Cerulean Cape wave-wracked and wanton
February 15, 2018, 12:50 PM
        Hunting sea lions wasn’t a particularly easy task; their limpid, seemingly gentle eyes and blimplike bodies belied an astounding wealth of speed and strength. The first female Coelacanth drew toward the group was young and strong — too strong, it turned out, for the assemblage of hunters. After multiple failed attempts to lure others from the group without risking her personal safety, Seelie finally succeeded in luring a different cow, but the result was largely the same. She perused the group of pinnipeds with a practiced eye, but it was @Catori who spotted their eventual prize: a wound-riddled cow with a badly torn flipper and a significant laceration on her brow that had caused her right eye to swell shut. Quick, decisive orders from the wandering trio and their ginger-and-cream niece allowed the group to drive and lure the female far away from her sister-wives.

        At long last, the sea lion fell and did not rise — and the only sound to be heard for a prolonged moment was the staggered panting of many mouths. One by one, the sheepdog attempted to draw those who had not participated in the hunt to the carcass, her mouth already watering at the thought of the savory, fat-rich meat.

        The inkdark ingénue went immediately to @Stockholm’s side, and the look in her eyes was quizzical. Normally it was Kirynnae who presided over the sharing of gifts, but they were a long way from Vargas Island. Brontide’s earlier words rang in her mind: “Normally we trade for our food, whether that’s telling a story, doing a dance, singing a song, being the fastest or the strongest in some type of contest, or finding something pretty on the beach.” Dainty paws shifted in the sand, for she had always been a dancer — but without @Amoxtli at her side, she couldn’t do their favorite mirror act, and she didn’t really want to, either. Tufted ears flattened against her skull, but fortunately Brontide was as forthright as he’d ever been.

        “Well?” he asked, grinning broadly. “Who wants to be first?”

February 16, 2018, 07:29 PM
Leader I
the hunt was fascinating. only once in his life had aditya hunted sea lions; it had been a bloody, dangerous affair, with several of his band sustaining injury (he himself harbored a small wedge-shaped scar on the underside of his belly from that encounter). this was more graceful, with the cortens eventually finding a wounded quarry and the wolves descending upon it, swift angels of death.

aditya sat, fascinated at the male's words. all eyes were fixed on the carcass, jaws salivating, minds fixated on flesh--of maybe more than just that of the sea lion, adi noted silently with humor, as he saw catori make advances toward his father-in-law. he felt a twitch in his stomach at the sight, and ripped his eyes away, turning his gleaming gaze instead toward @Dawn.

how beautiful she was! her pelt rippling in the sea breeze, face full of fierceness and wisdom beyond her age. they both had had a rough time of it lately--all the morningsiders had--and they deserved to relax, at least for a night. to revel in their youth, and dance under the moon.

"i will go first," aditya rumbled, surprising even himself with the sudden words. resisting the urge to flush under the heat of many pairs of eyes--he lived for this, after all--he kept his sight fixed on dawn, a smile melting over his features. in this moment he saw her and only her. "legend has it my great-grandfather used this song to woo his mate--and his father before him, and so it went back. . ."

closing his eyes for an instant, he hummed softly, a single pitch that grew into something lilting, ululating, the tone carrying across the wind. and his eyelids lifted, and he found her in his gaze, and he sang:

"ae meri zohra jabeen,
tujhe maloom nahin
tu abhi tak hai haseen
aur main jawaan!
tujhpe qurbaan meri jaan, meri jaan. . ."

and so it went on, his tail swaying to the beat, 'til he thought he had sung enough to earn himself--and his family--their dinner.

and her love.
asdfjkl; i've been waiting for ages to use this song
February 18, 2018, 12:16 PM
That is such a pretty song! ♥
Sorry about this post; it got away from me

        It was in this breathtakingly beautiful way that Coelacanth learned she and Aditya were indeed related through Grayday’s daughter, Dawn — and the news was dizzying! Tucking her body more firmly against @Stockholm’s with an excited chitter, she bathed his chin and cheek in fervent nibbles and licks. What a wondrous voice Aditya had! Even Komodo’s “minstrels” were impressed.

        In the wake of her elation, the longing to tell a story or sing a song assailed Coelacanth, and a flash of hungry, gnawing sorrow danced across her inkdark visage. To assuage the old, unwelcome ache, she pushed her velveteen crown up against the underside of the Gampr’s jaw, slicking back her tufted ears with a trembling sigh as her eyes drifted shut. Stockholm soothed her ruffled nerves, but not even his reassuring warmth could fully extinguish the restlessness in her soul — or her paws.

