Ghost Lion Crag In the hall of the mountain king.
All Welcome  December 03, 2019, 02:40 PM
Towhee
Firebirds
Regent*
This place reminded her of the rock wall that had since fallen, making Towhee's bowels feel like water for a moment. But she ground her teeth together and climbed until the reached a shelf, where she paused and sat to catch her breath and gather her thoughts.

From up here, she could see the river at the foot of the mountains, winding slowly and catching a twinkle of wintry sunlight. She could also make out the bare treetops of the copse. She hadn't told anyone there of her intentions to go searching for Sugar, mostly because she didn't plan to be gone for more than a few hours. She had been there when her younger sister had gone missing and felt at least partly responsible, so the least she could do was scour the territories in between the coast and home.

Why she thought Sugar might be up here, Towhee couldn't really say. She just didn't want to leave any stone unturned. "Sugar!" she called, oblivious to the way her voice bounced and echoed through the surrounding crags. "Sugar, if you're out there, come to the sound of my voice!" She'd done this a few times now: parked somewhere, shouted Sugar's name, then sat a while and waited for her to turn up. Towhee would give it thirty minutes before moving on in her search.


-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Firebirds are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

December 03, 2019, 02:53 PM
Hydra
Moonspear
Alpha
The words of Wraen replayed within her mind, and Hydra had decided she would check in on her old friend, while simultaneously inspecting the territories beyond for returning prey. Just the other day there had been a doe, and Hydra was sated; it seemed as though things might look up yet. And if the Glen harbored within it one dying thing, perhaps so too did another territory nearby. Hydra did not intend to be gone long either, but of all the faces she had seen returning in days of late, none of them belonged to any one she had desired to see. Towhee, namely. 

The two mountaineers scaled the Crag, drifting beneath the short and stout trees and following their nose. They moved in the direction Wraen had once indicated. Hydra was given pause only when she heard the warbled voice of the very she-wolf she had also hoped to visit along the way. Glad for hearing her here, as it meant she could return home all the sooner, Hydra moved in the direction she had heard the voice. 

Soon the Redhawk girl was in her line-of-sight, and Hydra's tail waved as she adjusted her course of arrival to be one Towhee, herself, could see; an amicable sway of her tail was consistent as she moved, though Hydra paused mid-approach to ensure that Towhee remembered her, and recognize her as a nonhostile entity... at least, toward her.

I'll find that you'll find that I'm lethal
December 03, 2019, 03:59 PM
Towhee
Firebirds
Regent*
She saw movement out of the corner of her eye. In that split second before Towhee turned her head, she registered black and her heart leaped into her throat. It wasn't Sugar but could it be... Phox? Fig? The hope snuffed out in the next heartbeat, as her eyes settled on a stranger. Then she inhaled sharply, a different kind of familiarity hitting and momentarily stunning her.

Her lips parted and the first syllable of her old comrade's name caught in her throat so that what came out was a croaked, "Dra?" Towhee lifted onto all fours, movements tentative for another handful of heartbeats, before she read Hydra's body language and eagerly closed the distance. Her tail waved even as she tried to pinpoint their last meeting. It had been so long ago, she couldn't even be sure when.

When it felt like much of the earth had crumbled away beneath her feet (quite literally, in some cases), stranding her on a precipice, seeing Hydra steadied her. "It's good to see you," Towhee said, her breath catching. It was really good to see her, actually, someone else who'd remained a rock steady fixture all these years, even if they only saw one another only sparingly and sometimes in passing. "I'm sure a lot's happened since we last spoke," she added thoughtfully, coming to a standstill a foot or two before reaching out to sniff noses.

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Firebirds are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

December 03, 2019, 04:30 PM
Hydra
Moonspear
Alpha
Her tail waved all the faster when Towhee recognized her; Hydra maneuvered along the crag, continuing on her path to meet the Firebird halfway. Scree and rabble trickled downward, but they were both upon stable ground themselves; Hydra echoed the sentiment in earnest, it's good to see you, too, and was thoughtful as to how, throughout the years, Towhee had indeed been a constant. A wolf that had never betrayed her, and had always believed in her; one of the few honest wolves Hydra had ever known, beyond her family. Despite their degrees of separation, and time apart, Hydra felt she could ever count upon the Redhawk... and their friendship. It was something good that withstood time and events both. 

Sniffing, Hydra did indeed detect the scent of Wraen upon her. Rumbling, Hydra nosed her companionably. Wraen told me some of it; I was coming to visit you, actually, and check in, she admitted, relief to see Towhee well enough to be wandering now. Hydra had assumed her injuries might have been worse than they were, and was glad to see that it did not look that way on the face of it. Hydra was always eager to talk about herself, yet here and now Hydra found her concern and interest both with all she had missed in the life of Towhee. 

