Heron Lake Plateau Tyrants and kings both meet the same fate, strung up at your city gate
All Welcome  May 11, 2018, 09:25 PM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
Quick, I shall type before I forget I wanted to use that song lyric as a thread title! >_>


Since the promotion he'd probably spent more time avoiding people while he tried to process what had happened than he did doing actual alpha duties -- he walked the borders at odd hours, took naps far from the lake's edge, though he did go on his jaunt to what should have been Tindome -- but now he was kind of out of excuses.  Too bad Quixote wasn't exactly done figuring out what to do, despite past encouragement that he'd do fine.  He was, needless to say, conflicted and to a point uneasy with himself just as he would any new leader.  If leadership corrupted, would he be next, or would his awareness break him of this fate?  Would he be able to see if it went wrong?  Why the hell had this all happened at once?

The light was dimming, the last rays of the sun cutting in through the clouds that had brought rain earlier in the day, leaving stretched, blobby shadows across the plateau.  Quixote was mentally weary, but that was more from his own internal arguments than anything.  He wasn't focusing on much besides putting one foot in front of the other in the vague direction of the territory borders as he suffered through the remaining whiplash from the past few weeks -- hell, why not make it a full month?  Blackfeather, moving, Raven, alphaship.  It sounded like a really bad story that never would have a chance in hell of happening to some dude that never had a drop of luck in his life -- maybe the third act of a story, but he didn't feel like it had concluded in the sense of victory and accomplishment that was supposed to come along with such tales.  In fact, if anything Quixote felt like thinking about it all was tying his guts in a knot, and that showed in the fact his walk was not one utterly stoked to suddenly have privilege and power, but more like a guy who'd turned inward to hide himself even more from the world.  When was the other shoe gonna drop?
May 12, 2018, 09:32 AM
Towhee
Redhawks
Beta
If she'd had any doubts about stepping down a notch, they'd disappeared quickly. Towhee was absolutely certain by now that she'd made the right call not just for the pack but for herself. She had never actually wanted to be an Alpha. She'd had her sights set on the Beta rank since her youth. And though she'd come to realize she was ill-suited to the role, it wasn't until after the fact that she realized just how bad a fit it had really been. It felt a bit like she was now where she'd been meant to be all along, albeit serving under different Alphas that she'd pictured back in the day.

Speaking of which, Towhee hadn't spoken to Raven since that day, nor sought out Quixote yet. She didn't think they'd necessarily handle leadership like her aunt and uncle—the three of them had operated on the same level, more or less—and it might be an adjustment, yet it was one Towhee was prepared to make. She figured none of the three of them knew their style just yet, nor the dynamic that would eventually manifest between the three of them. Only time would tell.

That included quality time, of course, spent in the company of her co-leaders. As dusk gathered, Towhee left X roosting in a tree and began trailing the new Alpha male. She found him headed toward the borders. The Beta barked to announce her presence, moving to flank him as she asked, "Heading out for a patrol? Cool if I join you?"

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May 12, 2018, 09:43 PM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
He didn't hear her at first, and given that he was this deep in the territory it was probably ok he wasn't paying too much attention.  Quixote finally realized someone else was around just before Towhee barked -- well, at least he didn't jump.  He paused his step and turned to look over to her, Oh hey.  Yeah, sure.  His posture was relatively neutral but his expression was a mess of all sorts of things, just lacking pride.  If he was some dude who liked messing around with RC cars, he felt more like he'd been told he now has to run the Mars rover -- oh yeah, and don't get it stuck.

Since Raven had told him all the details (theoretically) of what had gone down with their conversation, he knew that Towhee wasn't likely mad at him, but wasn't totally stoked.  That didn't mean that Quixote was necessarily actually angry at her, but kind of irritated would be more accurate -- and same at Finley too.  It wasn't the way things were supposed to be done, and some dark part of him thought they were lucky he was willing to step up and try and right this disaster, though that was mostly because he didn't want to let Raven down.

