Lone Star Mountain Talk to me, just one last time
Private  September 03, 2020, 04:47 PM
Lunaria
Firefly Glen
Eta
(lmao I guess I did end up falling asleep XD)
Setting: Early night. Warm air with a bit of humidity. Taking place right after This thread
@Taikon 


After encountering the mysterious young man on those mountain tops, Lunaria decided to move her restless paws once more — only this time, she didn't bother traveling far. It was a habit of hers from the last time she walked amongst the terrain, but Lunaria couldn't help but linger around longer than planned. There was no need to reside here due to the recent decrease in floods, but mountain wolves had a difficult time straying to far from heights.

The dark huntress stood atop her rocky throne, gazing dreamily at an endless night sky.

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September 03, 2020, 10:56 PM
Taikon
Lone Wolves

        The white wolf held his nose to the rocky steps as he walked, inhaling her scent. Taikon had followed Luna up the mountain, hoping that she might be free of Macaria. At long last, the weather was beginning to improve. The rain had gone. They were left instead with a warm moisture that made his head ache. He wondered if a great storm would come. Though the sky seemed clear, he was sure there must be a dark front coming that would electrify the air.
        Taikon found her standing picturesque atop a grand rocky outlook. He was tempted to sneak up and spook her with a nip, but didn't want her to fall. How's the view this time? he said, grinning. No giant fish I expect. The prince moved closer to her, reaching out his nose to greet her warmly.
September 04, 2020, 11:34 AM
Lunaria
Firefly Glen
Eta


How's the view this time?

A farmiliar voice, laced with a farmiliar playfulness she knew all too well. It would seem as though the pale, melancholic male came to greet Luna again.

Turning her cranium to peek behind, Luna smiled warmly in Taikon's direction and pranced over, gently nudging him on the shoulder with her muzzle as a greeting. The last time she saw him, there was an uncomfortable tension that caused them to part ways. And now they've encountered each other again — in a conveniently similar situation to their first meeting. "Unfortunately, no giant fish to leer at this time around..." Lunaria said with a gleeful beam in reply to his jest, turning back to look at the sky before replying with her own quip. "Then again, maybe I'm the one not looking correctly. Perhaps you can help me look for them?" and stay a little while longer, why don't you?

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September 04, 2020, 07:18 PM
Taikon
Lone Wolves

        They touched briefly in a warm wolven hug. She smelled of the mountain air, clearly having been up here for the day at least. He was pleased to not see Macaria anywhere in sight, though he hoped that her travels with the woman had been going well regardless of his feelings toward her.
        No fish indeed. He grinned, sitting beside her and looking out across the valley. The stars were out, for once, and their light caused a glimmer in her eyes that was quite pretty. Hmm, he said, leaning out toward the view as if bringing himself closer to the side of the mountain would help him see farther. We'll have to keep looking. Land fish are shy beasts, he said, nodding as though he was an expert on all things land fish related.
        Where's your pleasant friend? he asked, referring to Macaria. I thought you two were tight. He was curious why they didn't appear to be travelling together. If they were, Taikon had been thrown. He hadn't found the trail of the woman for some time.
September 13, 2020, 09:40 PM
Lunaria
Firefly Glen
Eta
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"We are close, but....." she did feel a little shitty wandering away from Macaria without telling her....again. but if there was one thing that never changed about Luna, it was her restless feet. "—I am a wanderer, Taikon. Traveling from place to place is...kinda my thing." It was the truth. The young night woman couldn't invision herself sitting down one place or going to locations she did not fancy without becoming bored quickly. There were places yet to be explored in the Teekons and it was best if she observed at her own discretion — even if that did mean dissapointing her more mature and motivation-oriented counterpart.

"But enough babble about my life" a paw was dismissivly waved in the air to brush off the conversation "I believe you owe me a little biography of yourself. You have yet to tell me how you've been fairing during the floods..."

