Seaside Moors People ought to stick together, that's the way to make a crowd.
All Welcome  June 01, 2020, 03:36 PM
Raleska
Sapphique
Laramite
Dated for 6/5 <3

It seemed a lifetime ago they had departed the Sound, and before that, many lifetimes since Raleska had last been on Rusalkan soil. As they neared the territory her pace increased despite her limp. When at last she saw the familiar rise that marked the Moors' perimeters Raleska slowed her hobbling, and threw back a howl for all within.

Would @Erzulie still be here, or @Rosalyn? Had @Aningan kept his throne, or been usurped? Would @Nieve be here to see her welcomed back into the fold? Had anything changed at all? She blinked back exhausted tears as she took in the sights of the Moors, realizing that at last their trying journey had come to an end.

She turned to @Stryx and @Sugar Glider, feeling a new emotion overtake her. They had spent time together; they had journeyed, adventured, sojourned -- it was a bittersweet sorrow that filled her now, realizing the much anticipated arrival to Rusalka meant their small fellowship was coming to an unanticipated close. She smiled breathlessly, but a quiet sadness tinged that smile. "We're here."

all of which makes me anxious,
at times unbearably so.
June 01, 2020, 05:42 PM
Sugar Glider
Approved Members

The scents of wolves filled Sugar's nostrils and she breathed a quiet sigh of relief around the wedge of fur folded in her mouth. It wasn't long before Raleska announced, "We're here," and the young medic was able to stop and set down her load. Her neck, shoulders and back screamed in protest after carrying the little bundle of joy for days on end. But she hadn't made a single complaint and now she was simply happy they had arrived safely.

Shooting Raleska a genuine if weary smile, Sugar settled on her haunches beside the pup, little "Elwood" as she called him in her head. She licked the top of his head and fussed over him a bit, her heart pinching a little when she realized they would be parting ways soon. She had grown fond of him, his sister, their mother and Stryx too. Sugar swallowed this sigh, trapping it in her chest and reminding herself that her job here was done.
June 01, 2020, 11:06 PM
Aningan
Sapphique
Sapphire
There was little doubt in his mind as to whom the howl belonged when he heard it—he knew that voice, one he was equally surprised and relieved to hear; he wondered if she might be gone, too, like so many before her. But perhaps the world was finally righting itself, returning to the coastal pack all that it once stole. Perhaps things were on the right track for moving forward.

Little more thought was given as Aningan took off towards the source of the call, eager to greet her. And yet, when at last he arrived, he could hardly get out a word—his gaze drifted from one unfamiliar face to the next, then darted between the whelps before shooting back over to Raleska. Curiosity was more than alive behind his eyes, questions lingering on the tip of his tongue. But when he opened his mouth, tail swaying behind him, all that came out was—

You’re home.”

Characters are more than welcome to mistake Aningan for a polar bear.
A snowy owl can also be noted hanging around with Aningan, usually in the trees or sky, unless stated otherwise in my posts.
June 02, 2020, 12:01 AM
Stryx
Approved Members

The trail led them to the moors, with Stryx silently, doggedly, following the other women. She kept her eye on Raleska's pace as they went, noticing various weeds growing in their path only to curse herself for having a full maw already. The babe was an obstacle. When they took breaks Stryx was nervous to set them down, clean them, care for them, and pick them up again — but then they came to the mother's hearth, and for that final time Stryx placed the hefty child down.

Raleska's summoning call broke the quiet, and Stryx moved protectively between the puppies as a result. She remained there for the brief interlude as the sound terminated, and bristled slightly when a strange man came striding over to the waiting group. She glanced at Aningan and then down to the children when he began speaking to Raleska; he clearly knew her.
June 03, 2020, 01:35 PM
Valravn
Sapphique
Pebble
despite the tremendous ordeal that was their sojourn down south, valravn was a mostly well-behaved passenger. his protests were minimal, and often only when he expected to be fed. he had come to appreciate a schedule, and would occasionally kick and swing under sugar's hold if he felt his dinner service was slacking.

sup and go, sup and go -- it was a spoiled life for a puppy.

for the most part, valravn babbled nonsense to himself on their ferry from the sound to the moors. his eyes had opened days before, and while most of his vision was murky, he was riveted by the shapes and shadows that passed them by as sugar elegantly strode down the coast.

