The snowfall was getting heavier. Quilos grey eyes could barely see the difference between the other snow-covered mountaintops and the clouded, grey sky; there was no doubt in her mind that the snow would be falling down for a few days. Sighing in defeat, the blue-hued wolf raised up and started heading back to the main den to take shelter in a dry and somewhat warm area. While the way down from this mountain was long she had the advantage of knowing certain...shortcuts. Turning away from the main path leading down, Quilo took the uncertain but still faster way down. She has always been pretty sure of her footing no matter how much snow or ice the rocks were covered with, climbing down by taking this steep - but shorter- path was much more time efficient.
It happened when she was almost at her destination. Her right back leg slipped on one of the stones she was standing on slipped and ended up falling through a small crack between the stones. A sharp pain spread through her leg while she tried to get it loose, her unbalanced body swaying right and left, until she lost her balance and ended falling head first down.
At least her leg got free in the fall.
This wasn't the first time she fell. As a pup, this was how she learned to climb and if needed, fall safely. Her leg was burning but Quilo didn't care to give it more attention than needed. Without hesitation she raised up once again, noting nothing was broken... and then she smelled it. Blood.
When she put her right back paw on the ground again, pain from before flared up through her entire leg. Gritting her teeth in annoyance she looked back and blinked. The snow was painted red with her blood that was covering her burning leg, the blood itself barely visible in the darker parts of her coat. Sighing again, this time because of her cursed luck this day, Quilo started to walk on her three legs that were hurting from the fall but weren't bleeding. Since she has decided to take the steep path instead of the safer option she had another long steep path in front of her, the last one she had to take but also very inconvenient right now.
The wind was harsh, and the amount of tiny, white flakes it carried through the air was almost blinding. Blinking against the frigid air, Calumina paused in her walk just to watch the winter’s dance for a few moments. Warmer seasons were just ahead, she knew, but it appeared that the colder months still had a few good blizzards left for the wolves of Highvalley to endure. A shame, too—the frost would certainly kill any herbs left growing. Luckily, between Yuaei and herself, they’d gathered enough to last the pack until spring. That had been the reason for her short journey through the mountains today; the remaining plants should be harvested before they’re buried by the snow, but I appeared Calumina was already too late. She hadn’t spotted much anyway, so perhaps their loss wasn’t too major.
The mountain-breeze picked up again, cutting through even Calumina’s dense, pale-gray pelt, and she shivered before turning away from the snowfall. She should be heading back home now, before the blizzard grew any worse. It wouldn’t do any of her packmates any good if she became trapped out in the storm, and she certainly didn’t want to be worrying Yuaei. The Steward stepped lightly, avoiding any particularly slippery-looking patches of ice or deep snow. It was cold enough as it was; she didn’t need to go falling into the white powder!
However, something stopped Calumina in her tracks.
It was difficult to pick out various smells during a blizzard, with the wind scattering all sorts of scents about, but one in particular was unmistakable. Blood. It was close, too. Calumina hesitated, lifting her muzzle slightly higher into the air and breathing deeply. It seemed to be coming from just a bit higher up the mountain.
She couldn’t be completely certain whether this blood was that of another wolf’s or some other creature, with the snowstorm and all, but Calumina was certain that she couldn’t just leave. No one else was around, after all, to help whatever poor thing was injured up there. If they didn’t bleed out first, they’d certainly freeze if left to wait out the blizzard. She had to help.
Ignoring the wind’s bite, Calumina turned the opposite direction of home and began to climb, carefully, up the rocks towards the scent of blood. Luckily, she’d grown up navigating the mountains, and she was sure-footed as she pushed herself up onto one of the icy cliffs. The snow was beginning to pile around her, growing as more flakes cluttered down onto it, but Calumina could still notice faint smears of red staining it before they could be covered by the fresh powder. She picked up another scent now; definitely another Highvallian, though she couldn’t identify exactly who. As she followed the blood trail, the scent only grew stronger, and eventually Calumina spotted a distant figure limping slowly through the snow. The rocks were icy—even she was beginning to have trouble keeping her footing with certain patches. This was no place for an injured wolf to be traveling.
”Hello!” Calumina called, hoping her voice would reach the wolf despite the howling wind. ”Do you need help? Are you hurt?” She trotted uneasily towards the wolf, finally recognizing one of her packmates. She didn’t know the she-wolf’s name, but the wound on her hind-leg told Calumina enough. ”It’s fairly steep.” She observed, noting the descending cliff before them. ”I can help you back home, if you’ll let me.”
