Sun Mote Copse long time the manxome foe he sought
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All Welcome 
She slowed to a stop beside the first Sovereign's resting place, expressionless black eyes taking in the wilted bouquet scattered haphazardly across it now, thanks to the elements. Her jaw tightened as she turned to the newly churned earth nearby, stepping up to the fresh grave quite slowly. She lowered her head and deposited the single coastal tidytip over top her uncle's buried corpse. Sugar's head remained bowed a moment before she stepped back and hastened toward the riverbank.

Anguish had spread through the pack like wildfire since Colt's death. Sugar sensed they were in a time of great turmoil, though she hardly understood it, just like she only barely grasped the permanence of Uncle Colt's death. "He went to sleep and he's not going to wake up," someone had explained. "Not ever?" "No," came the quiet reply, "never." Those words rolled around in her head now as she seated herself at the water's edge.

She remembered, too, talking to Colt shortly after the attack. She had wanted to help him. But nobody had been able to help him, in the end. "He can't feel pain anymore," she had also been told. Sugar's lips pursed. She glanced over her shoulder, spotted the splash of color against the dirt, then faced forward again. She knew the loss was grave, particularly to her parents, and Sugar wished she could have done something to help him.

But Colt was sleeping the painless sleep of death now. The ones who needed her help were back at the rendezvous site. Licking her lips, the growing pup rose back onto all fours and began to make her way back there, in case there was anything she could do. On her way, she plucked two golden bells: one for @Finley and one for @Elwood.

Title from "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll.
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Elfie probably was the only person in the pack, who took Colt's death as a personal insult. Hadn't Wildfire been enough? Now him too? How could you trust adults, if they went off, dropped dead (and he was convinced that dying was a choice not an inevitable fate) and left everyone else sad and deppressed. Eljay was a moping mess, now his grandmother was off the rails as well. Bloody stupid and irresponsible. The teenager shook an angry metaphorical fist at the freshly dug Sovereign's II grave, picked up the flower Sugar Glider had brought here earlier and slung it in the nearby bushes.

Serves you right, moron! He told, not being familiar yet with the phrase that you spoke either good or nothing at all about the dead. Then he tracked down his little aunt, who was heading towards the rendevouz's site and blocked her way. He watched in disdain as she was carrying flowers againad and decided that the time had come to remedy Sugar Glider's misplaced belief that flowers made a difference. "You do know that they do not care?" he told her. "The dead."
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'Just 'cause drama is fun XD

For what was probably the umpteenth time, Bronco returned to the place where his father had been laid to rest, arriving just in time to see Elfie striding off in the distance. His nose quivered, and he considered simply dashing off after the slightly older boy, to see what he was up to, but something else caught his attention. He'd cast a sidelong glance at his father's grave and didn't notice it at first, and had taken a few steps off toward where Elfie had disappeared- but then he froze. 

Earlier, there'd been a flower there, lovingly placed on his father's grave. He'd stopped to smell it earlier, making the little yellow and white petals shiver slightly, and though it didn't have much of a scent itself, he could tell that it had been placed there by Sugar Glider. He'd begun tracking training with his mother before Colt had died- and had learned to associate particular scents with particular wolves. Sugar Glider was no exception, and it warmed his heart and brought tears to his eyes to see that his cousin had carefully placed something so pretty on his father's grave. Each time he'd passed by, as though watching for his father to return, he glanced at the flower- and it brought him peace. 

But it was gone. He searched here and there, and eventually found it lying a bit dishevelled in the tall grass not far away. The stem was broken, and the petals crumpled. Bronco was first struck by shock and fear. The flower had been bright only hours ago- he could understand removing dead, dried flowers from a grave, but a fresh, pretty one? He sniffed at it, and saw with dread the telltale shine of moisture from someone's mouth still clinging to the stem, and it smelled of Elfie. 

He jerked his head up, pricking his ears. Elfie had done this? Taken the flower from Colt's grave and tossed it into the grass? He couldn't believe it...But he had to see for himself. He dashed off still following the grass which leaned in Elfie's direction, a visible trail left behind only moments ago by the boy. He heard Elfie's voice as he approached, and noted the somewhat defensive posture he used as he blocked Sugar Glider's path. And bless her soul- she was carrying more flowers. 

