Closed RP Tooth and Claw

This RP is currently closed.

Ironclad

Member
The deer population of Pennsylvania wasn't ready for Connor's arrival.

Despite his size, he could be quiet when he wanted to. At this moment he quietly crouched amongst the brushes, silently watching the small clearing a few meters in front of him. Where he knew deer tended to graze. He chose this spot because it was the farthest away from any hiking trail anyone would be using, Connor didn't feel like running away from game wardens and over-eager hunters looking to bag Bigfoot or whatever they thought he was.

Just then there was a small movement, a buck, a young one, cautiously poked his head out into the light of the clearing. His antlers were just beginning to sprout, the spots on his back were the pure white of fresh fallen snow. He poised unsure if to continue. Young, innocent, beautiful.

Connor didn't even hesitate to pounce.

The buck turned to run, and actually managed to give Connor a bit of chase. Which was all the more enjoyable to him, his mouth opened in a unhinged smile as he ran after his prey, saliva foaming out of the corners of his lips. His heart quickened in excitement, his whole body buzzed with energy. As he inched closer, and closer, to the hide of his prey until finally with a leap he sunk his fangs into the back of the deer's neck. Severing his nerves and killing him in a moment. The animal inside reveled at the kill; a base need now fulfilled. Connor forgot his usual process of carrying the carcass home and butchering it, no he indulged the beast today. Taking no mind of his surroundings Connor tore into the flesh with his fangs, hewing off great chunks of meat and swallowing them with only a few chews. He quickly began coated in blood and viscera,
 
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Adelyn knows that it isn’t necessary for her to hunt here, but she still likes to keep her skills sharp. But proper hunting requires a proper forest. The little gatherings of trees closer to the city aren’t real forests, and rather than complain she’s set today aside to continue her search for something closer to the real deal.

She’s wandered far beyond where the lights of her grandparents’ neighborhood can reach. This stretch of woods still doesn’t compare to the forest of her youth, but the trees are denser and there are fewer and fewer human paths packing down the dirt and fallen leaves. That’ll have to do.

Finding a nice tree to lean against, Adelyn tugs off her boots and gloves. Her paws stretch, finally freed from their leather concealment, and she can’t repress a grin. Finally, a chance to practice! She tucks them into her pack and looks up into the tree she’d chosen, trying to pick out a good branch to hang it from.

That’s when she hears the sounds of chase. Instinctively, she freezes. Her ears twitch, angling to catch the noises of feet - paws? hooves? - on dirt. A hunt? It doesn’t sound like the hunting she’d have to run from, with men waving guns around. It sounds like a scuffle between animals.

Her curiosity piqued, she creeps silently across the forest floor towards the scuffle. She moves a little faster as there’s a loud thump and the sounds of tearing. She always liked watching the predators in her forest, even if she had to stay hidden in trees so she wouldn’t become their new prey.

There’s a clearing up ahead, and Adelyn stays behind the cover of one of the trees bordering it as she peers at the scene. Rather than an animal, she sees a man hunched over a fresh deer carcass. Thrown for a loop, all she can think to do is stand and stare.

It’s a long moment before she realizes she should probably leave. But as she takes a step back to do just that, her paw lands awkwardly on a wet patch of leaves and skids out from under her. “Eep!”

 
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Connor tensed, his whole body preparing to meet a threat. Then his ears registered the sounds, that wasn't the sound predator. He sniffed. Hints of leather, spice, feline... a cat?

Connor's gut told him this was an animal of sorts, but not a threat, but not prey, something new. Connor turned his head, not all the way around, not fully looking. He could see it, in a way, smell, sense, peripheral vision, all came together in a vague notion of the thing that was now behind him.

For some reason he couldn't find, he spoke.

"Don't be frightened."
 
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Her heart thudding in her chest, Adelyn scrambles back to her feet. She takes a half step closer, resting her hand on the tree she’d been hiding behind. “I’m not afraid. I just thought you might like to be alone with your kill.”

That’s one lesson her parents had drilled into her head. You don’t interrupt a predator when it’s eating. Plenty of animals get territorial over food.

But, she supposes, the weather is still warm, and small warm things still scurry about in the foliage. It isn’t yet winter, when survival instincts are at their peak. And, looking closer, the figure in the clearing seems more man than beast.

