Dawnlark Plains then they called me, too
All Welcome  March 01, 2018, 06:49 PM
Grayday
Approved Members

The hunt had been successful, and the pack had mostly eaten their fill. They were settling into their new territory, but Grayday couldn't help but think that not everything was settled. He knew it was due, in part, to the lack of familiarity in the landscape. The kids - were they even kids anymore? - were tired, the wind was cold, and there was an odd scent on the wind that he thought the younger wolves in the pack might not recognize as Spring.

But it was more than that. It was a strange feeling he got from Dawn and Aditya. It was the strange distance between Easy and her littermates. It was Raid's empty silence. It was the weight of Burr's death.

Grayday traced through the land, not yet decided on where they'd place their borders. Several of his children had gone off toward the Maplewood, so he figured that would soon be part of their claim. It was a bigger area than they'd tried to control on the plateau, but there were less resources, here, and they might need the extra space. It only made sense to have both woods and plains. That way, both he and Aditya could be comfortable no matter the season.

"Ah, Adi," he sighed, turning his head in the Maplewood's direction. There was something wrong, there. Grayday wondered if there was anything he could do to help his children patch up their differences, but this was Dawn he was thinking about. Had it ever helped when she and Sunny had clashed? Not if his memory served him correctly.

With a heavy sigh, the male sat down in the snow, his thoughts on the lives of his children. Soon enough, there would be more thrown into the mix. Could he handle it all?
March 01, 2018, 07:40 PM
Shale
Morningside
Comrade I
The journey had put an extra bounce in Shale's step. The man felt invigorated, excited by all the changes happening around him. Add to that the simple delight in his heart that Pema was back in one piece, and Shale was over the moon. 

It was clear that his brother was stressed, though, and for good reason. Looking after a pack this size took a lot of work, not to mention the fact that Grayday was doing it all with one barely-functioning eye. Oh, and his wife was pregnant, too. It was with this knowledge that Shale padded up to his brother, sitting down next to him.

"We made it," Shale remarked softly, smiling over at Day. He made sure to sit on his right side, so his brother could at least see him, if only slightly. "The place isn't bad. It'll take some getting used to. . .but I'd say your daughters and Aditya did a good job finding it."
March 01, 2018, 07:55 PM
Grayday
Approved Members

Grayday gave a tired nod, leaning against his brother without really looking at him. They had made it, and it was good. So why didn't he feel good? "I just hope everything settles down soon," he said quietly, hoping his voice wouldn't travel to anyone he was about to speak of. "Dawn and Aditya seem... different. Lav and Mirza weren't walking with Easy... and there's something wrong with Raiden. I don't know what to do for any of them."

His muzzle dipped. Day was tired, but there was no way his worries would let him rest anytime soon.

"How are you doing?" he asked, turning his head back toward his brother. "We were separated for so long, but now that we're together again, it seems like we don't spend any time together."
March 01, 2018, 08:12 PM
Shale
Morningside
Comrade I
He accepted his brother's weight gladly, sitting strong and tall. It was clear that Day needed a rest, and Shale was more than happy to provide comfort. "I'm sure they're all just tired," he murmured, looking at the group of wolves assembled nearby. "The youngest ones especially. This is only their second time moving somewhere else, right?"

He couldn't speak to Aditya's and Dawn's situation--lovers quarreled all the time; Shale figured they'd make up--and Raiden, well, she was usually quiet, anyway. But he was sure all would be fine, once they settled into the plains.

"We both have been wrapped up in our own stuff, haven't we?" Shale remarked, grinning. He wagged his tail. "Congratulations, by the way. You and Catori will have strong, beautiful children." His chest heaved a wistful sigh. The wound healed more and more with each passing day, but each mention of pups tended to rip it open once more. It bled slowly, now. . .but bled nonetheless.
March 01, 2018, 08:24 PM
Grayday
Approved Members

Grayday made a sound of agreement, but inwardly, he was not convinced. "Either way - what can be done?" he said with a heavy sigh of release. "They're all grown enough to build and tend their own bridges. If they need my help, I'm here." He hoped they would still come to him, though. He hoped that, when they did, he would have something constructive to say.