occasionally he would bat at a sapling or a hanging brush if given the chance. sugar was an excellent carrier, yet despite her gentle jaws valravn found his neck muscles sore from being carried so far. when the discomfort became too much, he would start to swing his rotund belly around until he was placed down. he often only needed a few minutes to recompose himself, where he would writhe in the grass excitedly, snapping at blades and tufts of the silvery-green vegetation until he was scooped up once more.

he had come to love the sensation of cool grass under his belly, and the feeling of being wholly embraced. it came to the point that, any time he was placed down for too long, valravn would whimper and wriggle to his caretaker to be carried again.

today marked the last leg of their journey, and incidentally, was the day his sight became a bit more defined. he had been fascinated by the striding of sugar's legs beneath him, and cooed to himself in soft trills as they walked. when valravn was placed down and licked, he scooched around, observing the thin columns of sugar's legs. to him, they looked like the pillars of a colossus -- with her chest up somewhere in the murky cloud-ridden heavens. trilling a delighted "oooooooooo," to himself, val craned his head back far as his stumpy neck could go, utterly absorbed by the colors that swirled along sugar's legs.

NEGATIVITY, WE JUST DEAD IT LIKE D-CON.
June 05, 2020, 04:00 PM
Regin
Sapphique
Pebble
Unlike her brother, who'd been mostly quiet throughout the journey, the hooded youngster complained. Often. Loudly. She hadn't appreciated being plucked from the only place she'd ever really known to be carried by the grip of unfamiliar jaws for miles.

Where was the provider? Why wasn't the milk bar available on demand? Most upsetting of all, she was mostly separated from the one constant thing she could rely on for comfort: her brother.

Sometimes, too exhausted to carry on, she wailed herself to sleep - much to the relief of her suffering guardian's ears, no doubt. When jostled awake again, however, the mewling begun immediately and with renewed vigor

At last they stopped and, settled on the ground alongside her littermate to whom she pressed her little body against. She trembled, fearful of being out in the open and in a foreign place.

June 07, 2020, 07:25 PM
Rosalyn
Sapphique
Tanzanite*
When the call came, Rosalyn's heart rose... and then plummeted, gripped by the icy hold of anger.  Her time was near, and her emotions a tumult even on the best of days.  But hearing the daughter she'd assumed dead call on the borders, back after disappearing without a word, made the pirate want to turn her back and force Raleska to come to her.

But as @Erzulie rose, Rosalyn followed suit.  She exchanged a look, then they set off, slow at a pace she could manage.  If she did not hold a grudge against her own children's coming and goings, how could she against Raleska?  But something was different.  Reyes had never confided in her... never treated her like a mentor.  There was a betrayal here that the others lacked, and it was a difficult shard to swallow.

She leaned on her wife for support as they arrived, but she paused as Erzulie rushed forward to meet them.  She hung back... for now, she didn't have much to say.
June 11, 2020, 06:06 PM
Raleska
Sapphique
Laramite
Things were fine until Raleska saw Aningan.

Her composure had been fine - excited, maybe a bit nervous -- but fine. And then Aningan was here, and it was like someone pulled out the glass door bottom from all the marbles. They just came tumbling down in clattering disarray.

Raleska bit back her lip and looked away quickly: to Stryx who stood protectively between them, to Sugar who was affectionately licking the head of one of the nameless children -- then back to Aningan, her eyes welted with misty tears.

It had been such an exhausting journey -- suddenly seeing the boy she grew up with, Raleska felt terribly old and out of place. And then Rosalyn came, Erzulie supporting her -- and the coldness in her mentor's gaze was enough to shatter Raleska's confidence like dropped glass. Had she deserved that? She wanted to bolt into either of their embrace - she wanted, needed that loving hold of family -- and instead, she felt only an iciness radiating from the matriarch.

Caught between her desire to very much feel loved, and her desire to remain strong in the face of her new friends, and perhaps ever so slightly barbed by her pride, Raleska kept her neck stiff and the tears that threatened to spill across her cheeks did so diminutive and quietly. "I'm home," She whispered in coarse disbelief, stepping back so that the group might see her entourage. "These two saved me. Stryx --" She motioned towards the healer, a gratitude filming her gaze -- "and Sugar Glider." Here she smiled sadly, for they had shared more than a journey together. They were orphans, and she felt a kinship between them. "I owe them everything."

all of which makes me anxious,
at times unbearably so.
June 11, 2020, 10:04 PM
Sugar Glider
Approved Members

Three wolves came to greet them: a brawny male with pale fur, golden eyes and an inquisitive air arrived first and, soon after, a mismatched pair of she-wolves came along. Sugar momentarily studied each of them, her black eyes lingering on the darkest wolf in brief fascination at her scars, before her attention returned to the pups.

