Heron Lake Plateau ashes against the grain
July 13, 2018, 07:33 PM
Raven
Redhawks
Alpha
For @Quixote! Other tags are for reference, though kiddos are welcome to post if they want!

They'd bounced the idea around some. After receiving Towhee's blessing on the subject, they'd talked about it some more. Now, Raven felt like it was time to make the decision final and, if it went the way she thought it would, formally recognize Niamh as the newest of Redhawk's leaders. @Owen, @Phoebe, and @Kite were in a milk coma at the moment — the latter having passed out with the nipple literally still clutched in her mouth — and @Vasa was toddling around playing with a soft-needled juniper bough someone had left in the den. Ceara (@Fire) had stopped by earlier to drop off a freshly-slain rabbit for her to eat, and the alpha female was in a good mood after spending a few minutes with her friend.

Hearing familiar footfalls approaching outside, she called softly out to her mate, "Qui? That you?"

☆ Quixote, Vasa, Kite, Phoebe, and Owen are permitted to freely PP Raven.
☆ Raven has recently given birth to her puppies and will primarily be sticking around her den. Members of RH are welcome to reference visiting her and the pups, just tag us for reference!
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July 13, 2018, 08:03 PM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
She'd gotten damn good at figuring out it was him showing up.  Okay, the fact that he stuck to something vaguely resembling a schedule probably helped too.  Mhhm.  No treats this time.  Didn't have good luck.  Not that it mattered, as he'd soon find out.  He started in to the den, speaking as he did so,  It's pretty toasty out there. -- Den's way better than a tree.  The sun was pretty much just a jerk overall.  Going for a dip in the lake worked for a while, but just getting out of the sun meant avoiding the issue entirely in a way.  After greeting both Raven and Vasa (waking up the little sleeping monsters sounded like a bad idea), he flopped down nearby, rolling on to his back in the hopes the cool earth would devour some of the heat his fur was radiating like some sort of living reptile heat rock.  He'd have to go back out there later, but not right this instant.
July 13, 2018, 10:40 PM
Raven
Redhawks
Alpha
She grinned as he entered the den, not minding at all that he hadn't returned with food this time. Her belly was content after the warm rabbit Ceara had kindly delivered. He complained about the heat, and she nodded in agreement. While Raven enjoyed warm weather, the highs of midsummer were often too much even for her. She found herself looking forward to the cooler days of autumn, though that was several months away yet.

Her mate lay down close by and rolled onto his back, whereupon the mischievous little Vasa immediately went to heckle him. A moment later, little Owen woke up and, after pausing to pee on his mom and indulge in a huge, squeaking yawn, toddled toward Quixote as well. As the children clambered on their father, Raven stifled a laugh — she didn't want to wake the other two as well — and then commented, "I was hoping we could talk about Niamh. Towhee's all for it, but I don't think you and I ever came to a final decision."

☆ Quixote, Vasa, Kite, Phoebe, and Owen are permitted to freely PP Raven.
☆ Raven has recently given birth to her puppies and will primarily be sticking around her den. Members of RH are welcome to reference visiting her and the pups, just tag us for reference!
☆ To avoid threadlog clutter, threads that have not been replied to in 14 days will be archived. If you want to continue a thread, just shoot me a PM and I'll revive it.
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July 13, 2018, 11:40 PM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
Quixote's tail swept some dirt around as he was attacked by most active ranks of the puppy horde -- yeah, they weren't perfectly behaved, as Owen's choice of location to pee proved.  At least now he felt much more confident dealing with them since that they weren't just little wiggly beans.  For the most part he just let them run amok and use him as a jungle gym -- but man, he really couldn't wait until they were a little bigger and he wasn't afraid that he'd hurt them or they wouldn't appreciate more rough and tumble play.  He tipped his head back to look at Raven sort of upside-down, Oh yeah.  We didn't, did we?  Uh.  I mean, she's calmed down a lot I think since she hasn't had Screech to hover over at least, so I'm glad for that at least.  Seriously, he'd been a bad influence on her even when he was completely out of it.  But he was gone now, huzzah!  And she's good friends with Towhee and stuff, right?  Do you think they'd do better as equals or maybe keep Niamh a step lower due to seniority or what?  He wasn't exactly a traditionalist, but Raven had almost certainly had more contact with both of them than he had recently since both came to help with the pups.
July 14, 2018, 12:16 AM
Raven
Redhawks
Alpha
Owen was wiggling atop his father's chest now, the boy's butt tastefully placed just inches from Quixote's chin, while Vasa had managed to fumble her way around the alpha male's backside and was presently using his tail as a chew toy. Raven couldn't help it — she started giggling helplessly as she watched the strong, surly male who'd stolen her heart succumb to the attack of the boistrous little gremlins he'd created. Kite and Phoebe squeaked and shifted where they snoozed, but they didn't appear to have been awakened by their mom's hushed laughter.

