Blackfeather Woods they call me
All Welcome  December 27, 2017, 11:58 PM
Maegi
Blackfeather Woods
Apprentice
Fellglow Keep, nighttime
For someone she has not met yet, or at least hasn't seen in a while. @Kove perhaps?

It was cold, and slightly snowy, but not as much down here. No, here, the closer proximity to the core of the earth warmed the air and the ground slightly, making it a comfortable refuge and hiding spot for the denizens of Blackfeather. A hiding spot they may soon need.

Unbeknownst to Maegi, trouble would soon rain down in the form of vengeful packs from the north and the west. But she did feel. . .something. Ganon and Cass had vanished, her brothers had had a run-in with an unfriendly stranger at the border, and Vaati was quite tense. Even a youngster like her could see it.

But here, she was away from all that, safe with her thoughts. It was late, and she felt a bit tired, but more enthralled than anything at the light all around her. It was like the Altar, but magnified tenfold, and though she didn't hear the gods as well as she did beside the Temple, their voices still rang strongly out to her in this luminous cavern.

"Oh Mephala," she started, recalling a prayer someone had taught her. She couldn't quite recall who it was. Perhaps she had learned it in a dream, rather than from a family member. "Mighty. . ." Her voice trailed off as she struggled for the words. "Mighty. . .wo--wi--weaver! Weaver of our destiny. Receive our prayer."

She was a small echo in the cavern, but the ripples she received in response were larger than life itself.
December 28, 2017, 12:59 AM
Kove
Blackfeather Woods
Listener
bELL. THEY CALL ME STACEY. THEY CALL ME HER. THEY CALL ME JANE. THAT’S NOT MY N A M E

Similar to the children of the pack, Kove remained relatively oblivious to the impending war. Although he knew of tensions—the ravens and crows called to him, the wind whispering and foretelling the troubles of those within the woods—he did not delve beneath the surface of things. If trouble was coming, then they would find a way to counteract it. The Brotherhood had weakened since the loss of their eternal queen—Meldresi—but they were far from newborn whelps, waiting for a predator to come and silence them. No, they were much greater than that, even with so many having left their ranks in the past. And whilst he knew this, he also wondered if he might still be amongst the mighty; his body was aging, the wear and tear that he’d put it through during his youth finally catching up to him. It wouldn’t be long now before every day was a bad day and every morning brought with it the aches and pains that he was sure all elders felt. This he would not show, however overwhelming the intensity of it became, just as his grandparents and all of the Apaata’s that existed long before him.

With the night there came an unavoidable chill to the air, which easily slipped through his fur and raked its talons across the guardian’s skin. A shiver ran through him, disappearing with a harsh shake of his pelt and an eagerness to seek out shelter; this was the first winter where the cold affected him so terribly, his coat having not grown in quite as thick as all the previous years. His need for a barrier between himself and the winds drove him down into the tunnels, where he walked deeper and deeper, trailing along paths that were all too familiar to him. His intentions were to find a tolerable location to tuck himself away in until the sun arose from its slumber, yet a voice called to him before he was able to do so. It was soft—feminine—but loud enough to leave behind an echo. His legs were carrying him towards it before he could remind himself that, that was not the reason for his being there, and then once he saw her he couldn’t so easily turn away.

One of Potema’s recent children, he was sure, stood beneath the glow of the Keep. He had yet to meet any of them, the unconscious decision to avoid each of them having cast him in directions opposite to their own each day; he did not know what to make of them. They were descended from Meldresi but were not accepted by their mother—they were stains that tarnished the otherwise clear image of the late queen, and yet, he didn’t hate them. Unlike the priestess, he could not harbour any malicious feelings towards them, for they were still only children. They were not to blame for the actions of their parents, they were only forced to live on with the reminder of it. Deciding it was time to stop treating them as physical embodiments of some terrible plague, he called out softly to her: “Where did you learn that?” Hovering by the entrance of the tunnel that he’d come from, he kept from approaching her, waiting instead to see how she felt about his being there.

Adopt an Apaata.
Threads are titled after lyrics from Adam Lambert's “Whataya Want from Me”
December 28, 2017, 05:02 PM
Maegi
Blackfeather Woods
Apprentice
So charmed by this place, she hadn't noticed that she wasn't alone anymore. Or, rather, she had, but from the corner of her eye she had spotted a burly white wolf and thought him to be Vaati, and had chosen to ignore her brother. It was only when he spoke that she realized that it wasn't, in fact, Vaati, but instead someone she'd never met before.

Maegi turned to face the man, who lingered near the entrance of the cavern. Seen with full vision, he was clearly much older than Vaati, and with brown eyes instead of light blue. Where did you learn that? he had asked.

