Sun Mote Copse I've been swimming from the Wallace
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#1
While she'd been hoping to catch a salmon or trout, she had instead spotted a muskrat swimming in the cool, shallow waters beneath the overhang where she'd been draped, waiting to pounce, and had opted to take that as her prize instead. She didn't care much for the taste of muskrat, but they had a nice pelt that was fairly water resistant, so she would make good use of that and use it to line her den. It might become especially useful the following spring, as she looked forward to bringing another litter of puppies into the world. 

So she set about doing what she could to skin the creature, and wondered if she might as well just bring the rest back for the kids to share as a snack. She wasn't skilled at removing pelts from her kills, so she would end up with little other than a small patch, but at least she could say she'd been productive for the day. 

Once the scrap of pelt was left out to dry and the meat stashed near the Rendez-vous site, she made her way back toward the river- but chose to pass by the flooded garden that Eljay and Weejay had once tended to. She was surprised, then, to find that she was not the only one in the area- and spotted the pale, gilded frame of @Fennec rustling through the undergrowth nearby. While she felt very reluctant to do so, she had told Towhee she would apologize to her daughter, so with a roll of her eyes, she chuffed to catch the girl's attention, and tried to make herself look friendly- figuring that is she made herself look cheerful, it might actually impact the way she spoke and acted.
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So far, sticking around Eljay's had been a pretty solid way for Fennec to avoid the Regent.  It wasn't that she was afraid of Niamh; there just wasn't anything she wanted to hear from her, or anything she wanted to say.  That and completely ghosting her made a point, at least as much of one as she wanted to make.  Fennec was nothing if not spiteful.

Today, though, success ended.  She was nosing in the garden, helping to pluck out the dead and rotting so that the new would have space to push through.  It wasn't all that important, but it gave her something to do, and it was kind of fun.  There was something neat about helping something grow.

She didn't hear Niamh until it was too late, and she still thought about bolting.  Instead, her ears turned back towards the woman, but that was the only indication she made that she'd heard.  Annoyed, she continued with her work.
Fenn is blind, and as she's older, will take all of her character insight from tone.  If you are ever uncomfortable with an assumption she makes, please let me know!
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She looked busy- but not so busy that she couldn't even be bothered to greet one of the leaders of the pack. No one was ever that busy when they were simply standing around, doing...Whatever it was that Fennec was doing. Sniffing plants and pulling some out and Niamh, who had no idea which kind of plant was a weed and which was an herb was forced to assume that Fennec could tell the difference. How, though? Why was it, all of a sudden, she was taking instructions from Eljay, and tending to his garden?

A switch of the girl's ears indicated that she'd been noticed, but that was all. It was also an indication of mood, and Niamh rolled her eyes again. Was Towhee not seeing this attitude? Niamh had asked the beige girl's mother if perhaps something was going on in Fennec's life to make her so sour, or if she was merely going through the yearling phase. It wouldn't be long until the young woman inevitably became a hormonal wreck in the Springtime, and Niamh could only hope that they'd have things sorted out by then. 

"Fennec," She said, with a bit more force now. The cheerful expression on her face had already left. She told herself to relax. Had Bronco been the one turning his back to her, and flicking his ears back in annoyance, she would have simply barrelled straight into him to teach him a lesson about impudence. But this wasn't her son- this wasn't her child at all. She tried to soften herself again, giving her shoulders a roll as she closed the gap between them; she was sure Fennec knew by now that there wasn't any point in dashing away from the Regent. She was cornered, and she likely knew it.  "How d'you know which ones're the right ones to pull out?" She asked. Perhaps a bit of a peace offering. "They all smell like plant to me," She said with a soft chuff. She leaned forward to sniff at one, and recoiled. "Ugh, 'cept that one, that one reeks," She said, having discovered a sprig of spearmint that had survived the flood.
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Of course, Niamh didn't just leave.  If this was a peace offering, it was a shit one, Fennec thought as Niamh spoke. Seriously?  

Her mood had soured on the regent to the point where any words that came out of her mouth were going to be twisted and taken badly... and these ones weren't even hard to do that with.  Because again, Niamh was questioning how she could possibly do something so difficult.  With her... yknow.... condition.  Barf.