"Take a walk with me? We're going to mark the outsides of the Maplewood as well. This whole stretch of land will be ours, this time," he said loftily, rising to his paws and bumping his shoulder against Shale's. It was a lot to take on, but perhaps having a little less time to sit and worry would keep everyone from falling apart. "What about you, Shale?" he added, not forgetting about his brother's words. They were talking about children, now, and "I want to be an uncle before you get too old." He shot the male a sly look. "You ran after Pema quickly enough. Did anything happen while you were away?"
March 01, 2018, 09:16 PM
Shale
Morningside
Comrade I
He nodded, rising to his feet with more than some intrigue. The plains and the maplewood? It was quite a stretch of land they had claimed, and while he did worry a little about defending such a big territory, if their pack was to thrive with the numbers they had, they needed every inch.

Shale chuckled at Grayday's question, shaking his head. "A gentleman wouldn't tell," he said teasingly, a smile sliding onto his muzzle in response. "In any case, no. She's young; she doesn't need my baggage."

He did wonder if she fancied him. She had never given him any explicit signs, but there was hope when you read between the lines. As much as he wanted it to happen, though, he respected Pema too much to force her hand in this arena. Let her find a nice, young boy to love. Sunny, perhaps, or the handsome Kieran Adrien.
March 04, 2018, 05:36 PM
Grayday
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Grayday let out a huff of laughter, not sure how much he wanted to say to Shale about the younger wolf. Like Shale, he did not exactly approve of the sort of disrespectful talk he'd taken part in during his youth, but he also believed in being open and frank about... pretty much everything, really.

"I happen to know she's into older men," he said nonchalantly. "Otherwise I'd've had her and Sunny together by now. As it is, it looks as though I might have to settle for having her as a sister-in-law instead." His expression turned planative, now. "Shale, I don't know what's happened to you. We've all suffered, I think. But keeping yourself from others is not the way to heal, and I'd much rather see Pema with a good man like you than with some stranger from another family."

Translation: If he had to allow another man's children into his pack, they might as well be his nieces and nephews.
March 05, 2018, 12:59 AM
Shale
Morningside
Comrade I
He raised his eyebrows at Day's statement, looking for clues in his brother's eye. Had she made a pass at her alpha, too? If so, he felt a little bad for the girl--it couldn't be easy, living with Cat's belly swelling with each and every day, a stark reminder of where Grayday's affections truly lie. But then, that was the way things went, some times--no, most times.

Shale shook his head ruefully at Grayday's--admittedly--sage advice. "Of course, it would be nice to see Pema join our family. But Day. . ." Here he trailed off, the darkness rising to cloud his gaze once more. It had been gone for so long, but now it was back, as Lucy's ghost rose in the air between them. "I had a wife. I had children. They all died within two moons of each other."

He screwed his eyes shut, as if it would make it any less painful to speak. It didn't, of course, but he went on doggedly. "If that is my fate--if losing them was some sort of, I don't know, fucking punishment for something I did. . .then I don't want to bring that upon Pema." Shale sighed, realizing how ridiculous he sounded. "Even if it's not of the divine, I'm a broken man. I don't know if I can be fixed by anyone. And no one deserves damaged goods. Least of all her."
March 05, 2018, 02:17 PM
Grayday
Approved Members

Grayday fell silent at this revelation, mouth hanging open in shock. He felt absolutely gutted knowing his brother had faced this alone. Grayday had lost much, but never a child. He could not even imagine Shale's pain.

His worries, however, were enough to snap Grayday back to the moment. "No," he said firmly. "You've done nothing to deserve this, Shale. It's just... that way. Life. Two women left me with young children before I found Cat. A girl I loved more than anything turned her back on me. I can't pretend to know what those losses must have cost you, but I do know this:" He nudged his brother's shoulder to make sure he was listening.

