Sawtooth Spire all ashore
January 03, 2019, 01:06 AM
Alya
Easthollow
Newcomer
Although she'd chosen him, she'd made that decision - Alya still couldn't help but put @Nikai through one last test. Oh, she knew that she'd put him through enough, but she had to be sure that he could match her, step for step. It didn't have to be perfect (she had long since given up on this) but it had to be possible. So she'd taken him toward Easthollow on the Sawtooth route, and had scaled the cliffs alongside him, steering only as she allowed the male to set their pace.

When they reached a flat ridge, she slowed to a stop, weary in her own right of all the climbing and walking. She'd not slept well the night before, and now she halted Nikai with a soft sigh of, "Look at the stars..." For a different set were visible from this angle - she spent so much time on the eastern face of Moonspear that she rarely saw what the skyline to the west had to offer.

i can't help but be my own god
January 03, 2019, 05:41 AM
Nikai
Easthollow
Newcomer
The route through the spine was heavy, but admittedly Nikai hadn't had the heart to tell Alya just how heavy it was on his remaining limbs. Even though he had learned to navigate on three, it didn't mean that his life was as easy as before. Especially his remaining hind leg and the diagonal front leg to his missing one were screaming with the extra burden they took. But however honest and forthcoming Nikai was, this was a weak spot that he didn't like to admit; a rare point of vanity and pride, perhaps, that he was loathe to admit. So he didn't.

The flat ridge was a gift sent from above to Nikai, and he was glad when Alya decided it was time for a stop there. Nikai pulled up beside Alya as she gestured to look at the stars and he smiled as he looked at them. "They are beautiful, aren't they?" he said, though he saw nothing special about them specifically tonight; he didn't realise the reason that Alya saw a different sky that night.
January 03, 2019, 01:32 PM
Alya
Easthollow
Newcomer
Alya gazed a moment longer at the skyscape set out before her before turning back to Nikai. There was a galaxy of speckles across his nose that reminded her of the night sky, and also of her father and sister, a bit. Even missing a leg and clearly exhausted, he was very handsome. She felt a pang of regret and guilt for having taken them this way.

Let's stop here for the night, she suggested, tearing her eyes away to cast around for someplace soft and comfy. There wasn't much around, but Alya improvised by flattening a small bed of coyote brush. It was better than the rocks, at least, and Alya wasn't too worried about those, either. I'm a bit out of practice, she admitted, lying down but leaving room for Nikai beside her. When I tried to get to Easthollow last time, I ended up hurting my leg, and I was down for the count for a few months while it healed. How much more difficult, then, had it been for Nikai? She wanted to ask, but at the same time, she didn't want to know the answer.

For so long, she had dreamed off going off to claim her own mountain, as her mother and her mother's mother had done before her. But maybe that was Hydra's job. Maybe it was Vela's. Maybe Alya didn't have to hold on to that tradition. Everything was so confused between duty and tradition and want in her head -

but she knew that Nikai was her friend in a pure and untainted way. They cared for one another. That, at least, she could be sure about.

i can't help but be my own god
January 08, 2019, 06:59 AM
Nikai
Easthollow
Newcomer
It made Nikai glad that Alya suggested stopping. He'd never admit it because he wanted to be tough, but Nikai's muscles were killing him after the long journey they'd already made. "Good idea." He glanced up at the stars again, watching them as they stood in the sky as silent sentinels. Alya's next words surprised Nikai; it was unlike her to admit her weaknesses. He hid his surprise, not wanting to dwell on it for too long because he doubted that she would like it. As Alya lay down he took his place beside her and said: "At least you're used to mountains." He wasn't very much, for though he'd travelled a bit in his time, Nikai couldn't compare to someone who had lived on one from the day she was born.

Laying down only made Nikai realise how much he had overasked his muscles, so he was glad for the rest. He'd be sore when they continued their journey, he was sure of it. Nikai wondered if this visit to Easthollow was before or after their travels together, but he didn't ask. It didn't really matter, because she had never reached it anyway. "Oof. Seems like taking it easy's a good choice, then." He wondered why they had picked this route. There were less daunting ones, after all; but he didn't ask. "I wonder how everyone is over at Easthollow. If Valette and Stark had pups..." He trailed off, wondering about his baby siblings. It was a weird thought they wouldn't even know him at all. And what about Steph? He'd been gone half her lifetime. Would she be happy he was back, or barely remember him?
January 08, 2019, 09:37 PM
Alya
Easthollow
Newcomer
As Nikai settled beside her, Alya gave his cheek an affectionate nibble. It was so strange to be back beside him after being apart for so long, and yet, she'd settled easily enough into the rhythm of travelling with him - even minus one leg.