She agreed with Qui's assessment of Niamh's having calmed down somewhat. Niamh was only a yearling, and Raven questioned if that was a bit young for leadership. But Towhee wasn't much older than her and had proven herself an exceptionally capable leader, so Ray was hesitant to rule anyone out based solely on age. She thought about her mate's question for a moment and then answered, "I think it would be more appropriate if she were ranked under Towhee, since Tow's had a lot more experience leading and used to be alpha. That's just my perspective though. What do you think?"

☆ Quixote, Vasa, Kite, Phoebe, and Owen are permitted to freely PP Raven.
☆ Raven has recently given birth to her puppies and will primarily be sticking around her den. Members of RH are welcome to reference visiting her and the pups, just tag us for reference!
☆ To avoid threadlog clutter, threads that have not been replied to in 14 days will be archived. If you want to continue a thread, just shoot me a PM and I'll revive it.
☆ If I have not replied to a group thread in 2 days, feel free to skip me and I'll reply as soon as I am able.
July 14, 2018, 12:50 AM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
Okay, it was also good that they didn't have much in the way of teeth yet.  Raven would likely be the first one to figure out when that milestone hit, but for now, the resistance on his previously-waving tail probably meant that he was going to have a drool-covered spot on it from one dark little pup.  On the other hand, Owen waggling about ended up with him moving onto Quixote's throat caused a slight shift in his voice as he continued, Makes sense to me.  End up doing what I thought was gonna happen to me, huh?  Insert eye roll there.  It was still a story that he was pretty sure would get a, "Nah, you totally made that up," if told to someone outside the pack.  But here they were, a couple of alphas discussing how to fill out the leadership ranks.  Bizarre how things worked.  Ranks are just made up words anyway.  Can call 'em whatever you want as long as you know who's where in relation to whoever else.  I'm fine with it.  Okay, maybe he should actually move the kid -- this was not comfortable at all.  He cleared his throat, wiggling a bit as well, in turn making Owen yap at the disturbance and crash forward into one of Qui's paws that was tucked against his chest.
July 14, 2018, 01:01 AM
Raven
Redhawks
Alpha
I'm imagining Quixote talking in a ridiculous, high-pitched, half-choked voice (you know the voice I'm talking about) and I can't stop giggling LOL. He's such a cute dad. <3

She half-chuckled and nodded, remembering the day he'd come to her on the verge of a stress meltdown over Towhee's offer to promote him to leadership. It was a good thing that neither of them had known at that time how all of that would actually play out, or they both might have spontaneously combusted from their combined anxiety. Fortunately it had seemed to (mostly) work out okay in the end, though. There'd been plenty of bumps in the road to get to this point, but the pack hadn't gone up in flames (...yet) so she took that as a good sign.

What he said about ranks merely being words was true. Even if they both carried the beta rank, she had no doubt that nothing would change as far as Towhee was concerned. But for some reason, it made more sense to her for Niamh to keep her gamma title...just with more authority attached. She grinned at his agreement, the decision made. "I guess I should call for Niamh then, so we can tell her. Is she still staying with Colt?" she asked, not realizing that the subject of Colt was a bit of a thorn in Quixote's paw.

