Nimbus Summit I wish that I could just be brave.
All Welcome  October 17, 2020, 04:36 PM
Zephrine
Kingslend
PPC
for @Niamh!

Zephrine, a budding tracker, ducked around the trees that enshrined the newly formed Kingslend borders as she made her way beyond the outskirts. She made frequent stops to manage her bearings, scratching a particularly distinguishable tree, rolling in a bit of broom, and making sure to keep track of her route so she could make it back home after her adventure.

It was easy enough to spot the small depressions in the mud where deer had tread. She'd spied a graze-line further along and carefully followed it, blending in moderately well among a cluster of hawthorn trees. The forest floor was intermittently piled with ruddy leaves, some having turned a brilliant ochre.

The forest smelled more alive here in the middle of autumn than any other time, she thought, and had it been within her power Zephrine would have frozen the world at this point. As much as she enjoyed the easy months of spring and summer, watching the trees shed their skins would always be her favorite.

She was, admittedly, quite jealous of their ability to do so.

The trees thinned a little, and Zephrine soon found herself upon a northerly leaning hill. From there she could see the ground taper east to a blunt lake, or what she'd call a lake. It was a sweep of blue-green hidden among more forest and she could almost make out the glassy surface as she squinted. Maybe the herd had gone that way.

The scents in the wind told another story, so she made a snap judgement and chose to continue north, finding the air cool and damp as she re-entered a fringe of trees. The trail would take her towards the heel of a small mountain with no cloven prints in sight, but by this point Zephrine was more invested in exploration.
October 17, 2020, 04:46 PM
Niamh
Redhawk Caldera
Regent*
<3

A respect for her own mortality and honour would keep Niamh from travelling much beyond the small summit to the South of the copse- but she'd be damned if curiosity kept her stowed away like a coward. After all, the King had come straight to her borders once; why shouldn't she, too, be permitted to wander in their direction so long as she respected their hunting grounds? On neutral territories, they would have no reason to chance an attack on her, unless they wished to invite a war. From what she'd heard- there was enough of that going on in the North. 

As far as she could tell, the presence of wolves in the South hadn't disrupted the herd's rutting grounds, which was disappointing. She'd hoped that in choosing to inhabit the woods directly alongside the elk, the herbivores would choose to move elsewhere. She hoped they might unintentionally drive the elk herds in her direction- but it didn't appear to be so, as she found no trace of them in the bog. Not that they normally passed that way this time of year, but...She'd had some hope invested in catching them on the move, if they felt the need to escape the new settlement of wolves in their midst. 

She was not surprised when she caught sight of another wolf in the distance- and she was even less surprised to note the earthy hues of her pelt. And at first glance, she almost mistook the creature for a coyote, save for the slightly darker hues of umbra and sienna to her pelt, and the lack of tans and greys. Gawkier than the other Kingslenders she'd met, so she gave pause to wonder if this female was even one of them. She bore traces of other scents- enough to give the quick-to-judge Regent a fairly solid conclusion that this must be a Déorwine. It also gave her the somewhat disgusted fascination and satisfaction of knowing she'd potentially been correct in assuming these wolves were either biased in the choice of looks, or they were inbred. 

Needless, she figured she ought make sure- and test the mettle of this wandering creature nonetheless. "You from Kingslend?" She called across the distance, her sharp gaze watching, waiting for a response.
October 17, 2020, 05:04 PM
Zephrine
Kingslend
PPC
Zephrine felt pierced through by the beauty around her. She was looking at a short-cropped bit of dandelion, wondering if it had been trampled or chewed, when someone called out. At first she didn't recognize the wolf among the trees, linking the gold of their fur to some of the mottled and molting trees. They moved closer and that helped Zephrine pick up on their silhouette, then she was carefully tracking them with her eyes.

