Sawtooth Spire It's only been about a couple of days
All Welcome  February 02, 2020, 11:50 AM
Wylla
Sagtannet
Eisen*
Wylla's first impression of Mahler's new chosen territory was that it was absolute trash.

The base of the tall spire was littered with spiked stone and pitfalls, making navigating treacherous. How the hell were they supposed to hunt game in the foothills when the foothills were like toothsome jaws waiting to maim them? Just getting to the upper reaches of the mountain was a pain in the ass, leaving the gravid she-wolf in a foul mood. She was no mountaineer and even though her figure remained svelte in pregnancy, climbing the tall Sawtooth took a real toll on her.

To make matters worse, the paths were sometimes broken by sudden outcroppings of rock, forcing her to change direction and take a longer route more often than she cared for. Somewhere far up there was supposedly a wonderful valley, easily defensible, but Wylla was really starting to think that Mahler was insane. The hollow was a much more hospitable territory than this.

Grumbling with frustration and scowling to herself, Wylla stopped to take a leak at the side of the game trail, which doubled as a scent marking given the strong quality of her urine lately.
February 02, 2020, 11:57 AM
Mahler
Sagtannet
Eisen*
        leaving stag and melkor to suss out remaining details, mahler was delighted to catch the scent of wylla.
        it was laced with irritation, however, as was her bearing. the general drew up, approaching the woman with semblance more deference.
        the beginning and end of pregnancy were tormentous times, and mahler was aware of such. 
        and so he was silent, stepping to her side when she had finished and waiting for the words he expected she would have.

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February 02, 2020, 12:10 PM
Wylla
Sagtannet
Eisen*
Oh, she had words alright. Wisely, she was planning to keep a lot of them to herself for now. She knew her plans to challenge Takiyok in Diaspora weren't favourable with the General and she doubted he would approve of many of her thoughts about this merging of packs. There would come a time and place for bringing all those things up, but as Mahler drew up alongside her, she decided now was not it.

Wylla stood from her squat at the sound of his approach and paused when her belly fluttered with kicking puppy paws. That started yesterday and was already a common occurrence, and her increase in physical activity thanks to this godforsaken mountain definitely didn't help. This place sucks, she grumbled, reaching to plant a very tentative swipe of her tongue on the side of his muzzle. There better be something damn good to make up for it. What was wrong with the hollow?

My feet hurt and my back hurts and it's such a long climb and the ground is uneven and what if I break my leg? was precisely the whiny undertone her words took.
February 02, 2020, 12:17 PM
Mahler
Sagtannet
Eisen*
        he noticed her brief hesitation before he leant into her kiss, returning one if allowed. "vylla," he said softly, "the hollow vas unguarded. ve had caches raided before you arrived in diaspora, other trespassings. it is not a safe place," he went on, eyes flickering meaningfully to her rounded flank, "and it vas only ever meant to be temporary."
        many days he had spent here, and now he pulled away from wylla, indicated a tiny towpath up the mountainside. "only a little further now, and then i vill show you vhy i chose this place." lavender eyes shone encouragingly; mahler steppes back to her side for support, if she accepted.

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February 02, 2020, 12:36 PM
Wylla
Sagtannet
Eisen*
Right, Wylla drawled, having once lived in the very fortified territory of Ankyra Sound, followed by the very open territory of Swiftcurrent Creek. Both of them had managed just fine, and once again, she was tempted to point fingers as to why Diaspora's borders had been violated time and again. Definitely not at herself, though. While she hadn't done a lot of border duty in Diaspora, she wasn't going to shoulder part of the blame. It was obviously all the rest of the pack's fault for not fortifying the territory enough.

And this place seems safe to you? she asked, casting around them as if to say, uh, are you seeing this? Half these paths are just dead ends and have you been to the foothills? Good luck hunting anything there without biffing it. And it's just so tall, if you fall from anywhere you're toast. She was at least halfway convinced she was going to die some horrible death on Sawtooth, and it was truly only Mahler keeping her there despite that.

