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People was acting weird as they always did this time of year. At least to the woman of the past. It was something with certain items people gave to eachother, wrapping them up in rather blank papers that was quite colored on one side. Of course she had given gifts every now and then, but she had used small skins instead because one could always use those for decoration on clothing or lining. The paper many of the others used was tossed into the fire. Tana petted Tuwa, the barbary female was getting hang of things but she was still quite stubborn. That was both a good and bad thing. It was good because then the female wouldn't give up easily, but it could also mean she might have problem taking orders from her. Then Tana shook her head, her tokotas always seemed to grow into themselves. Next to them Aluaq walked, the male was a brother to Tuwas mother and had proved to be a good source to teach the young female some manners.

She had taken the two out into the woods. The sky was clear blue and the air brisk but it was still a nice day to be out even if the cold nipped her cheeks. Aluaq froze suddenly and Tana looked in the same direction as the dark male did. A sound of something moving in the snow and then she spotted those that made the sound. Tana smiled as she saw Dan and she whistled.

Once more he had left his ger early for the forest surrounding the camp. It was nearly Christmas, and Dan was determined to decorate his part of the camp a bit as well. In the previous years he either hadn’t been here or returned from a scouting or hunting mission just in time and thus wasn’t able to help with the decorating. This year should be different.

Misulik, Misneachail and Ittuluk accompanied him. He had chosen the three males for their bulky figure and strength, they would be able to drag the chosen tree out of the woods for him. Right now the two younger boys were frolicking in the snow, Ittuluk standing next to Dan. His ears swiveled from side to side, always watchful.

All of a sudden he whined and wagged his tail furiously. A familiar whistling broke the silence and Ittuluk took off. Dan waved at the shaman girl, while Ittuluk greeted her much more excited by putting his cold nose in her face and licking her cheeks.

“Hey Tana. Sorry ‘bout that giant puppy.” Dan smiled warmly.

Tuwa and Aluaq moved to the side when Ittuluk came towards them, Aluaq for not wanting to be licked in the face as the other male had done at least once and Tuwa moved because Aluaq did. For a moment Tuwa looked at the scene where Ittuluk was acting like a giant pup, licking their human in the face and especially around the mouth like Tana would give him food. Perhaps Tana needed food? The barbary female knew about a old moose carcass. She had found it all freshly killed some time ago, just lying there...or well there had been some wolves but those had been easy to chase off despite her youth. By now it should be that lovely kind of rotten. Surely Tana would love that. Neither Aluaq or Tana, who tried to push the big nose of Ittuluk away her face noted that the female slunk away.

“Oh it's ok, Dan...kinguppiak (go back) Ittuluk, kinguppiak...piujuk (good), Ittuluk...” she petted the wiggling tokota, who kept wagging his tail (and butt) when she praised him. It was odd, she thought, how some tokotas could be so excited over seeing others that wasnt in their family group when wolves often were suspicious...but then again, perhaps these tokotas had lived with humans for so long their way of acting changed too. Then she noted the axe in Dan’s hand. She looked at him with slight surprise. Had his stash of firewood gone out already? She had thought he had a good size pile outside his ger. Perhaps he had seen a fallen old tree?

“Are you out for more food for your fire, Dan?” she said and made a motion with her hand towards his axe. Aluaq finally thought the other males affections on HIS human had become too much so he raised his tail just a little as he took a step closer.

The young man noticed how Aluaq raised his tail to make him bigger and stepped closer. He whistled sharply and Ittuluk let Tana alone and returned to him while both Misulik and Misneachail stepped even closer. Even though each of them was unique in his own way, all listened pretty good. At least to basic commands. He signalled them to lie down and rest for a moment.

Dan shook his head with a smile. “Not exactly, my stock of firewood is still big enough. But it’s christmas soon and I wanted to go and search a nice little tree to decorate.” He explained the reason for the axe in his hand. It had been his job to go and get a tree out of the woods as well back when he was a kid at his mother’s home. For a few lucky years he was a child and didn’t understand or realize anything else than the excitement that came with the holidays.

“Those three are here to help me get it out of the forest and back into camp. I hope they won’t damage it too bad. Maybe if I wrap it into this old blanket the twigs won’t break so easily” He patted the old grey blanket on his back.

The woman tilted her head, almost like an owl focusing on that little tiny movement that could very well be a little rodents last. “You are decorating a tree...with an axe?” That sounded...odd. When Dan explained a little further her eyes grew slightly and she shook her head. It was ‘tradition’ but for her it sounded so odd. Hanging things in a tree, dancing around it, and for what?

“It sound...weird...and...I can't help but feel bad for the poor tree, and it's mother. How many years struggle to survive, to grow strong enough to reach the light. I know there are things that only the spirits know why it happens, and I don't question that but...” Tana wiped of the last of the remains of Ittuluk greeting from her face before it froze. “...I don't understand this custom of the's such a waste of a tree that could have grown for many years, and become home for many before it got too old to remain standing. Even after a old tree dies it keep giving back to the Mother that fed it in the first place..”

