Dragoncrest Cliffs Lights up on Washington Heights
Private  February 07, 2018, 06:57 PM
Étoille
Drageda
Steltrona
@Wildfire !!! 

Every day he is a little more glad to be back in Drageda, the lingering memories of his time in that shadowed forest fading bit by bit. He may not have been forced to do anything, but perhaps it is fair to say that living at the edge of danger for nearly a month put a bit of strain on him. More than he'd like to admit. (It was also thrilling in a way he doesn't like to admit -- perhaps next time he can be bolder.)

He is practicing his steps while Cicero's advice is still somewhat fresh in his mind. With the new scars adorning his face Étoille sticks out more than ever, and yet he feels somewhat at ease stepping lightly through the redwood forest. In the snow and light of the cliff, he feels like he can disguise himself a little bit better. His steps remain a little bit off, his size hampering his ability to be featherlight, but with time, he is sure he'll get it. And it's a nice way to pass a lazy day, if nothing else.
February 08, 2018, 09:12 AM
Wildfire
Drageda
Feisripa
Although she preferred to spend as much time as possible with her mate and children, Wildfire knew she also needed to reintegrate into the larger social circle of the pack. She had met Blixen's friend, Furi, and now it was time to begin familiarizing herself with the other strangers in the ranks. There was even a name at the very top of her list: Étoille. The commander had mentioned his role in the war. He had deliberately set foot in that horrid forest and rubbed shoulders with the same wolves who had nearly killed her, all for Drageda's benefit.

She was thinking about this—and doing her best to stifle a shudder—as she loped through the redwoods, a fat ground squirrel jammed in her teeth. Wildfire finally tracked him down by scent, approaching from the rear and dropping the game to announce her presence with a light bark. Even before he turned, Wildfire could see the fresh scars. She could no longer suppress the shiver that quaked through her body from the tip of her nose to the tip of her tail.
February 08, 2018, 11:14 PM
Étoille
Drageda
Steltrona

Not so sneaky as to completely disappear. At the bark he tenses for a moment, before he recalls that he's in friendly territory, and his body relaxes by degrees. Turning, he isn't sure who to expect - the sight of Wildfire is a little surprising, though in retrospect, perhaps it shouldn't be. It occurs to him that despite fighting a war in her name, the titan has never formally met the heda's mate. She looks nearly exactly like choupinou's friend. For all that she's been through, she still looks so vibrant. Étoille decides he likes her immediately.

"Bonjour," he greets softly, feeling the slight sting of self-consciousness that accompanies him nearly always now. He's sure he'll get over it eventually, but right now he feels particularly aware of the mess that his face is, especially watching the way she seems to react to him.
February 09, 2018, 09:10 AM
Wildfire
Drageda
Feisripa
She gave him a moment to turn and acknowledge her before she plucked the prey off the ground again and moved closer, stopping about five feet from the towering Steltrona. Wildfire gently dropped the squirrel again, then nosed it toward him. She then straightened and squared her shoulders slightly, assessing him with a gentle look on her face. Although it wasn't her fault, Wildfire couldn't help but feel partially responsible for the great welts that disfigured Étoille presently.

"I wanted to introduce myself," she said. "I'm Wildfire, Feisripa, Heda's mate and mother of Artaax, Blixen and Bobby." Antler and Phoenix as well, she always added mentally, though she rarely mentioned them out loud to avoid unnecessary confusion or heartache. "Heda told me the lengths you went to in order to give Drageda the upper hand in the war. I just wanted to say... mochof."

There was more she wanted to say, though Wildfire paused because she wasn't entirely sure she wanted to touch on this particular subject. But if anyone could truly empathize, it would probably be Étoille. "How long were you living there, among them?"
February 11, 2018, 04:05 PM
Étoille
Drageda
Steltrona

His eyes track her movements, confused for a moment before he realises she's offering him the squirrel. A gift - a token of companionship, or perhaps even gratitude? Either way he reaches and gratefully draws it over to him, nodding as he accepts and as she introduces herself. All  information he's already gleaned, but still nice to hear directly from the source. 