Mahler pulled away and Wylla unconsciously drifted toward his side, desperate for contact, but she mastered herself at the last minute and kept a respectable distance instead. Fine, she grumbled, following him to the towpath and relishing the warmth of his side finding hers as he moved to support her. I guess I'll reserve judgment til I see it, she said, smirking at him, but she still thought the place was trash. It would take something magnificent to change her mind about it.

Or time to get used to it; she wasn't exactly the type who embraced change, which maybe was half the problem.
February 02, 2020, 12:49 PM
Mahler
Sagtannet
Eisen*
        sweet, stubborn wylla. lovesick a moment, mahler was infinitely amused to see that this was the sort of spat a husband and wife must have, though very wisely he kept it to himself.
        "there is already a cache here," he remarked as the pair climbed higher, hoping to assuage at least some part of wylla with the promise of food. the climb appeared to have cost her a good deal of energy, and replenishment might aid her in seeing the spire more clearly.
        "if half the paths are dead ends, that means there are fewer true trails that might reach the valley. and," his eyes were warming further and further despite himself, "the foothills vill keep prey within the flatlands."
        a pregnant silence followed, for eventually the terrain reoriented itself, straightened into a smoother path that widened and led into the heart of sawtooth itself.
        from here, a dizzying view of the teekon, but moreover: stone shelves that lined the edges of footpaths, a great pure expanse of snowbound valley marked only by earlier journeys left by himself and stag and melkor.
        trees that already promised an infusion of color when the sun returned; small alcoves that would be carpeted green, and a river flowing into a lake at the center of it all, flaring into a trio of proud falls that churned water in a cascade down the side of the mountain.
        there would be little need to descend, once ensconced.
        mahler looked to wylla, silent.

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February 03, 2020, 09:11 AM
Wylla
Sagtannet
Eisen*
Climbing after Mahler was taxing, but she wasn't willing to let him see how vulnerable she was on these unfamiliar slopes. Sawtooth Spire was like nothing else in the Sunspire range. Her patrol of the area wasn't half as troublesome as ascending here. She only hoped whatever Mahler had in store was well worth the effort to get there.

Okay, she gasped as they climbed, ignoring the stitch in her side, those are good points but have you considered how bad it would be if someone did get in with ill intent and our own wolves ran into a dead end? Mahler might argue that they would know the paths in short order and that was probably true. Wylla just wanted him to admit that some parts of this territory were a little... trash.

When they reached level ground and the valley spilled out beneath them, Wylla caught her breath in her throat. She wasn't the type to marvel at the beauty of the land but she had to admit it was a pretty great little place nestled in the mountains. Well, she said, grasping at straws, what happens when we eat all the deer and no more can climb this godforsaken mountain? Hm? The faint tone of desperation at the end would key Mahler in to the fact that Wylla had no real complaints about the valley itself. If she could just stay there forever without ever having to face the hellish terrain outside it, maybe she'd be fine with that.

That thought made her feel instantly claustrophobic.
February 03, 2020, 10:21 AM
Mahler
Sagtannet
Eisen*
        wylla had a sharp tongue that continued, but the former general was satiated by how it flagged now. her sunflower gaze drank in the valley he had intended to claim alongside melkor, and the gargoyle breathed in the clear air with its hint of pine.
        "diaspora has been through the death of a leader, rockfall, famine, and vinter. i have faith that ve vill continue to handle vhat comes our vay."
        wylla was tired, the exertion of the climb and her own inward stresses exacting a toll from the she-wolf. he turned to her now, offering a brush of his heavy crown against her cheek.
        "i vant you to lead alongside myself and melkor," the shadowpriest declared suddenly, eyes glimmering with some inscrutable lavender emotion. wylla had desired to be secondary to him, and this was the first step toward such a ranking.
        another question burning at the back of his throat, but it was not the proper time to inquire after such things.