        With complimentary murmurs, Brontide and Serein stepped forward to help @Aditya break through the sea lion’s resilient cloak and section off a hefty portion of the deliciously fatty meat for his family; and as they bore it to them, Seelie gently disengaged from her protector.

        She stepped into the limelight, shimmering eyes a bright, luminous blue untouched by the rich citrine light of the moon — and in the way of the nomadic Âlluasiak dancers from the far north, she told her story. Using the ocean as her dancing partner, she smiled down at her reflection, dipping a shoulder to skim her feathered cheek along the glistening surface in a fond caress. She trotted alongside the water going one way, interacting with it as she would have interacted with @Amoxtli — drifting away from it to lift some imagined treasure from the beach, then presenting it for his perusal. Her hips lifted and her forequarters dipped as she bowed playfully, joyously.

        She used the saline that clung to her fur as part of her performance. As she leapt and spun, crystal droplets sprang from her cheek and tail, from the feathers of her wrists and ankles, like a handful of small comet tails. Then, quite suddenly, the mood of her dance shifted.

        “Where are you?” bespoke the desperately searching look in her Neptune eyes, her paws stuttering and halting midstride. She used the audience to make her point — walking up to @Komodo and glancing around him, over his shoulder — peeking under @Sirimiri for comedic effect — peering into the @Spiritwalker’s face and Aditya’s in turn. When at last she had gone through most members of the crowd, her expression was crestfallen. She’d lost her twin, the mirror to her soul, and although Catori had said she’d seen Amoxtli — and Seelie didn’t doubt this was true! — the tiny sheepdog had yet to witness it for herself. She walked like a creature defeated, paws dragging in the sand, leaving long furrows, her nose so low to the earth it bumped along the ground.

        But Coelacanth had hope.

        Tonight was the Hunter’s Moon — and she slunk to the water’s edge and sat with her back to the audience, silhouetted and dwarfed by the glossy glow of the moon. For a long moment she sat — and Brontide, indeed, began to cheer as if he thought she’d finished — but Serein shushed her brother with a swift nip to the nose, because all at once, the little Groenendael was moving again.

        One tufted ear swept to attention, then twisted like a blossom in the breeze, beckoned by some unknown sound. Both ears popped to attention like inverse exclamation points atop her crown, and she spun — water cascaded around her in a whirlwind as she bounded forward, rearing on her hind legs like a spirited filly and tossing her forelimbs around her imagined twin. She tumbled to the ground with an expression of delight, then leapt again and again, her slim jaws parting on a joyful “howl” that was merely a whispered whine. In this story, she and Amoxtli were reunited — and she had no way of knowing that her heart’s deepest wish was already on its way to coming true.

        Overcome with emotion — and shyness — the tiny wolfdog catapulted into Stockholm’s shadow and nestled against his breast, shoving herself somewhat unceremoniously under one of his forelegs so that she could shelter beneath his vast height until her cheeks cooled and her heart slowed.
February 18, 2018, 01:19 PM
Approved Members

Siri didn't understand Aditya's song, but she didn't have to in order to see his adoration for the sterling girl he was gazing at. She'd missed some of the introductions, and had no idea that the pair were already mated, or that the girl in question was something like her own grand-niece. But it was a sweet performance even without context, and Siri help back from the urge to coo about it.

Seelie's chilling performance had her pressing closer to her own twin; she and Serein had oft been separated, but they had a knack for finding each other again. After Seelie did her dance, the pair exchanged glances and took up a favored song, describing how, as the waves met the shore time and again, they would always be reunited, crashing together with the same surety of the ocean. It was not a moving as Coelacanth's joy and sorrow, but the pair hoped it would help comfort their niece to hear the assurance.
February 18, 2018, 01:41 PM
Approved Members

Aditya's song was nice enough, even if Grayday didn't understand the words. He also missed the visual subtext, which made it a bit less moving that it was for the others. If this was true for Aditya's performance, it was doubly so for Coelacanth's. Grayday was about to speak up and maybe go next when Easy shushed him, and began describing the dance as well as she could in a hushed, almost reverent voice.

Sometimes, it was hard not to miss his vision. But the dance ended, and another of Catori's relatives took up the stage. Two, it seemed like. This song he could understand, and it reminded him of his family's own song, passed down for generations until it reached him. It no longer felt like his own song, but there were parts that still spoke to him. Perhaps he could take some of the old and mix it with the new, and Morningside could have its own song to sing. For now, though -

"I will sing you the song of my fathers," he offered, stepping forward when no one else immediately took the stage.

