Jacob’s Golden Ladder

Outskirts 
#11
 White fur blinded him for several moments in its furious spinning across his body, making him dizzy as he fell to the pavement. His blood changed directions—veins reshaped themselves to follow new pathways through the canine form. Long white teeth pushed the small, human squares out of their way, and Ingvar held his breath against the pain until it faded. When the wolf rose to four feet and shook itself, the shred of humanity trapped inside started the clock.

 The smell of another wolf jarred him only a moment, and he sat patiently on the pavement, tail straight out behind him, determined to wait for the female to make an appearance. Lithe and purely black, she appeared around the corner, proud and—at the same time—fearful? Wolf-Ingvar cocked his head in a question. He couldn’t ask it, not effectively, in this form. Instead, he whined deep in his chest, front paws shifting positions in a press to standing.

 He shook himself then, shedding the last bit of sticky viscera, and waited, tail wagging, nose investigating the area. This was claimed territory. She belonged here, and she had claimed it some time ago. Her scent lay under the woodland aroma and beneath the traces of the game who passed through. He would have found it even had he shifted down the road. Better now to have her here.
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#12
Hers. Hers. Hers.

That was what the wolf told her when she slowed her approach to the larger, alabaster wolf. She looked up into.... unusual, deep purple eyes. Her own golden amber, blinked at him in confusion, the animal within knowing that he was a shifter like her and yet, he was different. He sat there, as if he wasn’t going to attack, as if he wasn’t going to reprimand her for claiming this small, abandoned territory as her very own. As if she wasn’t the omega.

When he stood, a low warning growl was given, short and clipped as if to tell him to be careful, to not move too fast. When he made no intent of moving she leaned in, balancing on the tips of her rough pads before taking a large, nose-twitching sniff. Not too bad. He definitely looked better as a wolf than a human... though he had the accent thing going for him.

She harshly blew out air from widened nostrils, accepting him for being here. For being with her. On her land. The wolf wanted to play, to run, to hunt... to enjoy the moon and the freedom it gave her. Her soul was more wild than his, she could feel it deep within that metaphysical space that has always been there. He was bitten.

Still, all that was pushed to the back of her mind as she hopped toward him, her tail wagging above her, dropping her front half to the ground and snapping as his massive front paws before darting away, just out of reach. Come and catch me.
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#13
 Eyes flickered like tiny candle flames against her sable face. Had it been full dark, she would not be visible until she moved or caught the moonlight. The uncertainty was plain in her dark form, and she took several moments for inspection. Waiting went against the wolf’s urgent demands, but even he had to submit to the owner of this territory—that much the beast understood without any human intervention.

 Remaining on all four paws, perfectly still, he caught that scent again, more robust in this shape. Now that he knew when it was, the truth was clear—born a wolf. Human-Ingvar felt a surprising little prod of annoyance where he kept his pride. If he had been born this way, what would be different? Time ran short for analysis as the she-wolf decided that introductions had officially concluded.

 A snap of jaws, a flash of white teeth, and the scape of claws on pavement brought the wolf surging back into complete control.

 He made a sound somewhere between a growl and snap, mirroring her for a moment. Stretching out massive front legs, plumed tail wagging in excitement and anticipation, he inched forward, eyes tracking as she leaped away.

 Muscles fired and surged in his haunches. He seemed to pull the ground underneath him and then away as he left the human trappings of cars and parking lots behind. Paws soon hit grass in a steady rhythm, following the invisible dart of a black wolf against growing night.

 He yipped, ears swiveling to capture all of the night sounds. A small clearing appeared around him. Stopping to piss on an unmarked tree, tongue lolling, he looked for his companion.

 Had he been too slow?
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#14
Instinct took over, not that they were ever tooo far away from her human subconscious. Ever since she was born she had a wolf in her head. She had that thing called instinct that was stronger than what Kenna assumed was in normal humans. She fought with tooth and claw, thought with her stomach and lived in a world where there was an obvious dominant and submissive. If there wasn’t, then it was fought over like that of a real pack.