Are you okay? She asked then, taking a step back to better look at her. Towhee had survived an earthquake, and being ensared by it too... then had escaped it. Her companion was strong, of mind and of will. Towhee was always one to beat the odds against her; Hydra was not at all surprised to hear she had then, too, suffering only some hurts for it. What else have I missed? she asked then, wanting to know everything; it had been too long, and Hydra had missed her company greatly.

I'll find that you'll find that I'm lethal
December 03, 2019, 05:34 PM
Towhee
Firebirds
Regent*
Hydra's response took Towhee by surprise. Her lips parted, then pressed together once more as she recollected the Sovereign's recent remarks: "Keep your distance from Moonspear. They are not our enemies, but I and Hydra—their leader—are no friends either due to some stuff in the past..." Orange eyes blinked, head canting. It sounded like the two she-wolves were on speaking terms, though before Towhee could finally delve into the subject, Hydra said something else that sidetracked her.

She thought a moment, then answered baldly, "No." There was no part of her that was remotely okay these days. She shook her head at the next question. It had been so long since they'd seen one another, how could Towhee possibly cover it all? And she found she didn't really want to talk about herself, not right at this moment. How could she even begin to tell the tale of Asterism Grove and how nearly everyone and everything she loved had slipped through her fingers? "But how about you?" she pressed, much more curious about Hydra's goings-on and hopeful that her circumstances were much different than her own.

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Firebirds are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

December 03, 2019, 06:34 PM
Hydra
Moonspear
Alpha
Hydra frowned at Towhee's admittance; though she looked alright, Hydra could imagine what the recent events must have been like, but only that. Hydra had never been victim to nature in such a way, though she had witnessed its devastation firsthand. Hydra's head lowered a measure, out of respect for all that Towhee had underwent in recent days and in general. 

It seemed Towhee wanted Hydra to go first, and Hydra would indulge her. She was quiet for a moment before her lips twisted some, and she shook her head as she realized just how much had happened. There really has been a lot that has happened, she gave voice to her thoughts, echoing Towhee's earlier thought. After a beat, she began: Where to even start? I suppose when things most began to change, for herself, for Moonspear, for her family. I have a mate, now, his name is Dirge. Together we have four cubs; Atlas, Antares, Osiris, and Vega. Three boys, and one girl, she revealed, voice uncharacteristically warm (though Towhee would not hear it); she seemed to soften some as she spoke of them. But before they arrived, or I even came into heat, breeding season wrought much chaos. There were two she-wolves that were banished from Moonspear for bearing bastards, one who lied about it to all. She bred with my father, her muzzle wrinkled at that, the memory invoking her detestation of the woman, and her reawakening the old anger she had felt with her father. And lied about it to all. My father came to tell the truth of it; my mother was... infuriated. I was, too; by this time, I was pregnant, given the blessing from my mother and father for cubs of my own... the last thing they agreed upon before their passing was to place me as Moonspear's Queen. My first act was to banish the woman who lied to my family, lied to me... good thing, too, given the famine... all resources were for her children, not bastards she would rather see dead, as I could no longer trust her in my ranks. If she could not respect my mother, or me, and could lie so easily... she could do it again. And likely she would. 

She sighed. The woman had fooled them all. A kind, sweet face and warm eyes... she had looked for love in the wrong place. 

Since then, though, things have... settled, more or less. We are more possessive of nearby territories given the scarcity of food everywhere; my children are growing, and only seem to keep doing so, but to keep it that way they must be fed, and that had been a difficult feat to accomplish, though Moonspear was diligent and worked hard to ensure this was done. Ah, and there is this. There are wolves in the Wilds that hunt young innocents at random, I have recently come to learn. Caiaphas one is called, though she's been called other things... Blackhead, and seawitch, to name some; Merrick, she explained him to Towhee as Andraste had to her, and Astara, explaining her as Vengeance had to her. I was informed that Caiaphas attempted to kill a child of Easthollow; Merrick, a child of Kaistleoki... and Astara, an assistant. They have not succeeded thus far, she drawled, but that does not mean that if allowed, they will not continue in their endeavor. So, along with raising my children and leading Moonspear, I also hunt these wolves though they do not know it, to keep my children safe. Her ears flicked, content to end the story there, where she was comfortable with the rage she felt for those rather than drudge through her old grievances toward her late father.

I'll find that you'll find that I'm lethal
December 03, 2019, 06:50 PM
Towhee
Firebirds
Regent*
Her old comrade in arms began with good news: a mate, children. Towhee's lips quirked into a tight smile, the tip of her tail wiggling slightly, as she acknowledged these happy milestones. She said nothing, nodding for Hydra to continue, orange eyes fixed on the fluid motion of her lips as so many words poured forth. By the end, Towhee's eyeballs ached a bit from all the lipreading, though that was a small price to pay for the intel, both business and personal.