"Elwood" seemed enchanted by her legs, while "Finley" clung fearfully to her brother. Sugar glanced at Stryx, then at Raleska and her welcoming party, before bending to apply a comforting lick to the little girl's forehead. She was curious about the wolves—particularly after what Huā had said about them—but ultimately this was Raleska's family and her business, not Sugar's.

Gently draping a foreleg around the two little bundles, Sugar took a moment to ascertain their surroundings. The Empress had called her island home a paradise and the young medic supposed that this place could be considered as such too. There were dunes sprinkled with trees and rocky outcroppings, all overlooking the sea. It would be a good place to grow up, she thought, supposing the wolves who inhabited the territory were decent.

Her attention snapped back to Raleska when she was mentioned by name. Sugar returned the sad smile and ducked her head, saying, "You owe me nothing." It seemed like the proper time to scruff little "Elwood" and carry him forward, placing him beside his mother. "It's been my pleasure helping you and your family," Sugar said earnestly. "You take care of them—and yourself—all right?"
June 14, 2020, 02:30 AM
Erzulie
Sapphique
Obsidian*
        in the days before marie had arrived to fetch her, erzulie had witnessed her first birth. a cramped brothel, gents turned away for the evening as a young whore gasped and grit and brought into the world a pair of perfect babes. she had been so young, still a maid with only wide terrified eyes for the scene.
        after that, the exhausted girl had disappeared for some days with her brood only to return without them. she refused to say how she was unmade in motherhood; she took up her mantle with the rest of them and returned to her tasks without another word for the cherubic twins. and her eyes had remained empty all the months that followed, perhaps years, though erzulie would never know it. marie came for her then, a flouncing, glittered woman with a retinue and an eye for beauty. she had picked the sea-rose out of that squalid place. but the eyes of that broken would-be courtesan had always haunted erzulie, and she looked for it now in raleska.
        she feared she saw it in the movement of the girl's mouth, the way she turned to the others, in the roundness of her throat and the way she had suddenly reappeared to the moors, a new mother without a mother's joy.
        the others went unaddressed for now; she searched the countenance of the returned girl, probing worriedly before she collected herself and stooped to glance at the little ones their daughter had brought home. "i thank you," she murmured to the young woman she assumed was a healer, turning a more level look upon the older of the medics. "t'ank you for helping dem back to rusalka."

[Image: veve3.png]
June 15, 2020, 03:25 PM
Stryx
Approved Members

Wasn't sure if it was my turn or not, but I can remove/edit this if I missed something!


Stryx watched as the wolves gathered, keeping her eyes trained primarily on @Aningan until the other women began to speak. One held themselves back, appearing withdrawn. A golden woman with a lilting voice spoke to both the healers, and as Stryx turned her attention to her, she caught her eyes - the appreciation in them. A parental love. Stryx was silent, but she nodded, and then turned to the children who had become a pair of lumps.

The pale man that had come to them appeared to be in charge, at least judging by his posture, but it was the women that spoke and the women that showed appreciation. Stryx wondered if he was the father - but Raleska did not appear as invested in him, her focus on the red and gold pair. Stryx did not know what to do next; this was not her family and she had no place among this group of strangers, but she didn't feel inclined to leave in the same manner that Sugar Glider extricated herself.

The younger girl was saying her farewells. All that Stryx could do was wait and listen, trying to make sense of each individual and their connection to the new mother. Finally when there was a moment of calm amid the voices, Stryx added: If it is alright, I would like to stick around for a few days and make sure Raleska - and her kids - are healthy and safe. She did not mean to imply the coastal pack was the opposite in any way, though her tone was a bit clipped. She glanced to Raleska and then the two women, seeking their approval rather than the young ghost. I will feed myself and find some place to rest, so you won't have to worry about your supplies and caches... If that is appropriate.
June 16, 2020, 11:45 PM
Aningan
Sapphique
Sapphire
There was great joy in knowing Raleska was safe, that she was home. Yet there lingered, too, curiosity as he looked upon the children with her. They were hers, no doubt, but who…? Perhaps he might eventually ask, after the excitement died down but, for now, he focused on the positives.

