Sun Mote Copse Take Yourself Home part.II
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#1
All Welcome 

SETTING: At the border of Firebirds
Weather: Overcast
cool
Midday
TERRITORY: Firebirds

TAGS: @Cenric @Niamh
Second part to this thread!

The pale boy skips along the inner territory giggling and hopping among the leaves and bugs while Cenric trails behind him a few paces. Primrose has led them both to the heavily marked borders, outside the home of the chattering, firey birds. He had urged the brown coat to follow him inwards, but the male had been against it, saying something about courtesy that the boy didn't fully understand.

"Just you wait, King Cenric! My family is going to love you, just you see. We can all be friends and live happily as neighbors~" he vocalizes gleefully before letting out a flowery howl that waves much like a song instead of just a normal yell.
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#2
The boy led Cenric to his home with ease (much to his surprise). It’s a forest of few trees, much different from the dense woods the Kingslend wolves resided in. Sunlight had no trouble piercing through the thin canopy. Their borders were heavily marked. Territorial folk, he thought. He was surprised Primrose suggested crossing it. Of course Cenric declined. He couldn’t afford to rustle anyone’s feathers.

The King sat silently as the boy howled for his family, and only spoke once he was finished. I hope you’re right, Primrose. His family had already agitated this group. It was his job to clean their mess.
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"That boy," She hummed to herself tunelessly, a proud smile softening her features. She chuckled, having noted the slight but intentional waver of vibrato in her son's panflute howl, impressed with how he endeavoured- and succeeded- in making just about everything he did so beautiful. She was certain it wasn't simply her natural bias leading her to believe such things- though she did have a tendency to believe that her children (from this year, at least) could do no wrong. 

However, she might rescind that thought as she found herself staring through the trees to take note of the stranger who strode alongside her peach lovebird of a son. While the male bore the scent of the other Kingslend wolves, she was relieved to note that she did not recognize him as being one of the ones she'd met in the Grove- as they had all failed to impress her. Save for the lad with the beige ruff, but his attitude had been enough to sour any attraction she'd temporarily felt for him. This male had a demure look to his gaze, which- unlike several of his packmates- wasn't the same, fiery hue of poppy red- but instead a sagacious orange. 

In his presence, she noted, her son looked as fit as a fiddle, flawlessly spritelike as per usual, so she forced herself not to jump to the conclusion that simply because he was of Kingslend that he intended harm. Still, she bristled as she approached with a stiff, brisk walk and a sharpness to her gaze that was tempered only when she cast a glance toward her son. She was wary of making any sudden movements, lest the stranger have the motivation to take advantage of his proximity to the youngster to make a plea for power. She could feel something like a crackle of electricity course through her veins as she sought to keep her paranoia and over-protectiveness at bay; a mammoth-sized effort, but one she would willingly oblige in order to avoid traumatizing her son. 

"Prim," She crooned softly, approaching her child first- and intentionally yet gracefully placing herself at an angle so that she could intercept Cenric should he move one inch closer to her son. Her piercing gaze lifted to the masked male, a silent warning in the tighness of her lips. She paused, as she composed herself. This wasn't the Plateau. This was the Copse. They were civil with strangers. Part of her longed for the simplicity of barreling toward all strangers and chasing them out without asking questions; but she could play nice and obey the rules here. She was willing to give the stranger one chance.

"I've already met the King of Kingsland," She said, her voice low and even. "So I'm assuming you are its Queen," She said, and licked her lips.
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By the time his mother arrived Prim had been stretched out within the grass, happily playing with the flowers and cooing at them with his own songs while excitedly looking back at Cenric every now and again, hoping— praying for some sort of praise or attention from his newly found idol.

Perking to the sound of his mother calling him, the boy popped his head up above the grass to stare at her with a warm brown gaze. "Mama!" he welcomes, pouncing upwards to meet her in a fury of nuzzles at her legs before prancing around her in circles. Being just a boy, he was unaware of the underlying feelings his mother harbored towards the Kingsland man, but upon hearing the last of her words he looked up with wide eyes and a gasp.

"Mama!" He exclaimed once more. "No! He's a king too!" Prim thought it was a little weird that his mother would call a man a queen, but maybe she was just confused as he often was and that was okay! "They have two kings, isn't that exciting? Oh! And... and... AND!! I asked if they were inbred but Cenric said no and apparently that's a sin. Did you know that is a   sin?  Also this is Cenric, he's my new friend!"
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The noise Primrose made turned to white noise as it hit the King’s ears. He was focused on their surrounding; eyes scanned the trees for a mother, father, or any underling. The static turns back to the forest ambiance when he picked up approaching footsteps. In comes a golden woman. 

