Sun Mote Copse We are all earthlings.
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All Welcome 
It was so early, the moon surely would've accompanied them, only it had become nothing but a shadow. Meerkat remembered what her father had taught her about the lunar cycles and decided she would try to time her visits this way: once a month, during the new moon. The thought made her smile as she and @Bronco trundled through the rainy darkness, hoping to hit the copse's borders no later than mid-morning.

When they arrived, the sky had grown less dark, although Meerkat wouldn't have said it brightened, exactly. For once, the rain tapered a little until it was no more than a drizzle. That was good, though she couldn't help but note they were standing in a couple inches of water as they stopped at the northern borders. The grin pasted to her face dimmed just a little as she exchanged a glance with her brother, right before tossing her muzzle skyward and howling.
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Flat ground- it was almost a relief. While it took a bit out of him to travel the distance between Moonspear and the Copse, Bronco still found the going got easier as the land flattened out, putting less pressure on his shoulders and ribs as he braced himself against the decline. He was surprised that the rain followed them- and in walking across ground that squelched noisily underfoot, he came to the realization that the rain had not, in fact, been something unique to mountain life. He wasn't sure how to feel about that...Relieved, a bit, knowing that it wouldn't always be rainy on the mountain, on account of the clouds, but a bit worried when he noticed just how ridiculously wet it was everywhere else. 

That being said, the yearling had no experience with flooding so he didn't think enough of the saturated grounds to fear that the forest might be in any way under threat of becoming a wetland. He wondered how the pack was taking it, given how unpleasant it was to have his toes sink into the watery mud near the borders. The mountain's slopes were slick, but at least the water was able to run off, there. 

Bronco considered joining his sister's howl but knew that it might pain his ribs, so he let her do the calling, and remained by her side, expectantly waiting for someone to eagerly come and make a fuss over their visit.
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I brought Primrose along for the ride. :)

Phox was in the middle of consoling Primrose for the fourth or fifth time that day. He'd found out that no, Wraen hadn't been madly in love with him. And yes, she was leaving. But no, not because she wasn't in love with him. That boy was something else, but Phox knew by now that he would bounce back to his old self in a day or two. Handling all three kids while Niamh was away was going okay so far. That was, until he heard his fourth kid of the year calling for his attention. What a day!

Knowing that Towhee would not hear it, he wrapped up his conversation with Primrose and set off toward the call, inviting Prim, @Alyx, and @Quetzal along for the trip to visit their sister (and maybe Bronco, although Phox hadn't heard his call). If they didn't want to follow along, they could stay at the rendezvous site by themselves just fine.

Phox arrived in high spirits, Primrose at his side (still a little gloomy, though he brightened upon seeing his older siblings). -Sloshy out, innit?- he greeted, giving Meerkat a lick on the head and leaving Bronco with a friendly nod to greet him.
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Q followed, albeit at a slower pace. She hopped in every puddle she saw, and stomped around in the particularly muddy ones. But she was a girl on a mission to follow her papa dukes, and that she did until the end. And good, thing, too. MEEEEER! BROOONCOOO!!! she hollered, making a mad dash toward them and sending water, mud, and the like flying helter skelter along the way. 

WHERE'D YOU GO???? She bellowed; she was glad to see them back, and figured that they were back for good. Permanently leaving her behind didn't make sense, after all, not that was what they had done. They were here, after all... Not reallllyyy caring where they went, since they were back, Q giggled to the two of them. Wanna see somethin'??? Rhetorical question, of course they did. She mashed her face into the muddy earth, teeth and all,  and once her head came up she smiled toothily revealing what appeared to be a veritable shit-eating-grin. Heeeeeeee, she giggled, tail stirring behind her. Alyx had not liked this... maybe they would, though. She grinned over her shoulder at her dad, do I... got somethings on my teefths? Pronounciation was still rough for Q, but she was workin' on it!
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Quite the welcoming party came to greet them, warming Meerkat's heart. -"Dad!!! Prim!!! Q!!!"- she shouted enthusiastically, her butt swaying with the force of her wagging tail, which smacked wetly against Bronco's shoulder. -"It's so good to see you guys!"-

She pressed into Phox's lick and then turned a marveling look upon her younger siblings. "Holy butts, you guys are getting big!"- In fact, they looked so different that it was almost startling. But it was nice to see that some things never changed when Quetzal face-planted in the muck and offered up a filthy grin. -"Nope, you have the prettiest smile I ever saw,"- replied the older pup.

After giving Q's muddy cheek an affectionately sloppy lick and turning to nip fondly at Prim's forehead, Meerkat backed up a step to better see all three Firebirds at once. -"Where's Alyx? Are mom and Neema around? How are you all doing?!"-
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His tail waved and his smile grew as he saw Phox come striding toward them, Primrose at his side. His brother had grown- his coat thickening and legs lengthening, with the promise that he too might some day draw from their mother's side of the family and have the same long, fluid stride as she. He moved forward, tail waving in circles behind him to greet both of them- though he would obviously make a bit more of a fuss over his younger brother than he would over his step-father/father-in-law. Because he still doesn't know the difference.

"It is pretty gross; I didn't realize it'd been raining so much here too..." He said, realizing how silly his notion of mountain-weather now seemed. But he didn't invest too much attention in the weather, and moved forward to nuzzle his brother. "Awh Prim. Man, you're getting so tall, just lookit you!" He said, and drew back just as he heard Quetzal splattering through the mud, shrieking. He laughed as she splashed water and mud everywhere. "Oh, Q," He laughed, nodding in agreement with Meerkat's observation as he swept forward to give Quetzal an affectionate nuzzle regardless of how muddy she was. 