Quilo was about to start climbing down when she heard someone calling out to her. Her ears turned toward the sound source before she turned her gaze away from the path toward the other wolf that was coming her way. First though Quilo had was to snap back and tell her to go her own way, her pride being more important than common sense. However, as always, the blue-hued wolf counted down from eight to zero, and as soon she reached zero her short burst of annoyance and anger was gone.
- I would love the help, sweetheart. Whats your name? Don't think I caught it-she said instead, hoping she managed to keep somewhat welcoming. Now that she could really see the pale she-wolf, she noticed it was one of the lowbloods that were always somewhere around Yuaei, even if she was independent. Through her long observations from mountaintops, Quilo had seen this one run around and collect herbs and completing other daily tasks she had been assigned.
Trying to keep her posture proud and relaxed was somewhat more difficult now that she lacked the support from her injured leg. No matter what, Quilo refused to look like a wolf that was just kicked by its prey; she would maintain her proud stance even if she ended up breaking her neck. A Highblood had to look its best. At least that was what she was told as a pup.
- You sure you want to take this path with me? It can be pretty difficult for wolves who haven't been born and raised in this pack.
Lowblood or Highblood didn't matter. She was a walking proof of what happened even to the best climbers of this proud mountain pack. One slip and you could be a goner or get injured. She could be happy it was just a simple cut that would heal up on its own as far she gave it some time to do it.
-I dont want to be the reason you end up injuring yourself.
Sweetheart? Calumina had to admit, she wasn’t quite used to such a nickname. However, she chose to ignore this, focusing instead on the injured she-wolf. ”I’m Calumina.” she replied, dipping her head politely. In her well-concealed haste to get them both down the mountain and back to a nice, warm den, the Steward hadn’t even paused to consider that the wolf she was speaking to might have been a highblood. She wasn’t being disrespectful, either, but certainly not quite as... submissive as some might grow around Rodwen’s kin. ”What’s your’s, if you don’t mind me asking?”Calumina’s words were followed by the soft puff white fog that emoted from her mouth in the frigid air, and she lowered her muzzle towards the snowy ground to examine the wound on the highblood’s leg at a closer level. Luckily, it wasn’t broken, but certainly painful for the silver she-wolf.
At her next question, however, Calumina bristled slightly. She understood the she-wolf didn’t intend to offend her, but she couldn’t help but feel somewhat indignant. She hated to feel underestimated, whether it was for being a lowblood or a new member of Highvalley or a younger wolf, and she wanted to prove to this she-wolf that she could get them both home safely—steep path or not.
”I was born far north of here. I grew up among the mountains and cliffs. I appreciate your concern, but I think I can manage.” Calumina hoped her words didn’t sound challenging in any way. She’d been somewhat irritated, yes, but she had no desire to let the highblood realize this. She tossed her head to one side, blinking flakes of snow away from her lashes and glancing further down the mountainside. ”It looks like we just need to make it down this steep section; the trail flattens out just beyond it. Home shouldn’t be too far from there.”
-It's Quilo. You are a delta steward, right?- Quilo looked at her new companion, accepting the fact that she would have to not only accept her help but also keep her own pride under control the moment she walked into the den. Having an injury caused by a rock was ridiculous. On another hand, she could use this as a chance to get to know one of the lowblood stewards better, and hopefully convince her to meet up with her on another occasion and talk with her about her work. Seeing stewards do their work from afar was not the same as hearing them speak about it.
Putting her curiousity on hold,Quilo just nodded her head. The snow had a nice cooling effect on her burning leg keeping the pain under control.
-You are right, we are almost there. I take it its time to head down then.
Her tail twitched a little, her front paws found the rocks beneath the snow with ease. She knew this path too well to forget where and how to place her paws for best support. Unfortunately even this knowledge was not enough to keep her as steady now when she had only three legs to use. While she could just bit her tounge and use her injured leg anyway if it was really needed she would rather avoid it to keep any damage caused by her fall.