Her movements were stiff yet swift. She shot daggers at the Déorwine before her gaze went soft for her son. She wasn’t happy about his presence, and that was proven even more by the way she wedged herself between him and Primrose. She’s protective, or she still held anger for the wolves of Kingslend. Maybe both. He wouldn’t be surprised.

Finally, she addressed him as a Queen. A dry chuckle rose from his throat. Cenric would have corrected her, but the boy spoke for him. Not only that, but the boy introduced him and informed her about their brief lesson.

Cenric Déorwine. A pleasure. He gave her a greeting nod. The meeting didn’t go well, I take it?.
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Indecision was not something that Niamh was comfortable with; it fit her like a cloak lined with thorns, making her feel trapped within its agitating prickle. Wrestling between the instinct to coddle and preen her precious son and strangle the irritated Kingslend wolf, Niamh felt pinned and unable to act as she might normally act when relying only upon instinct- which was where she felt most comfortable. Her instincts drove her mad with the need to shun and herd the man and his elklore far away from her territory, but at the same time she felt the gentling and cooling effects of her son's virtuous innocence. And even knowing the feeling of pain, cold and loss her son remained evergreen in his optimism. 

Few others could correct Niamh without ruffling her feathers in the very least; the golden harpy was a proud creature who believed herself above most others, and found condescension infuriating. But an amendment from Primrose was to be enlightened, not scolded. 

Also an indignant creature who refused to fault herself, she did not mind hearing Primrose repeat the word 'inbred,' though her eyes flicked to Cenric to see if he was watching her for her reaction. She stood, everlasting, in solidarity with her son and saw no flaw in hearing him repeat words she had spoken though she figured that others might not feel the same way. Given the fact that Primrose was from her second litter, she'd learned long ago to let go of any attempt at controlling a child's vocabulary, and the colourful profanity they might've gleaned from her or any other wolves. He didn't comment on Primrose's discoveries; obviously, they'd had quite the conversation about incest. That, too, made her uncomfortable. If he was willing to talk about incest with someone else's child, what else had they talked about?

"You're very right, darling, it is a sin." She murmured lovingly. Her gaze lifted to land with a sort of levity upon Cenric, as though to say and if you are guilty, you will suffer for it. Primrose's presence relaxed her a bit, enough to receive Cenric's introduction with enough dignity to deign it fit to give him a nod in return. "Niamh Redhawk-Blackthorn, Regent." As it certainly wasn't a pleasure. She lifted her chin and cleared her throat before responding to what was obviously the elephant in the room. 

"This is a meeting." She stated. "Being surrounded in our own hunting grounds by migrating strangers, baring their fangs and snarling at my son and I? I'd call that an ambush." She flicked her tailtip. "So you'll have to forgive me for being...Tense." She said.
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The boy eventually settles down, sitting between the man and his mother, his gentle brown gaze flicking between the two in hopes that the meeting doesnt go sour and they get along. He wishes they would. He really, REALLY wants to see Cenric more and make friends with the weird deer wolves!

"Ambush?" He echoes alongside his mother, not quite knowing the word.
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#8
Niamh Redhawk-Blackthorn; another foreign name piled upon many he’d picked up over the course of these few months. Unlike all those names, this one would not recede into his mind. Her and her family would be neighbors after all. Time will tell whether they’d be pleasant or nasty.

The relationship between the two groups was beginning to sour already. It wasn’t a meeting, she corrected, but an ambush. He sighed as a disappointed father would.

Allow me to apologize for my family’s behavior. They can get a bit aggressive with strangers. A handful of names came to mind, Calhoun most notably. He prayed to god they she didn’t have a run in with his cousin. Unlike Cenric, he didn’t know when to keep his judgements to himself. I’ll speak with them.

So, they were on your hunting grounds? Where are those?
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It would seem that out of all the déorwine wolves, this one would shoulder the responsibility for his packmates and he did so with a heavy sigh. He seemed slightly reluctant- she felt certain that this was not the first time he had had to act as peacekeeper, and given how tempestuous a few of his packmates were, she began to believe that perhaps he was tiring of having to play that role. It showed that there was a fracture within the pack- she'd noticed it when she'd first been wpoken to by the two females, who had remained fairly respectful- until the men had arrived. Then everything had become more hostile. Perhaps she'd been wrong before- maybe what Calhoun had meant about 'your kind' hadn't been denoting the colour of her fur at all, but the fact that she was a woman. Their lead female called herself a 'king,' after all. Perhaps these wolves weren't simply inbred and racist- perhaps they were sexist too. 