When Meerkat mentioned Alyx, Towhee and Niamh, Bronco nodded. "They must be hating all this rain," He laughed softly, as he carefully sat down. The ground was saturated and cool, but he'd become somewhat accustomed to it- and was for the most part just grateful that he was on flat ground again.
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Maybe the reason Phox had never really noticed Meerkat's screaming was because Quetzal was also always screaming. Not only that, but Towhee's voice was usually a little bit louder than the typical conversationalist volume. Whatever the reason, Q's screaming today was very extra, and Phox winced as she hollered at the couple of visitors. Not only that, she was quick to smash her face into the mud and stare back at them all with an absolutely filthy grin. Prim didn't look particularly amused, though Phox could have sworn he spotted his boy's lip twitch upward.

-Not sure where Mom or Neema are. You know how Mom's not good at answering howls, though. She's probably out patrolling, like she do. I have a feeling Alyx didn't want to come because of the mud. She's taken this weather the hardest.-

-How are things on the mountain? Are you settling in there okay? Nobody giving you any bad looks, are they?- he asked.
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Uhm, Alyx smile is the prettiest, she responded with disapproval. Q was not pretty; nevermind that Alyx was, and she was her identical twin down to the hairs on their chin. Or Prim, she contemplated. Prim was just really pretty. She peered over to him and gave him that same gross smile, before looking back to her siblings. 

Yeah, how is Poonspear? she grinned, not knowing even the meaning of "poon" but, well, liking to make things sound not great all the same. do ya like it? Are you gonna take me now? she shot, you have to say yes if dad says its okay. And its okay, right dad? She peered over to him, orange eyes getting very big. Too owlish to be adorably puppy-eyed, though.
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There was some light joking about Alyx and the others avoiding the rain. Meerkat just hoped they would brave the elements to come see her, Bronco too. Surely she would see Towhee while she was here, if not the other two, though she would be a little sore of heart if she didn't spend at least a bit of time with each of her loved ones.

Phox questioned them about how they were settling into their new pack, though before Meerkat could reply, Quetzal interjected. -"It's not Poonspear!"- she said with a laugh, pausing dramatically before adding, -"It's Goonspear! And it's great there. Everyone's been really cool and we even have our own den. It sparkles! I'd love to show you sometime, if you can visit,"- Meerkat said directly to Q, before her eyes skipped to Phox. Would he allow it?

But before their father could opine about that, she blurted out her earlier thought, -"I was thinking we could visit every new moon. Or maybe take turns sometimes, if you guys wanna come see Loonspear for yourselves."-
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Borno reached out to give his sister's cheek a kiss when she expressed her concerns over her siblings being better looking than her. "Awww Quetz, your purdy smile warms my big ol heart," He said, reaching out to grab her with one of his heavy forepaws and drag her close, and squeeze her against his chest. She was slippery though, considering all the mud- so it was like trying to grab onto a greased piglet. 

"You have to come see our den sometime," He said. "It's pretty much the best. But....Maybe when the rain's done, hmm?" He asked. Alyx, Prim and Quetzal were about the age that Meerkat had been when they'd first left for Moonspear- so he didn't feel like they were too young...But bringing a gaggle of three children up a slippery mountainside didn't sound terribly safe, and he figured Phox might feel the same way.
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Phox patted Q gently on the head when she mentioned Alyx being prettier. Y'all are both the prettiest princesses, and Prim is the prettiest prince! Just don't let Mom know that, kay? The last thing Niamh needed was competition in the form of her children. Phox shuddered to think what she would do if she ever caught wind that somebody thought her daughters were prettier than herself.

The conversation moved on to when Quetzal could come visit Moonspear, and Phox nodded along to Bronco's suggestion the most. I think we could drag the kids over that way sometime. Make it a whole family affair. He still had vague plans to visit the Frosthawks before it got too cold, too. The trio was almost old enough for taking bigger day trips like that... little did he know they'd soon be forced to take a much bigger trip.
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I'ma skip Q since she's currently inactive. You guys wanna wrap this? :D

They didn't make any concrete plans right that moment, though Bronco suggested they wait for the rains to stop and Phox agreed that a family field trip was in order sometime. Meerkat beamed, her entire hindquarters wagging right along with her tail. Hopefully they could hammer out some details before she and Bronco headed back to Moonspear later.

But the day was still young and Meerkat absolutely would not leave without seeing Towhee. -"Can we go find mom? And the others? Pretty please? With a berry on top?"- she asked of Phox, offering up a cheesy grin. They were still standing on the borders. Would she and Bronco be welcome to come into the territory? She hadn't even thought about that kind of protocol until now, though she could scarcely imagine her family barring her from entering.
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Sure. Last post from me.
Bronco nodded, as he reached out- having missed with Quetzal- to instead give his little brother a bit of s queeze. "We'd love to have you come visit," He said, echoing a sentiment expressed first by his younger sister. At the mention of Towhee's name, Bronco hauled himself to his feet and gave Meerkat a nudge to her cheek. "I'm gonna go see if I can track down Alyx," He said, "But I'll catch up with you guys later," He called, before he trotted off in search of his avoidant younger sister.
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Wrapping up here!

-Of course!- Phox beamed, taking a step back so they could enter. They were family, after all, and he couldn’t imagine either of them doing anything nefarious. Moonspear was an ally, and even if they had sent Meerkat and Bronco here to “spy,” Phox thought they’d sent the wrong pair.

He toddled along after them, asking the occasional question and generally getting caught up on their lives until Bronco broke off to find Alyx.
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