Her world was different than that of the typical shifter world. A world were democracy one over monarchy.

Ingvar snapped at her, but she didn’t feel the need to be afraid - or to fight for her life - but instead she quickly turned tail and ran, her lithe form making way to the nearby forest with ease. He crashed behind her, his form larger causing more disruption, but that was fine. A small yip of encouragement was given as they entered the clearing. He stopped and she dug her claws into the ground, pivoting to face him, tail high.

He was pissing on a tree. Her tree. A warning growl was given, reminding him that this was her territory. Just a warning. If he understood that, he was fine. The wolf... was damaged. Having lived in a society where people, places and power were claimed, not shared. She gave another tip, lowering her front half to the ground, scooting across the weather-worn grass, inviting him to come wrestle.

Within her mind there was always a war going on. To be with those of her kind... and to protect herself from those of her kind. No one would ever understand... which was why she had lived as a loner for so long. But this... this felt natural despite warring instincts.
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#15
 The wolf was unphased by her sudden exception. This might be her territory, yes, but this was not her tree. Unmarked, it belonged to any creature. Still, he put his leg down and shook himself. The wolf’s decorum surprised Ingvar—care for territory, a desire to respect the rules. The two qualities fell into the category of healthy behavior, but when it was just the two of them (man and beast), the beast made it clear who held the reins.

 He tilted his white head at her, ears pricked forward, parsing the invitation. Other wolves seemed more focused. Perhaps that was age. Many of the packs with which he ran in other parts of the world were old and well-established with clearly defined customs, goals, and expectations for the full moon. Maybe this was an effect of her apparent isolation—she came this way alone and only invited him here from courtesy or concern about her territory.

 Still, he flattened his ears and pressed off the ground, hurtling through the air toward her smaller form. He twisted, clipping her shoulder with his head, hitting the ground beside the she-wolf. Lazily, he tried to bite her ankles from a disheveled lounge, aware of his more substantial frame. The wolf recognized something distinctly pup-like in the ebb and flow of her energy. Uncertainty mixed freely with confidence—like she didn’t know how to handle someone else in her space, but still wished to engage despite the confusion.

 Hurting her was not on his agenda, and tried to reinforce that fact by showing her his belly in this playtime.
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#16
She was happy when he stopped his marking. Happy that his wolf seemed to be a good boy and deserved pets - happier when he launched himself at her in play. A growl was given as she dodged out of the way, jumped upward and pawing at his shoulder, his chest, his muzzle - anything she could to push him away.

He’d even roll, showing his belly, making her wolf become even more relaxed, welcoming him into her home had been a good idea. Trusting this wolf seemed like one of her better decisions and she hoped that feeling stayed with her the rest of the night. She yipped against, playfully attempting to jump on him to pin him in place. The large white wolf, conquered by the smaller obsidian one.

At least she hoped so.

All think play would eventually work up a hunger in her that was as deep and instinctual as the full moon itself. Time to hunt. Time to eat. A small whine escaped her, one of eager desperation for food. It had been a while since she had played with another and she didn’t want it to end, but her stomach had other ideas and whatever the wolf wanted, the wolf got.
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#17
 The wolf’s paws scrabbled at the air, jaws slightly open in fun when she jumped on him. Small, grunting sounds escaped his mouth while they play-fought for dominance. Her smaller paws were lost in his fur when she did land blows, and he did not work too hard to reach his larger head forward to nip at her face.

 A whine from her closed his mouth and drew his wolf’s quizzical gaze. What was the matter? Ah, of course. The Hunt. He rolled and pushed himself to his feet once again, shaking his massive body to dislodge the dirt, pine needles, and twigs stuck to his body. Detritus flew away from him.

 He made several circles in their little spot, nose sorting through the many forest smells surrounding them. This part was familiar. This part, he knew well. He took a few steps to the north, snuffled, then backed away. Trotting to the east, he inspected several trees, ears going flat against the scent of larger predator. Hackles went up, and he growled at the trees, making himself larger in case the creature still lurked in their shelter. Blowing sharply from his nose, the odor dissipated—older, then. A relic of a passing, unfamiliar beast. He wanted to tell the she-wolf: See? Only your land. Not your trees.