"Our tree is watered by the well
where our eldest ancestors dwell.
We dwell under the sacred tree,
and up above our fathers sleep.

"The strongest boughs hold the most leaves,
on our branch is the greenest wreath,
pruned and plucked to find the best seed,
Sameth breeds true and Elkbone bleeds.

"Our roots reach deep into the well
where all our dead have gone to dwell.
The blood we share and lines we keep
connect us on the sacred tree.

"Come together, sisters, brothers.
Sing our songs, O wives and mothers
Let us be of one heart and mind
Let nothing end our sacred line.

Grayday paused when he was done, a bemused expression flickering across his blind face. "I forgot how much there was about good breeding in there," he admitted to his wife. "But don't worry - mom would've loved you."
February 18, 2018, 01:56 PM
Leader I
         it had been to her astonishment that they'd come across the gathering, and her surprise had only grown when she'd spotted her father. in the tumultuous meeting, she was separated briefly from her companions, gaze following the inky sylph as she danced through the wolves. wondering at her, and neglecting to pay attention as to the whereabouts of her family, she moved to greet her father a moment late, tail wagging at her hocks. greetings were said quickly and sparingly, and in the crowd she lost the members of her family as quickly as she found them, ears perked as gradually she took in all she could.

         when time came for the hunt, she joined the wolves that offered their strength; but hung back more than she usually would. they certainly seemed to know what they were doing, which was more than she could claim as she approached the strange quarry. she moved to where she was directed and where she was needed, and soon one of the odd sea-creatures fell. with a grin at her father's mate she moved back to stand near Aditya, pausing then truly to lay eyes on the sea, the tempestuous thing she had not yet been able to examine. in the dark, much of it was shadowed, yet still she felt amazement at the vast expanse of it, and wondered just how far she'd have to swim to reach the opposite shore. was there another shore, out there? or did the waves stretch on forever, reaching endlessly into the horizon?

         the voice of her mate startled her from her reverie, and she turned to him with blinking gaze. she'd expected one of the Cortens to go first - and she was greatly interested in hearing the voice of the inky sylph. but as he spoke a slow smile spread across her face, and she held his gaze as he began to sing. it was a beautiful song, a beautiful voice, and she drifted easily alongside the soaring and dipping notes. she did not know the words, not all of them, but they did not need to be understood.it was an ode to them, to their youth and their life together. for they would live together - they would lead, they would bear pups, they would settle into their roles as Day and Cat had settled into theirs. 

         foreboding. she did not expect the feeling, but it slipped into her mind and curled somewhere low in her chest when her mate's song dipped low. for she could see her life stretched before her, see contentedness and happiness. her wanderings would cease, as already they had slowed, and she would become a mother. it was what she wanted, and yet - and yet, she realized at once, she felt confined. her head tilted downward in the slightest, looking for all the world like embarrassment, or some deep emotion. but the huntress did not become embarrassed, rather, something prickled in her gaze that she was not sure she wanted Adi to see. and there began the doubts, as the end of his song faded into the sea-lashed silence.

         She looked to her mate, smile on her features and gaze clear and unshadowed. "thank you," The words too were empty of doubt, and while happiness softened her features, her chest churned at the poisoned thoughts. she moved closer, though was offered a respite from pushing down her thoughts when the inky girl began to dance - this she watched reverently, admiring the way she moved under the light of the red moon, the sweet distraction she offered.

-[Image: outrider_master.gif]-Ambassador Mastery - 12/20
February 18, 2018, 02:23 PM

Catori felt the floodgates open - maybe it was the endorphins from finding so many Corten or just the timing was right. She knew that others had noticed, and she kept herself firmly wedged up against Coelacanth when she wasn't up against her guardian. She teased her teeth through her sister-cousin's silky tresses until Seelie moved away in preparation for her own dance. She returned to Grayday, nuzzling up under his chin as Easy took over in describing the dances, occasionally adding her own little murmur of an explanation here and there. She watched and listened and drank everything in, feeling like her entire being and body was swept up and consumed in this feeling too; the world was in its rights at that point and she felt grateful for it. Whatever drained her and demanded of her in the coming days would not matter - the natural order was restored and she felt good right then. 