"Uh, I--I dunno," she answered, a little hesitantly. She didn't know whether to take his presence here to mean that she didn't belong in the cave, saying these prayers, or if he was genuinely curious and trying to be friendly. She never could tell with wolves meeting Potema's twisted litter for the first time. "Maybe Miraak. But I can't remember. I just. . .know it."

The girl grew a little bolder, taking a few halting, crooked steps toward the male before stopping in her tracks, gazing up at him. She was growing like a weed, but she still needed to look up for most interactions. "Who are you?"
January 01, 2018, 11:37 AM
Kove
Blackfeather Woods
Listener
The child didn’t seem too eager to speak, her words spoken with obvious hesitance. Rather than rushing her, he kept quiet and just listened, allowing her as much time as she needed to talk as any other would; he could not confirm where her hesitance stemmed from but had a sneaking suspicion that it had something to do with the way she and her siblings have been treated by others thus far. He could blame neither side, really, and so he generally stayed out of it; despite their origins, they were still Meldresi’s grandchildren, and he had to keep reminding himself about that.

When her answer was given, he nodded, keeping silent for a long minute. “It’s good that you do,” he eventually stated, eyes never leaving her’s. “Do you plan to become a priestess?” It would make sense, he felt, that she follow in the footprints left behind by her mother and grandmother. Whether her familial ties with them were tightly bound or not, he still believed it to be fitting. And to learn from Miraak, perhaps she was on her way already. Despite the male having arrived after the death of the queen, they had come from the same pack, so surely the older gentleman was just as qualified to be sharing the teachings of the Brotherhood as she had been. And if he wasn’t, or there was anything that he couldn’t recall, then Kove would gladly pluck lessons from the vault of knowledge bestowed upon him by Meldresi herself now so long ago.

As she approached him, the Inuk remained still, though his eyes drifting from her face to her forelimbs; he noticed her broken stride and found his gaze drawn immediately towards her deformity because if it. Although she could survive with the disability, he wondered about how she might hunt, curious to see if she’d ever try or if she’d just rely on others to kill for her. Her development would be interesting to watch, either way, he decided, bringing his gaze back up to meet hers. “I’m Kove,” he answered. “Who might you be?”

Adopt an Apaata.
Threads are titled after lyrics from Adam Lambert's “Whataya Want from Me”
January 02, 2018, 04:47 PM
Maegi
Blackfeather Woods
Apprentice
She saw his gaze shift to her stunted paw, and her jaw tightened, feeling suddenly defensive. She was of an age now where her deformity was not only noticed but resented, and although she knew others had it worse--Ramsay being the notable example--she couldn't help but envy Euron and her older siblings for their long, perfect legs, their even strides.

"I don't know," Maegi answered Kove's first question, her voice a little flat. Perhaps. She was not quick on her feet, so she'd never make a warrior. . .or a spy or hunter, for that matter. Maybe talking to the gods was all she would be good for in life. "I don't know any priestesses to teach me stuff."

Kove. His name fluttered through her mind like a leaf on the wind, and committed it to memory. "Maegi," she responded, with a small, curt bow of her head. The exuberance that had marked her early childhood was slipping away with the days gone by, being slowly replaced by a cool, calculating air that made it hard to gauge where her true emotions lie.

"I only know that part," she continued, speaking of the prayer, not her name--although perhaps both, in an unknown to her, furtive way. "Can you teach me the rest?"
January 02, 2018, 07:06 PM
Kove
Blackfeather Woods
Listener
The reason behind her uncertainty brought a frown to his lips, making him want to point out her mother’s title—which he decided against after thinking it over, doubtful that Potema would teach the girl. He did not blame her for her lack of attachment to the children, just as he did not blame Cicero for his role in their creation or them for being born and surviving. For everything that happened, he was sure there was a reason behind it, and so rarely did he question things that were out of his control; the exception to this having been back when he and Scarlett first split apart, for that was something that he could have controlled, as well as something that he still thought about with great regret.

“There may not be any priestesses to teach you,” he noted. “But, if you don’t mind being taught by a priest instead, then I would gladly help you—that is, if you decide that you’d like to become a priestess.” Kove had never had an apprentice, nor had he considered taking one on until right then. Of course, he’d wanted to teach his children when they were young but, to him, that was more his responsibility as a parent than a mentor; none of his children had ever sought him out to learn beneath his guidance. A few were taught the language of the north—their extended family—but that was as far as it’d ever gone. “Even if you’d rather not be a priestess, I will teach you,” he added moments later. “There are many things that you’ll need to learn in order to survive.” Unless if she wanted to die—something he didn’t consider the possibility of.