☆ Quixote, Vasa, Kite, Phoebe, and Owen are permitted to freely PP Raven.
☆ Raven has recently given birth to her puppies and will primarily be sticking around her den. Members of RH are welcome to reference visiting her and the pups, just tag us for reference!
☆ To avoid threadlog clutter, threads that have not been replied to in 14 days will be archived. If you want to continue a thread, just shoot me a PM and I'll revive it.
☆ If I have not replied to a group thread in 2 days, feel free to skip me and I'll reply as soon as I am able.
July 14, 2018, 01:30 AM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
Haha, yeah!  I don't think it'd be necessarily super duper dramatic that way since the pups be smol, but a little. XD

It was definitely a weird feeling to have a pup trying to remove one of his toes or something.  He couldn't quite see since he was watching Raven, but at least it didn't feel like Owen was secretly trying to kill him or something.  But Colt with Niamh?  He snorted, as if the thought sounded like complete nonsense, and given the two guys' last conversation, it sort of was, Dunno, why would she be?  He hadn't had contact with either of them directly in... how long?  The fact that he realized Colt hadn't showed up to the den at all had started to grate on his nerves -- not to see the pups, not to say hi to either of them, let alone to work out his issues by talking to Raven.  The fact that Colt apparently also was way more sensitive than he liked to pretend to be -- or maybe just wanted Quixote to suddenly lose all his flaws and be some sort of compassionate and understanding dude, as if -- was a different issue.  Seriously, if Colt hadn't been expecting a direct response and an attempt to flatly dissect the problem from Quixote, what was he thinking?  In which case maybe Qui had misjudged him entirely and it would have been better if he hadn't gone out of his way to drag Colt back into the pack.
July 14, 2018, 03:23 AM
Raven
Redhawks
Alpha
Raven shifted a bit to relieve some pressure from her right elbow and, in doing so, stirred the sleeping girls and awoke Kite. The tiny girl peered around, blinking in the bright light that filtered in from the den's entrance, before getting to her feet and attempting to wobble her way toward it. Every time Raven looked at her, a mixture of caustic emotions pierced her heart like a poisoned dart. The little bird could hardly even stand without falling down. She gritted her teeth as she gently pulled her daughter back toward her and encouraged her to suckle.

She was glad Screech was dead.

"I don't know," she replied a little distractedly as she tended to Kite. "I'd heard she was bunking up with him ever since Screech...left. Was just curious, since you two are buddies." It wasn't strange at all that the butterscotch she-wolf would seek comfort and companionship after what Screech had put her through, and Raven didn't have to stretch her imagination very far at all to see why Niamh wouldn't want to return to her den.

☆ Quixote, Vasa, Kite, Phoebe, and Owen are permitted to freely PP Raven.
☆ Raven has recently given birth to her puppies and will primarily be sticking around her den. Members of RH are welcome to reference visiting her and the pups, just tag us for reference!
☆ To avoid threadlog clutter, threads that have not been replied to in 14 days will be archived. If you want to continue a thread, just shoot me a PM and I'll revive it.
☆ If I have not replied to a group thread in 2 days, feel free to skip me and I'll reply as soon as I am able.
July 14, 2018, 05:44 PM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
Quixote's frown was both thoughtful and representing simmering feelings.  So his initial thought that it had been Niamh had been right.  It had been the most logical conclusion he could dredge up, after all.  It did make him wonder if Colt was actually going to mess things up with her, as Quixote really doubted he'd actually worked out his problems.  Sounded like a great combination then if both of them were kind of unstable, but at least there weren't going to be pups any time soon that might get screwed up if things went south.  Either way, the drift in conversation was enough to make him stop feeling so relaxed, so he nudged Owen off and out of the way so he could roll onto his side -- the kid was free to go back and climb around again, but unceremoniously dumping pups on the ground and/or squashing them was probably a bad idea.  As far as Kite went, he'd been kind of hoping that she'd just catch up or calm down or something and it'd be totally ok and less dramatic as she got older, but the fact she was different seemed to just become more pronounced now that their pups' movements were more familiar and predictable to him.  Didn't stop him from wanting to just pretend otherwise, though.