Her stomach had dropped at the reference to Hydra's parents' passing, so she immediately wanted to offer condolences. "I'm sorry about your parents," she said, words heartfelt. More than ever, Towhee could empathize with loss just now. "And your other troubles. But I'm so happy for you: mate, mother, queen..." She had sat somewhere in the middle of the soliloquy, so her tail thumped audibly on the shale.

It stilled and Towhee paused for a lengthy moment, mulling over this news about Caiaphas. "I know her: Caiaphas, I mean. She attempted to usurp my sister, Raven, when she was part of our pack. This was a while ago now." And pretty irrelevant, though Towhee met Hydra's gaze, eyes locking, as the acknowledged their common enemy. "I'm not sure about the other names," she admitted, wondering if they were the pups who'd been banished with Caiaphas, grown now.

After offering so much, surely Hydra would insist on hearing more from Towhee's quarter. She suppressed a sigh as she said, "I have no mate and I'm not a queen—not even a leader—anymore." Her rank had become such a moot point to her lately, though saying this out loud, Towhee realized it did bother her on some level. She was a Redhawk, a born leader, although it all seemed so unimportant lately. Maybe she should discuss it with Wraen sometime though... "I am a mother though," she tacked on, her smile a little crooked, because half of her children were gone. "My daughter, Fen, lives with me in the copse. I guess we're Firebirds now."

And that made her think back to a moment ago and, finally, Towhee seized the chance to ask the question that had been on her mind since Wraen's initial remark. "What is your relationship with Wraen? She had me thinking you two were at odds, is that not the case?" It was a blunt question, though Towhee knew Hydra wouldn't mind.

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Firebirds are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

December 03, 2019, 10:27 PM
Hydra
Moonspear
Alpha
Hydra heard the apology, and rumbled a softspoken thank you, in turn; from Towhee, she knew it was sincere. Her way with the woman was entirely natural, effortless, and she trusted her implicitly. She perked some as Towhee mentioned that she was happy for her in the same vein, and Hydra smiled, the expression genuine. Though she wished both her parents could see her now, and meet their grandchildren, they were not; she was happy with what she did have, and did not, for a moment, take it for granted. 

When Towhee brought up Caiaphas, her ears leaned forward in interest. How strange that Towhee had her own history with the seawitch! What was she like, when she ran with you? She inquired, wondering if Towhee could recall. Evidently somewhat foolish, to think that she had any place at the helm of a pack named after the family that surely largely comprised it. Raven she remembered; Titmouse had attacked her, all that time ago. What had Raven done to deserve all of this in her own lifetime? The way Towhee had portrayed her, Raven was a kind and good woman. Her tactical mind whirred when she asked the question, wondering about her nature. Hydra advised, she has been making up stories of Easthollow; implicated them in the death of a wolf the boy Merrick ended, her muzzle wrinkled at that. No word of Redhawks or the like from her, though... likely because she thought them gone, as Hydra once had before she found out otherwise. 

Towhee went on of her own life then, far less enthusiastic than Hydra had ever heard her... but perhaps, she was mistaken. It had been so long; Hydra had once known for certain by the volume of her companions voice, or the awkward (but not unpleasant) shift in tone at random moments how the other felt... of course, that was all Hydra's own perception. Tone was hard to discern for those who could not hear it. Hydra could sense enough that she did not want to delve more into it, though Hydra was surprised to hear that Towhee was not leading at all. 

Hydra listened to Towhee, who spoke of motherhood. To Hydra, it was all she had ever wanted without knowing (other than leadership, naturally), and her own smile broadened to hear Towhee herself knew the joys of it. Fen, she echoed, fond of her already on principle. Have you taught her of the importance of borders? We have had incidents of others, young, ignore fresh markers and charge on through, a disapproving look crossed her features; she could not understand it, though also supposed they might very well be a part of Caiaphas's young band of murderers. That was how Hydra treated them, in any case; better safe than sorry. But now she considered, perhaps it was not a part of etiquette training. Hydra had been certain to warn her own children of it, and her younger siblings too, though. Hydra had been raised to be mindful, and what it meant to cross them. Still, Hydra pressed on in regards to her daughter: how old is she now? Is she as strong as you, yet? She grinned, tail waving as she, too, took a seat. 

The next inquiry surprised her, too; she blinked, genuinely thrown off by the statement that followed. I am indifferent to her, she admitted. It seems she thinks of me more than I think of her. We have no relationship, but we do have a history; she is a good storyteller, she drawled, wondering what sort of story she had spun for Towhee. She ran with Moonspear years ago. I had thought us friends, and discovered I was wrong when she left without a word, soon after Galaxy had died; she followed Rannoch, and Liffey, and Terance to a pack built on the concept that my sisters and I were monsters. They made an enemy of us, but Moonspear cared not at all for them after the way in which they departed. Years ago, I was hurt of course, she drawled, but age has taught me that I do not need fairweather wolves like Wraen in my life, nor do I desire them. Besides, I have also come to understand that they might not be wrong about me, she admits, ear twitching, I would kill for my family. When Galaxy passed, you know precisely how I felt—you were with me. If I saw him again, truth be told Towhee, I still would, she breathed. Not with her in the literal sense, of course, but Towhee had stood by her side.