Bronco skidded to a halt, and immediately went into an offensive posture, tail curling over his back and hackles raising. "Don' be such a dick, Elfie," He accused harshly, coming swiftly to Sugar's defense. Being a bit more than two months older, Elfie was the largest of the three of them, but Bronco- having spent more time outside of the pack's safety than the other pups in the pack, had the bravado of an adult, albeit foolishly so. He then sharply lowered his head, as though he was about to go in for an attack- he'd seen his mother do the same thing. He flattened his ears threateningly against his head- again, mimicking a posture he'd seen his mother take. "You threw the flower off my Dad's grave. Didn' you?" He challenged, feeling powerful as he exposed Elfie's misdeed to his cousin, who he hoped would become enraged as well, so the two of them could knock Elfie down a peg or two.
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Sugar heard footfalls approaching from the rear and slowed. Before she could turn around to see who was behind her, she found her path blocked. The youngster halted, black eyes blinking as Elfie spoke. There was something harsh, even combative, about his tone, though it was his words that made her blink again. She wasn't sure she knew what he meant but, anyway, these flowers weren't intended for the dead. They were meant for those still living, left behind to grieve.

Before she could consider putting them down to tell him this, two became three as Bronco arrived. He huffed and puffed at Elfie, his words puzzling Sugar at first. It slowly dawned on her that Elfie must've done something to the flower she'd left on Colt's grave. The confusion on her face twisted into a frown. Why would Elfie do that? Then again, why had Elfie mistreated Avery some days ago? Sugar's expression darkened further.

But she said nothing, nor did she set the flowers aside. What if Elfie tried to damage them too? She simply stood there, staring at Elfie strangely, wondering what he would say to Bronco's accusation.
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Elfie frowned down at Bronco with so much contempt in his gaze as he could muster up. He liked the guy in general, but - boy - was he an annoying little piece of crap now. Look, who is using all those Big Words, when he has just climbed out of his mommy's womb. This was on the tip of his tongue, but he refrained from saying this aloud (as tempting as it was). First, he was not going to pick up fights with toddlers. Second, in a longer scheme of things he would have to share the same territory with Bronco in the all of the foreseeable future. Third - Niamh was his mom. 

"You want dead things to commemorate the dead?" he asked first to his cousin then turned to look Sugar Glider in the eyes. "You kill the flower to put on someone's grave. Why is that any way better than putting there another corpse on it, huh? What about you, Bronco, would you be happy, if I put a dead-deer's head on your father's grave? It's not much different is it?" he asked and meant it.

"Do you really know, what happens after people die?" he took a step towards her. "It's not that bloody ridiculous story about going to a "better place" or "watching from the heavens" or what not. I can assure you," he said, venom in every single word. "I can even show you."
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Part of him hoped that Elfie would deny his accusation, and be honest about it. He didn't like the idea that someone would have intentionally thrown a still-good flower off his Dad's grave, but it really did appear as though he had, and the facial expression Elfie made as Bronco confronted him told him everything he needed to know. Bronco was hurt and confused at first, those two feelings over-riding his outrage and anger which had been the first emotions he'd felt. He was Niamh's son, after all- and being ridiculously dramatic was in his blood. 

His hurt transitioned quickly back to anger, though, when Elfie claimed the action, and then ridiculed the action of putting flowers on someone's grave. Bronco tilted his head back indignantly, and was horrified when Elfie suggested that putting a deer's head on a grave was the same thing as putting a flower on his grave. There was something seriously wrong with this guy if he thought to offer that as a suggestion to someone who'd just lost their Dad. Wouldn't Elfie understand? He'd lost his Mom at a young age, after all. And his Dad was such a loveable pushover- where was this behavior coming from?

When he took a step toward Sugar, Bronco protectively moved to block his path. He then went on about death, and Bronco was done hearing his negative, insulting words. He lowered his head and bared his teeth menacingly, though for a wolf his age, there wasn't really much about it that was intimidating or dangerous. He was deadly serious, though, as he glared at Elfie for a moment. "Not if I show you first," He challenged, and charged directly toward Elfie, intending to school the significantly older, larger boy at a game he was hardly even able to play himself.
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Elfie's anger seeped into every word that came from his mouth, each hard and jagged. Sugar felt her fur prickle a little as he spoke to her, comparing her flowers to corpses. Despite his harsh tone, she quietly considered his words. She supposed it did kill the flower, though she didn't have any qualms with that, no more than she did with killing prey for food. Nor did Sugar see the problem with leaving a deer's head on Colt's grave as an offering, although it would be a waste of good meat. Flowers were simply more sensible for quite a few reasons. Her head tilted as she pondered this.