It occurred to her that they'd spoken a name - that of her family. Not that surprising for Kingslend to be known around these parts, she thought. Maybe they had settled a while ago and had made quick ties with the locals. It didn't sound like the Deorwine way. Too inclusive.

Did that voice hold a touch of derision? Maybe. Or maybe she was imagining that. Came with the territory.

"Yes, I'm - I'm one of them." Zephrine said. She almost wanted to lie, but the thought did not strike her until after she'd answered. She had stopped her roaming to watch the newcomer and wasn't sure how to proceed. The land had not held many wolf scents - mostly transient and fading trails - so Zephrine doubted this precise piece of land was claimed.

Still, her posture was deferential. "Just moved in a couple days ago, myself. I take it you know the area? Or.. You've met some of my relatives...?" There was no mistaking the nervous energy radiating off of her. Zephrine went quiet then, suddenly aware of the weight of her tongue.
October 20, 2020, 11:13 PM
Niamh
Redhawk Caldera
Regent*
Niamh's ears pricked and her gaze narrowed as soon as she heard an affirmative answer though it intrigued her greatly to have found one of them who was not choking on her pride. No- she was strangled by something, but it seemed to Niamh to be self-deprecation and anxiety, more than pride or ego. How curious it was indeed to find one of their folk out on her own, looking somewhat nervous and isolated. She was new- a straggler, likely. Had she been left behind, or had she simply taken longer to make the journey? Whatever the reason- Niamh got the distinct impression that this young woman was not amongst the inner circle of kingly beasts; this girl might've been one of them, but she appeared to be somewhat of an outcast. Niamh was perhaps too quick to read into the situation, and was still wary that in finding one Kingslender, she might also find many more of them- and while she would have loved to tear a strip into one of them just because she could, she remembered how they had appeared like woodlice writhing under a log the last time she'd been in this area. They were sneaky devils; and she wasn't keen to step willingly on a hornet's nest. 

"I've met them, yes," She said. She wondered if this one would take the news back to the others that she too had met the golden Regent of the Firebirds, and she wondered what they might think. She also had to wonder if this woman had already been warned about the blonde and her band of harpies. Here, close to the mountain, was the buffer zone betwixt them. A neutral zone, if any were to be declared. "My son seems to have taken a shining to your king," She said, in the interest of vanquishing some of the female's nerves. She'd be more useful, for information, if she felt more at ease. For clarification, she paused and added "Cenric." Given the fact that Celnes, too, called herself a king. "I'm Niamh, Regent of the Firebirds; we live just to the North in the copse along the river." She said, studying the female then, and wondering if she might fill in exactly how she fit in amongst the other Déorwines.
October 21, 2020, 01:10 PM
Zephrine
Kingslend
PPC
There was a standoffish quality about the golden woman which put Zephrine a touch on-edge, unsure of what to expect from them. They did admit to having met the Deorwine brood. The mention of Cenric made Zephrine's ears twitch; it wasn't a name she had heard in a long time, and even so, she wasn't close with most of the family that had established here. She wasn't even clear on how many of them had survived to repopulate - something she made a mental note to rectify later.

"I'm Niamh, Regent of the Firebirds," said the woman. By her description the land she claimed was not far, which made her people a direct neighbour - potentially a direct threat - and Zephrine felt a small spike in her anxiety. Based on how the woman held herself she did not want to be overly friendly; it was almost like Zephrine was being tested in silence and judged. She hoped it was just her neuroticism getting in the way again and nothing more.

"Oh - so that's like, a King. You're a King." Keep yourself together, Zephrine. It wasn't every day she encountered other wolves, much less the leadership of a rival pack. That would all change as she properly integrated among New Kingslend of course.