After a second of thought, he decided to be vaguely vague about the exact issue, even though Colt had said it was okay to tell Raven, When I last spoke to him, he was trying to sort out some baggage he's kept pretty well tucked away.  Figured, try to find out if it was one of those things where someone words stuff a bit differently and then you feel like an idiot for missing the obvious, or if he should maybe talk to you, yeah?  Then suddenly he was going off about my issues and starts to scram.  I still tried to tell him he should talk to you, but he hasn't come by.  'Literally ever.'  In other words, he didn't know what to think.  He hadn't done anything completely outrageous, and Colt had just totally gone off the rails from his perspective.  Quixote had totally been willing to help, and now the more that he thought about it, the more the friendship just got buried under a pile of questionmarks.
July 15, 2018, 10:30 PM
Raven
Redhawks
Alpha
Raven hadn't really thought much about Colt's lack of visits since the puppies' arrival. The guy didn't really strike her as the touchy-feely, doting type; she just figured he'd been keeping busy since one alpha had been effectively taken out of commission. Maybe there was more to it, though, now that she knew he and Quixote had had some sort of weird falling-out. Why did guys always go to their bros when they needed help sorting through their issues, anyway? She wished that Colt had acted on Qui's suggestion that he come see her. She'd helped him through problems before (back when he was having issues getting along with Towhee), so she was disappointed he hadn't given her the chance to help him this time.

"Sounds like you guys need to have another talk, then," she said after a moment of consideration and fussing over puppies. "Or maybe I need to conveniently run into him sometime. But you two have been friends for a while. Don't you want to smooth things over?" She wasn't well-versed in guys' way of doing things, of course, and she definitely knew that men weren't fans of TalkingTM. But the whole thing seemed kind of trivial -- in her mind, at least -- and she couldn't see the logic in letting a friendship turn sour over a misunderstanding.

☆ Quixote, Vasa, Kite, Phoebe, and Owen are permitted to freely PP Raven.
☆ Raven has recently given birth to her puppies and will primarily be sticking around her den. Members of RH are welcome to reference visiting her and the pups, just tag us for reference!
☆ To avoid threadlog clutter, threads that have not been replied to in 14 days will be archived. If you want to continue a thread, just shoot me a PM and I'll revive it.
☆ If I have not replied to a group thread in 2 days, feel free to skip me and I'll reply as soon as I am able.
July 15, 2018, 11:13 PM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
He had absolutely no idea why it was Colt had acted the way he did.  It was probably that unknown that was causing it to just sit there and rot.  Normally he'd just shrug things off but probably because it was Colt, it was more of an issue.  Just about anyone else? Eh, why bother.  Just.  I dunno.  About the whole thing.  Might mess it up more right now, I'm no good at talking through stuff.  If you end up running in to him and he wants to talk, probably would be good -- at least so he doesn't go off at someone else.  Hopefully.  Would that baggage come back to bite Niamh?  Would he even talk to Raven if he suspected Quixote had sent her?  Ugh.  He didn't want to go telling the whole story to her.  Just seemed wrong since he and Colt hadn't had a proper conversation -- it just crashed and burned.  He was very good at being a screw-up.

Quixote sighed, What about Niamh though?  In more ways than one, but he mostly meant whether or not they were gonna do this now or not.
July 15, 2018, 11:23 PM
Raven
Redhawks
Alpha
Raven had little else to say on the subject of Colt, not really knowing the full story. She didn't press, either -- that wasn't her way. But if she happened to cross paths with him one of these days while out and about, maybe she'd bring it up. Colt seemed like the type of wolf who liked to play his cards close to his chest, so it was anyone's guess whether or not he'd even be interested in talking about it with her anyway. Couldn't hurt to have an open mind though.