She laughed fondly when Grayday had finished his song, stepping up to press a kiss to his cheek with a bemused look. "Your mama would know you need someone to keep you in line," She teased warmly, reaching up to tease her teeth against his ear for a moment. She helped Grayday with the particularly unique texture of the sea lion's flesh, licking her chops as she drooled over it. How long ago had it been since she had partaken? She wished so hard then that Chelan was present too - among the sea of Corten if Coelacanth was the sprite and spirit of the waters Chelan was the rock that gave her refuge through it. Catori stepped briefly away from Grayday, weaving through to press her skull against Easy's as well for a moment. 

The tale she told was one that many Corten knew - she'd earned her title after all not only by the way of her coat but by the unique perspective she shared. "We are as old as the sea itself, and the sea has given us it's bounty time and time again. It cares for us, and in turn, we care for the world around us, ensuring that what we leave for our young and for theirs is better than what we had." She began, looking across the gathered group for a moment. "Before the world itself was green and lush everything was white - everything was locked in snow and ice, and the world could not sustain it's people." Those times were miserable, and life was hard - if not impossible. 

"The great Raven made the world green, it's wide wings sweeping across the plains and bringing with it life for the world. Things became lush, and the world was receptive to new lives taking hold. As the world was populated and thrived we needed to remember how fortunate we were. Some were ungrateful, some didn't care. As a reminder, the Raven chose to make some of it's great bears white to remind us all of the times when the world was covered in ice and snow. Those bears are sacred, the spirit bears watch over us and serve as a bridge between the old world and the new." Catori explained, watching her family in particular; her own thoughts set on what their family would look like in the coming months. Would any of the children carry her own markings? 

"Some of us, like me, are lucky enough to bare their colors and markings. Whether that means I'm any more intune to the world is left to be seen," She quipped, a little laugh offered, "But we serve as the historians, the storytellers, the ones to pass the tales from generation to generation - and we add our own tales as each generation comes and goes to make our family stronger." When she'd finished she returned to Grayday's side, chest heaving just a bit as she pressed herself against him - ultimately emotional and excited for the evening. 

i grew a human and unfortunately as a horrible side effect lost an organ - as such will be slow from time to time.
February 18, 2018, 02:53 PM
Approved Members

        Licking his lips contentedly, Brontide settled back to watch his niece’s performance. He chuckled at its whimsical beginning — Coelacanth and Amoxtli had often danced together in such a way, and it’d always been purely joyful — but as it drew on his brow furrowed. Quietly he digested the inevitable loss of his little girl’s innocence — for Catori and Coelacanth were like daughters to him, more so than any of the daughters he had left in his wake over the years — but though his heart ached at the knowledge that she had experienced true hurt, enough to portray it in such a way that her audience felt it too, he couldn’t bring himself to regret it. She was a Corten, and Cortens wandered. They loved fiercely and loyally, and sometimes, that love and loyalty got put into the wrong hands. Still…she was better off, he believed, for having experienced it. Privately he’d worried about how close Amoxtli and Seelie had been throughout their youth, and it was a relief to him that she had made new friends.

        He listened raptly as his littermates began to sing, a fond smile shaping his maw as he watched Serein tuck herself tightly against Sirimiri. Must be sweet, having a twin, he thought to himself. He was glad he didn’t, though — he liked being free to come and go as he pleased. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like, to be tied to someone forever in a way that even a mate couldn’t touch. “You’ll find each other, honeysuckle,” he said to the girl as she passed him by in an inkdark blur to burrow under the crop-eared wolfdog. Hmm, Brontide thought.

        Grayday began to sing then, and Brontide’s sharp ears caught the quiet aside intended for his niece. He grinned broadly but he didn’t comment immediately, for Catori herself began a story, old and beloved. Tears pricked the old sentimentalist’s eyes as he turned round to look at Serein and Sirimiri, his gaze clearly saying, “Well, would you look at that?” He was still humming an echo of Grayday’s song low in his throat as he returned to the carcass and managed to excise the liver, one of the choicest bits of the sea lion. Blood smeared his face like war paint as he crossed the distance and laid it before the Spiritwalker and her mate.