"There's no one road. There are thousands, and they are all endless. All twisting, all forking. Your story doesn't end until you take your last breath. There is always time to snag a little happiness. Always time to start fresh. Always time to change your mind and your heart."

Grayday thought back to the time of anger and sadness that has lasted him so long. He thought back to his burning obsession with Adeline, back to the way he'd neglected his children. Back to all the mistakes he made. If he could come back from that and find himself blessed beyond all reason, he was sure Shale would receive the same tenfold.

"I won't pressure you to do something you're not ready for. I didn't realize you had this on your heart," Grayday went on, his voice gentler, now. "But don't hold back because you're broken, or because you think you can't love someone the way you need to. Love is a choice - it's in our actions as well as our hearts. And I know you have that in you still."
March 05, 2018, 02:58 PM
Shale
Morningside
Comrade I
He shook his head. "It was my fault," Shale murmured, the words digging into his heart like four tiny thorns. "I should have brought Lucy home, raised the kids in Sameth. We wouldn't have run into the famine; everyone would have stayed fed and healthy. . . But I was stubborn. I thought I could do it all on my own, and I failed."

Shale cast his eyes over the horizon, unable to meet his brother's gaze. His throat moved in a long swallow, and he swept his tongue over his lips, a nervous gesture he'd carried with him for seasons and had never been able to give up. It was his tell, his show of weakness, and while he tried to curb it around strangers as best he could, he felt no such inclination around Grayday. The wolf he'd known longest.

"It's not just about my own happiness," he continued, watching the midday sun, hidden behind clouds. "It's about hers. And as much as she thinks she'd be happy. . .Grayday, she doesn't know me. Not really. And I don't want her to wake up one morning next to a stranger she can't stand."

But wasn't that a possibility in every relationship? If Lucy had lived on, would she have tired of him, one day? Would Dawn walk out on Aditya, or vice versa? Two women, evidently, had left his brother; he desperately hoped Catori wouldn't make it a trio. He didn't think she would, but. . . Doubt, the ever-familiar doubt, rose in his mouth like bile, and his mouth tightened in a hollow frown.
March 05, 2018, 03:04 PM
Grayday
Approved Members

Grayday leaned his shoulder against Shale's, contemplating his words. "I don't know," he admitted, voice wry. "But no one knows, Shale. We might die today, or we might live on for years. All we can do is try to make the best of what we are given. Love more, love deeper, and love anyway," he said, quoting his father for the last kernel of wisdom. It was the Sameth way, and it was the way of Grayday's new family as well.

Grayday didn't expand on that. He'd given his word that he would not pressure Shale, and it was now up to his brother to decide what his Best would be. Hopefully, his choices would make as many wolves happy as possible.
March 05, 2018, 06:50 PM
Shale
Morningside
Comrade I
Shale looked over at his brother, a smile coming to his face. "Dad," he murmured, amber eyes regaining a faint glow. "You just gave me flashbacks. Good ones, for once." He sighed, leaning slightly on Grayday, the two of them keeping each other upright. Oh, to be back in the times when all they cared about was food and games. The warmth of their mother close by, and Sunspot. . .

But those times were gone, now, and Shale and Grayday quite grown. They had made lives for themselves apart from each other, had wives and children. . .but, at least, they were together once more. That was something, at least.

"I think that. . .I will be be happy just being an uncle to your children," Shale said, closing his eyes and enjoying the feel of the northern breeze against his pelt. They were finally free of the shadow of the mountain, exposed and open in the plains. It was different, and he relished it. "If I have any more. . .Day, I don't think I could bear to lose them. I don't think I could come back from that."

He thought of Easy and Dawn, brave and adventurous, the burly, noble Dauntless and Sunny, and sweet Lavender, the skin wrapped round her patchwork pelt, brown eyes glowing with love. It would be hard enough to lose any one of them, but his own? He'd die himself before seeing that happen.
March 05, 2018, 07:13 PM
Grayday
Approved Members

Grayday gave a little nod of agreement. He would share his family with Shale, and perhaps that would help heal him from his pains. His last litter had two mothers, so could this next one not have two fathers? Oh, Grayday would never say it - he knew that Shale would demure - but he would make sure that Shale tasted fatherhood once more, whether from Grayday's line or from his very own.

