overgrown trail Jaci’s soothing voice filtering through the undergrowth momentarily gave her pause, she was close. Gaila smiled and raised her head to sniff the air, an unfamiliar scent carried on it though caused her smile to falter-Jaci was up ahead, and so was somebody else. Gaila began to worry for her pack mate, she mentally went back in her mind, nobody from Chandor was out except her and Jaci so early, so who could it be? The possibility of it being an aggressive loner caused Gaila to pick up her pace till she was looking at a small den with Jaci standing at the mouth of it.
The sister appeared to be in no trouble and Gaila sighed with relief, she made to call out to the gray wolf but movement within the den stopped her, someone was coming out of it..
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ipann
Being so overwhelmed, the blind she-wolf hadn’t been paying attention to the scent of another wolf nearing. Her mind seemed to be elsewhere, and in a sense, it was so stuck worrying about Sloan, she almost forgot for a moment that she was breaking any rules. Jaci’s mouth opened, thinking of arguing and forcing Sloan to stay rested, but maybe a little exercise would help him heal. Not to mention, she was sure he had a bad case of cabin fever. With a small smile and a sigh, the blind Chandor she-wolf waited for Sloan, pressing her nose to his flank. ”You can lean on me if you like. If you get tired, we can take a break.” Jaci checked the male over before getting ready to set out and get some herbs, but the wind seemed to shift. ”W..wait.” Jaci’s ears perked and shifted, listening for the sound of breathing, or foot steps, or anything really. She could feel another pair of eyes on her, but she wasn’t sure if she was being paranoid or if someone really was there. She waited, listening for any sounds.
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Pilgrimme Sloan groaned taking his first step outside the den, he would have to put up a front because even if he wasn’t ready to move about Sloan was a loner and needed to keep on his feet. He thought of his many dens scattered across each territory and how untidy they probably had become. ”Maybe I’ll do just that.” he smiled and nudged her playfully. He was prepared to head out until she stopped him, his ears mimicked hers, swiveling for any rustle of leaves. He didn’t know how to react caught in another's territory and using their supplies, this wasn’t going to end well for either of them. Sloan didn’t know the rules of Chandor, but he was sure helping a loner isn’t a top priority. ”Wait here.” Sloan limped forward slowly, his head held low and his eyes widen; Sloan flared his nostrils picking up the scent of the wolf. ”Look..I can explain..” He spoke unsure who was receiving his message. He walked closer to the figure until the she-wolf came into sight. ”Wait. Aunt Gaila?”
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PaintedPeaches Gaila noticed as Jaci picked up her presence, ears and head swiveling toward her with a slightly nervous look on her face. When the other wolf stepped out of the den and started to make there way toward her with head bowed Gaila almost felt like she was interrupting something. There was something about the limping wolf though that was very familiar, and it wasn't until he spoke-called her Aunt, that the memories came flooding back-- a small pup at Finn’s feet, laughing and happy. Time spent together just enjoying life. Her eyes widened, “..Sloan?” She stepped forward, also limping slightly but the pain was quickly forgotten, replaced by joy as Gaila smiled brightly, “Sloan!” She licked his neck fur, reveling in the moment of her not often seen relative, then stepped back to get a good look at him, perking her ears up and tilting her head, “What are you doing here? I thought the loner life was for you.” she teased jokingly.
Then she remembered where she was, with jaci and the smell of blood. “Yes, what are you doing here?” She straightened herself and looked at Sloans hindquarters only to see a gash stretching down his thigh. The presence of Jaci suddenly became clear and the recognition showed on her face, “Oh.”
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ipann
Jaci’s ears twitched, listening as Sloan went to check on who had found them. ”Sloan! Wait- Maybe you shouldn't-” she whispered, knowing that if it was a member of her pack, they might see the situation differently and attack Sloan. Jaci wasn’t one for violence, and Sloan was special to her, her best friend really. She nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard Sloan announce who it was. ”Wait… Aunt Gaila?” Gaila was an aunt? and a aunt to Sloan? The blind wolf listened to the two wolves talking, noticing their affection to one another and knowing the two were no longer in danger of attack, for now. Jaci gave Gaila a guilty smile, ”Hello Gaila, hehe- looks like I didn’t do a very good job at hiding my scent.” she sighed. Unable to see, it seemed strange, but you could always see her pupils moving, straining, as though they were looking to see. The Chandor Sister stayed standing, in case the situation turned fowl, but knowing Gaila was Sloan’s aunt meant there probably wouldn’t be any violence.