This is a loooong over-due reply, sorry! >~<

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September 15, 2020, 11:03 PM
Taikon
Lone Wolves

No worries! These posts are always a joy :D

        I get that; I'm the same way, he acknowledged, leaning into her for a brief moment and giving a small smile. Even when he was with the Whitebarks, he had never been able to fully satisfy his urge to move about. He supposed that it came naturally, but he hadn't always been like that. On Riding Mountain, things had been very different.
        Though, if he had never wandered, he wouldn't have met Cella at all. Many people would never have been in his life period even for the short time they were. His wanderlust was thus associated with both pain and pleasure; he wondered if it was the same for her.
        Luna asked for his report. Unlike with others, he felt he didn't need as much of a shield with her. Something about that night they had met had opened him up in ways that was rare for most to find. Ah, right, he began, clearing his throat gently and shifting a bit in his seat.
        Well.. I mean like I said the floods forced Whitebark Stream to disband. I hadn't been with them for long but.. well a lot happened. This woman convinced me to come along with her there, and I did, and she.. he stopped. He hadn't told her the story before because Macaria had ruined his comfort level. Luna knew only that the pack had been forced out because of flooding, but there was a lot more there. She died, he looked down. He felt heat come to his cheeks and his eyes felt like they were on fire, but he refused to cry in front of her.
        And this band of rogues that's somewhere in the Sunspires were terrorizing us.. and everything was a mess. And then the floods. And now I guess I'm just alone again, he finished. Taikon looked up at her, feeling strange. His eyes felt watery. He hadn't actually told anyone what had happened. His life had been a train wreck. The floods and their aftermath were just the muddy paint on top of it.
October 01, 2020, 09:44 AM
Lunaria
Firefly Glen
Eta
Lunaria lent an ear towards Taikon in order to hear a story she was perhaps too curious about. Could anyone blame her though? How else was she supposed to know how Taikon came out of the dulege in one piece? 

His story begins with a pack named Whitebark Stream, the one he'd told her about not too long ago. Though its floods would unfortunately cause it to disband just as quickly as Taikon joined. The pale sire would also mention a woman who convinced him to join the pack with her — and how she is gone too. Luna couldn't help but assume it was caused by the flooding as well.

Something noticeably changed in Taikon's demenor at the mention of that she-wolf's death. The face that he made when looking down almost made it seem that the sire was holding his emotions back — which made Lunaria's brows forrow in worry. 

Her freind had been through a lot from what she could tell. Finding a new home and a trusted partner, only to have both snatched away from you and thrown into the same pit of solitude you started out with. And the look Taikon gave her when he finished talking, well, it nearly broke the she-wolf's heart. 

"Don't bother trying to hide it from me, Tai. I know pain when I see it." Luna told firmly with a huff, scooting closer beside him and gently tucking her cranium underneath his chin. Taikon said he was alone, though right now wasn't a time where he should be alone. In her eyes, Taikon needed to be held closely and told that everything was gonna be okay; and as long as she was here beside him, she wanted to be the one to do that. "And holding it in won't make that pain heal any faster. If you're going to cry, then let it out..."

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October 02, 2020, 11:28 PM
Taikon
Lone Wolves