        “I guess introductions are a little overdue,” he said to the wolf Catori had chosen. “I’m Brontide Corten, from Vargas Island.” He smiled, letting the warmth of it color his voice as he said, “Welcome to the family; any of your kin will be welcomed by mine if they cross the sea and want to visit.” There were no threats about leg-breaking or shotguns here; Brontide trusted Catori’s judgment and wasn’t terribly overprotective. She seemed happy, and Bron was eager to make friends with the wolf who had made that happen.
February 18, 2018, 11:22 PM
Leader I
thank you. her words echoed in his ears, her sweet scent filling his nose as she drew closer. the rest looked on, some even with open admiration for his song. he gave dawn a small kiss of his muzzle to the top of her head, smiling at the crowd assembled, though something in his stomach felt tight.

that look. a fleeting shadow behind her eyes. . .?

and then the fleeting shadow that took shape in the form of coelacanth, twirling in elegant dance on the sand. mesmerized, he sat, watching the girl's performance. hawkish gaze following her every move. how she told a story! one of loss, though with a sweet tinge to it. and happiness from long ago, and a healthy dose of good humor.

he could never tell a soul, but he loved the dark-pelted woman. differently, perhaps, than he loved dawn--but he loved her all the same, and it was a weight on his heart.

songs and stories continued to fly, the familiar voices of grayday and catori reaching his ears as well as tones he'd not heard before. meat was divvied up, and they feasted happily, aditya relishing the taste of sea flesh he hadn't tasted in quite some time. he cast his eyes toward the morningsiders as he ate, wondering if they'd find it as appealing as the game on land.
February 18, 2018, 11:33 PM
Lone Wolves

If anyone wants a 1-on-1 thread, here's a good spot. :)

He partook in the hunt because he was swept up in the commotion of the entire experience, herded to the beachside and then beyond, where he rushed along behind a plethora of wolves he did not know. They hollered at one another as they toiled away, and when the creature was brought down (a monumental feat akin to the slaying of a dragon, for the sea lion was something wholly new to Screech and therefore, exotic and amazing) he drew back so that the festivities could continue. He hadn't been all that helpful all things considered, but he was panting hard and hungry by the time the creature was brought down. That was when things became different. Rather than tuck in to the meal as he expected, wolves spoke and heralded the attention of the group, one by one.

There were songs in languages he did not know; stories to which he listened attentively and in silence; a dark figure danced beside the surf and he was struck by the beauty of it, the mysticism for which he had no name. This was more than a family, he realized. They were so interconnected with everything from the sea to the moon and back again; Catori said it the best, and Screech's ears turned to catch her explanation, only to turn and flatten as she spoke of a raven. He felt a bittersweet taste in the back of his throat, a lurch to his chest, a twisting inside of him.

This made him think of home. But the topic of home had never really left him tonight either. Screech had found this gathering without intending to and now, having crashed the party, had been swept up in something much bigger than he could fathom. All of the magic in the air could not stop his mind or his heart from returning to the place that was most dear to him - to the Caldera, to his mother, his brothers and sisters. While the others must have felt some sort of lightness or freedom from the party, Screech felt the established weight of his loss grow tenfold; his head bowed, he turned and looked from the storytellers, the singers, these strange but loving people, and made haste to clear the misting from his eyes.

Now would be the time for him to depart - while they were all distracted by one another - so he checked with a quick glance to see if there was a path he could take without disturbing anyone, and ducked away from the gathering as quietly as he could. He was like a thief in the night - or a child trying to escape the droning voices in church - but he didn't go far. Just far enough along the beach so that there was a dimming to the voices, where he could breathe deeply and get a handle on his feelings.

February 19, 2018, 11:00 PM
Approved Members

Serein’s perspective this time ♥

        Serein stepped away from her twin, addressing the crowd as Brontide chatted genially with the Morningsiders. She watched the scrawny-looking male disengage from the group and shook her head in gentle bemusement when her niece followed close behind. In so many ways, the girl took after her sheepdog mother. Oh, yes — the wandering trio had stopped by to observe the childless mother, though they’d never had the heart to tell Seelie or to interact with the human-bonded dog. Dead things were better off dead. Speaking of which, “I’ve a story that’ll make you bed down a little closer to your loved ones,” she grinned wickedly.

        The streamlined, sandstone female adopted a haunting tone. “Far to the west and across the sea, there is an island with no name. For long generations, the island was uninhabited — until the day a mountain of fire erupted on the adjacent coast, sending creatures of every kind into the sea itself to seek sanctuary. Many perished.

        “The serenity of the island’s shores was marred by the bodies of the dead and dying. One voice rose above the din of agonized cries: ‘Help us — please help us!’
Serein’s voice took on a thin, threadbare quality, scraping from her throat like sand from the inside of a discarded crab shell. “He was young and wild and afraid, and he was the first of the wounded to rise up and stand on his own — and his first action was to turn and help others. Perhaps this was why the Ancient One chose to speak to him alone.”

        Serein drew a deep breath, then threw it into a shocking bellow.

        ‘This is not your island, tauhou!’ roared the Ancient One, and the force of His voice threw the young wolf face first in the sand with a pleading cry.

