Emberwood Only good things avoided me
All Welcome  December 28, 2019, 08:25 PM
Kaori
Whitebark Stream
III
for @Grezig!

Travelling north along the range, the young dragoness kept the peaks well within her sights; she did not yet dare climb those heights, however tempted by the trek she may be. She could not recall the last time she hiked across such daunting terrains and worried that she may not be ready to do so—besides, she was in no hurry. No matter how long she took to arrive, the lair would always be there, awaiting the return of the dragons.

Kaori’s travels deposited her into the outskirts of a territory, the scents that marked the earth unfamiliar to her—not that she truly expected to meet anyone she once knew, so long ago. Curious but knowing boundaries, the girl skirted through the areas barest of markers, searching for the easiest way around without daring to impose upon their land.
December 28, 2019, 08:33 PM
Grezig
Whitebark Stream

Grezig was patrolling the borders—again. She had been getting up every day to do so, finding that it helped pass the time. There wasn’t much else to do in the winter months. There were no animals to hunt, and sparring would only waste precious energy with food so scarce. So, patrolling it was. Besides, every time she went out to do this, she seemed to run into some stranger along the outer edge of the Emberwood. How it was that she always happened to be in the right place at the right time to meet these strangers she did not know, but it was something she chose not question.

This morning was no different. A black she-wolf skirted along the edge of the trees before her and Grezig chuffed to let her know she was there. The woman didn’t seem to be infiltrating and was moving parallel to the edge of the forest, so Grezig was not threatened by her. She was merely curious. “Hail,” she called, moving toward her.
December 28, 2019, 08:49 PM
Kaori
Whitebark Stream
III
A chuff reached her ears, as did the following sound of steady footfalls and a voice—the girl slowed and turned to acknowledge the woman, as curious of her as she. With the gentle breeze came her scent, similar and intermingling with those that seemed one with the earth on which they walked; a member of the tribe that claimed those woods, she presumed. “Hello,” she returned as she realised this, ceasing her steps fully. “I do apologise if I’ve—I have—troubled you by being so near.” Ah, a misspeak! Thankfully, her mother and other relatives were nowhere near enough to hear her.

“I am only seeking a way around the forest,” she further explained, feeling no need to be anything other than transparent. She felt her distance from the home was well enough that her mother would not scold her so, surely, it must be decent enough for this woman, too? Kaori studied her closely, patiently, wondering if her assumption may turn out to be true—or if she was entirely wrong in believing she could safely be near enough to see the trees.
December 28, 2019, 08:58 PM
Grezig
Whitebark Stream

idk wtf this reply is. i’m sorry lmao

When the dark woman interrupted herself to correct a contraction, Grezig was momentarily confused. She had been about to assure the woman that she hadn’t troubled her until she realized she wasn’t asking a question. She shook her head, trying to move on from that. Such a correction shouldn’t have surprised someone like Grezig, who often, herself, did not use contractions. 

’I am only seeking a way around the forest,’ the woman continued.

“Hmm,” Grezig hummed, thinking. “Were you thinking of going left or right around it?” she asked. “To the left is a small forest. To the right is a creek. Unfortunately, both ways will take some time, as there is a mountain directly behind our territory that extends beyond the forest’s length. You’ll have to swing widely in order to get around it.” She was referencing Mount Apikuni.
December 28, 2019, 09:29 PM
Kaori
Whitebark Stream
III
More information regarding the surrounding land was given, which she listened to—and ended up being disappointed by. Her expression fell for a moment, troubled yet thoughtful. She was so focused on the rising peaks that she hadn’t even noticed that the ones lying beyond the forest were not connected to the range she once called home—it was a separate mountain entirely, blocking her from moving directly towards Sunspire from there. Catching herself, she shooed away any negative thoughts—negativity bred more negativity, after all—and offered an appreciative smile. “Ah, I did not realise the mountain was separate from the others,” she shared. “That… does sound like it may make the trip longer.” You have plenty of time, she reminded herself, the lair will always remain.

What she was yet to realise, however, was exactly how close to the lair she already was.

“I suppose going left may be safer,” was her decision. “I would not want to cross a creek in these temperatures.” Although her winter coat seemed thicker than her mother’s, she was still not a fan of the chill water carried with it. “If I continue beyond the mountain, would you happen to know how much farther I would need to go to reach Ryūjin?” Perhaps an answer to that might be the easiest path to follow. “You may know it as Sunbeam Lair.” If she knew it at all.
December 28, 2019, 09:41 PM
Grezig
Whitebark Stream

Grezig wanted to ask the woman where she was going, but she continued speaking before she could do so, musing to herself. Her ears did lay down for a moment or two, though, as Grezig realized her information was disappointing to the woman. She felt bad for her, suddenly realizing that her trip to wherever it was was going to take longer than anticipated.