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February 03, 2020, 10:47 AM
Wylla
Sagtannet
Eisen*
Mahler spoke of faith. Wylla wasn't a big believer in faith as any kind of safety net. They would need quartermasters to keep close eyes on the deer and alert them of any significant drop in population. They would need to rely heavily on new births to keep the herd sustained, which mean hunting fawns would need to be outlawed or at least heavily discouraged. It wasn't like deer had the perseverance to climb up a mountain just to see if there was a lovely valley on the other side. Wylla's arrogant belief was that they were much too stupid for that.

These thoughts she kept to herself, if only because Mahler made an offer next that effectively tied her tongue. She'd fully intended to challenge Takiyok for her rank at some point, but as she'd told Mahler, it wasn't an urgent desire. Perhaps once her pups were born she would feel more driven to pursue a higher standing, but for right now, she was content with Pionier. He didn't seem to be overly fond of her future plans when she first voiced them, and she'd not brought it up again. What had changed now, besides their territory and their numbers?

Why? was her first question, chased quickly by, what about Takiyok? Wylla would've happily pinned the blame on the former Kapitan for any number of crimes imagined or real if only to bolster her own suitability for the rank, but that didn't mean she didn't respect the woman on principle. She just thought she would do a better job of it, and she was surprised Mahler would seemingly replace his co-leader that easily. It didn't stop Wylla from being pleased about being asked, but she'd thought the pack would be led by Mahler and Melkor with Takiyok as their second. She would still challenge for the rank, especially since Takiyok had seemed less and less present of late, but this seemed... unusual.
February 03, 2020, 01:48 PM
Mahler
Sagtannet
Eisen*
        wylla swiftly brought to the forefront of their conversation the already existent kapitän of diaspora: rare, reclusive, reticent takiyok. 
        another breath, eyes drifting shut a steadying moment before he turned his lilac stare back upon the piercing sunshine stare of the pragmatic wylla.
        he thought of how he might comment without seeming too harsh; a long moment passed before the gargoyle said simply, "takiyok has not been happy vith her lot for some time now."
        since he had rejected her love, since her children had drifted into the wilderness, since stigmata had been killed.
        "she has no reason to remain in diaspora and clamour for a rank and for a pack she does not know."
        takiyok was proud, and the decision to merge with courtfall would be the final test of her pride. 
        and it was not the stoic winterwhite northerner, for whom mahler still held conflicting, confusing feelings, that grew with his children now.
        he did not know if that would be enough for wylla, but it must, in the time being, satisfy her even a little. he turned his gaze back out over the heights and was quiet.

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February 03, 2020, 02:23 PM
Wylla
Sagtannet
Eisen*
Mahler's response was unexpected, but logical. Wylla herself deduced from Takiyok's frequent absences that the woman wasn't at home within her pack, but had assumed her continued presence not only as wolf but as leader meant something. She herself had left Grimnismal when she felt similarly. She'd love to twist that story to her benefit so it sounded noble, but really, she was just selfish. It'd been a tantrum more than anything else, but it made her wonder why Takiyok had even remained as long as she had.

Mahler went on, confusing Wylla more by the minute. She chose to move on then, at least physically, and began picking her way down a gentle slope into the valley. No reason? she wondered. I thought you said you were having a litter with her, Wylla pointed out. She couldn't hide the twist of her mouth at the bitter taste of jealousy on her tongue, but it was a point worth making all the same, if only because she was insatiably curious.