"As long as you're happy," he said, his tone easy and true. "And as long as you know that if you don't take her, some other man will. A stranger." The fur along Grayday's spine began to bristle, at this. He wouldn't begrudge Pema her family, and he had no designs on the younger woman himself... but like all wolves he cared for, Grayday had grown rather possessive of the young woman. It would burn him to think of her taking up with some faceless man, carrying on some foreign line... but he would get over it. As she had loved his children, he would love hers.
March 09, 2018, 10:20 PM
Shale
Morningside
Comrade I
Truthfully, his stomach did churn a bit at the thought. She could find herself a good man, an honest man, not of the Sameth bloodline. . .but could just as easily stumble into someone bad, unwilling to love her for her, to treat her with the respect she deserved. The Sameth men were honorable; even Murdock, the cad, had his dignity. He couldn't give the same blanket judgment to any other bloodline.

"We have a lot to discuss, between the two of us," Shale responded, referring to himself and Pema, not between the brothers. "We talked a little about it, in the mountains, but. . ." He trailed off, still unsure how to think about that night. Her embrace under the stars, which at once had given him so much hope and yet added more weight onto his already heavy heart.

Perhaps this was the new standard of true affection, for Shale to feel at once overjoyed and incredibly guilty. He hadn't felt it with anyone else; this girl was obviously different. "We'll see, Day," Shale sighed, his voice noncommital. "I'll see how it plays out." He paused, smiling ruefully. "At any rate, she may not stray outside the bloodline, after all. Did you know Murdock's made moves on her?"
March 12, 2018, 09:04 PM
Grayday
Approved Members

Grayday's expression remained carefully understanding until Murdock was brought up - at which point the male let out a derisive snort. "Is that supposed to comfort me?" he asked. Murdock was the last wolf Grayday would give Pema up to - not that she was his to give away.

But she was. Grayday would be guarding the girl tooth and nail against any unworthy suitors.

"I don't know what he did to get Spot so bent out of shape, but I'm not about to let him do the same to Pema," the male declared, standing and stretching his legs. "God, could you imagine if he came to stay? I'm all for having him nearby, but just thinking about the way he looked at Cat is enough to raise my hackles."

And indeed, it had.
March 15, 2018, 04:37 PM
Shale
Morningside
Comrade I
Shale gave a wry look at Day's hackles, then raised his eyes back to his brother's face, a bland smile set on his face. "We'll never know. I doubt he'd tell us," he murmured. His gaze flickered toward the general direction of Easthollow. "She only mentioned him the one time. Makes me wonder whether it--if there was anything in the first place--died away. I hope so."

Still, whatever Murdock had done, Shale felt a pang as he thought of his older sibling. He did miss Murdock, even if only slightly, and now that there weren't mountains between them, perhaps it was time for a visit, under better circumstances than his last trip to Easthollow. He shuddered involuntarily, looking back at Grayday.

"That's another thing," he said, switching topics abruptly. His stomach churned as he thought of Burr's rotting remains, splattered on the shores of the lake. "What happened to Burr. . . I can't imagine being in his parents' place, right now. Not again. I just--I'm not ready yet. And I don't think I can make Pema wait. She'd make a perfect mother."
March 16, 2018, 06:49 PM
Grayday
Approved Members

Grayday sighed, giving a little chuff of agreement. If Shale wasn't ready, he wasn't ready. Grayday wasn't going to argue with him any more on the subject. "She really would," he agreed. "She's been amazing with the kids. My family will be indebted to her for a long time - not that I mind. Just another excuse to keep each other around."

He shot a kind expression in Shale's general direction. "Your time will come, brother. One of these days, you'll look around and realize you've reached contentment. I hope for both our sakes it happens sooner rather than later." He bumped his head against Shale's shoulder. "Let's go see the maplewood. Aditya seemed excited about the place."