Ryūjin. What an odd word. Sunbeam Lair it was apparently called, in the common tongue. Grezig did not recognize either name, and shook her head with a frown. “No, I am sorry,” she said. “I do not know of it. I assume that’s where you are headed?” Grezig was feeling frustrated. So far, nothing she had said had been helpful to the woman, aside from describing the areas surrounding the Emberwood. She wasn’t sure why she felt so compelled to help… She supposed it may have been because she knew what it was like to wander as a lone wolf with no real direction. She assumed the woman before her was, in fact, a loner, considering that she didn’t smell a pack scent on her.

“Oh,” she said suddenly, shaking her head. “Forgive my rudeness. I am Grezig, a member of… Uaine Gorsedd.” The pack name stumbled from her mouth awkwardly, and she was unsure of whether or not she’d said it correctly.
December 28, 2019, 10:03 PM
Kaori
Whitebark Stream
III
Ah, so she did not know the lair. Taking note of the woman’s previous response to her disappointment, Kaori did better this time around to mask what she was feeling; she did not wish to upset the female, especially over a matter that could not be helped. Perhaps she was being selfish by assuming someone would know of the lair; she felt this even more so as she recalled how secluded the cavern was, hidden from most—unless they knew where to look.

“It is alright,” she assured her. “It is hidden rather well, from what I remember. I am sure many do not know of it.” That made it no less disappointing, of course, but it at least allowed Kaori to better reason with herself. “But yes, that is where I am heading,” she added with a small smile, her fondness of the land evident in her voice. Although she loved the Draconid Tribe, and her family even more so, she could not deny the longing beneath her breast, the need to return to her true home—her origin.

“No need to ask for forgiveness when I have been just as rude,” she said in return, continuing. “My name is Kaori.” Just Kaori for now, without a tribe near enough to call home. “Your tribe has an interesting name,” she commented next. “Do your members come from faraway lands?” Similar to her mother, she wondered?
December 28, 2019, 10:15 PM
Grezig
Whitebark Stream

just fyi: never feel the need to match post length. i don't do it, so you shouldn't have to.

The woman’s name was Kaori. Grezig filed the name away into her brain, though she wasn’t sure they’d ever meet again, She’d probably forget it in time. She dipped her head in a formal greeting to the woman. 

’Your tribe has an interesting name,’ Kaori commented.

Grezig let out a short puff of air from her nose—a small laugh—and smiled. “Yes,” she agreed. “One I am probably butchering.”

’Do your members come from faraway lands?’

Grezig looked around, thinking. “I am… not sure,” she admitted. “I only recently joined and don’t know much about my fellow packmates.” It was something embarrassing to admit to a stranger, but she certainly wasn’t going to lie. “That first name you used,” she continued, looking back at Kaori. “Rjūjin. That’s odd, too. Does it mean something?” 

There had been a time in Grezig’s life in which strange names would have agitated her and she would not have wanted to know more about such things. But that kind of prejudice happened less and less with her these days. The reason was probably a mix of things: more life experience; having a daughter who was extremely interested in religion and culture; living in a pack now with a strange name and strange ranks. Grezig had to admit that having more of an open mind had only been a good thing, though she occasionally strayed back into her old ways of thinking, and usually didn’t notice she had done so until afterwards.
December 28, 2019, 10:56 PM
Kaori
Whitebark Stream
III
i tend to not do it, either, lmao. as long as most points of conversation are touched on and there’s something to respond to, i don’t worry too much about length

When the other laughed, Kaori smiled; a joyful mood was often contagious, she found. “I am sure I would do far worse pronouncing it,” she admitted with a chuckle. “It can be difficult to say words from worlds different from our own.” Although the Draconids were known for being open-minded and welcoming overall, they still had their own culture and values to honour. Whilst some dabbled in other languages and were capable of a wide variety of speech, many stuck to the tongue of the family or that of the common folk; even Kaori, as curious as she had always been, never sought out knowledge pertaining to other languages.

Grezig responded that she was unsure, that she only recently joined the tribe. “Perhaps I will have to visit and ask again when you are more familiar with them,” she mused; although it was merely her attempt at humour, she was not against visiting again, given the kindness she was met with.

“It does. It is a name,” she explained. Ryūjin was the name given to Sunbeam Lair by my mother, back when she led a tribe there. She told me once that the name also belonged to an ancient King of the Dragons, an ancestor of our family.” A mighty king, however, his might was not great enough to pass into the realm of the living and enter a vessel as Draco did throughout the generations—Kaori often wondered if it was truly his limited might that held him back, or if he was simply waiting for the right opportunity.
December 28, 2019, 11:47 PM
Grezig
Whitebark Stream