        "Tai," he heard from her soft lips. The name froze his heartbeat, if only for a moment.
        It had been a very long time since anyone had called him that. A lifetime away, he remembered that name from his childhood. Later, it had been another who had spoken it. The prince was paralyzed with an emotion he could not place. Memory seemed to plague him and flush his cheeks with a strange and uncomfortable heat.
        He could feel her warmth beneath his chin. He felt alien. She was so natural, so present, so there. He was a world away, a shell of the person who had just recounted his travels to her. Lunaria. Such a lovely, wonderful soul to try to restore the broken prince to anything normal. She was too good for anything he deserved.
        The prince shuddered at this touch. It felt foreign. Strange. Aphrodite had tried to comfort him this way before, but she had been charged with a certain sexuality that made him uncomfortable. He didn't trust touch. He didn't know what to do with it.
        "If you're going to cry, then let it out..." The toxic part of him wanted to throw her aside, to scream at her that he didn't need to cry, that he didn't need her. An anger welled up inside of him. A fury. For the briefest moment, he hated her for doing this to him. How could she? What kind of person would want to see a friend in pain?
        Was this pain?
        I... You... Words would not come. He remained still for a moment, his breathing slowing to a forced, hard, heaving.
        And then he let go of the breath. With it came bizarre, angry, frightened, thick tears. He hated himself for having them. But as they came, something changed; the prince pushed closer to her who was willing to hear him and see him. He let her hold him as he pressed against her. He did not, would not, sob, but the tears came. For the first time since he had relayed Aphrodite's death to Artyom, he let them.
October 14, 2020, 10:15 PM
Lunaria
Firefly Glen
Eta
*Casually changes obnoxious font*

A moment of silence came after she moved under his chin, followed by broken words she couldn't quite make out. Luna expected him to at least be angry with her for trying to pry -- trying to force emotions out of him that might've put anyone in an uncomfortable position. Her intentions for doing this were unclear, even for herself, but the small raven knew one thing: Taikon was holding something back that caused a pain visible to her glassy eyes. It reflected in a way that made Luna's chest burst with a wave of longing sadness.

Then, it came. A wet sensation, brushing softly against the top of her head when Tai moved closer. 

'Tears' she thought.

A sigh of relief left her parted lips, then another pause. Lunaria couldn't help but stop to think she was selfish for doing this -- for causing this. Was she too forceful about what was truly going on with her golden-eyed friend? Should she have asked in the first place? A part of her thought that if she hadn't brought it up, then maybe he wouldn't be hurting right now. but.....

"I'm sorry..." was all Luna managed to muster. 'Sorry for the shitstorm you had to deal with. Sorry your companion is no longer here with you. Sorry that I made you cry' "I....I just couldn't see you like this without saying something Tai. I'm sorry..." 'Sorry I wasn't there by your side when everything seemed to be falling apart.'

A few minutes pass by before the small raven slowly lifted her head to face Taikon, using a paw to wipe the stray tears from the side of his face. Funny enough, his own tears caused her eyes to water as well, but she closed her lids and managed to force them back. Questions of his wellbeing after all this happened came into the picture, overly concerned for Taikon.   "Where....where had you been all this time? Where did you sleep? What did you eat? Did...."  She wanted to ask if he came looking for her after all this; why else would they run into each other by that waterway? Though, thinking about it, that encounter was probably just by coincidence -- one conversation by the cliff probably didn't have the same emotional impact on him as it did on Luna. And what right did she have wanting Taikon to come to her when she was traveling beside another? 

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October 17, 2020, 02:04 AM
Taikon
Lone Wolves

I didn't mind it :) Monospace fonts have a special place in my heart
        Luna made her apologies through his tears, but he paid it no mind. Every time she spoke, he felt the vibration of her voice clearly against him. The raven-furred woman created a form of safety for him that he wasn't used to. The more she spoke, the more he pushed closer to her.
        From afar, they may have even looked as lovers. His heart, he knew, was broken. Perhaps it had been since even before Aphrodite. He found himself grasping at the affection that his beautiful friend offered him, taking it like a sickly boy might take a piece of bread given. Like such a boy, he did not know when he might be able to feel such vulnerability again, and so he fell into it.
        Questions came. He exhaled deeply at least twice before answering any of them, still struggling to form words. I'm.. okay, he said, though Taikon was unsure if he was convincing her or him. The way she spoke his name, his seen name, it broke down any remaining barriers he may have had. Remember, at last, he pulled back from her and smiled with a silent "hehh", I'm a loner like you. I have been for a long time before Whitebark. It was a friendly reminder that he was in fact capable of taking care of himself.
        Well, in every way except emotionally, apparently.
        The prince sniffed harshly, trying to rid himself of the welling emotions sitting in the form of snot. Things will get better, he said, though he didn't really believe it. He said it mostly to make her feel better. Uhm.. thank you, you know, for just... He paused, sitting back from her, looking at her. Being you. A weak smile.
November 10, 2020, 11:21 PM
Lunaria
Firefly Glen
Eta
Luna did not mind how the situation unfolded, or how strange it might've looked from afar -- the only thing that mattered to her right now was that she was a shoulder to cry on -- the warmth and comfort her pale friend needed. He pushed closer towards her while she spoke and Luna wondered if Tai could even hear her tiny apologies at all, though she pays little mind to it and leaned closer in as well.

