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Somewhere between the island shore and the sea cliffs, Meerkat turned her ankle again and had no choice but to convalesce in the sequoia forest bordering the sound. She visited the water daily to dip her paw in the chilly surf for relief. By the time it felt well enough to support weight again, she was ravenous; she'd only eaten scraps for days.

Ignoring her hunger, she finished the next leg of her journey with a slight hobble as she approached Sapphique's borders. Meerkat came to a stop and tried to remember the leaders' exotic names. When they came to her, she tipped her pale snout skyward and called for @Njord and @Erzulie, then tacked on an invitation for @Alyx and Haunt in case her sisters were available for a visit.
it would be another fortnight, perhaps more, before the babes made their way into the world. but erzulie's careful pride was apparent in the new lushness of her golden body. she cut through the water and came up dripping upon the beachhead. daily forays into the salt were part of her regime, and she would have shaken out her fur and laid to nap there had not meerkat's voice rose.
in due time, the woman came to greet the girl. "meerkat," she said softly, assuming that once more, the young traveller was here upon the word of family. "phox came to us two weeks ago, searching for niamh." an ear flicked, mintglow eyes soft and questioning upon the girl, passing a maternal glance along the sinewy body.
I’m a bit slow atm, so feel free to skip!

A familiar voice requested an audience at the borders. Njord, in his sleek summer coat, minced no time and made haste to their caller. Erzulie had already arrived, looking more gloriously round by the day, to greet the unforgettable Meerkat. The pirate was struck with a sudden sense of concern. For Erzulie was Sapphique’s oyster… carrying the most previous pearls. She must be protected at all costs.

He fell into line by her haunch. At that point, Erzulie had already begun to speak. He remained silent, but attentive.
"Phox had come here searching for Niamh some time ago..."

"Phox came to us two weeks ago, searching for Niamh..."

Abruptly, her exhaustion overwhelmed her and Meerkat sank to the ground, wincing a little when her weight pressed on her bad ankle. She flopped to one side with a small grunt, pressing her eyes closed and taking a moment to muster her frayed wits.

She was on the right path for once, yet it seemed she was so far behind her father. And in her current condition, there was no hope of catching up now. She would have to go home to the caldera, give her mom the news and recuperate. There was nothing else for it.

"I'm sorry," she whispered, eyelids fluttering open again as she tilted her head toward the two wolves standing over her. "That's why I came here. He's searching for them... I'm searching for him..." And it seemed like the family was destined to be broken apart forever.

Taking a deep breath, Meerkat pushed herself upright again, though she swayed a little from the dizzying hunger. "I have to go back to the caldera. Will you tell Alyx and Haunt I came by?" Her brow furrowed. Would either one even particularly care about hearing from her? It smoothed out again an instant later, because it didn't matter.
meerkat, always in dire search of those she loved.
it was upon the tip of her tongue to suggest, brashly, that the girl cease her futile search. she was too young to have traveled so far within her mind. such things aged the body and psyche far more than was fair.
"i will tell alyx. haunt, too, was called away to follow her parent."
voice light, eyes shifting briefly to handsome young njord.
"stay for a time." sapphique's removal from the far-flung redhawk clan had done much for their relations, in the harlot's mind. she did not mind offering sanctuary once more to those of their land. caiaphas was long departed, and niamh too, from the sound of it. no others to hold a grudge.
Again, Njord had little knowledge of the going-ons between the Redhawks. But some of the names Erzulie mentioned managed to worm their way up from his memory from their last encounter with the envoy. Niamh…. one of Meerkat’s mothers and Phox, her dad. He had heard through the grapevine that Phox had passed through Sapphique, but he had failed meet the man in the flesh.

His gaze turned to Meerkat as she explained herself. Last time, she had been chasing one father, Kaertok, just after his death, and now she was chasing others. A small frown pulled his mouth corners down. It was clear the young woman was weary from traveling, worrying, and chasing down her family.

Erzulie delivered the news that Haunt had moved on, followed by an invitation to rest at Dragoncrest. “Aye, lass,” Njord followed up with earnest concern on his face. “Yer not fit ta travel. Stay a’while an’ rest.”
Erzulie agreed to pass along her message to Alyx, though she mentioned Haunt had left in search of a parent too. Considering Kaertok was dead, she must've went to find her mother. Meerkat spared a few seconds to wonder about that—hadn't she been looking for her mother and sister when they'd met? Had she still not found them, after all this time?—when Erzulie and Njord both urged her to stay a while and rest.

The yearling sagged. She desperately wanted to get home and tell Towhee what she'd learned, though they were right: she could use a respite. She bit at her lip, suddenly aware how rude she must be coming across in her fluster. On one hand, that made her want to decline their offer to avoid wasting their time. On the other, the least she could do was honor their well-meaning wishes.

"Okay," she acquiesced after a moment, letting out a breath and offering each an apologetic glance. "I'm sorry, I'm just..." Meerkat waved her good paw uselessly, failing to find the right words for her state of mind right now. Hopefully they understood what she meant. "Thank you," she tacked on a little limply.

A little voice in the back of her head urged her to ask for something to eat or even something for the pain in her paw, though Meerkat flatly refused. She absolutely believed Erzulie and Njord would share food and medicine with her, yet it was too much to ask.
too much to ask, but not too much to offer. erzulie glanced over meerkat with a gently maternal assessment. "come to my den," she invited. "it be quiet t'ere." she could not keep the girl here, but she was determined to ensure that the traveler ate at least one meal with them.
her medic's gaze would not miss the other's gait, but she did not press meerkat again. it was interesting to think of yuelong again, in any capacity, as it had been the sisters' forced split from rusalka that had created the island.
perhaps this wayward family had found itself there. sapphique was too removed to know more comings and goings than were brought to them.
An empathetic sigh whistled from Njord’s nose when Meerkat accepted their aide, glad that the young envoy would not be traveling in such a rough condition. “’Tink nothin’ of it,” the seafarer replied. Erzulie, a round and picturesque Madonna, was quick to shuttle the Redhawk away. Njord stood aside, happy to escort the pair should they desire his company.
The invitation surprised her, if only because being invited into the leader's den seemed like an honor she didn't particularly deserve. But Meerkat didn't argue, only nodded her respectful acceptance and fell into hobbling step behind Erzulie.

The trip used up the last of her strength and Meerkat sank to the ground. "Thank you for letting me rest here," she murmured not long before her chin drifted to her one outstretched foreleg, her eyes fluttering closed as sleep pulled her under.
"of course." 
meerkat, exhausted, was quickly asleep. erzulie too felt the pull of exhaustion, and blinked warmly toward njord. she would nap here, nearby in the shade, and his company was welcomed, silently conveyed with a lift of her chin.
settling herself for some semblance of comfort, difficult to discover in these late days, erzulie yawned, allowing mintglow gaze to droop.
Meerkat gave a murmur of thanks before sleep claimed the yearling, her body more than happy for the reprieve. The red-tail’s gaze shifted to his captain. Njord caught Erzulie’s blink of invitation as she settled – or tried to settle - in the shade like a mother hen. Njord sniffed at the ground besides her, selecting a snoozing spot, and curling up tightly into a ball to join in a peaceful nap.