So here he was, top of the pile, faced with the wolf who was second in command.  It was something that would take getting used to -- Towhee had always been his superior 'til now and he didn't know what the flip side of that would be.  On the one hand, at least now he didn't have to worry so much about pissing her off -- she was no longer dangerous to his existence.  Hell, he didn't have to put on a facade of being all nice either, which he had certainly done at least the once post-war to make sure that he stayed in her favor.  He wouldn't have to lie or omit any more -- he could say what he wanted.

How would she act?  What did she expect from him?  How was he supposed to act to subordinates?  It's not like he'd trained for it, and his own perspective was probably warped from spending several years under those who definitely qualified as corrupt.  Maybe it was a good thing he'd run across Towhee over others, as she'd probably end up being a far more sturdy test subject than anyone else.  --  Screw it.  Quixote needed Colt back.  He'd be good to bounce things off of.

During all that thinking there had been a brief pause.  His brain then skipped ahead a few potential questions as he started walking again, It's weird.  No clarification, just that.  Because honestly, it was, and if she didn't agree, they were definitely on different planets.  It was a tangled mess and he had to work things out on the fly.
May 13, 2018, 10:53 AM
Towhee
Redhawks
Beta
He accepted readily enough and Towhee shot him a quick smile before her face resumed its more usual stoic expression. She began moving, oblivious to Quixote's (over) thinking and the words he said to her back. By the time she thought to glance back at him to make sure he was coming, he had already resumed walking and so she remained oblivious to the fact that he'd drifted off for a second and that he'd spoken at all.

Although she had been thinking along the same lines prior to running into him, Towhee's mind was now on a totally different plane. Turning to face him through the gathering gloom, she said, "I'm happy for you and my sister and excited about the pups. I feel like that whole thing's been overshadowed by everything else." She paused, then said, "You're going to do right by her, right?" There was no threatening note in her voice—it was as flat and toneless as ever—but there was a sharpness to her orange eyes as she looked in the vicinity of his mouth. There was a delicate balance here: she needed to be able to read his lips, in the dark, without presenting a challenge by looking too directly.

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May 13, 2018, 03:46 PM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
They were still a fair ways from the borders, and Quixote had resumed the casual pace he'd been moving at initially.  They'd reach the patrol route soon enough.  However in the meantime, Towhee's question put him on the defensive, and even if he didn't really want to show it, he responded hastily, I told her I'd stick around as long as she'd keep me.  If he could have kept the relationship with Raven just between the pair of them, he would have preferred it.  But the promotion had pretty well dumped that right out in the open well before he was comfortable with it.  He swung his head away from Towhee for a moment, frustrated and uncertain, but it was only a second or two before he looked back so she could understand him, feeling obliged to elaborate, I'm not just going to leave her just for kicks, if that's what you mean, his voice hitched slightly, regardless of whether or not Towhee could tell, -- or the pups.  It sent him mentally reeling a different way.  Maybe instead of Colt he needed to talk to Raven again.  Possibly having a family would have been enough for him to deal with on its own, but all combined, this was just a lot piled on at once.

It was still a little early to confirm that the puppies were a thing, as far as he knew, but maybe there was a certain level of denial to it, too.  The alpha thing was much more immediate in comparison and had swamped his brain pretty well -- overshadowing things was a pretty good way to put it.  It wasn't like he didn't understand what he'd -- they'd -- done, or what the consequences would be, it was more just he'd shelved the whole thing until he sort of figured out how to be a leader.  

Quixote wasn't sure what was ahead, really.  He'd be happy to be with Raven, but wasn't quite sure what he needed to do to woo her, to make her want him to stay.  Quixote was kind of an idiot when it came to things like that.  The fact he didn't like admitting things that matched up with the aloof, tough guy facade he wore probably didn't help him any, which is why he notably gunshy about saying anything about mates, love, or to a lesser point, pups.  In the end, though, he wanted Raven to be happy, which in turn seemed to make him happy -- but what if on down the road she didn't find that with him?
May 13, 2018, 10:00 PM
Towhee
Redhawks
Beta
His initial response was enough to appease Towhee for the time-being, though even as she turned to look ahead, she saw his mouth move again and she jerked back to read his lips. She missed the first few words but still got the gist of it. She bobbed her head in acknowledgement. Of course, only time would tell how everything shook out, though hearing that he intended to be there for both mother and pups was definitely a good sign. She didn't know him deeply, yet she knew enough about Quixote to trust that he was a man of his word.