"A loner like me, huh? And for a moment I prided that title like it was my own..." A small joke and a quiet, breathy laugh to soothe the mood a bit. When Taikon pulled away to smile at her, her moonstone eyes peered into his own; as if trying to search for any hidden message behind that "I'm okay" of his. The fact that he'd been carrying so much baggage within an otherwise calmed demeanor scared her, and the raven was uncomfortable to admit that she wasn't very convinced with his testimony.

Nevertheless, Luna was already being selfish enough by forcing emotions out of him. It was best not to push further -- maybe ask again when the timing was right. She blinked and looked back to the ground with an itching conflict.

When the sire sat back to face her, her glassy gaze trailed up to him again to hear him speak, tilting her head a bit with a quirked smile at the mention of Luna being...Luna. "Well, I'm just glad me being a thorn in the ass, uhhh, helped, in it's own way." She responded with a faux laugh of menace, like a child who just threw a baseball at ol'man Jenkins window and ran. Though this display of banter held a softness too it -- one with the intentions of making him smile; even by a little bit....

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November 12, 2020, 06:28 PM
Taikon
Lone Wolves

        Taikon took a moment to compose himself, rubbing snot and tears onto his wrist while she made light of their discussion. It made him laugh in that way people do when they're about to break down again. His eyes were glimmering, watery with the pain that had long been welling up within him. It felt, strangely, good to let go to her. He was so rarely able to do it.
        He felt rather embarrassed. Like a child that doesn't quite know the rules, he felt himself be unsure at this ability to feel in front of another. It made sense in front of Artyom right after Aphrodite had died. Though the other was unable to comfort him, grief was one of those things you didn't fuck with.
        You're definitely a thorn in the ass, he laughed, though it clearly wasn't true. Always making me feel things and shit, you're the worst! Taikon joked, lifting one of his back paws to scratch at his ear casually.
        A moment passed, and he followed up on a more serious note. But, do you think you'll ever... you know, like, settle somewhere? Like I thought I was a wanderer too and I am but.. I don't know, he said. His words were raw, a clear train of thought. It was true, though. Before Whitebark, he had always assumed that he would live on his own indefinitely. Now, he strangely craved the company of others and being part of something.
November 15, 2020, 11:45 AM
Lunaria
Firefly Glen
Eta
"Then a 'Thorn in the ass' I shall continue to be!" Lunaria proclaimed triumphantly, laughing maniacally while thumping her tail against the ground. It may or may not have been false, but one thing was for sure; If it meant seeing Taikon smile, she'll gladly push those buttons again. For him? Anytime.

It didn't take long before the atmosphere changed a little, and the two of them soon went towards a more serious topic of discussion; packs. In all honesty, it never really occurred to the huntress that she'd need to join a pack sooner or later -- but now that he brings it up, he had a fair point. When Macaria asked Luna to join her in her travels, that suppressed loneliness she felt after leaving her family began disappearing. There was finally someone to talk to and hunt with again. Something the femora didn't know she'd miss... 

She turned to look back up at Tai, offering a smile that held a vague hint of sadness to it. "You know...I never really thought about it until now...Ever since leaving my family behind in EaglePeak, I didn't think it would make a difference since they wouldn't be by my side. If I'm in a pack or not..." Leaving --- and bidding Solarus and Terraka farewell beforehand -- all of it suddenly came back to hit her in the face. Lunaria was confident that she'd do just fine by herself and yet...why did it suddenly make her feel lonely? Now of all times?