She shifts her paws under her, and settles for circling at the edge of the clearing rather than approaching him directly. “I’m Adelyn. Is this your forest?”

She can recognize it in him now, through an instinct that has never failed her. He belongs to the wild like she does, maybe even more. And he doesn’t seem to mean her harm, which her heart recognizes by slowing its pace to something more reasonable.

 
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Slowly, carefully, Connor turned his head around to get a look at this newcomer. He avoided eye contact with her, and kept his back facing her as a sign of trust. His gut told him she was no threat, and yet, she was different. Paws like a large cat, ears too. Yet it was somewhat mismatched, like a patchwork of attributes grafted onto a young girl. He tilted his head in curiosity, not afraid, she said, that was a first.

"Not my forest, no... I'm new to this place, only been here a short time... I am Connor, were you also hunting?" Connor didn't get the feeling she was very territorial, he was surprised at himself that he felt no need to stake his claim to this land. Maybe it was because Adelyn felt as if she wasn't a threat, perhaps his dealings with Todd had softened his caution around other predators.
 


“I was about to,” Adelyn answers, glancing back in the direction where she dropped her bag. “I’m new here too, and it’s been a while. Usually I catch smaller things. Not to eat, just to practice.”

She finds the thrill of the chase fun, but isn’t much of a fan of the blood and death part. Easier to just catch and release, especially when bunnies and foxes and squirrels are so cute.

Deer are cute too, especially fawns, and she looks at the poor mangled creature with a tinge of pity. It isn’t her place to judge Connor for where he gets his meals, but the thought of doing that herself twists her stomach a little. Speaking of… “Is your stomach alright? Do you not need to cook them first?”

She thinks she would need to cook raw meat first before she ate it. She isn’t actually a big cat, after all.

 
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"My stomach is fine, I prefer it this way, feels better, I can eat cooked.... you said you're practising? But you do not need to eat... so why practice?" Connor asked, he sniffed at her. She was young, must have been, or felt that way. He looked around, she also didn't have the best instincts, perhaps; or very good ones. She either didn't think he was a threat or was able to tell he was honest and not a threat.
 


Adelyn appears at ease, her body language relaxed. She can Sense that Connor doesn’t mean her harm, though the thought doesn’t cross her mind in as many words. Perhaps the blood would have put others ill at ease, but all things must eat. She’s just glad he can stomach the raw meat, she wouldn’t want anyone to make themselves sick trying to eat something they couldn’t.

“It keeps my instincts sharp,” she answers honestly. “I enjoy the hunt, but I have no need to do actual hunting for food. It makes me happy, too.”

She drags one of her toe claws through the dirt, pleased to have found a nice person in the woods. “Also, bunnies are soft! They’re nice to hold for a while.”

The deer carcass draws her attention again, and her excitement tempers somewhat. “Do you ever catch things just to hold them?”

 
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Connor tilted his head at her, within his instincts were trying to make some sense of her. Fit her into a category that made sense, understand what he was looking at. If he had met her not long ago, me might have killed her, or at least driven her away. His time in Pittsburgh had changed a lot, changed how he thought of things, of people. A different feeling, one brought about her seeming youth and inexperience.

"I don't think I've ever chased anything just for fun..." Connor thought for a moment. "Well a friend of mine used to throw a ball for me, it was fun to chase that and bring it back to him, but I don't like to chase anything living for fun - it feels wrong to do it without meaning."
 


“Momma says they don’t think the same way we do. Everything is scary to something that small, but really if they’re out they’re probably looking for food,” Adelyn explains. Her non-furry hand digs in the pocket of her skirt, and she pulls out a handful of shredded lettuce, carrot peel, and flowers. She shows the rabbit food to Connor, then carefully puts it back in her pocket.

“Maybe it’s still scary, but if I were stuck out here, I’d need to know how to catch them for real. So this is practice for me, and a treat for them.” She shrugs, her ears flattening a little against the sides of her head. “Not that I think I’d get stuck, of course.”

Regardless of her ability to find her way home, her parents had stressed the importance of having a place to run to if home wasn’t an option. Someplace she could sustain herself, until the rest of her family came to get her. Those are sad thoughts, circumstances she’d rather avoid.

Still, she’ll need to be prepared, if they happen. She scuffs her paw against the ground again, pats the tree she’d been leaning against, and turns slightly away from the clearing. “I should get back to it. It was nice to meet you, mister.”

 
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