"Good," she said simply, leaving it at that. "So then there's the other elephant in the room," she added, flashing him a quick half-smirk. "The circumstances are much different than I anticipated when I first brought it up to you, though I stand by what I said: I think you have a lot to offer. And I really believe that you and Raven together will make a good team. You strike me as more pragmatic, whereas she wears her heart on her sleeve. And then you've both got me: the resident whackass." Somewhere, Tegan was rolling his eyes at her.

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May 13, 2018, 11:41 PM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
It felt like everyone else believed in him and he was the only one who didn't.  The fact he didn't trust them nearly as he apparently should have -- maybe as much as they deserved -- made him feel wounded, that there was something wrong with him as a person that he didn't know how to fix.  Quixote tried to smile, barely succeeding, Wasn't how I was expecting anything to go.  Understatement of the century there.  The lack of anger threw him off more than a gamesniping Symmetra one-trick in a GM-level Overwatch game titled certain Twitch streamers.  He kept expecting that someone would snap at him, to point out the rules he'd broken, but each time it never happened.  It just fizzled instead, leaving him feeling as though he'd failed them all already.

There were plenty of other elephants hiding in the woodwork -- a whole game reserve's worth.  I thought the whackass was supposed to be Colt, he said wryly. If I want to give him another chance, is there anything you'd want him to do?  I get that he acted like an utter idiot to you, just, you know, a little bit,  but he's been a good friend of mine, and I think he'd be honest if he could play nice in the future.  I could even tell him to keep away from you or whatever you'd prefer.  And there's still a hell of a lot of his family here, so... I dunno.  Shrug.  Quixote was not exactly an unbiased judge in this case.  He was going to end it there to wait for her thoughts, but then remembered, Speaking of, when I met up with him last, that one kid.. Uh.  Clover?  She showed up and seemed really against him leaving in particular.  Not sure why. Unless of course for some reason it gets revealed in that thread, but it doesn't seem likely.  Maybe Towhee had a clue?
May 14, 2018, 08:34 AM
Towhee
Redhawks
Beta
"Me neither," she said, still trying to find that balance between reading his lips and not looking too directly into his face, all while also attempting to make it down to the foot of the plateau without stumbling. Towhee had long since perfected the art of conversing while walking, though the darkness did make the whole thing a bit more challenging, as did Quixote's long spiels. She didn't mind that, though, despite the difficulties it presented. It was good to hash through all of this.

She did feel bitter when he immediately asked about Colt. She had seen it coming, though that didn't stop the unpleasant feelings. Towhee did her best to quash them even as she said, "I didn't have a problem with Colt. He had a problem with me, for the crime of being deaf." There was venom in her eyes for a moment, though her expression smoothed in the next beat. "I didn't kick him out. He chose to leave. If he can deal with me still being a leader, then it's your call to ask him back." Despite herself, she barked a laugh at the notion of Quixote implementing some sort of restraining order. "That's not necessary," she said simply.

She squinted when Quixote made a point to mention Clover's particular reaction to Colt's departure. Towhee didn't see anything peculiar about it and shrugged a white shoulder even as they hit even ground at the plateau's base. "He's her uncle. Maybe she was especially attached to him. I don't know."

