Sun Mote Copse This is the thread that never ends.
All Welcome  March 06, 2020, 02:04 PM
Towhee
Firebirds
Regent*
Towhee rose as much as she could in the cramped space inside the log and stepped out into the chilly March afternoon. She strayed a little further afield than usual, leaving her baby slumbering peacefully as she not only emptied her bladder and bowels but took the opportunity to stretch her legs. She could practically hear the borders calling her, despite her deafness, though of course she resisted that impulse. Meerkat's presence was a much stronger siren call, at least for now. One day, she would leave her daughter in another's care for longer than a few minutes and get back out there. But today was still not that day.

After roaming the surrounding area for a quarter of an hour, Towhee found herself pulled back to its mouth. Meerkat snoozed soundly, gumming one of her paws in her sleep. The Regent beamed softly at her, unable to resist the urge to bend down and touch her nose to that pudgy little belly. The pup squirmed and made a noise Towhee couldn't hear, then settled again, curling slightly around her mother's muzzle. Naturally, she couldn't bring herself to pull away, so she she happily stood there, letting her child spoon her snout.

@Elwood @Finley @FINWOOD

-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!

March 19, 2020, 11:30 AM
Penn
Firebirds
Tradesman IV
<3

Penn hadn't been by to see the newcomer to their ranks. He'd been mildly intrigued to catch a glimpse of the pup, but only because he was fascinated to see just what sort of creature a woman like Towhee would birth. Other than that, he didn't really care much about the kid. I mean, it was cool and all that she had one when she didn't think she could or whatever, but it was one of those things that was cool for like a minute, but there were way better things to be interested in.

Truth be told, when he came across Towhee that day, it hadn't been to come see the pup. He hadn't actually meant to come to her at all. He knew somewhere vaguely in his mind that he was looking for @Wraen, but thoughts like that fell easily out of his mind at that moment. Just like when he looked at Towhee lying in the mouth of her den, he couldn't completely see her or the little miracle baby. He could only see one thing.

----------------------

Finley didn't know what had roused her that night. She'd awoken just past midnight, blinking at her surroundings in a few moments of confusion before recollection slid back to her. It was not necessarily an unusual thing to happen to her--more and more lately, it took her a moment to figure out just where she was and how she'd arrived there. Not where she was in the Copse, but where she was in the world. How she had gotten to this forest when she felt as though she were supposed to be somewhere else. Somewhere... she didn't really know where.

She pulled it together quickly though, as usual. All it took was a look to her side at Elwood, sleeping soundly right where he belonged. He centered her, brought her back into herself and into her life in just the way he always had from the moment they'd first met. She wondered vaguely if she'd ever told him she'd had a huge crush on him from the first moments they'd ever spent together. Probably. They'd had a beautiful lifetime together. He had to know it had started with the very first smile he'd given her.

Smiling to herself, Finley had stood and slipped away, not totally sure where she was headed. She'd passed by @Avery and Penn and nuzzled them both softly, paused to plant a kiss on @Eljay's crown where he slept with @Weejay tucked against him. She sent a smile and a wag of her tail over at @Niamh and @Nellie, wondered briefly where @Bronco was off to and let a little chuckle trip from her chest to drift affectionately to wherever he was as well.

Fin had gone by Towhee's then, stealing another glance at their sweet little miracle deep in the dark of their den. She'd lingered there a long while, trying not to wake @Phox and his pair. She thought maybe @Fennec had spotted her as she slipped away, but then she remembered her sassy little niece was blind and she'd had to stifle a laugh at herself. As Fin trotted off into the darkness, she wondered to herself for the umpteenth time if Meerkat belonged to @Pippin (his and Towhee's excessive boning had not gone unnoticed, sorry kids). That guy was a handsome young rascal--whoever his mother was had to be hella proud of her creation.

Before long, Finley had found herself at the borders. She'd paused, breathing in the mix of scents that littered the area and letting the warmth of family wrap around her and hug her tight. She hadn't seen Maia or Wraen on her way, but she assumed they'd been there somewhere too. She was an old woman now, and old women were allowed to be senile from time to time. It was a well-earned right. Still, she paused to look behind her into the trees and send a smile their way as well. Maia with her sunshine, and Wraen with her bad assness, the one who had held them together when it felt like the world was collapsing.