She also once would have killed for her friends; she had nearly ripped the throat of Vaati out with her sisters after all due to his attack on Rannoch. But the narrative spun when they perceived Titmouse a man without guile... 

Galaxy would never know her nieces and nephews because of that bastard. He would harm a woman with child. But she had not heard from, or of, him in some time; she simply hoped he had met a terrible end. She did not care how, or why; in the face of death, after all, did not every being hope for some redeeming arc so that, if there was a Heaven and Hell, they had even the slightest chance of seeing the former...?

It went without saying that the same attention would be devoted to the three wolves she had named to Towhee. 

Towhee was likely the only remaining wolf that she would kill for not of her blood. Perhaps Terance, too, she considered; the only other wolf she considered friend in this lifetime not of her blood. He had betrayed her, but he had admitted he was wrong and had promised to her he would kill the bastard too, if he ever saw him. He was a man of his word. 

She finished with, I do not think Wraen thinks as I do, or agrees with my way of things, perhaps... So our separation is for the best, she drawled. She... is not a bad wolf, though. I do not think she would willfully harm another, and she was young herself when she departed... I understand she is your leader now, she considered for a moment before simply deciding on: I hope she has become a better woman than she was a girl. 

Evidently not so much, if she was still whispering of her—but was that such a bad thing? No, Hydra thought; it would keep the real monsters away. Hydra wondered if she might pay Wraen another visit to request that she embellish on how terrible she was... mmf. Better not. 

She was quiet now, patient; perhaps there would be questions. Perhaps not. But for Towhee, Hydra had all of the time in the world. She was a wolf in which Hydra could be truly honest with, just as Towhee could be truly honest with her (as she had been). Curious to what Towhee would make of it all, she surveyed her own face with passive curiosity.

I'll find that you'll find that I'm lethal
December 03, 2019, 10:57 PM
Towhee
Firebirds
Regent*
Truth be told, Towhee hardly remembered Caiaphas and what she did recall was badly colored by that last encounter. "I didn't know her very well, honestly," she said, shoulder rising and falling in an apologetic shrug, "but she seemed all right up until she tried to pull that bullshit on Rave." Her lip curled slightly at the memory, though it was getting pretty dim now too.

She didn't have much else to offer on that subject, so she shot Hydra an apologetic glance and let it rest, happy to shift gears and talk of Fen instead. "She was born in spring, alongside her brother, but not to me. They were born to Phox's mate, who died not long after they were born. He and I raised them together, until..." Her throat tightened and she paused, eyes closing. "Phox and Fig disappeared," she explained briefly before focusing on Fen, "and Fen got lost temporarily during some of the quakes. I'm so happy she's back with me now." Her voice hitched. "She's strong enough to have survived all of this while being completely blind," she finished, pride thick in her voice and shining in her eyes.

Towhee could've talked about her daughter for ages, though it was a good thing Hydra steered the conversation toward Wraen, because speaking of her family was making her unduly emotional. Her throat ached and clicked when she swallowed. Really, her entire head was beginning to hurt because of the prolonged lipreading, not that Towhee would dare mention it. She was too glad for this chance encounter, this opportunity to catch up with an old friend.

"Wraen only mentioned that you two had a history, nothing else," Towhee remarked, no trace of defensiveness in her tone at all as she simply stated the facts. "I don't know her very well yet but she and her pack mates saved my life, including..." And she abruptly remembered exactly what had brought her here, her neck swiveling nearly three hundred and sixty degrees as she peeped for any sign of Sugar. There was none. Her jaw clenched and her gaze refocused on Hydra's face as she finished her thought: "Sugar, my younger sister. She disappeared during a caravan to the coast the other day. I was looking for her when you turned up instead."

Towhee drew in a long, steadying breath and gave Hydra a small smile, which faded slowly as she decided to share, "The Redhawks became a powerful presence in the hinterlands this summer, with three sister packs living next door to each other, mine included. But then Raven packed up and left, taking a third of them with her. And then the quakes struck and we—we were trapped in Hideaway Strath." Her voice shook a little. "I managed to escape but not without practically butchering myself in the process. And when a final quake opened it up again, they were just... gone." When Towhee caught Hydra's eye this time, her expression was broken. "There's only the Firebirds left now, barely a dozen of us. Even X is gone."