 South was the way they had come; only the west remained. Tail erect, he walked down a small slope to another border of evergreens, sniffing cautiously.

 There. The musk of game—recent and sharp.

 Wolf-Ingvar’s jaws snapped, pointing out a path.
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#18
She stood, her smaller frame jumped away from his in case he tried any funny business like tackling her to the ground. But he didn’t. He got the hint. She shook her body, small bits of debris flying everywhere before she jogged after the massive white beast.

He circled a tree and she waited, not wanting to do all the work this time around. It really was nice having someone else around. Some other wolf that she could play and hunt with. Before, the wolf had been nervous, scared even to approach other wolf shifters, having had the desire to be a lone wolf since leaving her previous, abusive pack.

When Ingvar was done circling he snorted at her, and she lifted her lip in a silent growl. Still hers. As it had been for the past five years. No other wolf shifters have been around these parts and the human part of her preferred it that way. It made things less complicated. Still she walked up to him, lifting her nose in the air, smelling the scent of fresh game that couldn’t be too far away. Deer. Perhaps two to three of them. She looked at him, a quizzical glance that asked if they could take that down. She hadn’t had deer in... well... years.

She stuck to smaller game: rabbits, raccoons, fish, beavers, and anything else she could easily take down. Her chin lifted upward, tilting toward the forest. He could take the lead on this one. She knew when to pick her battles and being the smaller wolf... well... it had it’s advantages but he was larger and obviously more powerful.
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#19
 The respect owed from one beast to another was based often enough on their sizes that it gave him a complex. He had seen it time and again throughout his travels among packs. The real problem was age. The elder wolves he'd met usually had some wise sentiment to offer about being turned in middle-age rather than adolescence, and Ingvar never received a clear answer about the combined instincts of man and wolf. Did they work in concert? Were they two separate units sharing skin? Either way, both exuded dominance.

 Following the smell, he trotted into the trees and brush, headed west. The scents on the brisk wind mingled strangely, and the faint odor of seawater lay under it all. He pointedly ignored the synapses those smells fired in the human part of his mind–the wolf slowed his place, careful to shift his weight correctly from foot-to-foot as they made their way towards to deer

 There were two in his line of sight. A buck and a doe. Far apart from one another. Ingvar went to ground in a bush, enjoy cold dirt on his belly. Licking his chops, he looked back for the she-wolf.

 Clumsily, he sent an image of the horns to her, nose pointing at his target. He was young, a bit skittish, and–as the doe–anxious in the face of mating season. Human-Ingvar managed to convey concern for the game population, and the wolf seemed to understand and comply.

 Preserve the doe to make more deer. Kill the buck to eliminate competition.

 Now to coordinate an attack.
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#20
Kenna followed the white wolf, her mind having been made up that she was going to trust him.... for now. Wolves were sneaky, conniving bastards and she didn't know if her human heart could ever trust them again. Not after the pack she had been born into. Then again, neither the human or wolf understood what it was like to actually be a part of a functioning pack that wasn't controlled by fear or rank.

So she ran after him, her lips parted, salmon-colored tongue hanging out as she quietly stalked through the woods, following the scent that made her salivate. Then they paused, amber eyes quickly finding the pair of deer before her. Ears perked forward as she hunkered down, her wolf knowing that they should go for the stag as the females ensured their species carry on for the next year. But with the stag came added complications.

Antlers.

The picture that was sent to her was shocking, having forgotten that she could communication with her kind in that way. She A small nod was given, already agreeing that would be the game plan. Quietly, she formulated her own imagine of her separating the stag from the doe and leading him into the jaws of a much larger, seemingly stronger white wolf. He might have been bitten, but her wolf (though stubborn and wild) knew that he was the stronger of the two. She stared at him with those waiting eyes, her chin slightly tilted upward, signalling for him to go and hide for, hopefully, a successful ambush.
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