After hearing her name, he nodded. Maegi—it seemed fitting, both for her and the woods itself. A beat later, he said, “It’s nice to meet you, Maegi.” And then came her request, which surprised him. “Why do you want to learn that prayer?” asked the Inuk. “Do you know what it’s for?” He had no problem with teaching her, though he was curious about why she wanted that prayer specifically—or, perhaps, that was the only one she knew and she wanted to learn it just because of that. Reining in his thoughts, he kept from making any assumptions, leaving it up to her to reveal the truth.

Adopt an Apaata.
Threads are titled after lyrics from Adam Lambert's “Whataya Want from Me”
January 02, 2018, 11:36 PM
Maegi
Blackfeather Woods
Apprentice
Her ears perked up at his suggestion. This man was a priest! Perhaps that was why she hadn't seen him before--he was away, doing. . .well, doing whatever priests do. Vaati was a warrior, and was always around. Cicero a spy, so he always was in hiding somewhere, but you at least knew he was somewhere. Maybe Kove, as a priest, was everywhere and nowhere, all at once.

"Okay," Maegi agreed, lips spreading in a tentative smile. "That would be cool." She wondered what kind of training priestesses needed to go through.

Then he asked her about the prayer, and she offered another shrug, truly at a loss. "No," she admitted. "Maybe Miraak didn't teach me it. . .I just remember hearing it somewhere. Maybe in a dream. I dunno." Her shoulders fell as she spoke, her tone perplexed. "It's about Mephala, obviously," Maegi added, thinking perhaps he'd give her points for at least that shred of information.

Well, duh, Maegi. You only just said her name out loud. She cast her eyes downward for a moment, silently chastising herself for her moment of simple-mindedness, before returning her gaze to Kove, awaiting his response.
January 11, 2018, 04:38 PM
Kove
Blackfeather Woods
Listener
A smile pulled at the corners of his lips and he nodded. He considered her response to be an agreement, however little eagerness there was behind it. He could understand the hesitance behind becoming a priestess or priest, especially since so many of the woods seemed to favour the more hands-on approach; there was never any shortage of warriors and spies, many that joined them, and even those born into the pack, having an interest in both lifestyles. It was important to have them, he’d never suggestive otherwise, but those like Potema and himself were equally as important. If they were to lose touch with Mephala and Sithis, then where would that leave them? They would not be the same pack and the Brotherhood branch within their ranks would cease to exist.

Where she’d learned it was questioned, and he decided that it wasn’t important where she’d heard it, so much as that she knew it—a piece of it, that is. Again, he nodded as he listened to her speak, remaining silent even after her voice had faded. “It is not about Mephala,” was the first thing to leave his mouth when he did speak. “Rather, it’s a call to her.” Whilst a message and a call to someone were similar things, they were not the same, and this he had to clarify. “It’s for her, not about,” the northerner added as he sat down, settling in for the lesson. He wasn’t sure why the girl wanted to know it, not exactly, though he did suspect a reason; if the woman who birthed her would not be on her side, then what other option did she have than to seek out the Night Mother herself.

“You know only half of it,” Kove pointed out then. “I’ll share the entirety of it with you—listen closely.” He fixed his gaze on her, the smile having since faded as it was replaced by neutrality; tight-lipped and eyes lacking a lively glint, serious but bland. Speaking slowly, he shared the prayer with her, starting from the beginning:

“Oh, Mephala.
Mighty weaver of our destiny, receive our prayer.
Have mercy on us, speak to us in our dreams—
Because we are your unworthy servants.”

Letting the silence linger after his words, he watched the girl, hoping that she would remember—remember and repeat it so that she might gain the audience she desired. “There are many prayers for you to learn,” he said after awhile, ending the length of silence that surrounded them. “And, after you’ve learned all of them and gained experience, perhaps you will even create your own to pass down to the generation that follows you.” Should that be her wish, that is.

Adopt an Apaata.
Threads are titled after lyrics from Adam Lambert's “Whataya Want from Me”
January 14, 2018, 12:45 AM
Maegi
Blackfeather Woods
Apprentice
It seemed settled, then. He'd teach her what he knew. Something small and solid fell into place in her brain: she was to be a priestess. She did not yet know the amount of resistance her mother would give to the idea, nor the struggles of learning to speak to the gods--but it was something, at least. Something to do.

Maegi nodded at his correction; she was still young enough to handle criticism gracefully, not yet in the bratty phase that would mark her adolescence. "For her, then," she murmured, and listened as he gave her the whole prayer. She tried desperately to remember it, mouthing the words, hoping she got the order of them correct. Perhaps he'd say it again.

