Sun Mote Copse worry never dies
December 24, 2019, 06:17 AM
Eljay
Firebirds
Master
With @Towhee staying here and bringing Fennec and Figment and whatever was left of the pack that she'd held this year, Eljay was left with a very big question. His son had been determined to go to Towhee's pack and learn how to fight better, to train with her. Eljay never wanted to let Elfie go, but he had been forced to because his son would hear no other answer than 'yes'. And now Towhee was here, and yet Elfie was nowhere to be seen. What had happened to him when the pack scattered? Why wasn't he back here? Eljay's stomach twisted uncomfortably whenever he thought of it, and he was worried sick for Elfie. He hadn't had much energy to worry over the past months, for the lack of food had left him rather thinned down and weak, but the worry had persisted, and he knew that @Weejay had worried, too.

Today Eljay searched for Towhee's trail, hoping to find her somewhere within the Copse. Hopefully she knew where Elfie was.
December 24, 2019, 08:37 AM
Towhee
Firebirds
Sovereign*
When Towhee finally found her older brother, she stopped and gaped at him. Her orange eyes traced from his drawn and sunken face, down the ladder of his visible ribs, to his limp tail dangling like a crusty old bottle brush. He looked terrible. How had she not noticed his condition before, when he'd been helping Sugar tend her? Had he looked half as awful then as he did now? Was he dying? Towhee knew he'd been struggling a lot with Wildfire's death even still, though she hadn't realized just how bad he'd really gotten.

She discarded the idea of a training session entirely. Even at a glance, she could see he was much too weak. Before she could approach such a physical exercise with him, he needed to eat. And she didn't mean just one meal. It looked like Eljay could use several weeks' of square meals. Towhee swallowed as she found herself wondering whether he would survive the coming winter. She thought of Finley and her heart squeezed. The honest truth was it wouldn't be much of a personal loss to Towhee but she knew it would devastate her godmother.

"Eljay," she finally called out to him, not entirely sure how to approach him. She'd never had much time for him, though he'd helped her get better, plus she genuinely felt bad for him. Towhee moved slowly, drifting in his direction. "I've been looking for you," she said lamely, scrutinizing him more carefully now that they were up close. Damn it, Eljay, Towhee caught herself thinking unkindly, wondering how he could let himself get like this. But her face gave none of that away, in fact, there was a decidedly pitying look carved into her dark facial features.

-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!

January 07, 2020, 03:35 AM
Eljay
Firebirds
Master
Winter was here and that was a worrying thought in his state, but at least it seemed that the prey returned. It would be a tough one, but he had been through a tough one before and he would make it through this one, Eljay was certain. He just needed to hang on - for Weejay, if nothing else.

Eljay felt relieved when he found Towhee at first, but when she greeted him he felt a nervous wrench in his gut. Hey. The effect she had on him had not changed over time. She was still terrifying; not in a directly threatening or harmful way, but in the way that she was so different than he. That she was strong and that everything about her emphasised how weak he was, and most of all, how weak and incompetent she thought him to be. How strange that he was above her in rank, technically, but Eljay knew -- and he knew that she must know it, too -- that rank would not matter at all if she did decide to tower over him in any way.

Me too, he said when she said she'd been looking for him. Where's Elfie? He didn't mean to sound demanding when he posed the question, but somehow it came out that way. Elfie wasn't here, that much was clear, but Towhee must know, as his former leader, where he'd gone. Eljay irrationally felt that if she had been good enough to be his leader and guardian after he left home, then she must have made sure he was okay and must have taken him here, somehow, even despite the state in which she'd got here.
January 07, 2020, 10:07 AM
Towhee
Firebirds
Sovereign*
His question disrupted her examination, causing Towhee to do a mild double take as she processed the words his lips had formed. There were only two of them, so there wasn't much room for misunderstanding. "Where's Elfie?" Towhee heard nothing of his demanding tone, though the question itself made her go statuesque for a few moments, a dozen thoughts flying through her head as she tried to sort out how to answer that question.

"I wish I knew," she replied at length, speaking even more slowly than usual as she eyeballed Eljay speculatively, wondering why he'd waited so long to ask. But it worked out, in a way: with Phox and Fig returning recently, at least she could provide more details on what might have happened to Elfie. "There was a final earthquake and a new passage opened up at the rear of the territory, letting those still trapped escape. But for whatever reason, many of them must've scattered, because several are still missing." She paused, then added, "I'm hopeful they'll eventually show up, like the others."

-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!

January 10, 2020, 07:19 AM
Eljay
Firebirds
Master
Thankfully Towhee didn't linger on small talk and cut right to the chase by answering his question. She said that she didn't know where he was, either. Eljay's frown deepened, as he hoped Towhee would know. Elfie had gone to her, to be with her pack, to be under her responsibility. Sure, she'd gotten hurt and sure, she wished she knew where they all were, she said, but that didn't take away her responsibility. He'd let Elfie go there (well, more or less) under the pretense that he'd be safe there with Towhee, and now she stood here in one piece while he did not.