sorry for this short reply

Grezig smiled when Kaori mentioned possibly visiting again, glad that she had made such a good first impression. Then she sat and listened as the dark woman explained what “Ryūjin” meant. It was the name of one of Kaori’s ancestors. That was interesting. The King of the Dragons. Grezig had heard of dragons, the legendary flying, fire-breathing creatures. From whom, she could not recall, but she had definitely heard of them. Her eyebrows scrunched at such a title. “King of the Dragons,” she repeated, sounding skeptical. “I assume such a title was simply created to sound impressive? Unless dragons mean something else to you and yours?” This woman’s “tribe,” as she called it, was becoming more and more interesting by the second.
December 29, 2019, 12:40 AM
Kaori
Whitebark Stream
III
Seeing Grezig settle put her further at ease, too, and the dragoness soon followed suit and sat down. The skepticism in her voice was clear to catch, although not surprising; it was not the first time a tale from her family was viewed with little belief and, surely, would not be the last. Kaori simply smiled and nodded, repeating, “Yes, King of the Dragons.” To those outside of her family, she could understand how unusual it may sound. But the tales were still passed from one generation to the next, carrying on through the lineage.

“It is an impressive title but it was not created only for that reason,” she further explained. “Dragons ruled this realm once, a long time ago. Then wolves were created that feared the might of the dragons, and so they chased them away to live with the stars. Of those dragons, some left behind eggs, from which my family began. Ryūjin is their king, even still, in the stars.” Mightier even than Draco, whose presence lived on in this realm, forever intertwined with her family.
December 30, 2019, 01:47 PM
Grezig
Whitebark Stream

Grezig’s eyebrows rose further and further as Kaori explained the myth of Ryūjin. Dragons ruling the earth? Wolves being hatched from dragon eggs? There had been a few moments of time in which Grezig had begun to like Kaori, thinking her interesting and good to talk to. She was now regretting ever having thought such things. “Uh-huh,” she said, doubt and sarcasm dripping from even those two syllables. “And do you actually believe such things? Does your tribe? Or is it simply a story to tell children before sleep?” If Kaori said she did believe, Grezig would have to get up and leave. She did not hold with beliefs about gods or mythical creatures. Such thoughts clouded the mind, leaving one open to other, possibly worse, beliefs. Grezig was her own woman and always had been. She did not need mythic or religious beliefs to keep herself going, and those who did were broken and easily swayed.
January 12, 2020, 01:42 PM
Kaori
Whitebark Stream
III
The doubt that laced her tone easily sliced through the young Draconid girl, fur prickling along her spine; the display hardly lasted a blink’s worth of time, recalling her manners and smoothing herself back out. Not all would believe—this she knew, the realisation drilled into her since as early as she could remember. Everyone possessed different beliefs and some none at all, that was how the world worked. She could not force her views onto anyone, nor would she ever dream of doing so.

“These beliefs have passed through my tribe for generations, and will continue through to the generations that follow,” she answered. “I am sure some believe more than others but at least an inkling of belief lives on in each of us.” Where she stood on that spectrum, well… she wasn’t entirely sure. Kaori believed in the dragons, in the history of her family—but there were some aspects she questioned, perhaps more so out of jealousy (gasp!) than any true lack of belief. “Do you have anything that you believe in?” asked the girl next, curious. For as much as she loved telling the tales of her people, she also had an immense curiosity and desire to learn of others—and how their beliefs differed from her own.
January 20, 2020, 04:47 PM
Grezig
Whitebark Stream

Grezig listened to Kaori’s explanation silently. Religion had always freaked her out, probably to an unfair degree, but it was something she had hardly any control over. She hated the idea that someone else who lived in the sky was the one determining her life, as opposed to Grezig herself deciding for herself what her life would be like. Besides, she was so logic-oriented that the idea that gods existed—or dragons, or anything else that she couldn’t see with her eyes, for that matter—irked her. It made no sense. Why would someone throw away a perfectly functioning brain like that in favor of believing made-up things?

“I believe in what I can see, and hear, and smell, and taste, and touch,” Grezig replied, saying each word slowly and deliberately. “I take all of my senses and I think carefully about them. I do not bother with things that lie outside the physical realm. If I cannot sense it with my body, it does not exist. Period.” Grezig paused, realizing she may have just pissed this woman off with such stubborn talk. “These are only my own beliefs. I care not what others believe so long as they aren’t harming anyone… and so long as they don’t bother me with such nonsense. I will not be converted.”
February 05, 2020, 01:49 PM
Kaori
Whitebark Stream
III
Kaori was silent as the other spoke, listening carefully to each word that escaped her mouth. Whilst the Draconids believed in and honoured dragons, the woman seemed more interested in believing that which existed strictly in the world around them; Grezig was not the first met to feel this way, nor did she anger the dragoness any more so than those before her. For dragons aside, her family existed to be accepting, casting not a single stone at any that may differ from themselves—to be so close-minded and abrasive went against their way of life.

“I think it is good for everyone to have different beliefs,” she revealed. “I find it… troubling that others feel the need to force their beliefs onto others when there is no harm in our differences.” As long as no one sought to take her beliefs away from her, she would not try and force them onto others. “Your belief in yourself and what you can experience is nice to hear about.” Even if they did not place their views in the same realms, Kaori did not view her as any less of an individual.