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with opalia's name in her head, kukutux bent herself to another pursuit: the finding of wives. it became a singular focus; she spent her thoughts and her nights upon it. a better woman might have recognized these things for what they were: the craving of something like control after all the death the duck had seen.

but she did not know this, and sought after @Norah with a curious, single-minded focus, flicking her mental fingertips between the names aiolos and wintersbane.
Has Norah been a human, Kukutux would have found her leaning against safety railing, smoking a cigarette and idly browsing Facebook profiles of all her supposed friends on her smartphone. Since she wasn't the lady witch/matchmaker found her sitting near one of the mountain ledges that offered a clear view over the valley. There she was, deep in contemplation about world domination plans. The sound of approaching footsteps cut her out of her sweet daydreams and she turned to meet the one, who had come to her.

Though she had not spoken to this particular woman yet, she noticed resemblence between her and Bleach. It had to be the proud mother. Frankly speaking, she had a reason to be proud - of course, not because of her offspring - but because she was a true beauty. Whenever Norah had time to think about preferences, when it came to choosing a partner, she found herself to be ambivalent about either gender. Since sacred ties of marriage had never deterred her from flirting shamelessly and occasionally getting a happy ending as a pleasant bonus, by the time Kukutux was within earshot, the lady had raised to her feet, cracked her knuckles and was ready to go to battle.

"Afternoon, miss!" she greeted her with a pleasant smile and a polite nod. "How may I be of assistance, Schatz?"
schatz. what did that mean? kukutux chose to hear it within a friendly light, and smiled quickly toward the mink-grey young woman with the moonlit eyes. "i greet you." eyes skimmed the strong frame of the other, and then the healer stepped forward, turning her jadestone gaze out across the snowbound sights below.

"i came to see how you have been, since we have not yet met. and many more moments i think that spring cannot come after so much snow has fallen," the duck said softly. a blink returned her attention to the pleasing charcoal features of her companion. "i am kukutux."
Kukutux responded with a somewhat shy smile of her own, offered her name and a pleasantly wrapped poetic nonesense to break the ice between them. Inwardly Norah sneered at the notion that the lady had suddenly taken interest in her inconspicuous subordinate, who had been her for almost a quarter of the year now. Her inner cynic just did not believe a sincere well-meant intention without any secret meaning underneath it. People weren't good like that, and though this girl did give an impression of being a frilly fool, something about her warned Norah against making a hasty assumption based on a prejudice that the level of beauty does not correlate with the amount of brain cells. She also kept in mind that she had chosen Kukutux as her target for selfish reasons and therefore it would probably be only fair to wait and find out, what exactly the woman wanted from her.

"Pleasure to meet you," she dipped her muzzle politely and, while her companion was observing the landscape below, Norah took an opportunity to appraise the woman before her and decided that even if she proved to be an idiot in the end, she sure as hell was going to have fun in the meanwhile. Now was time for a proper response. Hmm... oh, the recent events. "Yet every year the sun finds it's way, the snow and ice melts and new life flourishes," she replied. "There's equilibrium in everything - for every thing or person taken away, new comes in their place."
it was a pragmatic way of looking at things. kukutux was reminded of the green-eyed warrioress who had died in the glen; she let out her breath and nodded. "the ones who were taken by the bear, had you companions in them?" had kukutux known she had been discovered so swiftly, she would have chosen a path of directness.

as it were, the duck was learning to do such things. another moment turned out toward the snowy treetops and then her gaze had returned to settle upon the woman norah. "you are right. those who have gone on will be replaced, perhaps by the children to come."
Oooh - the bear incident... Right... Norah nodded and looked away, as if the news of this tragic turn of events at the Moonspear off-shoot pack were deeply troubling. She even sighed and feigned the best and most genuine sad yet (she patted herself on the back for that), then turned to face Kukutux again and smiled wistfully. "I did not know everyone there, but it feels very unfair that so many should be reaped, while still young and so much life ahead of them," she told, while in reality she wondered, what the heck had those idiots done to wake up a bear in the middle of winter. It was a criminal offense. No wonder it had got pissed. Though, of course, being mauled and seriously injured was always better than being dead. "Did they manage to kill the bear or did it get away?" she asked, honestly concerned, because if that sleep-deprived bastard was still roaming around, causing havoc, she would pack her non-existant stuff this instant and head for the hills.

"Yeah... no one is irreplaceable in the big scheme of things," Norah sighed. "Though they say that as long the loved ones of the dead keep the memory, they are never truly gone," a handy piece of poetic nonesense. She had known that picking up some of the intelligence and eloquence of speech from one of her exes would become handy one day. "How's the mother - Hydra - holding up? I understand that among those, who were killed, were her own children too."
"it is dead." so she believed; hearing whispers but her mind had been fixed to loss. a breath and a smile as kukutux found herself pleased by the words. it reminded her of the rites she had brought to the teekon, a way to remember those who had passed without saying their names.

but norah's talk of the mother hydra almost provoked a frown. surely the other woman knew that hydra had lost her son osiris? but perhaps it was truly something kept to ostregas, and she blinked to realize that, still, was considered one such. "it is a bad thing to lose a child long before you are ready to give up your years." one that kukutux hoped fervently she would not experience.
That momentarily frown did not escape Norah's attention, but she did not scold herself for this slip-up just yet. After all the high and mighty queen had not spoken to her yet and that pack in the plains had formed before she had decided to settle in the mountains for winter. So, it was perfectly understandable for her not to know everything, but it did rub some salt in the wound for the detail-oriented perfectionist-self. She made a mental note of sourcing information on all people living here. Names and biographies. It was a high time she did that too. 

