The Hereafter
In Media Res - Printable Version

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In Media Res - Sierra - 08-03-2020

OOC: Introductory post backdated for a week and a half from now. Probably going to be the last time I write something this long for a while. Whew. | 777 words

left right left pant fangs scratch claws right pant bite now pant hold tight liquid red whimper

It all began with a jumble of barely coherent thoughts, of primal instincts overlaid with the frenzy of combat, only occasionally punctuated by the laboured breathing of the injured but victorious wolf, as he slowly released his powerful jaws from the slack form of his opponent. Dimly aware that the fight's over and his territory was once again secure, the wolf felt a wave of satisfaction at being alive as he trotted over to the nearby pool, dipping his muzzle into the pristine water to clean off the blood.

The cool water was a reprieve from the intense desert heat outside, and the wolf had already drank from it plenty of times in the past. Yet this time, as the frigid water struck, a sudden moment of cold clarity enveloped him, stripping away the fog that surrounded his mind like a thunderclap. At that instant, for the first time in his life, the wolf realized that the foreign face staring back at him was his own. Memories began to take on a new meaning as complex thoughts and emotions began to take form, each vying for the wolf's attention.

His mind reeling from the deluge of information, the wolf stumbled as a stab of agony in his head caused him to bump into the unmoving mound of fur behind him. He spun around, staring wild-eyed at the body, which only served to add to his confusion. What had happened here? Where? Why? He tried to remember, but his disjointed memories were like shards of glass, rendering even thinking a painful ordeal.

The wolf screwed his eyes shut, blocking out the rest of the world as he forced himself to focus, to try and make sense of the cacophonous whirlwind of fragments in his head.

It came slowly at first. A long-forgotten name, never explicitly spoken but alluded to by scent and gesture: Sierra. It took a while before the wolf realized that it was his own. He tried to say it out loud, to taste it on his tongue, but managed only a few guttural noises. It will come in time, after a bit more practice.

The memories didn't wait however, and now that the roar in his mind has subsided, now he could see everything clearly, from the moment of his relatively idyllic childhood to the present. His elderly parents, always strict yet fair, lay dying in their den as the drought dried up the family's waterhole. His littermates, whom he had lived together for countless moons, scattering to find another source of water. The excitement he felt as he found the oasis, and the anger he felt when animals of all sorts began to sneak in his lake for water.

It all seemed so stupid now, his worries about the oasis running out, and subsequently his obsession with protecting it. Staring into the depths, Sierra is sure that there is enough for everyone, for year, maybe even generations. How many had he condemned out into the arid desert to die?

Yet, what's done was done. The body that laid in front of Sierra was of that another wolf, one unafraid of his threats and warnings, ignoring them to drink from the pool. Sierra had pounced on him, a show of force intending to drive the meddlesome intruder out. What began as intimidation soon morphed into an all-out fight to the death however, and finally ended with

Already his mind was offering him explanations and excuses for the murder; He had it coming, ignoring me even after I had warned him so many times. It's just how it works. Animals die in this wasteland all the time anyway; Underneath all of that however was a small voice, baleful and accusatory, repeating three words.

You killed him.

Sierra ignored it, banishing the voice to the deepest corner of his mind, and yet the wolf's death still weighed heavily on his conscience. What if he could think like me? What would he feel, what would I feel as life slowly bled out from his, no, my body? These thoughts plagued Sierra even after he had thoroughly washed the blood off his body, and he could have sworn that a metallic taste still clung to his fur.

Thankfully, a sharp growl in his belly snapped him out of his troubling thoughts about mortality, and steeling himself, Sierra slowly trotted out into the intense desert heat, intending on finding some prey. Hopefully, prey that couldn't think like him, but even then... He could worry about all the moral implications when he is full.

Rolling for hunting: [roll=1d20]

RE: In Media Res - Storyteller Dark - 08-07-2020

Even in this blistering heat, the wolf's ability to scent was exquisite.

The multitude of aromas that struck him--wafting over hot air, luck and skill making them easy enough to separate and choose from--were each clear.

Sierra would scent the smell of a camel herd someplace not too far: travelling toward the waterhole, perhaps. Too, there was the scent of desert hares at a rocky outcrop some half a mile north, at the border to the savanna; and the lighter, fleeting odor of gazelles south, deeper into the desert's heat.

Of course, every hunt came with its risks. The gazelles were always swift--but the faint odor of blood came with them; a wounded one, or was that coppery tang from something else? And the camels were likely too much for one wolf to take alone, unless they happened to have a calf with them, one they might fail to protect. Hares would perhaps be ambushed, but would not provide so much sustenance for the wolf.

Decisions: what life and death were made of.