Tuwa had found the old carcass by now. She growled slightly as she saw that something had tried to dig into it but investigating the scent it turned out to be a fox. There was only a slight nibble on the leg above the hoof. She might just as well keep digging that part out. The snow and ice was pretty firm but the female was strong and the frozen cover was no match for the big predators strong legs and sharp claws. Despite this she had to work a little to get the part exposed. It was just as she remembered it. The meat under the skin was nice and frozen, perfect for gnawing it off a little at a time. With a loud crack was heard as the leg broke off the hip socket. Tuwa  took a firm hold of the middle of the leg before she began to try to drag the whole thing back. The carcass didn't move much at first, but then a little at a time everything began to move only leaving a trail of upturned snow.

As soon as the other male was called off, Aluaq’s warning faded. He was not an aggressive male by any means but he would protect Tana if he needed to. He sat down beside the woman and it almost looked like he tried to follow the conversation between the two humans since his eyes moved from one to the other as they spoke.

Tana knew there was differences between tribes within the same people, and different people had different custom from your own. The Others had often a hard time understanding her world and the spirits. And she...well...still after all these seasons there was things she just had a hard time understanding. So much of the world of the Others seemed to always be around the ‘me’, ‘I’ or in some rare cases ‘us’...but never ‘them’. It was like it was only the One that had to have everything, or the group that the ‘I’ was part of. To help someone could only be done if the ‘I’ could gain something from it. Not just helping someone survive. Perhaps that had been her tribes fault...and in the end what had killed them.

“Is it important that the tree have to be inside a ger for the tradition to be proper?” she asked after pondering a moment on what Dan had told her.

The young man lowered his axe. When he thought about it the way Tana did it really seemed odd and not very nice for the tree. On the other hand, there were so many one less wouldn’t hurt, right?

Misulik took off in the woods, hearing the sounds Tuwa’s dragging caused. After some sniffing and tracking he found the female and her carcass. He wagged his tail at Tuwa and her prey, then tried to get a firm hold of the other hind leg to aid with the dragging.

Dan scratched Misneachail’s head while answering to Tana. He shrugged. “I don’t think so. It makes it easier to place presents under or decorate it, but I guess it isn’t exactly mandatory. Why?” He looked at the timewalker girl. Once more he wondered how it must be for her, growing up in these lands but so many years ago everything today seemed to be foreign. He couldn’t quite imagine what kind of a feeling that must be.

Next to them Ittuluk started to roll in the snow, excitedly napping at sticks and branches around him. He was the oldest male in his pack, a skillful hunter and wise leader if he had to be. If not, he constantly acted like a giant puppy. Dan smiled a little and shook his head.

“Who are the gifts for?” Tana wondered next. “Why do people give gifts that first have been placed under a small spruce? Why don't they give it to the person directly?” There was many questions but she liked to understand this whole thing. “I don't think you need the trees approval before giving your gift...since I doubt many have asked the tree before they severed it from where it wanted to be in the first place.”  

Tuwa’s ears got flat against her skull when the male first appeared from behind the trees. She relaxed some when she saw his wagging tail. Icy blue pools watched the other for a long time as the other took a hold of the other hindleg that she had just gotten loose after it was caught by a small tree. The barbary female snorted. Well, perhaps it would be easier to haul this thing back if they did it together.

Lifting his nose up, Aluaq scented the air, but the wind was still so there was no clues there. He flicked his ears and then he stood up. There was some heavy rustling amongst the trees and the sound of something huge moving towards them in the snow. It was still quite a distance from them but it had been coming closer and closer for awhile now. It didn't sound like a bear, besides Aluaq hadn't seen a bear since the snow had lay deep enough to cover his paws. He growled as a warning to whatever was coming closer.

“If you want to give a gift that matters, Dan I say you let the little tree you seek be. To give life is the largest gift you can give... To not kill something when you have the power at your hand, and you don't have the need to kill.” Tana glanced up at the huge spruce that stood next to them, it had survived many cold seasons and strong winds. “They are strong and weak at the same time, just as we are, Dan...they are born and they die just like us...but many of the Others just see them as...objects...just as many other things that they think is only there to serve their own need.” Tana closed her eyes, took a deep breath and held out the palms of her hands from her sides. Feeling the spirits and the life around her. She felt it all around her more than she actually saw. It wasn't the same in the cold season as it was in the warm, but it was still life here, deep under the snow.

A deep sigh, a groan under the heavy cloak of snow, the squeak of branch against branch. The woman opened her eyes. “I don't think I really understand it completely yet...but...if you want to make me happy, I beg you to save the tree. Decorate it where it grows, give back to those that struggle in the cold. The spirits will see your kindness and even if you are not rewarded will be...when you least expect it. If the spirit of what you call Christmas is in the tree and in the act of giving gifts, then surely letting the tree be, to let it grow tall a gift that will keep on giving not just this cold season but the next one as well, and the next, and the next.”

Now she noted Aluaq’s stiff stance and heard his growl that had grown in strength. She pulled out her bow and a arrow made of bone that had a sharpened end. Surely it couldn't be a bear. Not now. She glanced at Dan. In a hushed voice she whispered “Is a Brother of yours also out to get a tree you think?”