"I believe so," she remarked at the final comment and then fell in a comfortable silence, waiting for the other to break it and finally tell her, whether this chit-chat was truly all that the white she-wolf had sought her out for.
norah had ended their missive, and somehow kukutux felt the expectant nature of the snowbound heavens settle over them both. she let out her breath, sighing it off into the open. "i have decided to be atsak in moonspear. matchmaker." she was careful, for her footing with norah was still the half-melted ice of a spring path.

"the warmer moon is coming. if —" shyness choking her, tangling her tongue beneath the silverwisp gaze that invited her to say anything"it is something you wish, then i hope that you would have the feeling of freeness in your heart to come and ask."
A matchmaker?  Was that a job people really did? Making decisions for other people, playing puppetmasters of fate? How her mother would laugh, when she told this to her. Boy, oh, boy. Should she jump at this opportunity? Take another step, educating herself about the nature of people and find yet more proof that most were petty fools? But... no... not yet. This girl with the last part of her speech had picked up the game. She had shed the first impression of a simple mind to one, who was more clever and cunning than it appeared outwardly. 

"What that wish might be?" Norah asked, tilting her head to the side, studying the beautiful features of the white woman's face, a playful smile in her lips. She had understood the metaphor, but then she had always been the one to prefer directness in intentions. "How would you be of help to me?" she inquired further.
it felt as though norah had already found her out, and the necessity of kukutux' care was therefore defunct. she shifted uncomfortably beneath the warm smile, fumbling her paws in the snow. "on the island of my birth, a man might say 'i want this woman for wife.' he would bring feathers and meat and skins to her father. it was her choice to say or to say no."

"in moonspear, in this world, things have much difference. but i know many outside of moonspear. if you seek a husband this year, or in the moons to come, i offer my help. not with the choosing, but the knowledge of who he might be."
"Oh, that is interesting..." Norah remarked, while listening to Kukutux's story, and keeping her utter amusement about the whole proposal under a carefully composed mask. She was tempted to ask, what if the girl did not have a father to bring those gifts to? What if it was a fearsome mother of hers, who scorned the very idea that any man might dictate her fate and future. What then? But for some reasons she did not believe that this beautiful lady was a person, who would delve much in speculations about all "what if"s.  There was subtle certainty about the only right path, which was the one she believed in. 

"Frankly speaking, I have never entertained that thought... up until now that you brought it up," she told her. "But answer me this - does the Moonspear Matriarch look down kindly on subordinates marrying freely and giving birth to children at her claim?" she asked. "If it was me in her place, I would not wish to have any competition to the livelihood and well-being of my children."
she had not thought of that, but then kukutux considered how long she had been in moonspear, how she was wife and mother, and how the blackbear had always treated her. "it is more likely that a wife be given that privilege," she began slowly, "and if i bring it to hydra myself, i will speak of you as sister."

what would norah think of it, she did not know. and nor had she been questioned so closely, but perhaps — perhaps that was natural and good for her own sense of confidence.
Norah was not so sure, but the other's naivety was endearing - Kukutux barely knew her and yet she was ready to speak of this stranger as her sister. Lend a good word for her to the leaders, who also did not know her well. She was tempted to ask the woman, whether she trusted all people that easily, but kept it to herself. If, for whatever reason, she considered her as a friend, then it was something she could work with later. 

"Even if that man comes from a different pack?" Norah asked for more details. "I am not that optimistic that such permission would be granted so easily," she spoke.  "But I appreciate your willingness to do this for me. Where do you find them - those suitable husbands? The assortment here is not that plentiful here - eligible ones are already married and the rest are too young."
norah suggested many things that kukutux had not considered. she had not yet sought hydra's blessing for her endeavors. and she performed them anyway, thinking herself more palatable in the eyes of the blackbear. but it was too late to go back; jarilo knew of her intentions, and jarilo ruled alongside his sister. he was equal leader to her.

"i go out, and i seek. one man i have known for many years, before my children were born. it takes a time for trust to be created, and if i make a meeting between a man and a woman, it is only to speak. she must make final choice. in that way, it will also be last choice of hydra, but it is your own life to do with as you want."
"Very bold," was all Norah said in response. She did not agree with Kukutux's statement about, how one's life is theirs and they were allowed to do, whatever they pleased with it. That was true only, when you were on your own. Once you were someone else's pawn free will was a hobby not a routine thing.

"Well, I will consider your offer and if I decide that I am in need of such service, I will seek you out personally," she told her. "Where did you grow up? Your traditions seem quite unique," she asked.
kukutux was not happy to turn toward herself, but it was the way of a talk. "from far away, upon the sea ice. the cold is bitter there, and the sun does not set. but when it is warm we rejoice. and the sea gave my people many things," the duck added, though her voice trailed away when she realized she had been rambling.

"i think that the traditions of moonspear have held my interest to learn," she smiled, seeking the same in norah.
"Have they really?" Norah asked, finding such statement very peculiar. In her eyes Moonspear ran by the same set of conservative rules 99% packs had adapted and not changed for an eternity. How a boring norm could be interesting was beyond her. But then - it occurred to her that if she had grown up with Kukutux's ideas of life as something normal, this pack would amuse her too. 

"What do you find different?" she queried next. "What have you learned that you find useful to add to your worldview?"
"that this place is beneath the rule of a woman and her line, but in other places, it is not so. it is whoever will lead." moonspear and by extension the glen were aspects of the blackbear and the strong ostrega line. how could other packs hold firm when it was not so everywhere? a flick of her pale plume as she gathered herself.

"i must return to my ulaq," to cleanse and glean until her mate returned. they had spoken of children, and wistfully she put her mind toward the future. "i wish to see you again, norah." unsure whether she could withstand such questioning, the moondrop was ready to be departed, to recover and to think upon the words she and the sharp-eyed she-wolf had shared.
"We'll see..." Norah said instead of a farewell and watched the other woman leave.