There was little use in being angry with anyone. Eljay bit back his anger, a rare feeling that he wasn't sure what to really do with, and instead asked: Did you look yet? The tone of his voice implied that he assumed she had; she must've, right? Where did he go? Did you find anything? There must've been a scent trail or something there, if she knew he could've gotten away. There must have been something to indicate where he'd gone. There had to be.
January 10, 2020, 09:55 AM
Towhee
Firebirds
Sovereign*
Her eyes narrowed a little at his questions. She felt a nip of anger, though it was directed at herself as much as anyone else. "Eljay," she reminded him, "I was very badly hurt, remember? I wasn't much use to anyone for a while." She paused, gathering her thoughts. "As soon as I was able, I did look. Until Phox and Fig came back the other day, I had no clue where they could've possibly gone. There was no trace and it made no sense. Several others are still missing. If I knew where they were or where they might be, I would've gone after them."

She kind of felt like throwing those vaguely accusatory questions back at him, yet of course Eljay hadn't gone out looking for them. He could barely look after himself. Towhee exhaled through her nostrils and instead said, "When I was out searching for Sugar, I kept an eye out for several others: Crow, Elfie, some wolves you don't know... but I never found any of them. Honestly, wandering the wilds is a fucking crap shoot, else I'd keep doing it and tell you you should too. I wish I had something more helpful to offer but," she finished on an unsatisfactory note, giving her head a little shake.

-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!

January 16, 2020, 03:33 AM
Eljay
Firebirds
Master
Towhee seemed taken aback, which wasn't entirely unimaginable, but for a change it didn't stop Eljay. Of course he knew that Towhee had been wounded and that she'd taken time to recover, but now she was well enough to check, right? So she must've checked? Why hadn't she checked? Alright, so she did check. Wasn't that weird a question then after all, was it? She did check, and she happened to find her own children, but not Elfie. In Towhee-fashion, she stated the facts as if Elfie was just a number and her own children were numbers but she'd found those numbers but not the most important number -- a number she'd been put in charge of, a young number that couldn't fend for himself yet. Not a number at all, but a child, a child that was gone now. Squashed between rocks for all Eljay knew!

Don't say it like that, he said with gritted teeth. The first time he ever talked back to Towhee in his life. Don't say it like you tried but you just didn't find him. Like he was just a number, just another wolf. You were responsible for him. He was a child! He isn't just something that you forgot or that you lost. He was my son. Eljay stared at Towhee with eyes shining with held back emotion that threatened to spill over. She had nothing more helpful to offer perhaps, but what he was looking for wasn't just the news that Elfie was safe -- he knew that Elfie wasn't safe, of course he wasn't safe, if he was safe he'd be here! -- but he was looking for some sort of something, something that showed that she cared, something that showed that she rued that she hadn't been able to save him.
January 16, 2020, 09:29 AM
Towhee
Firebirds
Sovereign*
To say that Eljay's rebuttal surprised her would be an understatement. Although Towhee couldn't hear the way his words gritted through his teeth, she could see their clench and knew the anger behind what amounted to accusations. Her mouth fell open and she stared at him, forgetting to take any offense at his words because it was that unexpectedly out of character for Eljay to speak this way at all.

When he finished, she clapped her mouth shut and continued to stare at him for several moments before coming up with a reply. "He is your son, he is a child," Towhee corrected him, not dignifying the implied inhumanity (inlupanity?) with a response. "You're right, I was supposed to look after him." But then the quakes had come and she'd been hurt badly, time after time after time. But she wasn't going to make excuses, not to Eljay. "I'm sorry I wasn't able to do my job in that regard," she said, tone as flat as ever but the glimmer in her orange eyes sincere and still more than a little astonished by Eljay's vehemence.

"Look," she said after another several beats, "this is an honest question, not an accusation. But why aren't you out there looking for him?"

-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!

January 16, 2020, 10:17 AM
Eljay
Firebirds
Master
Eljay had thought that hearing Towhee say the words would make him feel better about all of this. That it'd make him feel as if he mattered, as if Elfie mattered, as if Towhee genuinely felt bad about it. But it didn't bring relief at all to the way he felt. It didn't bring Elfie back. It just made him feel all the more empty because the supposed cure for the feelings raging inside didn't work at all like he imagined it would. Eljay frowned and it was as if he gave up for a moment, a sad expression shimmering in his eyes and the anger he had felt and showed moments before suddenly gone.

I know, he said with a sigh. That you tried.

And it didn't make a damn difference, somehow.

There was a silence that lingered between them. A silence that might've been uncomfortable before, but now it didn't feel so uncomfortable. It didn't feel so unequal. When she spoke again, disclaimering her words beforehand, he looked up at Towhee again. He might've felt offended or attacked if the disclaimer hadn't been provided, or if he wasn't just so tired and sad and at a loss. But as it were, he just frowned and thought about it for a few seconds before he started a reply that wasn't anywhere near what he really wanted to say. I don't know where to look, I'd get lost. I -- I'm needed here, too. Weejay... And then he realised the real fear that lingered. A fear that Weejay might follow him, to help him look. A fear that he might lose her, too, when she was out there. A fear that she might get interested in exploring after their searches and leave home to further look for her brother.