Quixote steered the subject back to Niamh -- and Raven, in all of her vast perceptiveness, missed the subtle double meaning of his question -- and she nodded. "Yep, I'll call her," she offered, mostly because she'd been laying in the same position for far too long and needed to get up and stretch. She gently dislodged Phoebe and Kite (much to Kite's vociferous displeasure), and groaned with pleasure as she stretched, catlike. With the exception of the creepy nipples that hug down from her underside, her figure had mostly returned to its normal pre-pregnancy shape. She was totally one of those women everyone hates who could have a kid and go back to looking like a supermodel. ;)

Stepping to the entrance of the den, she tossed her muzzle skyward and loosed her mellow voice in a summoning howl for @Niamh.

☆ Quixote, Vasa, Kite, Phoebe, and Owen are permitted to freely PP Raven.
☆ Raven has recently given birth to her puppies and will primarily be sticking around her den. Members of RH are welcome to reference visiting her and the pups, just tag us for reference!
☆ To avoid threadlog clutter, threads that have not been replied to in 14 days will be archived. If you want to continue a thread, just shoot me a PM and I'll revive it.
☆ If I have not replied to a group thread in 2 days, feel free to skip me and I'll reply as soon as I am able.
July 15, 2018, 11:39 PM
Niamh
Redhawks
Gamma
Niamh had been hunting in the thicket to the North when she heard a call summoning her. Fortunately, she'd just caught a grouse, and figured she may as well bring it along with her and leave it with the alphas, considering Raven was the one who'd just called her. She set it down, and howled in response, to let them know she was on her way, and coming from the thicket. Obviously, no matter how fast a wolf could run, she couldn't simply just appear when she was summoned. But at least she could give them the comfort of knowing she was on her way. 

She carried the grouse with her, and it dropped a feather or two here and there as she carried it, slowing to a trot as she approached their den, where Raven waited in the entrance. She shook out her coat, and dropped the grouse before her alpha, moving forward to lick Raven's chin with an affectionate grumble thrumming in her chest. "Brought some lunch. You need a sitter?" She asked, figuring that might be why Raven had called for her. She heard rustling inside the den and perked her ears, nose twitching. "Hey Quixote," She said, glancing past Raven, and assuming that he was in there, just past Raven, with the four little Quivens.
July 16, 2018, 01:08 AM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
As she passed by, he reached out to nip at her flank playfully.  She did look good and he definitely didn't mind that.  Even after everything...  Even if the scars were still a reminder of things he wasn't able to prevent, he'd take almost perfect any day of the week, because things hadn't turned out so bad, had they?  Hell, sometime soon they needed to schedule their off time so they could go spend some time together -- without their precious bundles of fluff bounding about.

While they waited, he did his best to herd the pups all together and convince them to settle down for a nap or something.   They weren't really big enough that they could totally be ignored and left to their own devices, but at least it would be nice if they could stay out of trouble for the duration of a meeting.  Owen was particularly uncooperative.  Hell if Quixote knew why, but he swore that kid had it out for him somehow.

And there was Niamh.  With lunch?  Damn, I swear everyone just wants to one-up me.  That bit of snark was quieter, though Niamh probably heard it too -- it was in good humor, at least.  And from the scent of it, a bird again, goddamnit stupid feather creatures.  Then louder and directly to her, Hey.  Been liking that bit of responsibility, eh?  It was a sly reference to the real reason for the meeting.  Well, he was gonna stay down here, wasn't like he could get past Raven anyway since the entry wasn't that huge.
July 16, 2018, 02:47 AM
Raven
Redhawks
Alpha
It took Niamh a while to get there, but Raven didn't begrudge her the traveling time. She knew the dutiful young she-wolf liked to keep busy and was likely out on the fringes of the territory somewhere. Raven remained in the entrance of the den, keeping watch in a sphinx-like position and playfully batting the occasional tiny butt assailant with her tail.

Before too long, Niamh showed up with a grouse in her jaws and approached Raven with friendly greetings. The alpha rose to her paws and returned the gestures, genuinely glad to see the lovely butterscotch wolf, and then turned to go back inside. Casting another glance at the plump bird Niamh had brought, she grinned slyly at Quixote and couldn't resist ribbing him a bit: "How is everyone in the pack better at hunting birds than you, love?" Snickering, she sank back down in her usual spot at the back wall of the den, directly facing the entrance, and gently guided the puppies within her reach back toward her side. "Thanks for lunch, Niamh!" she continued, gesturing in invitation to the gamma. "Come in," Niamh wouldn't quite be able to fit her entire body inside, but there was ample room at the entrance for her to comfortably lay with her body partially inside.