It hurt a lot, to retell that story out loud. Towhee folded in on herself a bit, almost as if curling around a gaping wound in her midsection. That's what it felt like, as if someone had blown a hole through her chest. And it was having a hell of a hard time healing, even long after her physical injuries were fading. She gulped in a few choked-sounding breaths, trying to keep herself under control, but one wretched sob escaped her. It sounded like the cry of a dying animal, not that Towhee could hear it.

It took a few more moments, though eventually Towhee gathered herself and straightened out again. Another long, loud, shaky breath gusted out of her. "This too shall pass, right?" she said wryly before trying to rearrange her thoughts and adding, almost like a non sequitur now, "Have you seen a youth around here who looks a bit like a squirrel?"

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Firebirds are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

December 04, 2019, 10:34 AM
Hydra
Moonspear
Alpha
Ah, it was a shame that there was nothing more to remember there, but what could they do? In any case, Hydra still learned new things about the woman. Hydra's own memory was sharp, but only in matters that concerned her; she would never, for instance, forget the days where she had felt most betrayed by those she had cared so much for. It was a lifelong lesson she carried with her. Nor would she forget the actions of her father just before his death, and Speedy's part in it... though she wished that she could. She hated to think of him, feel for him, in such a vitriolic manner at all. He was her father; he had always been the best man she had ever known. 

He still was; one mistake hardly meant she despised him, and in the end he was willing to do whatever it took for forgiveness [as she saw it]. 

Her mind shifted from the past to the present, as Towhee spoke of Fen. Ah, so this was a child of Phox, her brother! And they co-parented with one another, given the death of Phox's mate—she did not want to interrupt the story, or the emotions that Towhee seemed to go through, to apologize, but the look crossed her features while she told the tale of it—and then, the story seemed to go more downhill than that, which Hydra did not think was a possible thing. Towhee did not deserve this, not at all, and Hydra felt angry that such events had unfolded within her life. But that was life, was it not? No one was safe from its cruetly; everyone, at some point or another, would feel its breath on their nape. Fen had been lost, but now at least was found... and the girl was blind. Hydra was quiet, thinking on that; she would have thought the handicap meant certain death, sooner rather than later. Then again, raised by Towhee it was no wonder this was not the case and she had survived this long, even without her for a time. I am sorry to hear about Phox, Fig... his mate, she breathed mournfully, understanding the pain of disappearance. Vela, too, had gone missing soon after the quakes began. But Fen sounds like an impressive girl. Surely her survival without you having been there is testament to the skillset those who raised her instilled in her, it was truly Towhee she thought of as she aid it, I am glad she is home with her mother again. For all intents and purposes, that's what Towhee had become. 

Hydra did not want to think the rest dead, but Hydra could think of no other reason for them disappearing without even a single trace. She had resigned herself to it; another blow dealt by life. 

Glad to hear that Wraen had not elected to gossip errantly, Hydra's opinion again shifted to that of simply nothing rather than vexation at the thought that she might have. To one of her (in her mind) best friends, no less... not that Wraen would know it. Hydra knew what lay beneath the undercurrent of Wraen's words, though. A riptide meant to keep others away, for fear of her acting out toward her subordinates. Ah, well, no harm in that; less wolves, she hoped, to skulk through the Wilderness for food ideally. Hydra was glad to hear that Wraen had saved the life of Towhee, and her tail swayed. It did not change what she knew, or how she felt, but she was thankful all the same. 

As Towhee looked around her, her notched ear rotated backward; she had not heard the approach of any, though her gaze followed Towhee's as best it could. When realizing she had been looking for something, and not that the thing (or the being) was nearby, Hydra refocused her attention on Towhee. The coast? She asked, curious as to why they would head that way. Perhaps on a hunt for food that had washed up... but the endeavor was dangerous. Hydra could know the tide from her perch upon Moonspear, but the day the quakes had begun there was no knowing what it would do; it had been thrown into chaos, and nothing seemed to be there anymore but for that. 

Hydra watched Towhee, and listened as she went into a story of her own. Rapt, Hydra listened in perfect silence, intrigued to hear more. The story became dark, and fast; she recalled that Towhee had been trapped, and could see now the effect of it upon her if only just. It sounded as though it was hard to talk about, but if it was a story Towhee wanted to tell then Hydra would let her... and be there for her, too. As Towhee seemed to curl into herself some, Hydra shifted her body only a measure as though to shield Towhee so that if others were near, they could not take advantage of this raw, and rare (to the Ostrega) moment of vulnerability. Respectfully, her gaze drew away so that Towhee could let herself feel... and then Hydra looked back to her. 

She was not good with feelings; she never had been, and likely never would be. The one thing time had not done for her was make her kinder, there, or more empathetic... but Hydra heard so much loss, and she did not need empathy for that. The matriarch, who had become such due to loss, had experienced it to know precisely the way in which Towhee felt. She need not guess. Though silent, Hydra seemed to exude that she was there. There was nothing Hydra could say to lighten the burden of it all, having carried the weight of that too with everything else... but she would always be there for Towhee, and she took a step nearer should Towhee permit it, her demeanor not at all unfeeling as she seemed to say: I will be here for you. Time, distance... it did nothing to diminish their relationship. And through all the years, it had always been so.