It was only a moment and Finley was off again. Her bones creaked, but she felt oddly alive as she trotted away from the borders. She broke into a canter after a few minutes and ran, ran like she hadn't in years. She used to do this every day, she recalled. She'd run a full lap around the borders just for the fun of it, and then she'd run off into the Wilds to find some sort of trouble to get herself into. Bears, rattlesnakes, bull moose. High mountain cliffs and deep, black caves. Whatever she came across first that seemed likely to sate that constant itch she used to feel that had insisted life was meant to be spent running from death, but not before laughing fearlessly in its stupid face.

But, Finley couldn't run forever. When she eventually found herself in a clearing beneath the stars, she had slipped dreamily onto her belly to rest for a while. Dawn wouldn't be upon her for a few hours, so she knew she had all the time in the world to catch her breath before heading back home. She spent a few minutes gazing upwards, watching the skies for shooting stars. She saw one and felt that old compulsion to chase it. Maybe this time, there really would be a treasure at the end. But she knew that was silly. Her treasures, her children, were all around the world now. She couldn't possibly chase them all down and she trusted that she didn't need to; she'd raised them well. And as for her greatest treasure, that was back at the Copse. She didn't need shooting stars to lead her back to him.

Finley hadn't meant to fall asleep, but.. oops. She'd been dreaming a pleasant dream, though it hadn't been terribly interesting. Just her and Elwood feasting upon a bear (okay, so the part where she'd killed it maybe had been interesting). They had eventually been joined by their loved ones--Peregrine and Fox first, and then Lasher, Dante, Kaihra, Sun Spark, Fitz, Sebastian and all of the rest. One by one, everyone she'd ever known and loved, everyone that had ever shaped her in some way. Her children were there, all of them, safe, happy and whole--Blackthorn and Redhawk alike (had there ever really been a difference?). And they were just eating. Sharing a meal, smiling, feeling content and happy. Her community. Her pack. Her family.

The sun was barely creeping upon her when Finley woke hours later. She was so tired, tired deep down into her bones, but also comfortable and warm. That feeling clouded her head again, that she didn't know where she was or how she'd gotten there. But it didn't linger long, because there he was. Elwood, lying soundly at her side. Fin smiled at him, love of the most complete, the most consuming and indescribable kind filling her to the brim. Her Elwood. Her Bear. Her Twig. Of course he was here. There simply wasn't a reality in which Elwood wasn't there, not even this one.

"You jerkface..." Fin said softly, her voice tired, slow, but full of affection, "We agreed that I would go first..."

Sometimes death is sudden. Sometimes it's unexpected. It comes too soon, too cruelly, too unforgivingly. Finley Blackthorn had spent her life running from death, treating it as though it were the greatest thing there was to fear and building herself up by rolling her eyes at it, saying something sarcastic about its mother and leaving it in the dust at the very moment it looked as though it was going to swallow her whole. All the while knowing that there were far, far greater things in life to fear, and fear them she did. Death had been a distraction. An excuse. If she wasn't afraid of death, then who could accuse her of fearing anything? And so she proved her bravery, over and over and over again.

When death came this time, it wasn't so sudden. It wasn't unexpected. It wasn't early or cruel, and it certainly wasn't unforgiving. If anything, Finley and death forgave each other when it came--Finley for using death as her scapegoat, and death for taking her away from the world. But that was an easy thing to forgive. Her children were well. Eljay was a father, Towhee was a mother. They all had families, they had friends. Even if Finley didn't know, she knew. They were alright, and they would be alright. Everything was going to be just fine.

Sometimes death comes softly and warmly. It wraps you in its arms and you slip contentedly away with it, no regrets, no bitterness. Just satisfaction over a life well lived.

And so Finley went, making death wait only for a few seconds longer as she tapped her nose lightly against her mate's in an old, familiar gesture that had said "I love you" long before she'd figured out how. Her Elwood, who was the first wolf to ever have shown her she didn't have to run. The first wolf who'd ever made her want to stop running. The one she'd now spend the afterlife with, laughing at the dumb ass things their kids did, swooning over how adorable their grandbabies and great grandbabies and great great grandbabies would be, and loving the crap out of each other because that is just what Finwood does.

And with that thought, Finley Blackthorn closed her eyes and left the world with one last smile on her face.


----------------------

He could only see them.

Penn, of course, couldn't have known any of what had transpired at the end. He had thought nothing of it when he'd woken and didn't see either of his parents. He'd thought it was just another day--another day in which he could pester Avery into hunting with him and he could fantasize about bringing an entire moose to Fenn's paws and make her finally admit that she totally was in love with him (not that he cared). In truth, it had started out that way. They had hunted, he had fantasized, but they hadn't found a moose. Instead, they had found their parents. Finley and Elwood, lying side by side on a little hill just outside of the territory.