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May 14, 2018, 04:45 PM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
Well, at least she seemed vaguely tolerant to the idea of him bringing Colt back.  It wasn't a surprising thing to have happen at all, especially if she had any clue how well they got along.  It appeared the weight of it all was going to sit on whether Towhee sitting at beta now would be enough to soothe Colt's issues.  Honestly, I think he might just really hate X, and though it was kind of a joke, there was a serious thought in it.  Quixote was pretty sure he remembered way more talk about that "damn bird" than direct snark at Towhee, but he could be remembering incorrectly.  Why someone would hate a bird, who knew.  Anyway, it seemed that Towhee had no idea what was up with that kid either.  I dunno.  She seemed way more freaked than I'd expect for just that, but maybe.  Towhee was a lot more familiar with the youths than he was, so maybe Clover was just hideously dramatic and he didn't know.  All he knew her for was being way too feisty during the move.

With the border here and Quixote basically out of steam on that previous subject, he looked over to Towhee again, Is there anything -- anyone -- you think I should keep an eye on?  Even without her probably noticing, he'd definitely calmed down mentally through their talk, if only because things just didn't happen the way he was expecting.  The uncertainty wasn't as vicious as it had been earlier, and though he still knew there was a lot he had to figure out before things were going to roll along happily, maybe it wouldn't be as bad.  Towhee, though, probably had a better perspective of it all since she'd just been at the top of the pyramid, so if she had some sort of direction to point him in, maybe that'd be a good starting point for later.  As darkness continued to fall, it was also probably fortunate for her that other than the Colt thing, he probably wasn't going to be too wordy.
May 14, 2018, 05:48 PM
Towhee
Redhawks
Beta
Towhee's hackles stood on end when Quixote commented about Colt's hatred of X. "I'm not going to sit here and shit talk your friend," she rejoined, "but that's fucking ridiculous." She pressed her lips together to prevent further epithets from escaping. Why Colt took an issue with her handicap or her bird made no sense to Towhee—what did either of them ever do to him, anyhow?—but she knew it said a lot more about him than it did her.

She shrugged again, not sure what to make of the topic of Clover. If Quixote suspected anything amiss, he didn't state it outright and Towhee saw nothing concerning about it (other than Clover's judgment of character, maybe). She'd noticed both Clover and her sister going through some highly emotional and reactive stages recently, so she chalked it up to that and didn't pursue the subject.

Towhee led the way into the deeper shadows beneath the plateau, though she faced Quixote just in time to catch his latest query. She tipped her head thoughtfully. "I mean, there's Screech," she said. "I can't think of anything else. If anything does come up, I'll let you and Rave know. But just 'cause I stepped down doesn't mean I'm going to be hands off all of a sudden. I know it's not going to be the same as working with Uncle Elwood and Aunt Finley—the three of us operated more or less as equals—but I'm just as invested in this pack as I was as Alpha. I'll be doing everything I did before, just deferring the important shots up to you guys. And if that's an issue, tell me now."

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May 14, 2018, 07:51 PM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
He made a face and shook his head in a way that almost certainly expressed something along the lines of, 'I don't get it either, people are weird.'  People were weird and everyone had different likes and dislikes, so there was no reason a bird would be free of someone randomly disliking them.  The only question was going to be if Colt would put up with Towhee as a beta instead of an alpha or if he'd ditch the whole idea because of whatever issues were really digging at him.  Really, Quixote was just guessing about the whole thing.  The only thing he was really sure of was that both of them had to have screwed up what should have been an ok-but-awkward conversation into a disaster, and maybe because of that, stuff could maybe be mended.  Perhaps that was a too-positive look at things, but he could hope, and until proven otherwise, he'd continue to do so.