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November 16, 2020, 01:32 PM
Taikon
Lone Wolves

        Luna spoke of EaglePeak, the pack she had left behind. Like Luna, Taikon had also left several siblings at his birth pack. His younger siblings surely had risen up in his absence, since he had been the heir to the throne. He wondered if they were now complicit in the happenings in the Kingdom just as he had been. Taikon guessed that what had had happened to him had either been publicly spread on purpose to discourage such behaviour, or it had been hidden in secrecy. Perhaps his mother had used him as a symbol of what made the rebels dangerous, blaming his absence on the rebellion.
        Perhaps Luna would be the sort to eventually start her own pack. She was young enough that he imagined she would be like other women. She would eventually want to find a mate and have children. It was a standard way of life that she qualified for, but he did not.
        Tai didn't voice this to her. Women were often sensitive about such things, and while he knew she could take it, he didn't want to upset her. He sniffed, clearly the last of the snot from his nose. Some things are easier in a pack, he said gently. And others are harder, his voice was soft. He recalled what Takiyok had told him what felt like forever ago. She wanted to leave, but didn't feel she could. Taikon had found some solace in Whitebark, but when they left, things got even harder than they were before he had come to them in the first place.
November 22, 2020, 04:43 PM
Lunaria
Firefly Glen
Eta
Some things were easier in a pack, and others harder; that was something she was able to understand quite well. "I used to think being a dispersal would grant me happiness, by proving to myself that I'm capable of being independent and running away from all the crazy elders who scolded me for not believing in their gods....not that it was something I necessarily missed...." seriously though, there was not a day that went by where Luna wasn't thankful that religion wasn't being shoved down her throat. "Though, suprise suprise, I'm actually afraid of the new people I have yet to meet if I do join a pack. That would mean letting people into my heart as family and in the beginning, those people where my brother and sister. What if there's....no one like that for me after joining one?" Maybe Lunaria's avoidance towards packs was just the fear she had of being held down into an undesirable fate.

Luna took a moment to think about what what her future would possibly look like; would she have a traditional lifestyle? With a mate and all? Her thoughts first trailed towards meeting Huā; the pretty Empress from the shores she'd walked on when arriving to the Teekons. They'd only met once, and she'd be gullible to think no one was already trying to court her, so the thought was pushed aside. Then, her attention drifted to Taikon; who she also met at the coast. While a few feelings did fester during their time, him and her developed a good freindship that the raven didn't wish to ruin. Besides, did she really want relationship problems her first couple of months at the Teekons? Probably best to keep her hormones under control for now...

With an exasperated sigh, the huntress decended backwards and flopped onto her back. "Life was so much easier when I was annoying my brother, you know?" She joked dryly, though still with a hint of sadness from those nostalgic family moments she cherished so much. Her paw ran slowly up her chest to caress the scar that lied there -- even if her mountain home was now gone, at least this mark was still here to remind Luna that her days as a huntress weren't numbered yet. Maybe if she considered this pack idea, then running with a hunting party like old times would become a thing again. The idea brought a warm smile to her face.

Turning her head to peer at the now sideways veiw of Taikon, she then redirected the question to him: "Is there a pack you plan on joining, Tai?"