When she spoke, he looked to those with her and said, Nakummek—thank you for keeping her safe.” And whilst one seemed prepared to dismiss herself, the other thought to stay, if only for a few days. Shaking his head, Aningan was quick to wave off her latter-most words. “You’re both welcome to stay and rest within our home, as thanks for taking care of Raleska,” he said, looking first to Sugar and then Stryx. “You kept her well looked after, so we can do the same for you.” Until they were ready to leave, they would be welcome within the moors.

Characters are more than welcome to mistake Aningan for a polar bear.
A snowy owl can also be noted hanging around with Aningan, usually in the trees or sky, unless stated otherwise in my posts.
June 21, 2020, 01:07 AM
Rosalyn
Sapphique
Tanzanite*
An ill feeling, and a sudden weariness, settled on her as she watched.  She should have been glad, perhaps, and gone as swiftly to welcome as her wife and Aningan.  But Raleska had made no move over the past weeks to tell her she was desired... and the pirate was proud.  To her detriment, she would allow others to choose their fates, and in her eyes Raleska had revoked her.  She would not tread where she was not welcome.

But she was here, and she couldn't ignore either.  Her time was any day now, and she perhaps shouldn't have come, but it was too late to regret.  Welcome home. There was a hollow lack of warmth, but still the words were firm and clear.  Just because she struggled did not make the words any less true, and she was glad to have Raleska back.
June 22, 2020, 01:31 PM
Raleska
Sapphique
Laramite
For now, Raleska ignored her children. Her gaze carried from Aningan to Sugar as the nomedic prepared to leave. There was a pang in her heart to see the yearling go, but she offered a soft smile and a hopeful glance her way as Aningan offered her a momentary place to rest if she so needed it.

Erzulie's grateful tone caused her to look back to Stryx, who offered graciously to stay longer on Raleska's behalf. She hated being the source of attention this way, but she was eternally endowed to both of her medics, and gave Stryx a quick nod of acceptance and thankfulness as it was decided she would stay.

Back to Rosalyn, Raleska could not ignore the absence of warmth in her mentor's tone. Deserved or not, it stung her worse than saltwater, but she too was a proud specimen, and she too felt pride rankle her being.

She looked to the ground, for what she was about to say next took no pride at all. If anything, it dragged her down to the level of clams and mollusks; down to the level of grub and creatures with no spine or soul. "I can't take care of them." She half-mumbled, counting the glittering specks of sand which rimed her feet. She felt smaller than ever, but she knew one look at her would be enough for anyone to collaborate -- Raleska's body simply was not in the condition to keep nursing. "I'm not well, and I'm not ready."

Raleska's head turned to the sky and she felt tears she loathed to shed crawl freely down her face. A tiredness seeped into her tone that was so desolate she could scarcely keep it from thickening her words: "Please -- can you take them, and raise them as your own?" She met Rosalyn's gaze suddenly, the tears in her proud eyes filming them over with shame. "When I am better, I can help feed them and babysit them and care for them.. but they need a mother. They need someone who can love them... And I can't --"

all of which makes me anxious,
at times unbearably so.
June 22, 2020, 07:38 PM
Sugar Glider
Approved Members

Even as Sugar prepared to take her leave, Stryx stepped up and volunteered to stay nearby to keep an eye on Raleska a little longer. The younger medic shot her cohort a smile, glad that she could provide this service for their patient. When one of the leaders (or so Sugar assumed) agreed to host her, he extended the invitation to the yearling as well. This gave her pause as she weighed several things in her mind.

"Thank you, but I should be on my way," Sugar said, shooting an apologetic glance mostly at baby "Elwood." "You're in good hands with Stryx," she added, speaking to Raleska before sweeping the gathered wolves with her dark eyes, "and your comrades, of course." Huā had said these wolves were some sort of terrible, yet they seemed like a family to her.