He looked at Towhee brokenly, his voice shaking, his eyes lost in despair as he finally said, "Mom and Dad... They're gone."
March 19, 2020, 11:32 AM
Avery
Firebirds
Tradesman V
<3

When their time came, it was peaceful. The same couldn't be said about every aspect of their life; they had dealt with their fair share of difficulties and obstacles, and the path had sometimes been rocky. They had felt anger, sadness, grief, and loss; but with that, there had been more happiness than Elwood could have ever imagined. It was that happiness that was reflected in their final moments.

He did not wake when Finley got up to make her midnight visits to their family members, but he was with her. He dreamed and saw it as clear as day as she nudged the cheeks of Avery and Penn, dropped a kiss on Eljay's forehead, and looked fondly on Towhee and Meerkat. As he slept, his paws twitched and his lips gently tugged into a smile. At some point, his sleep became something deeper, and the transition was seamless -- because Finley was at his side.

And so their souls were intertwined forever, as they had always destined to be.

---

Avery had been shocked when she and Penn had found their parents and discovered that they were not simply napping. She still couldn't believe it, even now as they were approaching Towhee's home. But there was a kind of calm that she couldn't describe, and while her heart was veritably breaking, she knew that everything would be okay.

But when Penn spoke the words, she couldn't keep her eyes from brimming. The figures of Towhee and Meerkat swam before her as a tear escaped and slid down her cheek, and she bit her lower lip and leaned into her brother.
March 19, 2020, 12:14 PM
Towhee
Firebirds
Regent*
Two gray figures approached in her peripheral vision. Mistaking them for Elwood and Finley, Towhee gently shook off the pup's grasp and turned to greet her godparents. She couldn't wait to introduce them to Meerkat, their miracle grandchild. But she jerked slightly when she saw it was Penn and Avery instead. Something about their expressions immediately struck her as wrong, though even when the former's lips moved, breaking the news of their parents' deaths, Towhee didn't comprehend right away.

"Gone? Where?" she echoed stupidly before his meaning hit her like a club to the head. She blinked slowly, then stared for a beat before she choked out, "Gone?" Her orange eyes now flicked between the yearlings' faces, reading the truth in their eyes, and the breath that whooshed out of her felt like it took her soul with it.

-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!

March 19, 2020, 05:31 PM
Penn
Firebirds
Tradesman IV
Penn hadn't realized Avery was following him. He felt her pressure against his side and tilted his head in her direction, but he couldn't bear to look at her. His eyes were on Towhee, but as her expression began to twist with comprehension, he looked away. He didn't want to see her learning this. He didn't want to see the way comprehension swam in her eyes. He didn't want her to know. Knowing meant it was real. And the more people who knew, the more real it became. He didn't want this. He wasn't ready for this.

He gulped, and heaved a heavy breath as he looked around. "Where is Wraen?" he asked in a somewhat desperate voice. His limbs were beginning to tremble and he shortly found himself leaning just as hard into Avery as she was into him. He needed Wraen. He needed someone. He needed. "Eljay," Penn breathed, too overwhelmed to even consider just why he suddenly needed a big brother he'd generally neglected his whole life.
March 23, 2020, 01:15 PM
Avery
Firebirds
Tradesman V
Watching the emotions play across Towhee's face as she processed the news was painful. Any happiness that had initially been there slipped away quickly with the realization that Elwood and Finley were no longer with them. "Gone," Avery confirmed quietly, strangely able to speak without a stutter as she confirmed her parents' deaths. She didn't need to say anything else; Towhee understood.

Penn asked about the whereabouts of Wraen, then in the next breath mentioned their older brother. Avery's heart twisted painfully. Sharing this information would not be easy for anyone to handle, but she knew that Eljay would take it especially hard. She dreaded it. But it was something they would all have to get through together, and Elwood and Finley's legacy would be vital to their emotional survival -- the family unit that they established would be as strong as ever, even if it didn't feel like it right now.
March 23, 2020, 04:53 PM
Towhee
Firebirds
Regent*
When she drew in another breath, it felt like she couldn't quite siphon the oxygen from it. She felt a lot like she had taken simultaneous kicks to the chest and gut. As she struggled, Towhee's face contorted. Questions flitted through her brain, though she didn't have the breath to voice them. How? When? WHY?