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November 23, 2020, 02:15 AM
Taikon
Lone Wolves

        Taikon couldn't help but feel her age a bit here. It was more clear than ever, not that it was a bad thing, that Luna was very much a dispersal wolf. She spoke of her home pack and all sorts of infos about her being scolded and of the old gods of her birth pack and then, then she let loose that in fact she felt rather fearful of new potential packmates. Perhaps other people in general had Luna nervous.
        Luna.. He answered slowly, but his friend went on.
        She went on after a moment, and, adorably, flopped onto her back. Life was so much easier when I was annoying my brother, you know?
        He shrugged. He thought briefly of his sisters. Then he started to feel angry, so he stopped thinking about them. It made him sad. Angry. Unhappy. He breathed in a sigh and expressed it quickly so that she wouldn't know. This was about her, not him. She was very cute on her back, vulnerable, wonderful, in her way.
        Though he might have indulged himself to touch her while she was in that vulnerable position, it didn't feel like she wanted him to. To be honest, even if she had, he probably wouldn't have known what to do. So instead, he just answered the question, settling in on his side in response to her very open body.
        No, he said. I imagine I'll be on my own this winter like last, he said, gently, knowing that she might view it as bad. He didn't see it that way. He did see her. And she was beautiful, and he didn't know how to tell her so without her having the wrong idea. So, he stayed silent.
November 25, 2020, 11:01 AM
Lunaria
Firefly Glen
Eta
Taikon moved as well and opted to lie on his side while Luna faced the sky. She turned her head to look at him with a smile and couldn't help but feel happy that he was there. Happy that he was willing to listen to her ramblings despite how trivial the topics might've been. A small part of her wished the two of them could stay like this for a while, but she knew it was not long before they went their separate ways again. So, it was best to savor this moment while it lasted.

The smile she had was quick to turn into a small frown when the golden-eyed sire explained how he'd be on his own this winter -- so calmly, so casually as if the words he just spewd were nothing. Though Lunaria was quick to respond rather impulsively; "Taikon.......If you die this winter, I'm going to kill you....." Her words made little to no sense when taken literally, but to Luna, they were perfect in describing what she was trying to say (emphasis on "To Luna"). Strangely enough, the anger that you'd expect to show up after words like that were spoken never appeared -- it wasn't even heard in the dame's voice when saying it. The only emotions that could be seen in her eyes and heard in her voice, was how hurt she was that he'd even consider such an option as his first choice.

Lunaria let out a puff of air as she rolled from her back and over to him, closing the distance and eventually landing on her side to face the he-wolf. Screw personal space. Therapy time. "You say you'll be on your own, but.....is that what you really want Tai?" She asked with furrowed brows, awaiting whatever answer that he might give her. He told her that he'd been a loner for the majority of his life, used to a lot of the things she'd been through during her time as one. Still that didn't mean there wasn't room for change -- that he had to continue living in solitude during times where solitude wasn't suitable.  "Or, do you think its the only option you have?"

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November 26, 2020, 02:21 AM
Taikon
Lone Wolves

        There was a moment that passed where everything felt good. That raw beauty in her, that smile, it made him feel good and like he might be doing something right for a change. For a moment, he wondered why it was always women he ended up befriending in this way. It was always women who he could talk to, share things with, be affectionate toward. It didn't really make sense to him why this was a female-pull and why he hadn't been able to have similar interactions with people like Dante or Spook. Well, maybe Spook made sense.
        Then she told him if he died, she'd kill him, and he laughed, chuckling and nodding his head as he did so. There was true mirth in his eyes. He knew what she meant. He didn't bother to reassure her that he wouldn't die. It seemed unlikely, given what he had been through, that one winter was going to be the thing that killed him. Still, he also had respect for the elements and nature, and he knew that not having a pack made his survival a gamble at best.
        Luna rolled to her side, and for a second, Taikon's eyes met hers. They were luminous. Like a rare, mysterious magic hidden away in some ancient forest, her gaze was swimming with old, raw, frightening splendor. He glanced away at her chest instead, respectfully. He half-shook his head, unable to do so fully because his face was against the ground. No, it isn't, he admitted, on either count.
        He knew that he had some options. He knew being alone wasn't what he wanted. He also was fairly certain that his options were probably also not what he wanted. Seelie Court. They are over in the Hush Willows on the other side of this mountain. They offered me a place there, but I turned it down. I just had this feeling I wouldn't fit in right there, he said, describing it with as little context as possible. The whole thing had seemed strange to him.
        Being alone is fine for now. I'll figure something out, he said, smiling thin and unconvincingly. He knew that finding a pack that suited him before winter was unlikely. He was in no hurry to join some random group of wolves when he didn't really trust anyone. But he thought of Takiyok. He wondered how she was doing.
December 03, 2020, 09:44 AM
Lunaria
Firefly Glen
Eta
She listens to him talking about a pack name Seelie Court; something she'd never heard of at all. Luna was aware of how congested the packs were up in those mountains, although the raven never really took the time to learn the names of each and every one of them. Or, anything at all about them for that matter. The affairs of packs and what they did wasn't something that intrigued her more than it bored her...

