Lone Star Mountain but i -- i want it all -- oh, i want it all
Private  November 25, 2016, 10:10 PM
Indra
Lost Creek Hollow
Recruit
indra was first aware of a sensation in her throat: burning and raw and angry. her crusted eyes pried open slowly and she gasped audibly, the cold torrent of air rushing down her throat not unlike the viscious rapids of shearwater. she rose immediately, drunken and disoriented -- and then collapsed.

she tried to rouse herself again, but her limbs would not comply. with a feeble whine she cried hoarsely: "l-laurel!" what had happened? where was she and how was she here? she did not recognize anything - not the trees that warped the rocky landscape, nor the grassland below them, nor even the precipitious rise of mountain ahead.
 
her stirring must not have gone unnoticed, for indra was suddenly aware of a prickly sensation sneaking down her spine. she looked up in surprise, her gaze swimming into focus: @Saena stood not too far from her. indra was taken aback by the pale vision -- was it truly her mom? how?

and why?

"mom?" she tried again, her tongue thick with fever.

"he knows that it's impossible to tell a wolf
from a man if
he keeps his chin up
and his teeth clean."
November 25, 2016, 10:17 PM
Saena
Approved Members

Part of Saena was convinced her child was dead. It was a sick obsession that kept her dragging Indra higher into the foothills, and eventually, into a pass. By the time she stopped and took a break, more than a day had passed. The cream bitch was exhausted, her neck was stiff and sore, and her shoulders ached more than she could ever remember, but she couldn't stop for long. A sense of duty to her daughter pervaded her and kept her moving. But eventually, she had no choice but to let Indra's head and torso fall to the ground as fatigue sapped the last of her skeletal strength.

She lay down heavily, and slept for a short while, rising mere moments before Indra herself did. The bitch was just getting to her feet, prepared to haul Indra further into the mountains and eventually in the vale, when the ruddy adolescent stirred. Equal parts shocked and amazed, Saena froze in place, and remained frozen until Indra looked her way and stammered a word around a tongue that sounded too big. Then the mother's eyes pricked with emotion and she stumbled forward a few steps to hover nearby in case Indra needed anything.

"I'm here," she said in a tone soft and soothing, "mom's here. I've got you. Whatever happened to you down there, it can't hurt you here." She realized only then that she was speaking as if Indra was only a few months old still, and shook her head lightly before asking, more appropriately, "do you know what happened?"
November 25, 2016, 10:40 PM
Indra
Lost Creek Hollow
Recruit
indra pressed her tongue anxiously against the roof of her mouth, her brow furrowed in worry as she peered at her mother. it was her mother, wasn't it? it looked like her down to the missing tail -- but how? her head swam with questions and a wave of fatigue crashed over her.

when saena inched closer indra's long ears fell to her skull submissively and she whined, trying to pull herself closer to her mother in a puppy-embrace. her tail beat the ground loudly and she tried to wriggle her nose into her mother's chest -- into her fur and her fluff and her comforting touch.

what had happened? indra didn't know. the concentration caused a break in her stomach and she careened forward as if to puke but nothing came out. "i-i i think.. i -- i don't know.." she admitted, defeat in her tone -- how could she possibly tell her mother she had tried to do the unspeakable? "where's laurel? w-where are we?"

"he knows that it's impossible to tell a wolf
from a man if
he keeps his chin up
and his teeth clean."
November 25, 2016, 10:51 PM
Saena
Approved Members

Saena didn't know what she'd expected, but Indra's affection wasn't it. She nearly flinched away, but upon realizing Indra was seeking her touch rather than preparing to harm her, she pressed as near as her daughter would allow. She swept her tongue across the top of Indra's head as she struggled to come to terms with a number of things: that Indra wasn't in fact dead, that she was now nowhere near Larksong Grotto, and that her sibling was nowhere to be found.

After a heart-wrenching lurch, Indra gave voice to several of these, and Saena pressed her tongue to the roof of her mouth as she tried to come up with the best explanation. "I was down in the plains and saw you hunched over a puddle. You seemed really sick, so I pulled you up to the mountains with me so I could look after you." That was the long and short of it. That she'd thought her child was dead and intended to bring her into Duskvale anyway didn't really matter. Was it revenge on Reek? Probably. He would've never known what happened to her if he couldn't find her body, and the guilt might have eaten him alive.