Dan shook his head. “The tree isn’t to approve gifts or something. Originally people thought that an evergreen plant symbolised the spirits of life, so to say. As well as that as long as the spruce is standing in their midst, it’s spirit will protect them from evil ones. Hanged with glittery objects and candles on their branches, they were bringer of light and brightness in the darkest times of the year.” Even though he understood Tana’s point, she made it a bit too easy for herself just generally assuming all people were selfish, in his opinion. Sure, almost nobody really realized the meaning behind the christmas tree nowadays, but somehow a lot of people still felt it in their hearts.

The grey male had completely ignored the barbary’s first attempts at being unfriendly. Misulik was here to help, she should be glad. Judging by the looks of it, she had quite a bit of difficulties with the big carcass herself and with double the force they were a lot quicker.

The black haired man shrugged. It wouldn’t be the only christmas tree in the tribe’s camp anyway and if it made Tana happy, why not. He patted Ittuluk, who stuck his nose under his hand. Misneachail was still lying behind him, silent and watchful.
“Okay then. But Tana, not everyone of “the Others” as you call them is the way you think. Even though they might not believe in spirits and a greater balance in nature, they act very close to what you’d call living with it. There are scientists in the world that do nothing else but trying to understand the way plants communicate with and to what extend they have feelings.” He had heard of it, read a few articles about it in school. Christmas was a time of love and forgiving, not shaming people.

When Tana suddenly put an arrow in her bow, Dan grabbed his axe tighter. “I don’t think so” whispered Dan back. It didn’t felt like a bear was coming, however if asked he wouldn’t be able to tell exactly HOW that would feel.

Misulik had heard Aluaq’s growl and answered with a short yap. Ittuluk’s and Misneachail’s ears snapped forward, jumping up and dashing through the snow in the direction of the strange sounds.

She knew he was right, but then he had not seen what she had, he had not felt what she had felt. Perhaps the Others had become better over the many seasons that had passed since her people walked here, perhaps the Others were different depending on where they called a place home. Perhaps she was quick to judge but she thought of the one who had been friends with Joe, the greed that had lit his eyes like small fires. There had been many in Akhlut’s belly that had been just like him. She shivered. Perhaps she still had things to learn that didn't just include how to live in this world but also...that there was those of the Others that were different. She didn't know what a scientist was but now wasn't the time to ask. Perhaps it was a form of shaman?

Pulling back the bowstring she waited, her arm trembling just slightly as the sound came closer. Aluaq had stopped his growling but the male still stood attentively, watching with the hair on his back slightly on end. Then, slowly, his tail began to wag.

Tuwa grunted as she pulled hard to get the big carcass unstuck. She casted a glance at the male. Now he would get praise too...even if it was HER carcass, HER find. The barbary grumped to herself and for a moment she let go. She could hear the others now. Perhaps it was better to leave this here and fetch the group instead. That was easier. Without a look back to see if the male followed Tuwa turned back, towards where she had left her human and her packmate.

When the barbary female showed between the spruces, Aluaq’s wagging tail began to wag a bit quicker. Tana lowered her bow, relieved it wasn't a bear. They were usually in a very bad mood if they became awake in the cold season. “Tuwawi...where did you go to?” When the piebald stopped and turned her head the way she came, looking back. Then Tuwa continued with motions that told Tana that the barbary wanted them to follow she looked at Dan. Now she noted one of the young man's tokotas was missing. Perhaps that was it?

“I think she want us to follow...”

The tension raised. Dan crouched, every inch of his body ready to jump. Fight or flight? He wasn’t sure yet. But when Misneachail and Ittuluk head off, he felt some sort of release. Both of them hadn’t shown any sign of aggression. Shortly after Tuwawi emerged out of the trees. Dan nodded. It seemed like she wanted them to follow. So they did.

Dan smiled. The whole pack stood around a young, but tall spruce. Beneath it was a carcass, frozen. The tracks around it indicated Tuwa and Misulik had dragged it quite away, and now it laid there like it was draped under the tree as a christmas present. “I think they have already found the best tree.”

They returned to the camp together to gather decorations. The rest of the day they spent hanging apples, nuts, a variety of different grains and other edible stuff in the tree. It would be a christmas meal for the animals of the forest.
Quest Name: Gift of Giving
Tokota(s) Featured:
Aluaq 16212, Tuwawi 18778 o/b decors 
Misneachail 16899, Misulik 3783, Ittuluk 194o/b darkcentaur 
Collaboration: Y

Thank you darkcentaur we only needed 1000 words but somehow 3355 words just poofed out like confetti on new years...oh wait...this was suppose to be so it poofed out like... snowflakes?

16(3355 WC) +1(collab) +2(WQ) +2(handler) +2(Aluaq 16212 is superstar) +2(tribemate)
Total = 25
Islua Featured By Owner Edited Dec 15, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
decors quest redeemed
Islua Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
darkcentaur quest redeemed
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Submitted on
December 14, 2016


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