Fennec lifted her head and turned her stare in Niamh's general direction, not even bothering to hide the disdained annoyance.  These ones smell dead.  I'm blind, but I'm not stupid.  The best part of that one? It was a double jab, because it implied Niamh might be.  

She knew very well that she was playing with fire, and she was embracing that.  Hidden in her eyes was a challenge, intensity clouded over with the cataracts that colored them milk silver.  Give me an excuse.
Fenn is blind, and as she's older, will take all of her character insight from tone.  If you are ever uncomfortable with an assumption she makes, please let me know!
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What Fennec was putting down wasn't set lightly, as one might set holiday silver carefully upon folded, cloth napkins in preparation for a fancy meal. No, this was a teenager taking a hunting knife and jamming it down several inches into a wooden picnic table. Niamh picked up on what she was trying to infer, and something snapped. She felt it snap, and she felt her lips peel back, but she didn't growl. Instead she tilted her head to one side and then the other- both sides crackled loudly. 

"I think you could use a break from flower-picking, Fennec." Her tone insinuated that this wasn't a suggestion, but a thinly veiled command. She was also passive-aggressively belittling Fennec's chosen task. Whatever it was that was bothering her was hanging over her shoulders like a dark cloud and Niamh was going to try and deal with it the way she dealt with things best. "You seem tense. Y'know what fixes that? Sparring." She said. She slid one foot to the side to square her stance- pushing it right over the little sprig of spearmint she'd smelled moments ago, flattening it.
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There we go.  Finally, she dropped the nice act.  Fennec wasn't about to sit there and pretend nothing was wrong.  Subtlety wasn't her style, not when she had something she wanted to say.  And there was a lot she wanted to say.  She just didn't quite know what yet.

Fennec's expression tensed, and she frowned at the insult, though that frown quickly turned into a small smirk.  Anger sometimes brought out the best in her, but only when the other wolf was angry on her level.  She hated imbalance, but here, Niamh wasn't talking down to her.  Not even if her insults were demeaning.  It was different in a way she couldn't explain.

The sharp scent of spearmint clouded her for a second, telling Fennec Niamh was in the garden.  This bitch was going to go off on her AND ruin what little greenery Eljay and Weejay had left? What kind of... oh shit.  She needed to be checked.  Hard.

Fennec stalked back a few paces, so that she was clear of the plants.  Then she circled round, facing Niamh from a distance away, her head up, but her muscles tensed.  Fine.  But you'd better not fucking hold back.

Fennec was no fighter.  She'd sparred and lost a dozen times, and she rarely if ever won.  But she wasn't about to pass up this challenge or let Niamh assume anything.  That was the root of this whole mess, right?  That Niamh didn't respect her.  Either way this was a win for her.. she could take out some aggression, and maybe, just maybe, prove something.
Fenn is blind, and as she's older, will take all of her character insight from tone.  If you are ever uncomfortable with an assumption she makes, please let me know!
Fig is always welcome (as if she has a choice <3)
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This could potentially go completely off the rails. If Fennec shrugged, and simply declined the invitation to spar, Niamh wouldn't have known what to do with herself. Fortunately, something seemed to click, and Fennec stepped up to the plate. Niamh swished her tail from side to side and lowered her head with the eagerness of a hunter readying herself to strike. She didn't know what pleased her more- seeing just how game Fennec was to spar, or the thought that very soon she might be able to pin the kid down and assert her dominance. This looked, to the proud Regent, like it would be a win-win. 

And pausing everything for a moment- she pondered if she should hold back. When she'd sparred with Bronco, without holding back, she'd made him wet himself and run away with his tail tucked. Was that the sort of aggression Fennec wanted? It was what she was asking for, at least; so it was what she would get. 

"Finally," Her expression came with a satisfied sigh and a throaty chuckle. "Someone who's actually fucking worthy of my time." She meant to imply not only Bronco, but the others she'd sparred with, few of whom had asked for her to go full out. Obviously, she would not kill the young woman, but she would give her the satisfaction of knowing that Niamh took her seriously. All compliments aside, and having followed the girl out of the garden patch so that the remaining plants weren't too badly trampled, she snarled, snapping her jaws together once to signal that she was ready- but she wouldn't wait for a response. She wasn't to treat Fennec like she was just in training anymore. Fennec, now, would have to face what might hit her should she ever trespass, or meet a violent trespasser. 