        “‘Tauhou?’ he repeated uncertainly. ‘That’s not my name — my name is — is — ’

        “‘Your name was forfeit to me when you set foot here!’
Serein laughed, a deep belly laugh with something at once humorous and sinister lurking beneath her crocodile smile. ‘You are all tauhou to me — strangers on my island, new arrivals without passage or permission. Your bloated bodies foul my shore. Your putrid ash-stench clouds my air. How dare you?’ Her voice rose and escalated to a mountainous roar. “In the shadows, something moved — and the tauhou, who would come to be known as First to Rise, stepped forward to meet it, sacrificing his own wellbeing to save the others.

        “What emerged from the forest was the largest wolf the stranger had ever seen, with an undercoat as pale as the sand upon which they stood and a cloak of gray and red. He looked as if he’d been fashioned from the island itself: the slate gray of the pebbled shore and the ruddy red of the seaweed that littered it. His eyes were a red-orange like the Hunter’s Moon,”
Serein said, motioning toward the eerily glowing moon with a playful grin. “First to Rise watched him steadfastly, and for a long while the two locked stares. Then, much to the tauhou’s surprise, the Ancient One bowed his head.

        “‘I cannot frighten you away, young wolf — but listen, only listen. This island is not for you. I beg you to leave. I ask. I do not command. Please heed my words and leave.’

        Serein shook her head. ‘No. I am staying,’ the stranger said staunchly, sure that this was another trick of a practiced charlatan. He did not waver even when the Ancient One curled his lips, showing his teeth in a pained and tortured grimace.

        “‘Against my advice, you have made your choice,’ the Ancient One lamented, ‘and for your courage alone I will name you First to Rise. You did not mean to come here, but you have chosen to remain. You have no past. You have always been First to Rise.’

        “Left no other choice, ‘Very well. Then I am First to Rise, though I liked my first name better,’ muttered the newly named wolf, making no effort to hide his displeasure.”
Serein went on for some time, describing the tremulous nature of First to Rise’s first interactions with the Ancient One. “After a time, First to Rise fell asleep.”

        Serein was silent for a long moment, exchanging a secret glance with Sirimiri, and then she shrieked loud enough to scatter a sleeping gull with an indignant squawk.


        “First to Rise awoke to a shifting, crunching sound — and when he glanced around, all the bodies were gone — including creatures that had been alive and well mere hours prior. The sea was a deep, disturbing red, and all around him he could hear a sinister cacophony of laughter. ‘WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO THEM?’ he shouted, his paws thunderous as he ran toward the heart of the island. As he ran, his limbs began to grow heavy and stiff — and then a voice as heavy as stone creaked:

        “‘You were warned. You were warned. Kukalatimajka needs blood.’

        “When he stopped running, it was out of both shock and necessity — for at the island’s center was a collection of wolf-shaped stones. He recognized the Ancient One, but there were so many more — and although their mouths could not move, he could isolate each voice and pinpoint who was speaking. ‘What is happening to me?’ he cried out as his paws began to solidify. ‘What happened to my friends? What is happening?’

        “‘I told you to leave.’ It was not only the Ancient One’s voice but a chorus of voices, all speaking the same words at different, staggered intervals. ‘I told you to leave — I told you to leave — you were warned. Kukalatimajka needs blood. The ancient debt.’

        “‘Kukala-the-whatsit?’ First to Rise squeaked out, his legs turning slowly to granite. He could no longer move, and despite his wild struggling, deep down he accepted his fate. ‘What debt?’ he begged. ‘What curse?’ Quicker now, his flanks and torso. ‘ANSWER ME!’ Still quicker, his chest and throat — and then he spoke no more. His eyes widened, lips drawing back into a scream as the island began to shake with the rumble of a distant storm — but it was not the sky crying. It was the sea itself.

        “From the froth of the blood-red waves came the warped and waterlogged bodies of the perished, reanimated to walk the earth once more. They groaned and growled, gnashing their teeth, carrying bones in their mouths and beaks and talons and paws — but as they came upon First to Rise, they stopped. The light of the moon seemed to burn more brightly — and one by one, the members of the undead legion dissipated like smoke. ‘The debt is paid at last,’ they moaned as they vanished into thin air.