When Elfie took a step toward her, offering to show her where people went when they died, Sugar didn't understand it as a threat. She knew he didn't mean well by it, though, not with the contemptuous look on his face, the snide scorn in his voice. She continued to look at him, though she shifted slightly, betraying her uncertainty. Why did Elfie treat people this way? Avery had done nothing to deserve it the other day, nor had Sugar done anything wrong today. She decided, silently, that she disliked her cousin whose fur matched his temper.

Bronco intervened, stepping between the larger pup and the smaller one. Were they really going to fight? Sugar didn't want to see Bronco hurt (or Elfie, either, for that matter). She still didn't understand the roots of this altercation, though she shook her head slowly and finally found her words.

"Please," Sugar said, voice small but even, "stop."
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"Oh, bugger off," Elfie murmured, as he side-stepped and avoided Bronco's attack and growled at him for a good measure. He was not here for a fight of any kind. All had been done in the name of science and would have gone that way, were it not for Niamh's son, who seemed to be very hell-bent on picking up a fight and escalating the situation. 

He sighed, let some anger go away and began again with a more calm and collected air, trying not to intimidate the two too much. "Niamh killed a fox on the borders few days ago. I collected the remnants and dug a grave to see, where the dead go after they die," he explained. "It's not pretty and it sure as hell does not care for anything that you put on the grave or underneath it," he added. 

"I can show you, if you want, or you can retain the foolish belief that there is a good outcome for anyone that has crossed the rainbow bridge," he offered for the second time. There would not be a third time.
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:/ this is so hard.

Sugar’s plea went over his head, and Bronco stumbled slightly as Elfie stepped out of the way. He growled in frustration and did his best to pivot, but he lacked the grace and agility he thought should come naturally to the son of Colt and Niamh. He stopped for a moment as Elfie continued to disrespect his feelings about he deceased, and he shook lightly when he snapped back at the older boy.

”Yer not s’posed to disrespect the dead, jerk,” He snarled, his voice cracking with emotion. ”An’ yeah, that’s just their body, your soul goes somewhere better.” He insisted feverishly. ”But you’re still not s’posed-ta trash someone’s grave, that was my Dad,” He said, his voice a near sob. His Dad shouldn’t have been a corpse. His Dad shouldn’t be buried. He was supposed to be teaching Bronco how to fight and hunt, and later, how to woo the ladies and make a home and family for himself. It seemed impossible to believe he couldn’t do that anymore. That he’d never be there to do those things. 

He shook his head, eyes now full of tears. He was angry still- but now he felt even more sad having to admit out loud that his Dad was dead. He turned away from Elfie. ”S-screw you, Elfie. I’m gonna tell my Mom what you did.” He said, and started to walk away sullenly, choking as he failed to hold back the sobs that made the back of his throat ache, unable to stop the hot tears that slid down his cheeks. But he didn’t want that mean Elfie to see him crying.
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For a moment, Sugar felt as though her two simple words had had an impact. Elfie didn't soften, exactly, but his tone was no longer so caustic. He told a story about Bronco's mom making a kill, then the aftermath with the decomposing body parts. She found this morbidly fascinating, though she didn't say so. Sugar didn't get a chance to speak again before Bronco responded emotionally, ratcheting up the tension once more.

She watched him tear up and turn away, promising to go tell his mother what Elfie had done. Sugar's heart went out to him and she considered following, though she turned her black eyes on Elfie and calmly said, "The flowers aren't for the dead people, they're for the ones left behind." She stared at him for a beat, then frowned. "What'd you do that for?" Sugar demanded, referencing not only his uncalled for behavior toward Bronco and herself but also the desecration of Colt's grave flowers.

But it proved a rhetorical question and Sugar didn't wait for an answer. She unhurriedly snatched up the flower and marched after Bronco, to make sure he would be okay.
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"You can not disrespect someone that does not exist anymore! That soul you talk about dies with the body - there is no such place it goes to, it is a lie!" Elfie argued, anger flaring up and he was set to win this argument, even if he did not understand, why Bronco failed to see his point of view. It was obvious, it was scientific and it was real.

"Yes, let your mommy fight your fights for you!" he called after the retreating boy, not feeling entirely victorious, but gravely insulted and angry. Sugar glider, who in Elfie's opinion had begun all this, had the guts to talk to him. "Next time you do that, think, how that really helps my father recover. He is a mess and it is your fault for reminding him every day that Wildfire is dead," he replied her, before she had run off. 

Then he turned and run the opposite way. By nighttime he had left the copse with no intention to ever return there.