"Oh, Mephala," she began, her voice small in the cave. It grew louder, though, as she gained courage and went on. "Mighty weaver of our destiny, receive our prayer." Now to the part she didn't know so well. "Have mercy on us. . .speak to us in our dreams. For we are your un--" Unwilling? Unknowing? "--Worthy," Maegi finally gasped out, feeling relieved. "Unworthy servants."

She felt slightly overwhelmed as he informed her there were many prayers. How was she to learn them all? Even that small bit of verse had been tricky to get down. And creating her own, herself? It seemed a fantasy--a beautiful, glowing fantasy, but one nonetheless.
January 22, 2018, 04:11 AM
Kove
Blackfeather Woods
Listener
Not a single word more left the northerner’s mouth as he listened to her, resisting the urge to jump in when she began to struggle. Although he intended to teach her everything that he could, he knew he could not coddle her, for no one else in the world would. He had to be stern and step back when necessary, allowing her to work through the words on her own—and she did, the final word of the prayer soon slipping out her mouth, bringing a ghost of a smile to his lips. “Very good,” he commented, her first try having been a success. “With repetition, you’ll soon have every word memorised.” And then it would be hers to use, either in times of need or for personal reasons, she would have it with her.

“Never lose your confidence when speaking, especially when addressing the Night Mother or Dread Father,” the man added. “The more confident you are, the more likely they’ll be to hear you.” Where the prayers were said often influenced who heard them, too, but that was a base he’d cover at a later date—after she’d learned more prayers and he felt she was ready. And with that thought fresh in his thoughts, he asked, “Would you like to hear another, or should we go over this one again?” He would leave the decision up to her, understanding that she was far more aware of her own pace than he was. If she felt she needed to hear it again, he would repeat it, and if she didn’t, he would move on.

What also came to mind, however, was her future—no amount of prayers would fix her leg, and so she would have to learn to live with it. “Becoming a priestess means that you might have to travel sometimes, either to potential branch packs or beyond,” he began. “Which also means that you’ll need to learn how to hunt.” Even without the potential for travels, she would still need to learn, but the possibility that she might someday be out on a journey alone made the matter all the more pressing. “That is something I can begin to help you with, too, if you’ll let me.” He could understand her struggle—not in full, but enough. He could understand her frustrations and beliefs, but he would not let anything drag her down. She would learn to fend for herself, one way or another—he’d make certain of it.

Adopt an Apaata.
Threads are titled after lyrics from Adam Lambert's “Whataya Want from Me”
January 27, 2018, 07:18 PM
Maegi
Blackfeather Woods
Apprentice
A thrill went through her at Kove's faint smile, and the verbal bone-throw that followed. She knew that it was a small feat, but a feat nonetheless--and now she had a prayer to hold close, to say at the Altar. For Mephala.

He asked her if she wanted to learn another prayer, or to practice the one she'd been taught. While Maegi was tempted to leap headlong into another adventure of words, she knew it would be prudent to take it slow. She wouldn't be able to keep it all down if she went too fast. "I want to hear it again," she said softly.

His next question, however, threw her off. She hadn't really thought about hunting, much. The able-bodied in the pack kept the caches pretty well stocked, and while she had been able to overtake birds that had broken their wings or bugs missing limbs, she had not actively pursued the art of stalking and pouncing. Her gait was too clumsy, too noisy for that.

But Kove could teach her that, too.

Maegi nodded slowly, with some trepidation. While prayers and lore came naturally to her, the nitty-gritty--hunting, fighting, and the like--did not. She was afraid of embarrassing herself in front of her new teacher--but better to be embarrassed now rather than later, right? At least Kove would be somewhat forgiving.

"Okay," she agreed. "I guess I can learn to hunt, too."
February 14, 2018, 01:15 AM
Kove
Blackfeather Woods
Listener
Last from me. You can post again or archive as is ♥

The child’s willingness to learn brought a smile to his face, small but genuine. Her eagerness was not easy to look away from and he soon found himself sucked into it, far more interested in teaching her than he had ever been in teaching his own children—those that were once suckled by a now-traitor, that is. Some might think it to be guilt that attached him to her, the need to ensure that the Melonii line thrived even now, but his motives were anything but selfish. He truly wished the best for her, as well as hoped to help her become the best possible version of herself that she could be; he did not want her to fall victim to her deformity, nor feel as if she was any less of a Melonii because of her unsavoury creation.

“We will begin hunting lessons at a later date,” he decided. “For now, let us pray.” With that, Kove repeated the prayer to her, this time going even slower than the first; he wanted to make sure that she heard every single word, that nothing was missed and that her mind was given ample time to engrave the sounds into itself. And like that he would continue to go, listening and repeating at her request until the words became her’s alone and his own voice was no longer a necessity.

Adopt an Apaata.
Threads are titled after lyrics from Adam Lambert's “Whataya Want from Me”