But Indra was decidedly not dead, so now Saena was left to figure out what to do next whilst hoping it wasn't returning the girl to Larksong Grotto. "Was Laurel supposed to be with you?" she wondered, hesitating to feel bad that her brattier child was not accompanying them. Saena wanted nothing more than to retrieve both of her daughters, but she would be lying if she said she was overly keen on seeing Laurel again after what the tan wolf had said. Indra's concern broke her heart, though. "I didn't see her at all. I'm sorry, she isn't here."
November 25, 2016, 10:59 PM
Indra
Lost Creek Hollow
Recruit
indra did not notice saena's recoil -- instead, her attention was focused so much on how shitty she felt. she was still trying to come to terms with the ugly crime she had just tried to commit. was she successful? did jhala even know? indra's gut stirred and she felt a sinking feeling deep in her soul.

she turned her face up to saena, her long ears cupped forward as she concentrated on what her mother had said. laurel wasn't here. her gut sank further.

"no... i don't think so." she didn't know -- she remembered running from jhala clearly, but nothing after that. nothing up until now.

"we -- can't we get her?" indra said feebly, meekly -- even if she knew deep down inside it was unlikely saena would march right back down the mountain she had labored up only minutes earlier. indra didn't want to go back to larksong -- she didn't ever want to see any of them again -- except for laurel.

"he knows that it's impossible to tell a wolf
from a man if
he keeps his chin up
and his teeth clean."
November 25, 2016, 11:08 PM
Saena
Approved Members

I don't think so. That begged the question of what Indra was doing alone in the middle of the plains, but it wasn't a question Saena bothered asking. Much as she wanted to know, she was certain Indra didn't know the answer to that question, either. Instead, he sought to preen her daughter's ear with her lips, aiming to comfort. The question that hung between them was so difficult to answer, if only because Saena didn't know if she even wanted to find Laurel. The girl certainly wouldn't fit into Duskvale if she still carried the attitude she'd shown before, but Saena wanted desperately to bring peace to Indra, so she relented.

"I wish we could," she sighed, and then said, "I'll see if there's any way I can get her to you, but... you know she hates me. I don't know if she'll listen." Saena knew full well it would go against everything Duskvale stood for to seek out Laurel at all, though, and she was also hesitant for that reason. Duskvale was about letting go of the past and facing the future without emotional baggage, and letting ties to the wild world and instinct dictate actions. Instinct ruled in Duskvale. Saena's instinct told her to remain in the valley, to bring Indra into the fold and continue integrating herself and cut her losses with Laurel, but it was emotions that bid her to make the offer. Warbone would be displeased, but it was something Saena needed to do for her daughter, in the future. There was a chance he would be displeased about this entire thing, but as far as Saena was concerned, Warbone could suck it when it came to her daughters.

"I can't go there directly, so... it might take me some time to even reach out to her. I'm really sorry, Indra," she said, speaking plainly of Larksong Grotto. Reek's newest side dish had been heavily pregnant before, but that was at least a month ago. The hefty bitch had at least twenty or thirty pounds on Saena, and without babies in her belly to keep her tempered, there was no guarantee Jhala wouldn't attack Saena if she went near Larksong again. She also had no desire to run into Reek again. It would take some time to even work up the nerve, let alone to convince a feisty and hateful Laurel to leave, even if it was for Indra's sake.
November 25, 2016, 11:23 PM
Indra
Lost Creek Hollow
Recruit
indra settled as her mother preened her ear; despite her sickly state she felt a warmth overcome her -- even despite her separation from laurel.

indra understood, in some roundabout way, saena's reluctance to retrieve laurel. from her perspective, there was no guarantee laurel would even come with them. not even indra knew with certainty if laurel would come: she remembered vividly the last interaction her sister shared with saena. not pleasant.

indra didn't think laurel hated saena -- at least, not the way she hated jhala and the two replacements. if she was left between a rock and a hard-place, which she soon would be, indra thought laurel might be more inclined to choose her mother.

all the same, indra also knew laurel hated it in larksong -- reek had replaced them, the pups were becoming mobile, and jhala cared little for either of them. soon laurel would be pushed out past larksong's thrumming orbit and left, quite literally, for the wolves.

indra furrowed her brow, trying to make sense of how she could possibly save her sister. she couldn't -- but she would never admit it. "but we'll come back?" she queried, looking up to her mother hopefully: "we aren't leaving her behind?"