Hydra liked to think that nothing but death could change that.

Towhee was ready to move past it, and so too was Hydra, and she concurred. You have always been strong, Towhee. Not only shall it pass, but we shall become stronger for it, her tail waved. Hydra knew that much was true, as she had to become it to shoulder it all. I have heard it said that everything will be okay in the end; if it is not okay, then it is not the end, she drawled. And as to that, she could believe it; when all had left Moonspear as they had all those years ago, she had believed it impossible for things to be alright. But that too had found its conclusion... 

All to Hydra's liking. Rannoch had led his wolves to starvation, been struck by a bear, and abandoned his own once again, once he had been well enough; Terance had realized he was wrong, and apologized for it; and Liffey... well, Hydra awaited the day she heard she had died a terrible death herself. She was nothing but a broodmare, the way Ostrega saw it. She supposed then she would feel brilliant, but she felt all had turned out as it ought to—failure, for those she detested—and that was the blissful end.

Is that how Sugar looks, then? Hydra inquired, lip quirking at the lighthearted transition despite the circumstance. She shook her head, I cannot say I have. How old is she? Does she look full-grown, yet? I can keep an eye out, she offered.

I'll find that you'll find that I'm lethal
December 09, 2019, 12:19 PM
Towhee
Firebirds
Regent*
Hydra didn't seem thrown by the non sequitur, though the circumstances of Sugar's disappearance perplexed her, if Towhee read her face (and lips) correctly. "Yeah, we went there in search of food." And they'd found it. In fact, they'd been so intent on the feast, Sugar had slipped away and vanished without anyone noticing right away. Towhee felt the familiar pinch of guilt in her gut. She felt responsible and was also trying not to resent Wraen for taking them out there; it wasn't as though she'd dragged them by force...

Towhee nodded dumbly at her comrade's reassurances, taking them to heart but too wrought to come up with much to say. Only when prompted with specific questions about her little sister did she speak again. "Yes, she looks like a Blackthorn: gray fur, paler underside, black stripe down her back... she's small, with black eyes and a pink nose." She swallowed thickly before tacking on, "She's only six months old."

And with winter upon them, was there any hope she'd survive if they didn't find her and soon? Towhee didn't think so, though the same thought went out to Fig. She'd assumed he and Phox were together, wherever they were, but what if they weren't? That thought pierced Towhee with horror. She couldn't even entertain it. She shoved it aside, as well as all her doubts about Sugar's own chances. She needed to stay focused and hopeful. It was early days yet.

"Hydra, I have to keep looking," Towhee announced after a few beats, her tone regretful. "You're welcome to join me, though I assume there's other things you need to be doing." She certainly wouldn't fault the queen for prioritizing her duties to her kingdom, though the mercenary wanted her to know she was welcome. "You're one of the few I have left. I won't let another year pass me by before I see you again." Her orange eyes captured Hydra's, burning bright with friendship, and the tip of her tail slowly waved in a salute of companionship and respect.

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Firebirds are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

December 10, 2019, 04:08 PM
Hydra
Moonspear
Alpha
Hydra wished Wraen had heeded her, but she had not. To Hydra, the welfare of her pack was more important than what hinted at uncertain death. If she had gone missing on the Coast, Hydra could not help but wonder if Sugar would was swallowed herself by the surging waters, swept into the tide by the wind or dragged into it by a rogue wave. The matriarch could only hope that when Sugar was found, she was found alive and well. 

The descriptors would be remembered. Blackthorn rang a bell, though then and there Hydra did not think much of it as Sugar had, absolutely, not. Six months old; her own cubs were nearing such an age by now, and Hydra's heart lurched to think they ranged so far with a child so young. Her cubs could travel further than they could months ago, but that was within the Moonspear range. They were just now beginning to understand the importance of the hunt, and all the things that went with it. Difficult to do given the lack of large game... though hare did the job well for their early lessons. Testament that small game was certainly no more easy to take down than large... and could take far more energy for so little a prize. 

The Ostrega nodded in understanding to Towhee's words; of course she would need to. The invitation was heard, and Hydra inquired, which direction are you headed? I can help you search for a while, if you happen to be heading the direction I had come from, after all, Towhee had cut Hydra's travel time a great deal by unwittingly meeting her as good as, if not more than, halfway. She did want to get back as swiftly as possible for her pack and children both, but could spare some time to help her longtime friend. If you could describe her scent, how would you? She asked next, wondering if such a thing was possible for her friend as it was for Hydra. Towhee herself had a particular blend of scent-notes that made her differ from all the rest... all wolves did, truth be told, herself included... and there was one that ever seemed to stick to them, no matter where they traveled to or who they kept company with. 