They were doing well, the last I heard. I haven't seen your mother since she visited Moonspear on your behalf, but I heard from one of her wolves - Greyback - that the pack was doing well and that she was still leading it. It wasn't much, but it was more assurance than he'd had for some time. Truthfully, she was more concerned with Nikai than Valette, at the moment.

How are you doing? she asked, feeling a little weird about asking. She didn't want him to think she was babying him, but at the same time, if she was already feeling the climb, what must it be doing to him? But she didn't know how else to ask. It would take some time before she was completely comfortable with the missing limb. Things were still very new between them, even despite their long standing friendship. Alya had been in no state for romance on that first trip, and she was struggling with how to initiate it now.

i can't help but be my own god
January 09, 2019, 02:46 AM
Nikai
Easthollow
Newcomer
It was good to hear that Alya had some more recent news from Valette than he did. Nikai didn't worry too much; Valette had always been there, for as long as he remembered, so he didn't really doubt that she was right at home waiting for him now. He just wondered if Stark was still beside her, and if there were baby siblings; it was mostly the circumstances surrounding the steady rock of Valette that tended to change. "Yeah, she's probably fine," he said with a soft smile.

Alya's question caught Nikai unaware, and he blinked and looked a little caught for a second or two. "Oh -- uh, I'm alright." He was really feeling the pain in his muscles since everything needed to compensate for the missing leg, especially on the mountains. But while Nikai was generally an honest sort of wolf, he didn't want Alya to think he was weak. He wanted them to be equal partners. "I'll be fine. It'll be nice to take a few days to rest once we get there, though. Just do nothing instead of travel around all the time." He'd been travelling for so long, it was nice to even be here with just Alya, feeling like he didn't need to watch his own back too much. Nikai had had no idea what to expect when he'd returned to the wilds, but so far reality certainly didn't disappoint.
January 09, 2019, 12:37 PM
Alya
Easthollow
Newcomer
Alya nodded and snuggled up more firmly to Nikai as her thoughts drifted to more discomforting topics. It seemed she couldn't think of anything cheerful right then, when she was already feeling so guilty for dragging Nikai this way in the first place. She could argue that it was one of the quicker routes, but that was only if you were a strong climber. Neither of them had need this in their lives, at the moment.

"I think we should stay for a while," she said, voicing the idea she hadn't been able to in front of Charon. "We can stay for spring and summer - with a few short little baby trips, maybe? - and then head back toward Moonspear in Autumn and take the long way 'round. How does that sound?"

She didn't know if they would stay for very long at Moonspear. It had occurred to her sometime during their previous trip that it would be difficult for Nikai to live on a mountain. Back then, it hadn't really mattered - they were travelling together and that was it, Alya's emotional energy levels didn't allow for anything else. But now she had him back and she'd realized just how much he meant to her, how much she'd missed him... Well, was he more dear to her than Moonspear? Than fulfilling her family's legacy?

The dark woman still struggled with these questions, not knowing which choices might bring lasting happiness and which might bring ruin. But she supposed that was the nice thing about being a pair of scouts - if the situation sucked, you simply found a better one.

Which reminded her - "I - well. I didn't really give you a chance to say yes or no," she hedged, not quite sure how to put it into words with letting on that she needed a bit of validation. "Before I just announced it to the family. You do want me to court you, right?" She couldn't help but say the last words with a bit of a command in her voice.

i can't help but be my own god
January 10, 2019, 07:33 AM
Nikai
Easthollow
Newcomer
Nikai was surprised when Alya shared that she thought they should stay in Easthollow for a while. He hadn't expected her to tell him a different story than she did her parents, because it was so natural for him to tell what was on his mind in front of Valette. Even when he had left and when he knew that it broke her heart to do so Nikai had always told her everything. "Change your mind?" he wondered out loud; it didn't even occur to him that maybe Alya was being conservative in front of her parents and told only him the entire truth. "It sounds good. It'll be nice to be home for a while." Nikai wasn't one for making long term plans, so he didn't really mind. Long term commitments were more his thing, but plans... Plans changed and were inconvenient more often than handy. But he didn't put too much stock into the plans on the long term. He was sure that they would know what to do when the time came to do stuff, and autumn was still far away.