Étoille's ears flick curiously at the strange word. Mochof? He blinks at her, plainly curious, but does not ask outright for clarification, instead focusing on her question. "Mm.. about two months, give or take." The exact amount of time is difficult to discern due to the unforgiving darkness of the forest, but it had been enough. Quite enough. "I am glad to have done it for us," he adds, honestly, not quite humble-bragging but something akin to it.
February 12, 2018, 10:38 AM
Wildfire
Drageda
Feisripa
He had been there for a few months—not as long as Wildfire, then, and of course he hadn't been held prisoner. Her chestnut eyes searched his face as he spoke, yet he declared himself glad for the opportunity to assist. She swallowed. He seemed entirely unperturbed about his tenure there, which was for the best. And it let Wildfire off the hook from having to step back in time to properly commiserate with her comrade. She let out a light breath.

"I—we're—very grateful for the role you played," she said, feeling it was all right to speak on behalf of Heda and their family. Unaware that he hadn't understood her word of gratitude, Wildfire ironically seized upon Étoille's own foreign utterance. "You said 'bonjour' a moment ago. That's... French, isn't it?" It was more or less a guess. She couldn't remember where she'd ever heard the language before, yet there was a vague familiarity from somewhere in her nearly three years of life experiences.
February 12, 2018, 01:37 PM
Étoille
Drageda
Steltrona

He smiles briefly, dipping his head. He knows it could have been much worse for him - it is a small source of guilt although he does not pry too deeply into his innermost thoughts. It's over now, Drageda is fine, Heda thanked him for his service. Et cetera. She changes the subject and he gladly follows, surprised a little that she recognizes the language. Though then again, it's not as if he hasn't met other French-speakers in the Teekons. "Oui," he answers, "My mother was French. I'm not fluent, but I have retained some small bits and bats." The titan tilts his head curiously and asks, "do you speak it too?"
February 12, 2018, 02:32 PM
Wildfire
Drageda
Feisripa
At his question, she shook her head. "No, I just thought I recognized it. I'm not very good at languages. I've been part of Drageda for years now and I still only really know how to say 'thanks' and 'I love you' in the native tongue," she quipped with a self-deprecating chortle. "Don't tell Heda," she added in a conspiratorial voice, following it up with a wink.

"Eat," she implored gently, taking a seat and gesturing at her gift. "Needless to say," Wildfire continued in the next breath, referring back to the topic at hand, "it really impresses me whenever I run into someone who's adept at languages." She paused thoughtfully. "I'm not sure if you got a chance to meet Towhee while you were working with the Redhawks. She's my younger sister and she's deaf. She and our other sister, Raven, developed their very own sign language that most of the pack now uses. I never picked up on it myself very well but it was so fascinating to see them communicate with one another."
February 12, 2018, 07:46 PM
Étoille
Drageda
Steltrona

Her comment surprises another smile out of him - ah, yes, Drageda's language, that must have been what she was speaking in earlier. Étoille knows approximately nothing of it besides 'heda', which at this point he thinks of less like a title in a foreign tongue and more like a name. (Maybe he could ask Wildfire for heda's name? No.. that would be awkward.)

Oh, yes, the meal. The titan nods and dips down to dig in, making quick work of it while she speaks. He pauses when she mentions Towhee, thinking of the little ironies. He'd known where Redhawk was because of his chance encounter with Towhee, so long ago. He'd been able to lead Drageda to them because of that.. imagine if he'd never met the deaf girl. Étoille lifts her head and licks his lips, thoughtful. "I've met Towhee. Before I came to Drageda, actually." He confirms, though he doesn't bother explaining the entire situation to Wildfire. "That is interesting," he agrees, wondering if he'd seen her using it at any point and just not registered it. "And thank you for the meal," he adds with a soft smile, "it's good to see you here." He doesn't say back, since she was gone by the time he arrived, but the sentiment is similar enough.
February 13, 2018, 09:41 AM
Wildfire
Drageda
Feisripa
If he minded her random loquacious segue, Étoille didn't give any indication. He listened astutely, by all appearances, as he finally tore into the snack. Having experienced a sudden moment of self-consciousness about her rambling, Wildfire had bitten her lip. Now she released it as Étoille engaged her in conversation without any reference to her sudden onset babbling.

It turned out he knew her hearing impaired sister, had met her even before the war. Her mouth opened to query further when Étoille thanked her for the meat and then told her he was glad to see her home. The Feisripa smiled and nodded.