”That’s right.” Calumina replied, though she didn’t understand how Quilo had known this. She didn’t consider herself to be very well known among Highvalley’s ranks, even if it had been several months now since she’d joined them. While she regarded the highblood with slight uncertainty, Calumina uttered her next words with an edge of pride, ”I serve Miss Yuaei.” It was no secret that the pale she-wolf was quite fond of her Master, and Calumina knew that Yuaei was well-liked among lowbloods and highbloods alike. For this reason, she was rather pleased to have grown so close to the golden she-wolf. ”You’re also a Meister, aren’t you?” Truthfully, Calumina wasn’t certain this was the appropriate time for small-talk, but she hoped that it would help take Quilo’s mind off of whatever pain she was experiencing.
When the silver she-wolf mentioned leaving, however, Calumina started eagerly. She hesitated only when her packmate began making her way down the mountain-trail alone, moving slowly and unsteadily. She was proud, Calumina understood that all too well. But, she knew Quilo would only further injure herself if she didn’t intervene.
”Here,” she quickly came to the she-wolf’s side, offering her shoulder to support the injured highblood. ”I can help you balance. We’ll walk together.” Calumina could only hope that she would swallow her pride and accept the help. After all, arguing wouldn’t get either of them home any faster, and Calumina had to admit she was beginning to feel awfully cold.
Accepting her fate of being rescued by someone else,Quilo took the given support without complaining. She made a mental note to find something for Callumina as a thank-you-gift for her support. It was pure luck she has been nearby. Quilos ear twitched when Callumina mentioned her task.
- Yes, I am- she said proudly, happy that the steward was aware of her task. If she wasn't so busy making sure not to fall down this steep path again she would end up telling the other female how and why she became a Megister. It was a task she wanted to be part of for a long time and anybody asked, to her Megister was the most important one.
Turning her gaze back to the path again she noticed they were almost at their destination. In a way QUilo was almost dissapointed; it meant their meeting was going to be cut short. She was enjoying their little chit-chat,even if the circumstances were not the best ones to talk about their tasks while they tried to navigate down to the warm, dry den.
- Maybe we could meet up one day to talk about our tasks. Observing someone and how they do their job is simply not the same as to hear what their own thoughts are.
It would also make her work easier. To understand something you needed to see it from different directions to be able to tell about, showing the true values for those who seek information. Not only that, this would allow everyone to understand each task better, it would give her better insight into their traditions and why certain tasks looked like they did.
She was admittedly relieved when the silver she-wolf accepted her help without protest, and Calumina gently pushed against her side to keep her upright. It was a little difficult, considering Quilo was somewhat larger than she was, but the pair managed to start slowly down the steep slope. Calumina prayed that neither slipped, but so far they were successfully navigating the trail. Good thing, too, thought Calumina. Another fall, and we could both end up far worse off than having an injured leg...
Just before the lowblood could grow too excited about nearly reaching the bottom of the slope, Quilo spoke up again, and effectively surprised Calumina. ”O-Oh! Well, sure, I suppose we could plan something for that.”She couldn’t decide why a highblood like Quilo would be interested in a lowblood’s task (apart from the explanation she’d already given), but Calumina wasn’t about to decline. After all, she knew it wouldn’t hurt to have another friend in Highvalley.
Leaving the selection of a date completely up to the highblood, Calumina glanced ahead. The trail had flattened out considerably, much to the Steward’s delight. It certainly made it easier to walk. And, luckily, being in such close proximity to the silver she-wolf allowed Calumina in share in her warmth. ”Home isn’t too far now,” she commented encouragingly. ”How’s your leg? You’re not in too much pain are you?”Calumina wouldn’t object if Quilo needed to pause to rest, though she was eager to curl up in a warm den. The highblood’s well-being was, of course, more important however. Calumina understood this.
-No, not that much. The positive side of cold wind and weather.
Despite her small frame, Callumina was surprisingly strong and ended up giving her the right amount of support for her to walk down safely as if her little misfortune never happened. Even if her leg did hurt when she put weight on it, it was not enough pain to keep her from walking forward or complain about it.The thought of coming to the warm den was bigger than the need to stop for a second. Thanks to her daily walks around the mountains her strength has improved greatly, making her capable of walking an entire day - and if really wanted to brag, night AND day.
-Don't worry about my leg, I can easily walk until we get to the den. I am really looking forward to some dry corner right now and I bet so do you- Quilo looked at the smaller wolf, noticing how the snow was slowly falling on her coat. Her guess was that she herself didn't look any better.
Calumina nodded, admiring the highblood’s resolve. She imagined some wouldn’t have been so calm in a situation like this. After all, the fall must have been scary, if only somewhat—Calumina couldn’t imagine any different, though she’d never actually fallen herself before. She didn’t climb very often, and when she did, she was always very cautious. She sensed these same qualities about Quilo. It must have been purely dumb luck that she’d slipped, then.