"We actually wanted to talk to you about something." When Niamh was situated, Raven continued, "Qui and I have been paying attention, and we've noticed who's been going above and beyond for the good of our pack. You've really shined these last few months. Things have been crazy and a lot has been thrown at you, and you've really proven yourself to be an exceptionally dedicated and hardworking Redhawk. Sooooo..." Here she paused and her gaze shifted to Quixote, indicated that he could be the one to break the good news to her. That was, of course, if the pestilent Owen and Vasa gave him the chance!

☆ Quixote, Vasa, Kite, Phoebe, and Owen are permitted to freely PP Raven.
☆ Raven has recently given birth to her puppies and will primarily be sticking around her den. Members of RH are welcome to reference visiting her and the pups, just tag us for reference!
☆ To avoid threadlog clutter, threads that have not been replied to in 14 days will be archived. If you want to continue a thread, just shoot me a PM and I'll revive it.
☆ If I have not replied to a group thread in 2 days, feel free to skip me and I'll reply as soon as I am able.
July 16, 2018, 08:50 AM
Niamh
Redhawks
Gamma
Niamh smiled as the two lovebirds teased each other- or, really, when Raven teased Quixote as he really didn't have much of a defense to what she said- and nodded in response to his question. "For sure. I mean, when they're my age, I'm sure I'll be glad to have them on my side." She joked. After all- this time next year, they'd have a whole new batch of yearlings, and she'd be damned if she wasn't the cool adult in the pack, that they could hang out with and relate to. None of that stuffy, boring adult stuff for Niamh. 

She followed Raven into the den, and immediately her eyes were drawn to the little ones. "Well lookit you folk," She said, her voice low and soft. "They got their eyes open now, don't they?" She asked, with a smile. She lay down in the entrance to the den, facing both alphas and their four pups. She extended her forelegs, so that if one of them chose, they could wander over to her, and see her for the first time with their eyes open. She wondered, would they recognize her, from her scent? Or still play shy since the whole sight thing was new to them?

It appeared that Raven didn't want her to babysit, though, and instead wanted to talk. Her ears turned back just slightly, indicating that she was a bit unsure what to do when complimented the way Raven was talking to her. She dipped her head appreciatively, but a bit awkwardly too- she appreciated the fact that Raven was thanking her, but so many compliments really made her feel a bit sheepish. The statement was thrown to Quixote then, and Niamh's curious, but somewhat bashful gaze followed over to him, half hoping he'd just say one thing and then be done with it- any more compliments and she was sure she'd turn as red as a beet.
July 16, 2018, 04:41 PM
Quixote
Redhawks
Alpha
He frowned, but not too seriously, Hey!  I catch other stuff though.  The fact the birds really didn't enjoy cooperating for him was at times a sore point, but it wasn't like he had put too much time in to practicing or anything -- he'd rather just catch stuff he could actually, you know, catch.

While everyone was getting settled down, Quixote had partially gotten up so he could figure out where the hell Vasa had gone.  Owen had finally decided to leave his dad alone, but the other of the most active pair had been notably absent.  Apparently she'd found a root or something that was barely poking out of the den wall and was gumming that to death, Yeah, I'm sure they'll be up to all kinds of trouble once they've got better control of their feet, too.  He shot a fleeting glance to Raven, wondering if he should try to shoo her away from it.  Dirt was totally healthy, wasn't it?

Okay, he kind of wasn't expecting her to suddenly stop and toss the metaphorical ball to him.  There was a brief pause, then his head snapped back around to Niamh, Oh--!  Uh.  So we wanted to offer you the opportunity to step up to leadership if you'd be up for it.  -- Still gamma, but with the responsibilities and powers and stuff.  He wasn't exactly great a this whole forming formal sentences thing, was he?  So what do you think?