"It's my pleasure, especially as the resident Feisripa," she replied, "and it's wonderful being here. There were times when I didn't think I'd ever see this place again." Wildfire licked her lips but didn't linger on that train of thought. "When you're done eating, would you like to join me on a walk? I was thinking of going to the cliffs. I heard there's a pack next door and I'm curious if we can see anything from there."
February 15, 2018, 06:28 PM
Étoille
Drageda
Steltrona

"Oui," the titan agrees, hoping to keep them from lingering too long on talk of the forest. Not because Étoille is opposed to talking on it further but because he knows he has not suffered a tenth of what Wildfire has. It is hardly the basis for a conversation - "oh, yes, the guy who tortured you gave me sneaking tips". Although what more they have to talk about he isn't sure, either -- he isn't exactly a strong conversationalist.

"In the Sound?" He asks, belatedly, realising what she said. He'd been the one to tell heda about the Sound but he's still curious about them, if the dark-headed woman truly is from there. There is still plenty he does not know, but a little cliff-peering couldn't hurt.
February 16, 2018, 11:32 AM
Wildfire
Drageda
Feisripa
"Yes," she confirmed with a cant of her head. "I forgot who said something but I heard there's a pack living there now. It seems a little odd that they'd set up camp right next door. But the only thing I know about any of it is that I'll miss the tree I always visited there," Wildfire mused. "We probably won't be able to see much but I figure—it's your specialty, right? Spying?"
February 16, 2018, 08:25 PM
Étoille
Drageda
Steltrona

Ah. He agrees with Wildfire's assessment - their proximity is unsettling, especially if that woman from Blackfeather is involved, but the cliffs provide enough of a barrier between them. Besides, there is little they can do until - unless - the other pack makes a move against them: Étoille does not think he could pull off a second spy mission there with how sheltered the Sound is (and the risk that the woman - or Arrille - could have seen him despite his attempt at staying hidden). 

Wildfire inadvertently echoes his line of thought, albeit not arriving to the same conclusion. "It is," he agrees, though he still doesn't feel like he's done much for it. With a slightly wry turn of his mouth, he adds, "but my eyesight is still only average."
February 21, 2018, 03:03 PM
Wildfire
Drageda
Feisripa
She chuckled at his joke, then shrugged. "Well, let's see what we can see anyway." While she waited for him to finish his snack—assuming he didn't want it to go—she pondered out loud, "I haven't been the Bandrona in a while now, though I'm still an experienced ambassador. I'm not really eager to leave home anytime soon, even just to drop by next door, but maybe my skills will come in handy when we inevitably have dealings with the neighbors..."
February 23, 2018, 12:14 PM
Étoille
Drageda
Steltrona

He'd not known much about Wildfire to start beyond "member of Drageda" -- it wasn't until their reunion at Redhawk Caldera the first time he'd even known she was heda's mate -- and so he picks up curiously when she mentions her past as Bandrona. A diplomat of sorts, then, and a scout like him. "Most likely," Étoille agrees, finding it easy to follow along in her conversational wake (come to think of it, maybe that's why she and heda work so well: heda seems to be the quieter type like he, and it is easier when at least one person will take up the task of leading the conversation). "I saw two wolves from the Sound at Blackfeather," he adds, figuring that while heda has probably said so already, it doesn't hurt to repeat it. "They seemed hostile." 

Finished with the meal Wildfire brought him, Étoille straightens up and gestures toward the cliff, ready to do the equivalent of peering into the new neighbors house with a pair of binoculars, sans binoculars.
February 23, 2018, 01:22 PM
Wildfire
Drageda
Feisripa
Wildfire's ears splayed at this unexpected bit of information. She looked at him sharply, lips parting to ask a question, though she thought better of it. Of course he had already relayed this information to the commander. And though she was curious, she truly didn't want to dwell on such negativity right now, nor anything to do with the Blackfeathers.

"You should've seen the tree," she said as they began to walk together toward the destination, picking up an earlier thread of conversation. "There's some big ones here, though I've never seen one bigger. It fell over somehow and it was positively enormous inside." She almost mentioned that it probably didn't matter now that she couldn't visit it; it would be too cave-like for her these days. But, again, Wildfire didn't want to linger on such dreary matters.

I figured we could fade here? :)
March 02, 2018, 01:57 PM
Étoille
Drageda
Steltrona
sounds good!

She reacts visibly to the statement but does not question him. Étoille does not speak further on it either, choosing instead to focus on Wildfire's description of the tree. He follows beside her, gazing beside the cliff as she speaks, enjoying the company despite the tension that lay just below them. It is a pretty nice way to pass an afternoon.