Her tail had begun to sway in a friendly manner, then her nerves got the better of her and it stopped, laying flat at ther hocks. "Its nice to meet you, um -- I hope my family hasn't been too troublesome, they... Have opinions." She knew they could be bastards sometimes about their views, too. Zephrine's face pursed with a flash of slight concern, and she found she could not look at the woman without feeling a sense of embarrassment flushing her cheeks with warmth.
October 21, 2020, 01:49 PM
Niamh
Redhawk Caldera
Regent*
It probably should have been a compliment to be called a King. It implied that Zephrine might automatically give her more respect if she agreed with the meek female's assumption, but her dislike of the Kingslend wolves was too strong for her to overlook the discrepancy with any amount of grace. "No," She enunciated, though she paused. "I'm a leader, yes. But normal packs don't call female wolves 'kings.'" She said, with the sternness of a middle school teacher who has worked with teenagers for far too long to tolerate nonsense from a pupil. "King is the word for a male ruler, and Queen for the female ruler. But in my pack, we use gender-neutral titles, such as Sovereign and Regent." All was spoken as though the Firebirds' method was superior. She failed to realize, of course, that both packs were technically using a leaderserhip title in much the same fashion- using the same word for a leader regardless of their gender- though the Kingslend wolves had chosen to use a word that Niamh already felt was masculine in its origin, which was what made it confusing and incorrect. 

She didn't expect any of her information to change the woman's outlook, though she figured a bit of education couldn't help- if these wolves were as sheltered as she believed them to be. Cenric had admitted that not many of them had spent much time with wolves, or even associated with wolves outside of their family group, so she was led to believe that they'd been somewhat closeted in their upbringing. 

Still- this one was tolerable, and she even saw fit to apologize for her family, and admitted something that made Niamh's brow raise, and a soft smile tugged at the corner of her lips. "Oh, opinionated they certainly are." She said, and then she sat down, as she was quite willing to discuss this topic further, seeing as the young woman seemed open to at least admitting a bit about her family. "I'd like to know a bit more about your pack's history, if you'd care to tell?" She asked.
October 21, 2020, 02:09 PM
Zephrine
Kingslend
PPC
What followed was something Zephrine was accustomed to: mild condescension, immediate correction, and the passably stoic attitude of a strict matronly figure essentially scolding her with a lesson. Her ears slanted back on her head for half a second and then turned attentively towards Niamh again, a wince more than anything, listening raptly as if she were indeed a student - perhaps one that was being subjected to a principal's wrath.

It didn't matter to her what people wanted to be called. She had never thought about it, merely going with the flow of what was taught to her. The barbed tone that Niamh employed made a nervous shudder run down Zephrine's spine but she stood there as firmly as she was able, rooted to the spot as she listened.

"Right, yes - of course," the girl assented with the habitual cadence of someone who was always, somehow, in the wrong. Her voice was muted compared to Niamh's; then the woman was requesting information and Zephrine was quick to deliver, hoping to ease whatever tension (real or imaginary) abounded between them.

"Um. I suppose... What sort of things would you like to know...?" She looked to-and-fro, almost as if the words were winged and she needed to snatch them from the air to fashion them in to knowledge. "Old Kingslend - where we hailed from - was a lot like these woods. My uncles and aunts ran things, at least.. Until the fire." As Zephrine broached the topic of the fire, as the word passed her lips, she felt herself crumbling inward a bit.
October 21, 2020, 08:52 PM
Niamh
Redhawk Caldera
Regent*
While Niamh had met a number of the Kingslend wolves, this one seemed to be the first who was willing to accept that Niamh did not share their beliefs, and she didn't bristle at all when Niamh corrected her about titles. This was encouraging- and if Zephrine had been faking sincerity in order to appease the blonde Regent, she was certainly fooling Niamh. This was the sort of undivided attention and unquestioning obedience that she wished she saw in all wolves she came across. This, she could work with, though she should have known enough that warm clay was just as supple in a master's hands as it was in those of a novice. Zephrine could acquiesce to Niamh's preaching, but then return to Kingslend and be reformed once again by her family members. 