She didn't register Penn's question, her eyes shifting to Avery for reasons she didn't even know until she found her tongue. "Avery, could you keep an eye on Meerkat?" Towhee managed to get out, voice mostly even but wavering toward the end, when it hit her that her godparents would never meet their grandchild. "Are they—in their den?" she added haltingly to Penn now.

Tears were already beginning to blur her vision but Towhee blinked them away. When that didn't quite work, she swiped at them, moving mechanically toward her younger brother. "I want to see them." It would be unbearable but she had to see, with her own eyes. They would need to bury them too, though the Regent couldn't think that far ahead just yet.

-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!

March 25, 2020, 08:27 PM
Penn
Firebirds
Tradesman IV
Penn stared between the blurred lines that the forest before him had become. He wanted Wraen. He wanted Eljay. He didn't consider in that moment how terribly his older brother was likely to take this news. He knew only that he was utterly heartbroken and he didn't have his parents to run to. So, his mind went to the next closest thing, even though he hadn't been previously aware that he even thought of his eldest brother in that way. He barely paid attention when Towhee moved and made her request. He didn't really hear her words until he noticed her staring at him, then he had to think back. What had she said?

"They're outside the borders," Penn said robotically, shaking his head. He understood what Towhee wanted on some level, but every part of him rebelled against going back. He didn't want to see them again. Not like that. He wanted to see them alive. He couldn't go back and see them...

He looked helpelessly into the trees again. Where were they? He couldn't do this. He couldn't do this alone. He couldn't.
March 27, 2020, 08:17 AM
Eljay
Firebirds
Honoree
Eljay roused from his sleep only momentarily at the touch to his face. He mumbled something and turned around in his sleep, smacked his lips, and then he continued to sleep. It was a peaceful sleep and when Eljay awoke, he yawned and looked 'round him. It was quiet here, and he gently pressed his nose against Weejay's crown in the gesture of a kiss -- unbeknowst to him, much like the one he had received earlier that night, before he got up and stretched his legs.

Not far from where he had slept was Towhee's den and he decided to take a look there to see how little Meerkat was doing, or if there was anything he could do. He guessed he and Maia would soon go somewhere to look for Elfie, so he should make sure that Towhee and her child were tended to before he left.

Before he reached Towhee's den Eljay noticed there was a tension hanging in the air. From the moment he saw Avery and Penn he knew. He wasn't quite sure how he knew, but somehow he did. His feelings were only confirmed further by the pained and tearful looks on his siblings' faces. What's wrong? he asked, his voice quivering, because he already knew the answer.
9 hours ago
Avery
Firebirds
Tradesman V
It would have been easy for all of them to remain frozen, unable to move, and Avery wished she could stop time — actually, that she could rewind it first, then stop it. But Towhee began to take steps, literally and figuratively, and Avery nodded as she was asked to stay with Meerkat.

She sidled closer to the pup, lowering herself to her haunches with her gaze fixed on Towhee and Penn. They would go see their parents’ bodies, she knew, before Towhee even said it. Part of her wanted to go, but another piece couldn’t face the sight again, as strangely peaceful as it was.

She snapped her head to one side at the sound of Eljay’s voice; it was coincidence, it seemed, that had brought him here, but he was empathetic enough to read the situation. Avery could hear in his tone that he suspected what had happened. She didn’t want to be the one to confirm it, though, and she looked helplessly back at Towhee and Penn.
9 hours ago
Towhee
Firebirds
Regent*
Penn's reluctance did not go unnoticed, Towhee pausing in her heavy step to regard him where he remained rooted. Her brow furrowed at his words. Why would they be outside the borders? She didn't question it, though she remained still for a few beats. It seemed she would have to find them on her own, a task that made her heart sore and her feet feel as if they were cinder blocks.

When Eljay materialized, Towhee's orange eyes panned slowly to their eldest brother before flicking to Penn and Avery. Neither one of them spoke. Her own face began to crumple a little as she realized she would have to be the bearer of bad news. She resented it, almost as much as she hated being sent out to discover her godparents' bodies all alone, though Towhee couldn't bring herself to feel angry with them. They'd made the grim discovery and reported it to her, so now it was her burden to bear up in their stead.

But how the hell was she supposed to tactfully break this sort of news to Eljay, of all people? Towhee sucked in a breath, her broken heart lodged in her throat, and shakily exhaled. "Eljay..." she began before deciding to deliver it as succinctly as possible. "Your mom and dad are gone. We need to go to them, pay our respects, lay them to rest..." Her voice officially failed her then.

-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!