As Towhee spoke next, Hydra looked to her with a warmth that few, in their lifetime, would ever know from her. There is something else I wanted to ask of you, she admitted then, giving life to the thoughts that had come alive again in seeing her here. You are important to me. I wondered if you might look at my children as... family, somehow, she expressed. Hydra had not the word for godmother or godfather, and she asked for not for one but for all. Towhee was her best friend, as good as family to her... and she trusted Towhee to look after her children, if ever she should come across them. More than that, Towhee was the strongest wolf that she knew. 

Family was an important thing to Hydra, and she knew it was to Towhee, too—it was not something she asked lightly. Cousin-in-arms, or sister-in-arms... it would mean a lot to Hydra, though she did not expect her to say yes and would not be insulted to hear no, either.

I'll find that you'll find that I'm lethal
December 11, 2019, 11:12 AM
Towhee
Firebirds
Regent*
"North," Towhee answered promptly, gazing distantly in that direction for a heartbeat before facing Hydra again, "although I won't go farther than the slough today. I don't want to be gone too long." She paused, unsure how to answer her companion's next question. She had never thought about it before, though Towhee did so now, mulling for several minutes before saying, "She smells earthy," presumably because of how much time Sugar spent with plants and soil. "Even now that it's colder, she smells like spring."

Hydra's next question took Towhee entirely by surprise, though she instantly felt honored by the invitation and wanted to accept it. She didn't know her comrade's children personally, so the appeal lay in the black queen herself. The mercenary's expression was unmistakable: she was gladdened by the suggestion. But she didn't say anything right away, taking a moment to gather her thoughts on the matter.

"My litter mates are all gone, my other siblings too," Towhee said, her tone full of naked pain, unbeknownst to her. Once, she would've turned a cold shoulder to them, though nowadays, she couldn't imagine blocking out the likes of Phox or Raven, no matter how many times they came and went. All the same, "There are few wolves who've been here all along, never failing me, never wavering, never walking away... I'd like to commemorate that." She paused. "You could be the sister I chose, your kids my nieces and nephews, if that works," she finished with a smile touching her eyes and mouth.

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Firebirds are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

December 11, 2019, 12:17 PM
Hydra
Moonspear
Alpha
North; it was not the direction home was in for Hydra. But, I can go with you some of the way, then, Hydra decided. It would give her a little more time with Towhee, and she could help her search all the while. As Towhee spoke of Sugar's scent, Hydra stored it and thought if it simultaneously. Her nostrils flared to drink in the scents around them, though Spring was not at all carried by the wind. Hydra perpetually likely smelled of Winter, if she had to be attributed a season, due to ever navigating the icier reaches of the Spear. 

Towhee responded, and Hydra felt for her; Hydra was lucky enough to be surrounded by mostly all of her own family, siblings and littermates alike. Hydra herself felt much the same as Towhee now—time had shifted perspective—though it was all, really, circumstantial. If they left in bad faith, and when they were needed, Hydra likely would not look upon them with much kindness and sisterly love. Towhee spoke to Hydra's own importance to her, putting words to the things that Hydra herself had been feeling and thinking alike, and by the time Towhee had finished speaking her own expression was a mirror of her friend—

Sister by choice, then, she answered; it worked. For all that they had both endured, this moment was a bright light among it. Towhee was more than a friend to her; her protective and fond regard of her had always been like that of a sister, she realized—so the idea that Towhee had come to made sense to the Ostrega. And her children had one more fierce aunt to protect them in their lifetime. Feeling lighter for it, Hydra drifted to the side of Towhee to join her, for a time, in her search.

Hydra's search was twofold; she sought Isi, as well, but felt by now that if the girl was not dead, she had elected to leave by choice. For Dragomir she would continue to seek her out, though, as she knew it was important to him. Thinking of that for a moment, Hydra moved to gather her friends attention as she looked to Towhee. I am looking for someone, too, Hydra drawled, though I did not say as much to start because the truth of it is, she might be dead. Given the upheaval of everything around them, it was a natural conclusion to come to... and she did not want to waste the time of others better spent on pursuing tasks for the still, most certainly, living. Her name is Isi; she will look full-grown by now, though she is yet an adult herself, and Hydra went on to explain to Towhee how she looked. She grimaced, If she has not passed, I think she may have taken after their mother, who elected to abandon her and their relations when struck by lightning—a sign from the Heavens, she said— Here, Hydra ever-maintained her dignity and did not snort, though her muzzle wrinkled in distaste to reveal precisely what she thought about that before she went on: there has been no sign of a struggle, or anything of the sort. She has been through much, though... If nature has not claimed her in these times, perhaps if you come across her she might like to know she is being looked for. Towhee was a wolf she trusted to deliver, should she come across any with that name and appearance both. For all that had left her, chosen to forget her... they had not.