"Take care, all of you," were Sugar's parting words before she dipped her striped head and retreated, turning with some reluctance to face the road ahead. Her job here was done but there were other missions she must now attend.
June 28, 2020, 10:52 PM
Erzulie
Sapphique
Obsidian*
        aningan spoke firmly, and erzulie glowed with approval. the run of rusalka could belong to these healers. rosalyn's continued coolness plagued her somewhat, but raleska remained her primary focus. 
        in the next moment, tears had sprung to the eyes of the younger woman, and erzulie felt her heart tear somewhat. she could only look helplessly toward the younger medic as she took her leave.
        yes! you do not need to ask! jumped to her tongue as raleska choked out her bitter words, but that was for her wife to say. it was then that her glance rested lightly upon the stoic pirate; her throat felt suddenly parched, and she offered the girl another gentle look before her eyes traveled down to the pair of young babes. 
        she could make no such choice for rosalyn, but the children of raleska would not starve so long as she kept breath. and erzulie was haunted by speculation of what the young wolf had suffered, away from home and in the care only of strangers.

[Image: veve3.png]
June 29, 2020, 01:46 PM
Stryx
Approved Members

It surprised her to be welcomed by these strangers, and she felt vaguely fraudulent in the moment while Aningan spoke, stemming from her immediate distrust of him and the faintest stirring of guilt for accepting his kindness despite her initial assessment. It passed swiftly. When Sugar spoke her farewell and began to leave, things got a little bit strained among the other women and Stryx took the chance to slink alongside the younger medic. I'll walk with you, she offered (or rather, casually inserted herself to avoid the tension surrounding the quiet red-toned woman).

She'd go a short distance with Sugar and once they'd gone far enough, Stryx would turn back and rejoin the group; but for about twenty minutes she would not be present, and upon returning she noted the strengthened tension with some trepidation. She had not heard what Raleska had mentioned - about her children being adopted by her superiors - but the expression on each woman present was conflicting; the golden woman looked elated, the other just as grim as before. It felt incredibly awkward for Stryx.
July 08, 2020, 11:12 PM
Aningan
Sapphique
Sapphire
In spite of the offer made to both, the one still chose to take her leave; although disappointed that they might not be able to return the favour, he respected her choice. The other followed after her, too, and Aningan wondered how far along with her Stryx might walk before returning to the Rusalkan wolves—not that his mind lingered on this for long, attention pulled elsewhere as Raleska spoke.

Aningan looked to the children with her and then the young mother herself before his gaze slipped over to Erzulie and Rosalyn. This was not a matter he felt he could weigh in on, the task of raising children so young one that he was not anatomically capable of. And so he kept quiet for now, awaiting the verbal decision.

Characters are more than welcome to mistake Aningan for a polar bear.
A snowy owl can also be noted hanging around with Aningan, usually in the trees or sky, unless stated otherwise in my posts.
July 12, 2020, 12:27 AM
Rosalyn
Sapphique
Tanzanite*
Rosalyn was silent for a moment, aware that all eyes were on her after Raleska managed her question.  The struggle was obvious... and yet as much as it begged her to break, she couldn't.

They'll have two, Rosalyn answered.  Just like their mother.  This she said more quietly, but then she rose, turning.

Come.  We need to get them inside.  She should be inside too.  Though the meeting itself was fraught, it was more than that setting her on edge.  She did not like being here, so far from her den, right now.  It drew her, and she would not wait to ensure they were following before beginning the trek back.
July 13, 2020, 07:17 PM
Raleska
Sapphique
Laramite
Raleska's fears, her heart, her soul -- all sat precariously on a narrow shelf, awaiting Rosalyn's verdict.

For a time, not Sugar nor Stryx nor Aningan nor Erzulie registered; it was only Rosalyn -- Rosalyn's single eye, her austere face -- only her.

She nearly broke into a soft sob as Rosalyn spoke, agreeing -- and better yet -- offering that subtle nugget that said she did not hate Raleska for what she had done; that Raleska was still family, still welcome despite all that had transpired.

She tried to straighten her spine, to smile to hide the guilt that broke her -- but all she managed was a wearied, relieved aspect. "Thank you." Raleska breathed, realizing now her body had been shaking and her heart was pounding within her ears. "I promise I will help."

She followed obediently after Rosalyn, nudging along her children and carrying where necessary. In the days that came, Raleska would come to learn how truly lucky she was -- and how she owed Rosalyn and Rusalka everything.

all of which makes me anxious,
at times unbearably so.