As she no longer felt the obligation to keep Fennec in training mode, she would drop the habit of using heavy pawsteps to make sure that Fennec learned to use her ears to tell where her attacker was coming from. She silently wove her way in one direction, and then another, to gain another inch or two, though those tall, keen ears would be a hefty aid in battle. Niamh was light on her feet, but could never possibly be quiet enough to sneak around Fennec when she was this close to her. Her attack was quiet, contemplated and targeted- and she felt less obligation to rush in and risk missing Fennec altogether knowing the nimble girl might easily side-step. 

With the sudden ferocity of a flash of lightning, Niamh lunged for Fennec's hindquarters with a sudden snarl- but intended the move to be a misdirection. She pivoted, bunching her hindquarters beneath her and dug her claws into the ground to shove herself at the last moment as she veered instead, with jaws wide and snapping, aiming to snap at Fennec's shoulder.
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The instant Fennec shut her mouth, gauntlet thrown, she opened her ears.  By dint of her situation, she'd learned that she had to be a reactionary fighter.  Attempting to attack an opponent who wasn't moving was a crap shoot, and more often than not it left her open.  If she stayed defensive, let them tell on themselves, it went a little better.

Niamh was quiet, but any wolf at speed would find it next to impossible to get near without her hearing.  No hesitating.  A snarl erupted near her hindquarters and she reacted, whirling and snapping for Niamh's face. Instead she caught air and teeth caught her shoulder in turn.

A trick.  The thought flashed only a moment before it was gone, and Fennec jerked sideways, attempting to pull free while simultaneously lunging for Niamh's side.  She couldn't reach her head or nape without lifting her head, and she knew how dumb it would be to expose her throat and chest like that.  So instead she kept low and aimed to hit likewise.
Fenn is blind, and as she's older, will take all of her character insight from tone.  If you are ever uncomfortable with an assumption she makes, please let me know!
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The click of jaws snapping in the air where she might've been, had she not tricked her opponent, was satisfying, but was swiftly followed by the pinch and shear of teeth near her ribs which sliced through her fur and a thin layer of skin. A thrumming growl broke free of her chest, rippling past her exposed fangs as she released her hold on Fennec's thick shoulderfur. With her height and Fennec's aim down near her ribs, she couldn't go for any sort of strangehold- but there were other ways to force an opponent to yield than simply going for their throat.

With a movement deft and swift, she lifted her near forefoot, swiping it out in an attempt to strike Fennec's near front leg out from under her where her knee bended, hoping to knock her off balance as she reached higher. Her jaws parted as wide as she could open them, and she lunged for the tender, thin skin and tight muscle just at the base of her skull.
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Close fights meant less warning, and Fennec had no way to know what was coming.  All she could do was respond.

Niamh's kick took her leg.  Her center of gravity was low, but she'd overbalanced herself by twisting to lunge in.  She fell sideways, landing heavily on her shoulder.  Pain radiated, but she couldn't stay here.  Immediately she rolled and kicked out powerfully with her hind legs and forelegs, hoping to catch Niamh before she could take advantage of the position.  There was no aim, only silent furious desperation.  The momentum would keep her rolling, but she'd need to regain her feet almost immediately, otherwise this spar would be over quick.
Fenn is blind, and as she's older, will take all of her character insight from tone.  If you are ever uncomfortable with an assumption she makes, please let me know!
Fig is always welcome (as if she has a choice <3)
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Niamh knew she would have an advantage, as she could snap and strike at Fennec almost soundlessly as long as she didn't have to shift her footing. She felt the Comrade's shoulder brush against her chest as she went down to the ground, tumbling out of Niamh's reach. Her jaws snapped shut with such force that she felt her head buzz for a second afterwards. It was likely a very good thing she'd missed- a snap like that could potentially have done irreparable damage. 

"Good" She hissed, after one of Fennec's flailing paws smacked her soundly in the jaw. The force would help her to roll away just enough to avoid being immediately pinned, but the Regent was an agile creature, and swooped in like a falcon with salivating jaws ready to snap, now that she had her prey on the ground.
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As Fennec rolled, she managed to get her feet pretty immediately under her.  The ground was flat and clear, which helped, but there was no way she could both level-set and rise before Niamh was upon her.  Somewhere along the line, the blind girl had forgotten this was a spar.  Instinctually, she lifting her shoulders to protect her neck from the worst of it.  Her stomach was protected at least, but Niamh's shot would land, whatever it was. 