But Hydra hoped she was dead, truth be told. Each day with no trace of her was another day Isilme rest in her grave; that would be much better than the alternative for Dragomir, who Hydra felt fiercely protective of by now. He did not deserve that, so it was for his sake she hoped that it was death that kept her from her brother—for there was nothing else that could justify her abandonment of him without a single word.

I'll find that you'll find that I'm lethal
December 11, 2019, 01:50 PM
Towhee
Firebirds
Regent*
With the matter of accompaniment settled, Towhee began to move, pivoting on a heel and beginning the descent into the foothills below. Climbing down was a little easier than the ascent, though Towhee's heart felt like it lodged in her throat. She knew how dangerous slipping and falling could be in either direction. The scar on her thigh twinged as if to remind her to be careful, not that she needed it.

Somehow, she managed to split her attention between her footing and Hydra's face, though she relied heavily on contextual clues to fill in the gaps as her attention inevitably shifted. "Sisters by choice," she echoed, lips still lifted at the thought. "I'll need to meet them formally. Maybe I could bring Fen to visit at the spear sometime in the coming months." She hoped Hydra could come to think of her blind daughter as a niece too, though before she could think to mention it, Hydra regaled her with news of another missing person.

Towhee glanced away, swallowing thickly, before slowly dragging her orange eyes back to Hydra. She paused in her climb to catch every word, brow furrowing at "sign from the heavens." It made her think of Sundance and Dorea. She suddenly began wondering whether any wolf out there in the wilderness had escaped unscathed from the autumn's tumult. Had every single one of them lost a family member, a friend, even a home, to those godforsaken quakes? Her teeth clenched at the thought.

"Isi," the mercenary repeated, resuming her downward movements. "What does she look like? I'd be happy to keep an eye out. Until there's a body, there's hope." They were meant to be encouraging words, though truly they were grim. She thought of Phox, Fig, X and, hell, all the others who'd mysteriously vanished, not just recently, but throughout her nearly three years of life.

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Firebirds are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

December 11, 2019, 02:16 PM
Hydra
Moonspear
Alpha
You will, she concurred with a sweep of her tail, thrilling at the thought. Hydra recalled the blind Fen, then, having very nearly forgotten her. She might be difficult to look out for, but Hydra would if ever she was near to the girl and help was needed. Hydra would need to practice fighting and navigating with her eyes closed, she decided already. Please do, she drawled, eyes brightening at the thought. Things were far from settled, but when they were Hydra hoped that Towhee would come if able. She was equally glad to hear that her daughters blindness would not hinder her from travel; it ought not to, she thought. Perhaps her nose acted as her eyes. 

As Towhee echoed the girls name, Hydra nodded. And then Hydra began to describe the youth to her, as Hydra recalled, thinking of the tooth that seemed to ever peek out beyond her lip and the tip of her tail that looked as though it were dipped in ash. Hydra considered Towhee's statement about hope; she was not wrong, after all. But Hydra was a woman who did not allow herself to feel the fickle thing any longer—hope never helped her, after all, and the hurt she felt when hope died with whatever else caused her to feel such a thing was not one Hydra could stand to endure any longer. 

And with or without it, hope, life still went on. It did not hinder her any. Still, the sentiment behind Towhee's words was well-meaning, and Hydra knew it. So after she described the missing girl to Towhee, Hydra looked to Towhee and said in earnest: thank you. For everything; all that she had done for her, spoken to her; all that she might ever do. Somehow, knowing Towhee was there bolstered the Ostrega; made these terrible things a little easier to bear.

I'll find that you'll find that I'm lethal
December 11, 2019, 04:10 PM
Towhee
Firebirds
Regent*
Thinking about everyone who'd walked out of her life for one reason or another left Towhee feeling cold and more than a little hollow. But looking at Hydra put some warmth back into her chest. She paid close attention to Isi's description—in between careful placements of her feet on the icy stones—but said nothing further until the pair of she-wolves reached the level ground near the corner of the copse, somewhere in between the two cascading offshoots of Alpine Lake.

"I just feel like, if there's anywhere someone could easily get lost, it'd be in the slough," Towhee opined randomly, her voice a little breathless after the arduous climb. She didn't waste time, quickly breaking onto a ground-eating lope in that direction. She didn't forget to turn sideways and bump her muzzle against Hydra's cheek as they strode abreast. "Thank you," she murmured.

A companionable silence fell between them then as they approached the ruffian forest. Of course, the world was always silent for Towhee, though she could feel the rhythmic beat of Hydra's footsteps, steady and reliable like a heartbeat. Life had been hard lately, lonely, but with her sister, her daughter and her pack, she felt a lot less alone than she had just an hour ago.

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Firebirds are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!