While she’d tried to convince herself that she wouldn’t mind stopping, Calumina was secretly relieved when Quilo insisted she’d manage to keep going until they’d reached home. When the silver she-wolf mentioned looking forward to a nice, warm den, Calumina couldn’t help but laugh—albeit a bit breathily due to the effort she was exerting with supporting Quilo—and give a small nod. ”I won’t argue with you there.”
She’d begun to shiver now, despite the warmth the highblood was unwittingly lending her. She knew the temperature would only drop as night fell, and the snowfall would worsen before it receded. For that reason, Calumina was very relieved when, at last, the Valley of the Rocks materialized through the snow in the distance, promising warmth and rest for both she-wolves. ”There it is.” Calumina pointed with her muzzle, in case Quilo hadn’t noticed yet, ”Just a bit further. It looks like we’re just in time, too.” The snowfall appeared to be growing heavier, which made the prospect of shelter all the more appealing. Still, Calumina couldn’t have been more grateful that she’d been out collecting herbs when she had. Otherwise, Quilo could have been stuck out in the worst of the storm. Calumina wouldn’t wish a freezing night upon anyone, having experienced many herself during her time as a loner.
-Ah finally. Home sweet home. And more important, some well-deserved rest for you. You are stronger than you look like- Quilo nodded her head in approval, happy that HIghvalleys lowbloods were dedicated to keeping themselves strong to serve their masters. Callumina looked like a very well tempered steward that could be easily underestimated for her innocent and sweet looks, but beneath something stronger was hiding.
- Thank you. If you didn't help me out I would be still walking on that path, trying not to fall down on my face. Remind me to repay you for your kidness.
Quilo tested to put some weight on her leg. As expected pain flared up around the wound, but otherwise it was not as bad as before. Now that they were on even ground she didnt have to relay on Callumina to be her support. There were no sharp rocks that could make her wound worse than it was here.
The pale she-wolf smiled, glad that Quilo was pleased with her assistance. However, the highblood’s last comment caught Calumina somewhat off-guard. Stronger than I look...? She was well aware of her small, thin frame, but never before had she considered the possibility of possessing hard, ripping muscles beneath her thick coat. Quilo could be right. After all, it was difficult enough to hold another wolf’s weight, but Calumina had managed to support Quilo for the entire duration of their trip down from the mountain.
She was distracted from her thoughts when she felt Quilo’s weight slowly rise off of her shoulder. She watched anxiously as the highblood gingerly placed her injured hind-paw on the ground, then stood without too much trouble. Calumina dipped her head politely when she thanked her, ”You’re welcome. I’m just glad you weren’t injured too seriously.” She gave another, far less-laborious laugh in response to Quilo’s offer of repayment, finding the sentiment odd. After all, she was expected to serve the highbloods, wasn’t she? She’d never expected compensation before. ”Please, don’t trouble yourself. I only did what any decent wolf would do.”
But, after a moment, Calumina added, ”I’ll tell you what; I’ll take you up on that offer to discuss our tasks, and you can consider us even.” Usually, she would shy away from conversation with wolves she didn’t know well, but she felt like Quilo could be a friend—highblood or not. Besides, meeting up with the Meister could be fun, and Calumina thought Yuaei might certainly appreciate her efforts to meet more of her packmates.
Calumina gazed after the silver she-wolf, even as she turned and made her way towards one of the warm dens. Calumina had full intention of finding her own den immediately, but she wanted to make sure Quilo didn’t happen to fall or stumble on her way to lie down. The Steward pictured the highblood’s face, remembering the impressed look she’d seen only moments ago. Somehow, even though this she-wolf was not her Yuaei, seeing the approval in Quilo’s eyes had sent a stab of pride through Calumina’s chest. Strong. The notion was new, and somewhat exciting. Could it really be true?
Yes, she thought, beginning to believe it herself, perhaps I am.
Yesss Callie you are stronger than you look! I'm so happy she was around to help Quilo, and I'm glad that Quilo made it out okay, she's a kind wolf offering to share her story with Calumina C: Looking forward to more of these two!
Aaaa this was such a fun RP! ;v;
Thank you so much for RPing with me!
I can’t wait until they meet again!
Thank you so much for RPing with me!
I can’t wait until they meet again!