Meanwhile, Fennec hunched, tottering with the remaining momentum of her desperate roll.  She snarled with frustration and a slight edge of fear, and her ears slicked back, but she hadn't given up yet.
Fenn is blind, and as she's older, will take all of her character insight from tone.  If you are ever uncomfortable with an assumption she makes, please let me know!
Fig is always welcome (as if she has a choice <3)
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She'd been stolen from conscious decision by anger, during her fight with Bronco. This, however- this she perceived as being a spar to assert dominance and relieve tension and given the fact that she was more skilled than Fennec, she went into it joyfully knowing there was a good chance she would win. Fennec's shoulder protected her arterial vein from being punctured, but Niamh clamped her jaws down on the soft area just below her jawline and once she knew she had a purchase there- she began to squeeze, locking her grip into place so that it would be nearly impossible for Fennec to escape. Movement would be punished with a tightening of her jaws. It was the perfect method, Niamh thought, for teaching a wolf a lesson- as she could freely inflict excruciating pain while risking very little lasting damage.
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Fennec wasn't ready to be done, but there was very little she could do once Niamh caught hold of the base of her neck.  Still, she tried.  As she felt the jaws close, her snarl increased in volume and pitch, and she felt panic flutter in her ribcage.  Fennec had not been in enough real fights to be able to separate as Niamh did... her basest drives were in control now, and they told her she'd die soon if she didn't manage to worm her way out of this.

Fennec jerked her head and pushed with her hind legs, trying to offset the larger wolf's pin and overbalance her.  As the grip tightened, she'd fight harder, likely forcing Niamh to subdue her by completely pinning her before she finally would freeze and accept defeat.

Feel free to pp her at this point! <3
Fenn is blind, and as she's older, will take all of her character insight from tone.  If you are ever uncomfortable with an assumption she makes, please let me know!
Fig is always welcome (as if she has a choice <3)
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Now came the test to see how much pain her Comrade would suffer before she gave in. Others might have realized their inevitable loss as soon as they'd been grabbed by the throat and cried uncle, simply to avoid enduring useless pain. Bronco had gone limp and useless, and had only begun to fight back weakly when she put enough pressure on his windpipe to make him sincerely believe that she was going to kill him...Her intention had been to force him to fight back, to rebel against the pain and to rage against the loss of control-

-the way Fennec did. 

Niamh had to move with the girl when she twisted and bucked, and on several occasions felt the punch and scrape of her paws and claws against her underside when Fennec twisted in such a way that she managed to writhe beneath the blonde. Her snarls thrummed in Niamh's ear, and her jaws hovered very close to her ear, which she kept flattened in order to keep it safe from being bitten or torn off. 

But she waited. Niamh too began to tire and regret the fact that she hadn't managed to grab Fennec's windpipe, to at least cut her air supply short and hasten the end of the spar. The two struggled together, snarling, locked in an embrace that strained the both of them, and heavy breaths made their flushed cheek and jaw dewy with moisture. Whenever she had the right angle, she would lean her lower jaw against Fennec's windpipe, and force the weight of her frame down to put a pinch in her oxygen supply- but would only ever manage to do so for a second or two before Fennec squirmed enough to breathe again. The back and forth continued, though, until Niamh felt Fennec's muscles relax as she wheezed. It was clear, though, that Fennec's spirit hadn't forced her to give in- her body's need for oxygen had. 

She stepped back, panting, and licked her lips. She sat facing Fennec, lest she retaliate, though Niamh doubted she'd have the energy to do so. Only then did she notice the blood that trailed down her ribs, and the long, parallel welts along her underside from Fennec's claws. She huffed, impressed. "Bitch." She snorted, though it would be quite clear from her tone that she intended it as a compliment.
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By the time it was over, if Fennec had vision, it likely would have tunneled.  She finally stopped struggling, going limp against the ground, as it felt like her lungs might burst without more air.  How could they burst from being empty, she thought dimly, but fortunately Niamh chose that moment to let go, and breath whooshed painfully back through her with a low choking noise.

Fennec crouched there and simply breathed for a few moments, feeling her spiked pulse calm as she remembered where she was and what was happening... and that she'd lost.  The last part never failed to frustrate her, no matter how expected it was, no matter how many times it happened.  She actively disliked sparring for one reason and one alone; she hated that feeling of helplessness that always came from being pinned down.  And no matter how hard she'd fought it this time, the outcome had left a poor taste in her mouth.