"he knows that it's impossible to tell a wolf
from a man if
he keeps his chin up
and his teeth clean."
November 25, 2016, 11:33 PM
Saena
Approved Members

"We'll never leave her behind," Saena said vehemently. Whatever she thought of her beige-furred daughter, Saena would never leave her behind if given a choice. Laurel was a brat, but she was Saena's brat, and the mother would do anything for her children, both current and future. She gave little thought to the future now that she had Indra with her, though. There doubtless would be more children in her future, for Warbone had promised as much and she looked forward to the day, but she knew the value of her existing kids. She would never make them feel replaced if she had a say in the matter.

Of course, she didn't know the power that new children held over their parents. She scarcely remembered when Laurel and Indra were so young that they depended on her. They were all grown up now, and that realization made her stomach plummet queerly.

Pushing the thought aside, Saena added, "as soon as we can, we'll find your sister." Little did she know that soon enough, she would be gravely injured and incapable of going anywhere. Right now, she was ready and raring to spend time in the next few days seeking out Laurel. "Does... that mean you're not going back?" Indra didn't know what had happened to her, or at least wouldn't tell Saena about it, but she didn't give any indication of wanting to go back to Laurel herself. That was a curious matter all its own.

Sad as it was and horrible though the thought may be, it gave Saena a sense of satisfaction to know Indra wasn't clamoring to go back. Whatever had happened was enough to pry one daughter from Reek's manipulative grasp. Saena could only hope, in time, the second would follow.
November 26, 2016, 09:57 AM
Indra
Lost Creek Hollow
Recruit
indra was fueled by saena's insistence that they would not leave laurel behind, and in a way, it salved the anxiety that fretted at her mind. they would come back for laurel - they had to.

for a moment she tried gamely to rise again, but her limbs were shaky and flimsy as newly planted saps - she fumbled for a moment and the conversation lulled as she reflected in silence the culmination of events that had brought her here, to saena.

saena's next question evinced a sad, sorrowful expression in the child, where her ears folded to her skull in defeat and her brow knitted with both frustration and worry. "i don't ever want to see larksong again." she mumbled, her gaze cast to the ground in defeat and humiliation. she could not face her crimes, and if she avoided the grotto, the memory of what inexorable thing she had attempted to do might never see the light of day again. she wanted more than anything to see laurel, to tell her where they had gone -- the last thing she wanted to do was leave her sister behind with a family that, as indra incorrectly thought, did not love or appreciate her. they were sisters and they were meant to be together -- forever.

"he knows that it's impossible to tell a wolf
from a man if
he keeps his chin up
and his teeth clean."
November 26, 2016, 10:32 AM
Saena
Approved Members

Saena pulled back slightly when Indra tried to rise, and winced when the girl swayed on noodle-like limbs. She would need to get to the bottom of this eventually, but now was not the time. Saena's attention was on Indra primarily, and while she was certain in time she would figure out what happened to the sweetest of her daughters, she didn't want to push too hard now.

She was more concerned by the reaction Indra had to returning to Larksong Grotto. She was pleased about it, but at the same time, she was disturbed by her child's vehemence when she was torn between staying and leaving before. Something had certainly changed. "I won't make you go back there," she quietly promised. She didn't want Indra to go back there. There was a reason Saena had decided Reek would have no part of his childrens' lives, and she still meant it even today. "You can stay with me if you want to. I didn't go back to Silver Creek. I met someone, and we're forming a pack right here in the mountains. I... I wanted to stay close by, in case either of you ever needed me." Going to the ends of the earth to escape Reek had made perfect sense when Saena had her children with her, but now, being close made more sense.

Anyway, she had other reasons to be here now—Warbone prime among them. She hoped her daughter would be accepting of him, too, if she chose to remain at all. "Or you could go back to the Creek, they'd always accept you there, if you don't want to stay with me." It was a legitimate possibility that Indra would rather seek Casmir, but it hurt her heart deeply that it might be the case. Luckily for Saena, it was not the case, and the pair descended into the vale in all due time, with Saena supporting her weakened daughter with one shoulder.