"That's kind of you, Cenric," She said, "Normally, I wouldn't accept an apology unless it was straight from them, but I'm not particularly keen to see any of their shadows mark my borders right now. You understand." To surround a stranger and interrogate them was one thing. But to surround and intimidate a mother with her young son? Barbaric. She hadn't distinctively accepted his apology or forgiven his packmates, choosing to allow that to remain ambiguous- so long as he got the point that part of apologizing meant keeping his hounds away from her home. 

Primrose had settled between them, comfortable with the male's presence. And she was willing to allow him to remain there- though the talk might get a bit boring- so long as Cenric remained as courteous as he had been thus far. 

When he asked about the hunting grounds, though, she was happy to be more specific. "You've settled in the Forest beyond the mountain, yes?" She asked. She'd heard their claiming howl, and had watched the elk pass over the ridge in that direction. She was making a hefty assumption and hoped that she was right- if nothing else, then to prove her intelligence. "Our hunting grounds lie in between this copse and the glade at the foot of that mountain." She said. "You pack will find plenty to hunt so long as they remain on the other side of that mountain." She said. "But another matter, I suppose, is the elk themselves," She said, flicking her ears frward; she did not want a sermon, but she did want him to explain what the elk would mean to them- knowing their neighbours viewed them as prey.
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feel free to skip prim for a few rounds!

While his mother and the king continued to converse, the pale boy was rapidly falling asleep with the boring adult talk, his eyes too heavy to hold open, head too thick to keep upright. Slumping against his mother, Primrose let out a big yawn before falling fast asleep the rock that was Niamh.
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The apology wasn’t accepted exactly—Cenric had taken note of her wording—but it wasn’t dismissed either. Her answer is satisfactory, albeit ambiguous. As long he kept tempers at bay, things would be fine for the time being.

The golden woman went on about their hunting grounds. She guessed there whereabouts first, to which he replied with a nod and a hum. Their prey were past the mountain, Niamh stated, and a straight path leading to their domain. It’s easily avoidable, considering they had miles of unclaimed land on their own side. Thank you for the information. You won’t need to worry about us hunting on your lands. He’d have to let the family know as soon as he could. The last thing they needed was more conflict.

His eyes drifted down to Primrose for a brief moment, who had fallen asleep. Conversations regarding pack business was a child’s lullaby, Cenric thought. Perhaps that was his que to leave and let the mother tuck her boy to sleep, but the discussion wasn’t over just yet. Niamh asked about the elk. An unexpected question indeed.

His gaze returned to the woman. We only hunt the cows and their young, he started, The bulls are a sacred symbol to us. They bore the antlers, a sign of the High Elk.
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Niamh felt the gentle slump of her child's weight against her shoulder and looked down to see his soft eyes flutter closed as he breathed a contented sigh and relaxed as he drifted off. He was as gentle and soft as a feather, though she noticed as he leaned against her that he was not as weightless as he had once been. Her baby boy was growing. 

Her gaze lifted to Cenric, who seemed to take her warning with some amount of sincerity, and offered a sort of assurance that fell deftly short of its mark. "I'll hold you to that," She said. Whether the elk-worshipping wolves would remain on their side of the mountain, and avoid hunting in their grounds was yet to be seen- but at least she was speaking with someone she assumed had some authority within the pack. Then again- the pack seemed to have some some issues with regards to dissenting opinions, as she recalled how some had merited a bit of tempering by their calmer packmates. 

She shifted her weight slightly so that she could allow Prim a bit more comfort, and smoothed the fur along his brow, one ear turned toward Cenric as he spoke of their elk once more. "I see," She said. "You're welcome to your own practices," She said, "So long as you do not expect us to extend the same mercy." She said. After all- should the occasion rise for them to fell a bull elk, she would not have her hunters holding back from the opportunity- whether or not their new neighbours viewed it as an act of heresy. "There's one other thing I want to ask you about," She admitted, as Niamh was a wolf with a mind like a steel trap. She did not forget or forgive easily.
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She treated her son with care, even when a stranger stood at her borders. Her affections—some more subtle than others—did not go unnoticed. Cenric wondered how this meeting would have gone had Primrose not been present. He was like an anchor keeping the mother at bay.

He found her willingness to hunt down a divine symbol to be disturbing, but there’s little he could or was willing to do about it. There were wolves in this world that would never fathom the power of the elk. They had his pity. Of course.