A fear that he might die and Weejay would lose her only remaining parent and only remaining direct relative of the family that consisted of himself, Wildfire, Elfie and Weejay. She can't lose me, too. I'm the last one she's got left. And Eljay knew from experience that the world was a shitty place. His navigation skills were shit. He'd just get lost and die. He didn't know at all how to find the way himself in anywhere other than a place that was his home.
January 16, 2020, 11:11 AM
Towhee
Firebirds
Sovereign*
Nearly as unexpected as Eljay's anger was the sudden rush of empathy Towhee felt toward him as she watched her fellow parent struggle. She knew exactly how he felt. She'd lost both her children in turn. She knew the grief and misery of it, the wondering and worrying and lack of closure. It was all torturous. And they were hardly the only ones—his mother, her godmother, knew this a dozen times over, it seemed—but, for the first time in their mutual history, Towhee felt singularly connected to her elder brother in this.

"It's a fucking crap shoot," Towhee repeated in a murmur, bobbing her head and letting out a breath as she moved closer to him. She didn't quite touch him, though her eyes lingered on his face. "All of it, I mean. That said..." She glanced sideways, pondering, then her eyes flicked back to Eljay, assessing him like she had when she'd first approached. "If you ever wanted to go looking, I would go with you. But you're in no shape to travel right now." Now her expression hardened a little as she delivered tough love, emphasis on the tough. "You need to look after yourself, Eljay, for both your kids. If you want to be around for them, there for them, you need to take better care of yourself and stay strong."

-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!

January 27, 2020, 08:25 AM
Eljay
Firebirds
Master
Eljay sighed and frowned as he thought about Elfie being out there somewhere. And what if he didn't want to go home? And what if he did but he couldn't find his way? If he inherited Eljay's shit feeling for directions? He looked back at Towhee as she spoke with the worry shining in his eyes, unable to think about it any further. He didn't want to argue, and he didn't want to make Towhee mad at him. He just wanted Elfie back. Where had the times gone when Elfie was just a little baby, wriggling between his and Wiffle's paws? It just wasn't fair.

Towhee offered to go with him, but she also said that he was in no shape to travel. Told him to take care of himself. He shook his head and said, I want to, but just -- there hasn't been as much food, and with all the young pups... They need the food more than me. They're still growing. I'll be okay -- I'm -- I was okay last time, eventually. But they won't get back from this if they miss too much while growing up. He didn't want to be selfish, and so Eljay had tried to eat just about the amount that would mean others had enough, while he had enough to stay alive.
January 27, 2020, 11:18 AM
Towhee
Firebirds
Sovereign*
Eljay didn't seem to understand that he could hardly pour into others' cups if his own was empty. Towhee wasn't going to browbeat him over it though. She held back a sigh, giving him a long, hard look. He was selfless to a fault and might very well die at some point because of it. Although it was very cold of her, Towhee almost wondered if that would be for the best. He couldn't suffer if he wasn't alive.

Banishing that thought, her lips parted as she said, "The pups aren't so young anymore. Everyone's old enough to pitch in when it comes to hunting. They'll start pulling their weight, if they haven't already. Meanwhile, try to get enough to eat. Get some rest. And some exercise. Then we can revisit this later." Not only the possibility of searching for Elfie but some training as well. She had once dismissed him as a lost cause in that department, though Towhee decided that if Eljay could pick himself up by his bootstraps, she would try again.

But it all depended on him now. "I have some things I need to do, so I'm gonna get going. Please do what I said, Eljay, for your kids." Towhee gave the gaunt Eljay a tight-lipped smile, her orange eyes empathetic even if her brand of love was a bit on the tough side. "See you." She turned from her older brother and padded away.

-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!

January 28, 2020, 02:52 AM
Eljay
Firebirds
Master
Eljay nodded as he was berated by Towhee, even though she meant well. It just often felt that he couldn't do things right. Towhee didn't even know what it'd been like down here -- she didn't know that they had had little to eat, and he stood behind his choices to eat a bit less than what he needed. Honestly, there hadn't been any easy choices and he had had to make which ones made the most sense. For a moment he frowned deeper and considered defending his choices, but then he gave up because what was the use? Alright, he said dejectedly, feeling like a told off child and not liking any of it. He just wished that Wiffle was still here. He knew it was no use wishing, but it would've made him feel better, knowing there was someone he could go home to emotionally. Someone who would love him, no matter what.

But she wasn't here and he would just have to do with what he got. Towhee reminded him once more that she thought he wasn't doing well enough for his kids and that he should do better, and then made off. See you, Eljay reiterated and he watched Towhee take off, left with an empty feeling that was mirrored in the cold landscape around him.