Not half as big a one as you, she shot back.  But there was none of the venom there had been last time in her voice... just a touch of disappointment.  For as much as she prided herself in the title, she'd known all along that Niamh deserved it more.

It was why her opinion meant so much.

Fennec stood a little unsteadily and took stock.  Her shoulder had a pretty good bite and her neck was a stinging mess, but it likely felt worse than what it was.  Niamh hadn't gone easy on her, but she had minimized the damage pretty well.  If she'd lost control the way Fennec had, this fight would have turned out a very different way.  For the record - all I want from you is to prove you wrong.  Just in case Niamh had some idea in her head that she needed any hurt feelings soothed.  She didn't.  The words were a peace offering back, though.  The fight had given her an excuse to acknowledge Niamh's place without feeling like it was because she was a child, or not worthy of carrying weight of her own.
Fenn is blind, and as she's older, will take all of her character insight from tone.  If you are ever uncomfortable with an assumption she makes, please let me know!
Fig is always welcome (as if she has a choice <3)
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"You're damn right," Niamh chuckled, satisfied with the overall outcome. From what she could tell, Fennec's ire had dissipated at least a little bit, and she felt as though she'd established herself- at least physically, if nothing else- as being superior. Of course, she had a few advantages over Fennec that tipped the odds in her favour, but she didn't care. A win was a win. But Fennec had fought, and had really fought. Had they been equally skilled and matched physically, Niamh would have had to fight for her very life. 

When her opponent rose shakily, Niamh moved toward her with the relaxed prowl of a lazy housecat, but paused when Fennec spoke. She was alarmed then, but only for a moment. "Here. I'll fix you up, you fix me up," She said, almost dismissing Fennec's rare, honest confession for a moment or two as she approached, turning her side toward the pale woman so that she could treat the wound along her ribs.

It was with a casual shrug that she finally responded, her voice quiet but thick with meaning. "You don't need to prove me wrong, Fennec," She said. "You just proved me right." After all- Niamh had never had doubts about the fire in Fennec's soul, or in her abilities or contributions to the pack. Whatever idea it was that Fennec had had about Niamh doubting her was something she hoped to conquer. "I all'us knew you were a badass." She tacked on, to make her point clear.
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Fennec didn't visually acknowledge, but she moved towards Niamh and the scent of blood.  She remembered somewhat getting at least one good hit in, but she hadn't realized she'd actually drawn blood until now.  As Eljay had said, cleaning was the most important part, and this one was easy.  The wound was fresh.  Unlike Fennec's shoulder, it hadn't been rolled in the dirt either.  Which, speaking of... she was going to feel that tomorrow.  

She listened to the compliment and gave a bored Yeah, whatever. as her only real reply.  In truth, she was glad to hear it, though some part of her didn't actually believe Niamh fully.  Sure, a badass, but still not competent.  Dangerous enough to shove off of a stranger rather than let her do the job she wanted to do.  Niamh might say there wasn't anything to prove, but she was wrong, and Fennec was deadset on making everyone see.  Not just her.  She was going to prove any wolf wrong who might look at her and think she had nothing worthwhile to offer them.

Carefully, Fennec began to clean the wound, using touch in much of the same way she had with Towhee.  Since these were fresher, there was no dirt, but the fur was a bit matted.  She would get that cleared away and see if the bleeding stopped.  If not, it might be a good time to try out that moss trick Eljay had told her about.
Fenn is blind, and as she's older, will take all of her character insight from tone.  If you are ever uncomfortable with an assumption she makes, please let me know!
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While occasionally such a reply might merit a snarl or at least a curl of the lip from the surly harpy, coming from Fennec it was almost a compliment. She would take what she could get and with a sniff, she nodded in affirmation. Yeah, whatever indeed. 

It was with gentle knowingness that Fennec tended to her wounds, and Niamh in turn gently combed her teeth through Fennec's fur, pulling some of the dirt free and untangling the fur that had been toussled during their fight. And while she wasn't necessarily the gentlest, she was relatively efficient, having had her own share of wounds to deal with over the course of her life. Fennec's touch was featherlite compared to her own- though she was more considerate of Fennec's potential pain threshold than she was of her own. 