She came from royalty or so it seemed, though not directly- and there were others who Niamh assumed would have a more rightful claim to the throne. She suspected these wolves, who seemed obsessed with bloodrights, might be quite particular with their lineage, and the way their leadership was tied directly to it. Regardless, one so far down the list as this female seemed to have been either offered more freedom with her beliefs and training, or had simply been omitted from the family's inherent vanity simply because she didn't have as much of a claim to the throne. Maybe this one was less inbred than the others. 

She wasn't sure what questions to ask- but fortunately for her, she was given a bit of a lead into the pack's history when a fire was mentioned. "Is that why you have come here?" She asked. Even she could empathize with that- she'd hated having to evacuate the Copse when it had become flooded, though they had been able to return a week later to a changed, but still fertile pack territory. The Kingslenders wouldn't have been so lucky- fire was far too destructive. "I'm interested in your beliefs. I'm told you worship elk; what other beliefs and...Such, do you have?" She'd almost referred to their beliefs as 'superstitions,' but had wisely chosen another word in its place.
October 26, 2020, 05:04 PM
Zephrine
Kingslend
PPC
The woman was interested in their history, which was a topic Zephrine only knew in bits and pieces. She was too young to have any real knowledge of Old Kingslend; the fire, however, was a sore spot she wished she hadn't blabbed about. It hurt to look back on those memories. Her face darkened a little when Niamh asked after details, sort-of stagnating in that expression while Zephrine became distracted.

"The fire took everything from us. We fled in different directions. Its... Its a miracle, really, that we've reunited since then." Following the herds had always been something of a comfort to Zephrine. Following them all the way here to a realm where the High Elk lived and breathed, piecing together the Deorwine after they'd been scattered, that was something else.

She heard the query about their faith, flicking an ear.

"Our hallowed lord, the High Elk, may bless or curse those as He deems fit." Zephrine explained. It sounded more like recitation than belief, the cadence giving the air of something practiced. "He blesses us with his color and complexion, and those that have lost favor are known for their absence of such... While black and grey, stay away."

Zephrine steadies herself with the rhyme, comforted by it. She thinks of other things that had been taught to her, shared with her - and adds after a pause: "You're golden, which is a good sign. The most beloved by the High Elk are blessed with earthy tones; browns, like Himself. I... I'm considered ugly, for instance." It was odd to state this to a stranger but it was a fact she had accepted long ago about herself. To emphasize her point, she did a small pirouette to show off the transitions in her coat, then settled, and bashfully looked around, feeling stupid immediately. "My legs are too bright, see? And the greys, they're a sign from Him that my parents... They did something wrong, to displease him, before I was born. But I can make up for it with hard work, too."

Hard, thankless, often undermined work.
October 26, 2020, 05:38 PM
Niamh
Redhawk Caldera
Regent*
Niamh regretted hearing about the fire that had displaced the Kingslend wolves- whether it was because she had some shred of empathy for their situation or if it was because they'd ended up here, so unnervingly close, was a fool's guess. She wouldn't have agreed that it was a mircale, though, that they'd managed to catch up with one another, as she would have strongly preferred the Déorwines remain in fragments, as they'd be easier to deal with that way. Maybe they'd branch out a bit from their own family, too, if they weren't all nestled together in their little hornet's nest- but these were just sour thoughts from a bitter wolf who made everything overdramatic, and who did not like to share.

At first, she found the idea of some supreme being being able to curse and bless individuals somewhat interesting. She nodded as though she understood the contept, and had figured that whatever supreme being it was might pick and choose wolves to bless and curse because of deeds they'd done, using punishments as famine or disease- but instead, Zephrine explained something that had been at the back of Niamh's mind the moment the wolf she knew as 'Coolhorn' had looked at her with such disgust in his eyes. 