As Alya sliced into the subject of the courtship, Nikai couldn't help but laugh a little. He hadn't given it much thought at the time because he had agreed to it, but in hindsight he supposed Alya had been rather.. forthcoming. Nikai bumped his nose against Alya's cheek and said: "Of course, silly. If I didn't, I would've told you by now." Maybe not in front of her parents, but at the very least once they were out of sight. "I didn't interfere because you weren't deciding anything that I didn't agree with." He felt like the luckiest wolf alive to be able to lay here beneath the stars with Alya, the girl he had loved from the moment he first laid eyes on her.
January 10, 2019, 04:31 PM
Alya
Easthollow
Newcomer
Alya shrugged. She was much in the same frame of mind as her newly-minted mate; she knew she wanted to spend some time at Easthollow and she knew that she wanted to head back and see her family at some point, too. The details weren't too important, and she knew that things might change between now and autumn. It was nothing to worry about.

"We'll just have to see how things go," she offered noncomittally, already skipping ahead of Easthollow to think about possibly visiting Morningside, and maybe a trip to see the ocean as well.

With a happy sigh, Alya laid her head down on her dark paws, leaning heavily into Nikai's side. Some of the restless emotions that'd been warring in her chest finally began to settle down. It would take some time before she'd fully processed the weight of her new commitment to Nikai and the fact that she'd left her family with plans to live somewhere else - but right then, she felt rather good about it all. "Do you think your mom will like me? We met once before, but it was very quick."

i can't help but be my own god
January 11, 2019, 04:14 AM
Nikai
Easthollow
Newcomer
Nikai nodded in agreement to Alya's suggestion. That was how he felt. They'd just see how things would go. It didn't matter too much for him now, but time would tell them what they should do -- their own intuition in the future would tell them what to do. And surely it'd be on one line, like they were now. Nikai was not too sure how he would do living on Moonspear should they ever return there, but that, too, was a problem for later times. He didn't always realise how much Alya was tied to mountains, as it was just a place to live for him. He understood Moonspear was her home as much as Easthollow was his, but not what mountains meant or had once meant to her.

It was easy enough to shake off the thoughts on travel and when they'd go where in the light of their conversation about love. As Alya leaned against him Nikai put his head on top of her neck, gently pressing fur against fur. It was one of the most blissful moments he had experienced, he felt -- it was a feeling of being over the moon, and being exactly in the right place at the right time with the right wolf.

The question came as a surprise to Nikai. He blinked and looked up at the stars as he considered it, then placed his head back on his paws, leaning into Alya. "I'm sure she'll love you. I don't think I've ever met anyone that Valette hated, she doesn't have a mean bone in her. And she always wanted to hear about you when we had seen each other. I think anyone that makes her son happy is already a friend to her." Nikai grinned, though he knew his words were true. Valette just wanted him to be happy, even though he was not her own by blood, and that was why she was such a good mother. As far as mean bones... Well, there had been a time when there was a trespasser, but even then Nikai was pretty sure nobody had ever been killed or injured so that they would die. Valette was fiercely protective, perhaps, but she was a good soul and she had a good heart. He had no doubt at all that she'd get along well with Alya for a myriad of reasons.
January 13, 2019, 03:26 PM
Alya
Easthollow
Newcomer
Alya wavered for a moment, wanting to take the words at face value but knowing Nikai didn't have all the information. Does your mother know we were supposed to be together? she wanted to ask, but she didn't want to explain about her time in Morningside or all that had proceeded it - not yet. One day, maybe she would tlel him what she had been up to while they'd been apart, but it definitely wasn't today.

"I hope so," she said simply, giving into the urge to sigh. It was strange to think about being in another pack of her own volition, and the idea that the leader of the pack was not only not one of her parents, but might also possibly not like her... well, it was best not to think about it. If it came down to that, they could figure something out. But Nikai said it would be fine, and Alya was willing to try and believe him. Besides, Valette had been nice when they met, and Nikai clearly thought the world of her. "My parents are kind of scary, huh?" she asked suddenly, her voice teasing.

i can't help but be my own god
January 15, 2019, 10:54 AM
Nikai
Easthollow
Newcomer
Alya didn't seem entirely convinced, but Nikai was certain that Valette'd love Alya. He didn't really think that he could bring home any girl that Valette would oppose -- especially if it meant that he was moving back home. Nikai didn't yet fully grasp what it would mean to Alya to be part of a pack that was not her birth pack that she had lived in forever -- and he probably could not grasp what that meant, not until he would leave Easthollow to be in a different pack some day perhaps.

At the notion of Alya's parents, Nikai let out a laugh. He'd not have admitted it if she hadn't asked, but... Yeah, a bit. They're, uh.. Not much into small talk, are they? Strong silent types, he guessed. Or, uh, showing emotions. He didn't mean it as rotten as it might sound, but Nikai was just used to an overly motherly parent who wore her emotions pretty much on her sleeve.