What about the thing with him and Moonspear?  We're farther now, but...  Towhee said he'd caused some trouble there, right?  With the mountains blocking the two packs off from each other pretty well, it probably wasn't going to be an issue, but just in case... And if they were still the closest pack, did they want to bother with saying hi?  Towhee had gone there in the past, but should Quixote go there in the future?  Speaking of the future, he didn't have much complaints about it.  At least to Quixote, it sounded like a traditional spread of duties between leaders, maybe, but perhaps he was reading too much into it, I'm sure it'll get all worked out eventually, but yeah.  May take some time.  Some time so he could quit being an idiot and actually act the role that got chucked on to him.  At least things should be calm here -- the only issues that would hopefully appear would be those caused by themselves.  It was perhaps lucky for Quixote that was the case, maybe the closest thing to training wheels that he'd get.  He just didn't know how long it'd be until some real trouble showed reared its ugly head -- there were far too many important things already on his calendar to really think much about it.
May 15, 2018, 08:28 AM
Towhee
Redhawks
Beta
He inquired about Moonspear and Towhee snorted before she could stop herself. "Moonspear? They might as well be on the actual moon now, right? I don't think anyone's near enough that we need to worry about attacks, plus this place is like a fortress." She shrugged a shoulder toward the looming plateau. "Anyway, we were on fine terms with them. I was even friends with their second-in-command." She didn't say much more about that. She still had mixed feelings about Hydra's misrepresentation of Screech. She had let the friendship fade into the distance behind her. "No, aside from Blackfeather Woods, we don't have any enemies to worry about." And those guys were even further away, hence the entire point of the move.

The conversation lulled for a moment, then Towhee thought to mention, "There's Drageda. I guess you'd call them our allies, since we fought together and all. And it sounds like Raven's already reached out to them via Tegan, to tell them about the move. See?" she said with sudden vehemence, orange eyes gleaming in the darkness, "I knew she'd make a good Alpha. She's already delegating, sending out an ambassador to make sure we keep our alliance strong." Her tail waved as pride for her sister flooded through her.

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May 16, 2018, 12:29 AM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
He was a wary sort.  Despite the distance between packs, he was thinking that something would go wrong eventually -- maybe Moonspear would decide Screech was still a problem or something else stupid would happen.  Well, at least he'd get points for being a paranoid twit, wouldn't he?  He was an expert at thinking of the worst that would happen.

Though Towhee's words may have been based in pride, to him it sounded more hostile, perhaps just because his own guilt and doubt at himself.  He responded sharply, Was never doubting her.  She was probably the one thing not an abstract thought that he'd willingly fight for and believe in.  Blame him, he was the one who'd be more likely to be the failure.  The previous spiral threatened to coalesce again, and he wasn't too sure what else to say.  There was nothing wrong with the choices that Raven had made.  Whatever.  They were on patrol, weren't they?  He lowered his head to sweep across the ground, looking for anything out of the ordinary.
May 16, 2018, 03:17 PM
Towhee
Redhawks
Beta
Fortunately for both of them, Towhee couldn't hear the sharpness in Quixote's voice whatsoever, so she remained oblivious to how he'd totally misconstrued her statement. "Me neither," she replied, tail still waving, "but she doubts herself. I practically had to strong-arm her into accepting the fact that she was worthy of the role." She wondered if Raven had mentioned that part to him. Well, her sister had already gone and proven her right, so what did it matter now? "I think she's going to be an amazing Alpha, a true matriarch." Especially when the pups came...

"How're you feeling about parenthood, by the way?" Towhee wondered. They'd established that he intended to stick around for mother and babies but she was curious how Quixote felt about impending fatherhood. She remembered his impatience with her younger siblings. And hadn't he claimed no experience with pups? Oh boy.

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May 20, 2018, 05:51 PM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
Things started to then click in to place -- the thing that had been quietly nagging at him and was perhaps the reason he took offense.  Why was Towhee so wrapped up trying to prove that Raven was going to be great?  It made her sound like some sort of weird brainwashed zealot or something.  It made him nervous.  There was also the fact that there were no words saying something about how he'd probably do okay too, but that was a minor offense, because he honestly didn't expect anything from anyone.