        “‘The debt,’ the stone wolves took up the cry. ‘The debt is paid at last.’ They hummed with an otherworldly tone, deep in the earth, to be felt and not heard by the mortal ear. At once the island, which had been barren and covered in stone, began to bloom — and the curse was lifted. First to Rise, alive despite the imprisonment of his body, learned from the others what had occurred hundreds of years before his time: a slaughter of the innocent that had infected the neighboring continent. The mountain of fire had cleansed the mainland, but those who had escaped — descendants of the heartless warmongers of bygone days — had been revived by the hate that had infected the very earth. Only a truly willing sacrifice could change the course of history.”

        Serein drew a breath, having cobbled together the story herself. This was her first attempt at telling it, though Sirimiri and Brontide would have heard bits and pieces of its fledgling attempts beforehand. “The living stone wolves came to be known as pohaku,” she said at last, “for even stone may speak and sing. Legend says that they still guard the island — but no wolf alive has ever found the isle and returned to tell the tale.”
February 21, 2018, 03:06 AM

Komodo relented and allowed himself to drift into the background — though he took to the position easily, he never truly enjoyed being in the limelight. He settled his frame against the sands of the beach and watched as wolves drifted about; strangers becoming friends amongst family reuniting. The earthstalker was keenly aware of his outsider status, especially considering the length of time had been away from the wilds, but there was just something about seeing the Cortens fraternize with the remnants of Undersea tickled his fancy. This was a good thing.

The hunt began and ended without much pomp; Komodo fell in beside the others and followed their instruction, for this was their tradition — not his. The man was a collector of ceremonies, so he was certain the hunter’s moon festivities had a role in his future communions [albeit transmuted through his shamanistic filter], but for now Komodo was willing to learn. Without too much effort on his part, the cow was felled — but the meal had yet to be earned. Brontide, master of ceremonies, took the helm and invited his guests to the podium. Almost instinctively, Komodo motioned to gather attention and assume the responsibility of going first — but there was another, younger brute who offered to do it for him. Sitting back on his haunches, Komodo listened attentively. The golden man had sung his song and made moony eyes at a girl amongst the crowd. Seelie had her interpretive dance, which was beautiful as always. That girl always just had a way about her, and the brute couldn’t help but marvel at her.

The songs and the stories and legends continued, but Komodo soon found it difficult to focus. At the nape of his neck and in the back of his skull, there was a dull pounding that caused enough discomfort to be an inconvenience. He shifted his weight uncomfortably, backpedaling to stand behind the crowd and melt into obscurity. He would gladly let the festivities continue on with out him, especially when he felt so ill.   

night clubs & night stalkers
fast women, fast talkers
loose lips, loose limbs
the lovely loveless

February 22, 2018, 12:43 AM
It had been awhile since the crop-eared Gampr had hunted with a large group, and it was an exhilarating and refreshing experience. But it was what came after, the promised telling of stories, that had piqued his interest a great deal. He had been a well-traveled animal back in the day when he lived in the human world – having been aboard boats and planes, setting foot on different continents alongside the Man. And he had heard and seen a great many things, and had a taste for the cultural and mythological variation that was shared amongst dogs living in the shadow of humans. But wolves? He did not know their stories.

So he listens with great interest. First to Aditya’s song. Then Seelie’s dance – oh Seelie, graceful, elegant, perfect Seelie. He smiles when she returns to his side and tucks herself under him, lowering his head to gently lick the side of her face where water droplets still glisten in her silky fur, and he whispers softly in her ear, “Beautiful.”

He then turns his attention back to the group, listening to as each wolf steps forward and volunteers their voice to either a song or story. And when Serein is finished, he offers up his own tale, though it is admittedly fairly abridged to leave out the presence of humans that existed in the story when his father had told it to him as a pup.

“There is a story that is told in my homeland, about the Great War and the Aralez. It is said that many years ago, my ancestors – the dogs of Armavir – went to war against an invading force. The battle lasted many days, and the invaders were strong and many in number. So much so that on the fifth day only one of the Armavir soldiers – a young dog named Rakesh – remained standing against a hundred of the invaders. Rakesh could have turned and run, letting the invaders swarm in and take the homeland, but instead he looked off towards the mountain peak of distant Ararat where the Gods lived and howled a great battle cry in their honor before charging the invading pack.

He was killed swiftly, but his call echoed across the land and up to the snowcapped peaks of the mountain where the Aralez heard his cry. They looked down from the mountain and saw what had transpired, and saw the loyalty that Rakesh had to his homeland, that he would lay down his life to defend it even though the odds were so great that he had no hope to survive. So they descended from the clouds onto the battlefield and touched each of the fallen Armavir soldiers, granting them life and strength. And they rose up as one and defeated the invaders. For Rakesh’s loyalty, the Aralez granted him a place amongst the Gods on Ararat.”
February 22, 2018, 03:32 PM
Blooping this in here for timing purposes.