What would Gaila do now? Would she tell their Alpha? fear tickled at Jaci’s heart, knowing she was Chandor’s only adult sister, would Lynn kick her out if she found out? The blind she-wolf prayed she was wrong. Prayed that Gaila would have mercy on the two wolves.
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Pilgrimme Surprised by the sudden affection his aunt showed towards him Sloan froze in his tracks staring at her. He wasn’t sure if he should give the same reaction, Sloan wasn’t the affectionate type and even if Gaila was his aunt she was basically a stranger to him. ”I’m here seeing a friend. Still a loner.” He cleared his throat and stepped aside so Jaci could come into the conversation. ”I see you haven’t changed one bit, always getting yourself into trouble.” He chuckled softly, noting that she was limping ” Looks like I’m not the only one who could use your help Jaci.” he nudged her over towarded Gaila, thinking it would be a great opportunity to see Jaci working on someone that wasn’t him.
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PaintedPeaches Gaila chuckled softly, shifted her weight, and held out her paw to Jaci for examination as she approached.“I hope it’s not too bad, I couldn't get the thorn out,” She turned to look at sloan once more, worry creasing her brow. How did he get such an injury? She flicked an ear; and how bad had it been? From it’s appearance It was clear Jaci was doing a good job of treating it--though what could have happened if the healer had not found Sloan? Gaila sighed. What was she to do with the knowledge of these two? She told herself it was a matter she could contemplate later and filed the questions away, bringing the more obvious one to the surface. “So what happened to you sloan?”
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ipann
Jaci listened to the two chatter and catch up to what was even going on. She was still a little stunned over the fact she had been caught red handed, but the two wolves had been lucky. Gaila was understanding and a relative of Sloan, Jaci doubted that she would throw them under the bus. The blind she-wolf’s ears perked when Sloan pointed out that Gaila had an injury. It couldn’t have been very serious since Jaci couldn’t smell blood, but she walked over to Gaila, a small smile crept up on her jaws. Jaci pressed her nose to Gaila’s leg, slowly moving her nose to the soft paw of the pretty she-wolf. The blind shaman was sure if she found the thorn it would be an easy removal, but if it became serious, Jaci could easily collect some tree sap, rub it on a leaf and hold it to the pawpad until it was dried. After that, ripping it off of the rough pad, the sap would have surely grabbed the thorn enabling her to remove it. But after licking Gaila’s pad, she could feel the thorn on her tongue and with some struggling, the she-wolf snatched the thorn and removed it.
”There! How does that feel?” Jaci was sure that the pad would swell, but Gaila was durable enough to handle that without any herbs.
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Pilgrimme Sloan swished his tail over his wound, attempting to conceal the sizable wound, Jaci did amazing work at fixing him up, but a scar was sure to stain his perfect coat. ” The dangers of being a loner is all. I’m all better now, Jaci sure knows her stuff.” he side-eyed Jaci who had already been tending to his aunt’s injury, he watched her gentle movements as her nose swept over the paw. Sloan sat back giving the females their space, he watch Gaila’s face she had a worried look on her face as always. She was family so of course she had been worried about Sloan’s well-being. ” I’ve seen worse.” he cracked a dry joke, trying to ease her expression, Sloan wanted her to know he was a capable wolf and this was a fluke in his life.

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PaintedPeaches Gaila nodded, she was worried but she wouldn't fret over Sloan, he was a capable wolf. ”I see, and i’m glad your doing better now.” She smiled at him and turned back to face Jaci as the thorn was pulled from her pad, it was a quick removal, and fairly painless; she scrunched up her face at the slight sting then sighed with relief. “Ahh.” Giving her paw a gentle shake before placing it on the ground tentatively she bowed her head to the she-wolf.  “Thanks Jaci! It feels much better.”
Gaila sat down and nudged the grass below her good paw mulling over what to do. She had set out to found Jaci and got a little more than she thought she would. It was a surprise to her, the discovery, but one not entirely unpleasant. Her smile broadened and she cleared her throat while rising up once more, “I’ll guess i’ll be going now. I’ll see you in camp, Jaci. And Sloan, take care of yourself.” She turned, heading the way she came but paused and called over her shoulder, “Your secrets safe with me guys.” Then she was gone, with a swish of her tail and ears held high.
RP Between :iconipann: (Jaci) :iconpilgrimme: (Sloan) and me (Gaila)

:icondomain-of-the-wolf: 
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