Still, this was not about the sleep-inducing topic that was pack affairs, this was about Taikon.

He continued to explain how he was offered a place in the court, but refused to join and moved on. Not the smartest move in terms of survival considering winter's soon-to-be arrival, but an understandable one nonetheless. There's nothing more miserable that joining a pack you don't belong in -- Lunaria probably would've made the same decision. 

Well, now that this Seelie Court business was settled, what was the plan now? He said he wished to figure something out, but how long would that take before winter is just around the corner? 'Where will he reside? How much food would he be eating? Would he be happy?' These were all the factors that Luna was concerned about. "Well, you better figure something out. Because if not, you'll have ME to deal with for the winter." She drawled rather maniacally, but in her usual playful mannerisms "And when your with me, there will not be a day where I won't make you hunt or force you to memorize every star and constellation in the sky. You'll be slaving away under my care." Then she'd turn to him with an expression that might make her seem like she was dead-serious for a second, but like it always did, it soon turn into a fit of warm laughter. "Sure that'll be enough motivation to figure things out, right?"

Back to the more serious topic at hand here -- the huntress would lift her head just slightly to look down at him. "How many others do you know besides me, Tai? I know....you had a freind in Whitebark...." bringing up his old pack -- even the freind that he mentioned earlier. It made her feel shitty, and she momentarily paused to side-glance him as if the check his expression worriedly. With a nervous huff, Luna continued. "But I'm sure you've made other connections along the way, right? Anyone else come to mind?"

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2 minutes ago
Taikon
Lone Wolves

        Oh, how terrible, to have to deal with you, he quipped, though he internally thought about what it would be like to have her beside him for the winter. To be honest, it didn't seem like the worst idea, although he didn't want anything to do with Macaria and had no interest in being part of that. Lunaria and he were similar in that they didn't have much of a direction. They wandered largely where they pleased. It seemed reasonable that they might sync up somehow as a pair of loners.
        When Luna mentioned the word 'slaving,' it triggered some extremely unpleasant memories in him. He tried to ignore her language, feigning a smile. But he couldn't help but recall Cella and her family. Enslaved under the rule of his mother, they had suffered immensely. Luna laughed in the joking, warm way she always did. They had joked about a lot of things, like murder, that should probably have bothered him just as much.
        But he remembered. The prince of nothing remembered the subjugation of dozens of people who had been persecuted and forced into labour.
        He laughed weakly, but didn't respond to her the way he might normally have.
        Thankfully, she followed by asking him about something else. Aphrodite was mentioned briefly, but the tears had brought him past his sorrow for her, and he merely nodded sombrely. Not very many, to be honest, he said. Most of the people he ran into were people he never saw again. He had had lots of positive experiences with people he'd really liked, but they had vanished from his life. Kiyoshi was one such example. Tai feared that the boy might have died or been displaced after the flooding. There was a woman; she lives near here on one of the mountains. Her name's Takiyok. There was another from there too called Gracious, he said, thinking back to both of them.
        They had each been very pleasant people to be around, but Takiyok had struck a chord. There was something about the way she interacted with him, something that had let his guard come down almost immediately. He wondered how she was doing. Actually, I'm curious how they're both doing, he thought aloud.