She was on the cusp of figuring it out, for she could think of little that would drive Takiyok away... except Mahler himself, or possibly the woman currently carrying his children, though for once her vanity held itself at bay.
February 04, 2020, 02:18 PM
Mahler
Sagtannet
Eisen*
        takyiok, and his heart blossomed with regret at the pain he had forced repeatedly into the winterwhite's heart.
        takiyok, and her children, whom mahler had come to love.
        "no," mahler intoned after a brief moment. composure now, and he noted the dour cast to wylla's lips. this was still difficult for her, these arrangements, still a source of worry.
        and perhaps hatred.
        mahler feared resentment first, but was unsure that even in full honesty he could pluck its root from wylla's heart if it had already grown to be there. lavender gaze, appraising. "takiyok vants nothing to do vith me. several of my former plans have fallen through. there are only two arrangements i vill fulfill."
        mahler was nothing without obligation; it was the bedrock upon which he had built the stone walls of himself. let not wylla seek to tear them asunder; he could be no true love to her, and be deceitful also.

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February 09, 2020, 09:39 AM
Wylla
Sagtannet
Eisen*
Mahler was correct to worry about resentment—she would always hold disdain in her heart for the children born of his promised trysts, and for the women responsible for pulling him in so many directions. The children would suffer for the absence of a stable father. Mahler could do everything in his power but he could not be with them all the time like they would want. And every second he spent with his bastards elsewhere was less time spent with hers, which was a reality she did resent. His actions in the coming months would solidify her opinion on the matter, no doubt.

Although she thought she already partially knew the reason Takiyok was not being asked to lead, it nevertheless came as a shock when he said she wanted nothing to do with him. What'd you do? Wylla wondered, perhaps inappropriately. It wasn't her business, but she couldn't help but to ask. Especially because there was a tiny seedling of hope that sprouted when he mentioned that he only had two obligations left.

Maybe those would wither and die, as well, leaving Mahler free for Wylla and her cubs, and only them.
February 10, 2020, 01:17 AM
Mahler
Sagtannet
Eisen*
        wylla pried many things from him, the man thought to himself, and perhaps with no great attempt. it was her directness, so like his own, that continually startled mahler, and this time it was no different.
        "ve had differences over vhat to do this season, and i was cruel." the winterwhite had opened to mahler, and he had rejected her affections. she had not ceased her love, nor her respect; indeed, he had sensed forgiveness in takiyok. she had given her word upon the right of her rank, and he had agreed.
        but he had not told her about wylla, had not warned takiyok of the mutiny brewing in diaspora.
        instead, mahler had turned his support into a lie, had turned his rank into a cudgel, had shamed the proud northerner for the final time.
        her fangs, flashing.
        his list of transgressions against the former kapitän was great.
        lips tightened; he did not want to speak more of takiyok. wylla had his heart, and insofar as mahler was concerned, when this time had passed, she would also be the sole recipient of what his body offered.

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February 17, 2020, 07:03 PM
Wylla
Sagtannet
Eisen*
There was a lot of suggestion behind Mahler's words, and all of it left Wylla guessing just what he meant by that. Maybe Takiyok, like Wylla, was disgusted by Mahler's plans to seed children throughout the valley. But if that was the case then why had the Kapitän entered into an agreement with him over it? That was what she'd done, right? Mahler claimed he intended to have children with his co-leader, so she'd always assumed it was an arrangement like the others.

Unless it wasn't.

All of her insecurities and jealousy, mustered under one banner, as she suspiciously blurted, do you love her? It was a stupid question to ask and it was as likely to provoke a fight as it was to receive an honest answer. He'd told her, time and again, that he loved her. Only her. Yet Mahler gave her cause time and again to doubt his proclamation if only because he was a stubborn fool placing his ambitions above his emotions, so it was only natural for Wylla to wonder. And if it was true, maybe Takiyok loved him, too.

Maybe it was knowing Wylla was with his child that drove Takiyok from their fold. If that was true, she ought to feel guilty about it, but she didn't.
February 17, 2020, 07:36 PM
Mahler
Sagtannet
Eisen*
        the question cut through several layers of brick he had built, and he was left bare by wylla's direct brazenness. "she loved me," mahler revealed with a weary sigh. "i did not love her back. not in that vay. she is my deepest companion and i have true affection for her, but i am not able to be vhat she vishes."
        anguish now; it roiled within mahler, stung him. if he could not love takiyok, how could he promise to love wylla? there was little to compare, and perhaps it was for his long-lasting feeling toward the little she-wolf that he could not pledge his heart to the fierce co-leader of diaspora.
        sorrow, dying down into embers. his tongue had been cut off; mutely he glanced to wylla in a paroxysm of grief.