She repositioned herself one point, and found herself flinching from the sore muscles that had been scratched repeatedly by Fennec's earthworn claws. "Jeez," She chuckled softly. "You little shit," Often a term of endearment reserved for her own children, she surprised herself in saying it with reference to Fennec. "I been scratched up by a cougar, but wolf claws almost hurt more despite being blunt."
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Complain a little more, Fennec thought hawkishly, but fortunately her tongue was a little too busy to earn her another spar.  Just because Niamh was in a good mood now didn't mean they weren't on thin ice, and Fennec berudgingly didn't want to upset that. She'd be feeling these for a while and didn't need more, thanks.

Outside of the obligatory annoyance, though, she felt that note of pride flicker a little brighter.  She hadn't just fought... she'd left a mark.  Yeah, she'd... completely freaked out at the end there.  But she'd also never really gone full out like that.  No one had ever let her get to that point; and she'd found, while she hated being pinned, she for some reason hated it less when she forgot.  When panic took over, there was no shame tied to it.  It didn't feel at any point like Niamh had been toying with her, not like others with their loud footsteps and pointed sounds.

Lucky for you I skipped on going to the swamp today, Fennec responded.  Otherwise who knows what would be in them.  The mention of the cat piqued her interest, of course, but she didn't ask about it.  Doubtless the story was that simple... Niamh got her ass kicked by a cougar and kicked its ass harder back.  Simple.

I've got, yknow, stuff to put on them later.  If you need it.  She shrugged, then smirked.  Yknow, if the pain gets to be a little... much.  She'd give herself one, just one.  But only because she was... probably going to snap up some willow herself when she got home.  Pride was one thing, but comfort and sleep were key here.
Fenn is blind, and as she's older, will take all of her character insight from tone.  If you are ever uncomfortable with an assumption she makes, please let me know!
Fig is always welcome (as if she has a choice <3)
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I think this is the last post for me? <3<3<3 These two are GREAT.
The swamp? Niamh's lip curled at the mention, knowing that that would've meant Fennec would've had dirty, smelly swamp goo in her claws had she chosen to go there and Niamh did not particularly want to get that kind of grossness in her fur and skin. She'd more or less finished tending to what wounds she could see, and knew that Fennec would likely be fine- she'd have some small scabs, but nothing too noticeable or likely to get infected. Superficial wounds- but ones she'd earned well. 

She thought she caught a bit of pride, or something like it, in Fennec's voice when she offered something to help with the pain and it made Niamh feel good to know that potentially, Fennec did feel proud of landing some pretty painful hits. "I'll track you down if I need them." She said, though Niamh was also a proud creature, and wouldn't likely admit her pain to the young woman. No, she'd complain to Phox and make him get her food so that she could rest up. That's what mates were for. 

She reached out to lean her temple into Fennec's shoulder for a moment, a motion intended for a kindred spirit that she felt needed little explanation. A show of appreciation, but also respect. Fennec was made of tougher stuff than even Niamh had expected. She pulled back, a few moments later, and stood up. "Well, I'm gonna go find some food, an' have a nap, assumin' that'd be what the doctor would order me to do?" She asked with a gentle laugh. It was probably a good idea for both of them to replenish themselves after expending so much energy during the fight. "I'll see ya 'round. Thanks for the fight, Fen," She said, before she trotted off to go and bother Phox into feeding her.
Pledged
Arcana
I'll never know unless I try
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Ooc — Starrlight
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#22
They are perfect!

Doubt it, she thought silently, but to each their own.  Truthfully they weren't all that different.  If Fennec wasn't the one with the resources, she'd probably balk at asking for them too.  She smirked but didn't respond anything beyond see ya.  

Coming here, she'd figured she'd never forgive Niamh for the slight.  Now, crazy enough, Niamh had wormed her way into the 'affection' section of the pack, a place very few held.  It wasn't like Towhee or Phox or Fig.  More of the position Wraen had vacated - a mentor who she knew respected her.  She wasn't the type to dwell on the 180, but it was a much lighter Fennec who vanished into the opposite direction, likely to go bother her brother into a hunt.
Fenn is blind, and as she's older, will take all of her character insight from tone.  If you are ever uncomfortable with an assumption she makes, please let me know!
Fig is always welcome (as if she has a choice <3)