        Coelacanth returned to the group just as Serein’s tale came to a close — a serendipitous thing, as her beloved Stockholm was next to offer a story. She loved to hear him talk, and although her concern was piqued by Komodo’s seemingly unprompted absence, she tuned out the rest of the world to listen to the story of the heroic Rakesh and the part he played in the Great War.

        Even a hero as great as Rakesh seemed frail when compared with the solid reality that Stockholm offered, though; and the thought of losing him was so painful that she catapulted toward him as he was in the middle of his concluding line. Pressing herself against him as though he was wounded in some way, she searched his face for reassurance, wishing all the while that she was an Aralez — sworn to protect him and gifted with the ability to grant him life and strength.

March 01, 2018, 12:10 PM
Thank you for the thread, everyone!
Powerplaying Stockholm with permission.

        The festivities wore on through the night, ending only with the rising of the sun. Brontide, Sirimiri, and Serein had run through a few of their favorite songs to close out the celebration:

        Brontide told a story that he’d learned from the nomadic Âlluasiak dancers — the same wolves who had taught Coelacanth to tell stories and sing songs through movement. It was, of course, adapted to those with the ability to speak and hear, for Brontide had no talent for dancing. The story was of the akhlut, a shapeshifting creature who normally kept the form of a gigantic orca — but would assume the form of a wolf to walk on land. “Given that,” he teased the former Undersea Council, “who’s to say you’re not all akhluts?”

        Serein and Sirimiri sang a medley of songs from various common fairytales, cunningly adapted for a lupine audience.

        The three closed with “The Lament of the Vedmak” — a song gifted to them by a bard from the faraway Enok Tundra — spinning the tale of an amorphous, agender shapeshifter who assumes the form of a wolf and finds it so pleasing they attempt to keep it indefinitely. They are regarded as tuttava — a friendly acquaintance — by a nearby band of northern warriors, but over time, they are eventually found out and shunned by the true wolves for their deception. When an evil force attempts to blot out the tundra wolves’ homeland, the shapeshifter gives up their immortality to save it — and in return for this act of self-sacrifice, they are born a final time as a wolf and given the name Totuus, or truth, by the warriors.

        As the Morningsiders readied themselves for the journey home, Coelacanth looked to Stockholm to speak for her. The Gampr informed the Morningside branch of the Corten family tree that he, Coelacanth, and Faeryn would be returning to Wheeling Gull Isle in the spring to make their home there. Although the friendly nature between the established pack and the burgeoning seaside tribe was still in its beginning stages, Coelacanth exchanged a glance with @Faeryn and @Stockholm that conveyed quite plainly how important it was to her that they nurture it. She hoped that relations between her pack, Grayday’s pack, and even Constantine’s pack would remain peaceable — and the Council would do their best to help things along.
March 10, 2018, 12:44 AM

little sunny reaction. Don't feel obligated to respond.

Sunny had not partaken in the hunt, as everyone socialized and prepared to go off he'd begun to feel ill again and had settled down in the sand where he placed Seelie's gift. When they returned with their catches he wagged and smiled his congratulations and then perked his ears at the traditions to eat. Intrigued he listened to Aditya sing, both warmed by his new brother's love for his sister and surprisingly.....jealous. Almost a year and he'd never felt anything beyond what he believed to be a unreturned crush. 

Then Seelie's dance. He held his breath and watched, enraptured. He could feel the emotions as if they were his own. Loss like a sharp knife in his chest and the feeling of yearning and searching for something. He felt his eyes moistening as she continued, the most enchanting sight he had ever laid eyes upon. As Brontide cheered he too thought she'd ended but then she was off again and there was joy in her movements. He smiled warmly at her performance and sucked in a shaky breath, his hackles risen from the chills her performance had given him.

The rest of the stories were tuned out as heay his head down except for his father's song which he listened to and hung upon every word and the story one of the girls told that quite frankly (though he'd never ever admit it) made him desire to crawl over to Cat and his dad and press against their fur like a puppy again.

Before he realized it he'd passed out and was woken back up by the sounds of everyone saying goodbye. He stood up and shook the sand off his fur before shyly wandering back over to Seelie. "Thank you for the seashell, I'll keep it. Your dance...it was um...I felt it. You were amazing, I'm happy to be a part of your family"he said awkwardly and then gave a small smile toward the man she was laying against before heading back to the group of morningsiders.

Birdcatcher: 2/10
Counselor: 0/5