There was one other question on her mind. And what is that?
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She was pacified knowing that Cenric would accept the fact that as wolves, the Firebirds would consider any and all herbivores to be prey, including an animal which these Kingslenders considered to be a deity. She wondered what the other king might have thought, if Celnes would have been so quick to forgive another pack for hunting down their deity. Spitefully, Niamh hoped that the King Celnes would one day pass by to see the Firebirds fell a mighty elk- simply to prove the fact that they were mortal, edible, and delicious...Not a deity at all. At least, not in her eyes. And while she asked that they respect the Firebirds practices of hunting elk, she wasn't exactly willing to extend them much respect for their religion in turn. Pitiful and petty she was, and without a hint of remorse. 

"One of your comrades- sour looking fellow, brown fur....Like most of you..." Was that a question? It might've been. "Also, red eyes....Like most of you," Now she definitely intended to hint she'd noticed a trend in their appearances, without directly addressing it. She offered those details both to identify Calhoun, who she did not know by name, and to offer a partial explanation for having called the Déorwines inbred. "...Said something about us as being a 'kind.' 'One of your kind,' was what he said." She said, in an uncharacteristic bout of actually repeating, verbatim, something she'd been told without warping it to suit her narrative. "And in a fairly...judgemental way. Something in the way your packmates- all of them- looked at us," She said, looking down at her perfect, beautiful son for a moment. Somehow, they'd looked at him and they'd seen flaws. They'd looked at her and had seen flaws- and she was "I may not be perfect- but my son is, and I'll be damned if I let anyone look at him that way again. We're all wolves, afterall. But what did he mean by 'your kind'?" She asked, narrowing her gaze at him, determined to pinch some sort of answer out of him.
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Her vague description wasn’t very helpful. Most of the family had brown pelts and red eyes, as she pointed out. Twice. Why had she done that? The thought was fleeting, for he came to a realization as soon as she mentioned him saying your kind.

The reason Calhoun said this was simple really; she was gold, and her offspring was bleached. They’re not completely cursed—not stripped of their colors—but they were not blessed with the High Elk’s colors either.

Of course he’d tell her none of this. That would be rude.

Most of the wolves in our family had only been around one another their whole lives. We were forced out of our seclusion just recently. He lowered his head as if he were pondering something, then lifted it to meet Niamh’s gaze. They most likely acted that way simply because you do not share our blood. That was the only explanation she’d receive. 

If that’s all you need, I should be heading off.
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She'd been wrong, then; perhaps these wolves weren't obsessed about the fact that they should all have similar features, maybe they weren't looking at her and Prim oddly because they were lighter, warmer tones at all. What Cenric intended for Niamh to absorb and what she actually took from his explanation were two very different things. In explaining that this was a family who spent little time with wolves not belonging to their family, and that they considered their own blood to be most important, she came to conclude one thing. 

These wolves were definitely inbred. 

He'd basically confessed to it- her lip curled slightly in disgust but she was quite looking forward to telling @Towhee and @Phox what he'd just admitted to her. She'd been right! These disgusting Kingslend wolves were inbred and their king admitted it. 

Fortunately, he was a kind soul, and he knew not to overstay his welcome, especially after sharing that sort of news. Niamh knew that it was proper to stand up to see him out, and knew as well that her son might want to wish her friend goodbye- which might also help Cenric depart with a fond memory, rather than whatever feelings he had now, after speaking with her. Before she moved, though, she enunciated one thought, quietly enough so that she hoped not to disturb her son. "Just be aware, Cenric- that if the day comes where we spill each other's blood, you might be surprised to find that yours is no more blue than mine." In other words- she did not want her packmates to be looked down upon by their new neighbours, but treated with civility.

She paused for a moment before she gently nudged Primrose. Her tone, when she spoke to her son, was light and loving. "Come, darling, wake up sweet-pea. Cenric has to go home now, time to say goodbye," She said, standing up slowly so that he couldn't simply slump into her side and deny his companion a farewell, though...Young teenagers could be terribly difficult to wake sometimes.
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Awakened by the gentle nudging of his mother, Primrose drearily blinked and squinted upwards at her in earnest, blinded by the bright light of the day. "Are we..." The boy couldn't help but let out a loud yawn. "Are we going home already?"

He felt a little sad that he couldn't stay and play with Cenric, but mothers word was law and he knew not to go against it.

Standing up, the boy trotted after the man, worming around the large legs and brushing against the odd brown fur with his old pale pelt. "Bye Cenric!" He chirped, "See you soon!"

And with that Primrose bounded back to his mother, following her home with lil jumps and talkative questions of what he had missed.