He was Winston Smith and she sounded like the Thought Police, or any other comparable sort in a dystopian novel.  It was dangerous to have that kind of unwavering loyalty, wasn't it?  What if he did something that somehow wronged whatever perfect world she had in her head?  Though Quixote hadn't had any problems with her before this, maybe this was why Colt and Towhee had knocked heads.  Had Quixote's playing by the rules and keeping his head low just let him squeak on by without noticing?  Why was he trusting her to know what to do anyway?  Towhee was so sure of herself, and apparently thought the same of Raven, perhaps to a ridiculous amount.  No, somehow everything was totally fine, from members to diplomacy.  There'd been all this drama -- for there to be nothing now, it sounded wrong.  Maybe he just wanted it all to be wrong.

It made him not want to share.  Sure, she'd be the aunt of any pups, but they weren't here yet, or even really confirmed, but that new recognition made him wish she'd stay away.  He kind of didn't want to mention Raven, but at the same time he pretty much had to, didn't he?  Still kinda early to be too much.  With Raven around, I'm sure everything will be.. Uh.  He searched for a word that was properly private, but frustratingly enough could only think of things too emotional or too bland, I dunno, it'll be fine, though.  Yeah, sure, there was a certain amount of denial in it too, but he wasn't going to share his joys with her at all.  His life was changing and it should be good in the end, but it was gonna probably be a bit bumpy to get there, and yet, good.  It was still only between himself and Raven as far as he was greedily concerned.  And he was trapped here on patrol with her, and on the longer term with her as beta -- his answer probably wouldn't satisfy her at all.
May 20, 2018, 06:37 PM
Towhee
Redhawks
Beta
Entirely oblivious to Quixote's complex train of thoughts railroading in her direction, Towhee waited for his reply. It lacked any particular emotion; neither excitement nor fear seemed to be included. Her ear flicked, her lips pursing as she redirected her orange gaze straight ahead. Why did no one seem thrilled about the pups, their father included? Sure, their conception had triggered quite the melodrama, yet couldn't everyone just stow their shit long enough to admit that new life was awesome, promising, wonderful...?

"Yeah, Raven's going to be a great mom. Hell, she already is, or was. Did you know she was our wet nurse? Mine and Orca's." She didn't feel the need to mention Phox or Screech by name any more than she did the long forgotten Oriole and Stoat. "Our godparents obviously stepped into the more formal parental roles, but we wouldn't have survived without Rave."

But looks into the future or the past would have to be put on hold. Towhee saw a blur of motion up ahead and immediately gave chase, tailing a young coyote as it sped away from the plateau's base and eventually vanished into the night. She stopped to catch her breath, then sent up a quick, choppy howl letting Quixote know her location and that she'd catch up with him later if he chose to double back on the patrol. They had made some progress on getting to know one another better, so it was best now to divide and conquer.

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May 20, 2018, 10:28 PM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
So, that clarified a little bit as to why she might be so obsessed, but that still seemed like a little much.  Then again, he wasn't the greatest judge of that -- he had, after all, left what family he had without much in the way of a second look or regret.  He very well could be the odd one out, as usual -- that his desire to keep everyone at arm's length put him at a disadvantage in order to figure out everyone else.  Figuratively, Quixote lived in a cage and did his damnedest to keep everyone else out -- to protect himself.  It wasn't going to be an easy habit to break, but Raven herself was probably a crack in that wall and it was more of an issue if it was going to come down or just pass out a key to the gate.

Something about what she said did seem slightly off, but he wasn't quick on picking up why, especially with his brain being pretty well twisted into a knot with the pile of issues that danced in his mind.  Maybe given a few more minutes he'd have figured it out but that was not to be.  He'd opened his mouth to say something, but Towhee ripped off like a bat out of hell towards something that Quixote hadn't seen.  After a moment of confusion, he ran forward to figure out what happened, but Towhee had melted into the blackness well before he got there.  Apparently it was a coyote.  Quixote started to track back where it had come from, but given their location in relation to a path up to the territory proper, it didn't seem likely.  Then came her howl.  Her howls were harder for him to piece together, but sounded like he was probably free to continue on.  That was an unexpected relief -- maybe he wasn't really ready to deal with anyone.  Maybe he should just finish the patrol, try to think it all over, and get some rest.