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February 25, 2020, 12:53 AM
Wylla
Sagtannet
Eisen*
She'd never been the best at reading the emotions of others. Wylla could tell when she was getting under another wolf's skin, but she couldn't always recognize when her jabs were causing pain. Mahler's weary sigh came as somewhat of a surprise, as did his response. She wasn't sure why she was certain his answer would be yes. When he said he didn't, a little weight unlatched itself from her ever-guarded heart and fell away.

Unfortunate for her, but you can't just make anyone love you. She shouldn't push it. She knew she shouldn't push it, but as they wound down into the valley—which she begrudgingly had to admit was suitable, so far—she couldn't help but practically scoff. It explained a lot. It certainly shed light on Takiyok's strange questioning when they first met, the immediate assumption that she and Mahler knew one another.
February 25, 2020, 11:13 AM
Mahler
Sagtannet
Eisen*
        but in the end he had treated her badly, and that would never leave mahler. it would never be enough for him that he had merely set a boundary to his affections; it was all that surrounded it. but he did not wish to talk of takiyok, and somehow especially not with wylla. sharp-tongued, beautiful; she held his heart, carried his cubs. he did not wish harsh words turned toward his former co-leader, saw it as inappropriate to discuss her further.
        in their world, wylla had won everything the winterwhite had wished with mahler.
        "no," the gargoyle murmured gently, but that was the end for him of discourse upon takiyok. "i know you vill vant to find your own den, but if i can be of help, i shall," he declared softly, turning his amethyst gaze upon her.

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March 01, 2020, 11:39 PM
Wylla
Sagtannet
Eisen*
A part of Wylla was tempted to push even further, see what brink she could coax Mahler to on the subject of Takiyok. It was jealousy rearing its ugly head, breathing green fire, and she was better these days at putting that emotion to bed. Not because she was satisfied that his attention was hers alone. No, she wasn't satisfied at all with their present arrangement, or she wouldn't feel jealous to begin with. More because she knew it did her no good, and Takiyok was leaving, so it didn't matter anyway.

I'm good, Wylla wasted no time in saying. You figured this dangerous-ass mountain was a good place for the pack, so I'm not sure I can trust your judgment when it comes to safety. If they never left the valley, things would be fine. But if Tiercel was any indication of what her future kids might be like, they would be hankering to leave sooner rather than later. There was a big, wide world out there and every kid wanted to grow up to be an adventurer.

If they could get off the mountain without spraining or breaking a leg, or worse, it'd be a miracle.
March 03, 2020, 10:11 PM
Mahler
Sagtannet
Eisen*
        wylla was so very prickly, always, even moreso with the pregnancy dragging at her small frame. mahler felt as if he had come to love her even more deeply in spite of it. he turned his muzzle with a nod, attempting to cloak the bemusement that bumbled across his features. "vell then. i shall leave you to it."
        despite her misgivings and his own reticence, the gargoyle could not help the affection that lingered in his gaze. "please know you may lie down in my den at any time." he did not think wylla would accept his offer, but wished to extend it all the same.

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March 14, 2020, 07:47 PM
Wylla
Sagtannet
Eisen*
Wylla shot Mahler a teasingly affronted look, quirking her lips up at the last second to indicate she wasn't being serious. As if she was going to go lie down in his den, though. Between them existed a number of inside jokes but her favourite was the one where he'd offered himself at the borders of Grimnismal and she'd prodded him about his intentions. Taking up residence in his home, even occasionally or temporarily, would make that joke harder to maintain.

So she snorted mirthfully before swinging her course away from his and delving deeper into the valley, intent now on finding first a favourable location to begin searching for a den.