A look of shock came over her features when she was informed that pelt colour was the high elk's method of punishing or rewarding wolves. This, to her, made the High Elk seem all the more fickle and vain, and she understood now why the Kingslend wolves might be more inclined to commit incest, with the hopes that their children might have a better chance at being the right colour. It was treachery, and her disgust showed plainly on her features. The poor thing explained how her own looks were unfortunate- and it caused Niamh a great deal of dismay.

"So you're teling me," She said, her voice full of consternation. "You worship an herbivore that would curse innocent children, for the sins of their parents?" She asked. "And your family would judge another wolf by something they had absolutely no control over?" She asked. "I've met a fair amount of your family members and you, by far, are the most beautiful out of all of them- purely by nature alone." She said. "I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you deserve to hear it from someone- your family? They're delusional." She said with a soft growl. "And I hope each and every one of them starts going grey before they even hit three years of age, so they learn to see that pelt colour has abso-fucking-lutely nothing to do with how blessed or cursed you are." She said. She calmed, and shook her head. "Do yourself a favour, girl- leave them, and forget everything they ever taught you."
October 26, 2020, 06:15 PM
Zephrine
Kingslend
PPC
Zephrine was used to being the one listening to the lessons and lectures, not giving them, but when Niamh began to not along as if she understood, the girl gathered some confidence. Having someone actively listening to her was refreshing; very few wolves of Old Kingslend would give her the time of day, let alone sit and pay attention as she spoke. She had hoped New Kingslend would be different - but then, she was afraid to be alone with anyone for too long, just in case they balked at her looks or something.

Gradually Niamh's face contorted to an expression of disgust and Zephrine did not know what to do. She thought, maybe, she was saying something wrong; but she went over the lessons in her head, remembering tidbits and trying to suss out what the matter was. Thankfully the woman was not quiet in her assessment: her response, once verbalized, eradicated any confidence that Zephrine had begun to build.

You're telling me — your family would judge another wolf by something they had absolutely no control over? She sounded matronly, but also deeply offended, or maybe confused. The kind of voice you hear from a woman named Karen whose unable to wrap their mind around a new concept.

Wh--well, n-no, its not -- that's -- Zephrine fumbled.

And then the most ridiculous thing came out of Niamh's mouth. While Zephrine stood there trying to backtrack and explain better, clearer, differently, somehow - the older woman called Zephrine beautiful, and the girl was so busy trying to rehash the earlier concepts that she didn't fully process it. We don't determine anything -- its His will, that's... The High Elk, a-and his apostles -

I hope each and every one of them starts going grey before they even hit three years of age -- W-what? No! No that's... That's a curse, why would you— Do yourself a favor, girl—leave them.

L-leave...?!! This had been a mistake. A big, awful, terrible mistake. Had she been more attentive Zephrine would have recognized Niamh for the witch that she was; having now brought a curse down upon her family, Zephrine could hardly function. Her mind was buzzing with all that Niamh had said and the implications of this conversation.

What if the High Elk could hear them? What if this golden-coated woman was placed here by His will, to test her or - to corrupt her? With this in mind, Zephrine began to draw away from the other woman. She couldn't look at her; at war with commonplace polite behavior and the desire to put as much distance between herself and this witch as she could, the Deorwine tumbled backwards.

I... I should go. A sheen caught across her eyes. Something constricted in her throat. Nice to meet you, I should -- I have to go. And just like that, she was bolting away through the trees, heading for home.
November 01, 2020, 01:06 PM
Niamh
Redhawk Caldera
Regent*
WC: 218

Shock and trepidation seemed to seep into the female now that she was confronted by a wolf who offered some sense of worth, which Niamh found discouraging. She had hoped to boulster the young woman's confidence by pointing out the weaknesses in her religion, and in offering her some insight into how a wolf's colour had nothing to do with who they actually were. Now that she knew this information about the Kingslend wolves, she found she liked them much, much less. They were hapless creatures, following the will of an herbivore who apparently chose colours as a way to express how happy it was, or wasn't, with their worship.

“Yes, leave,” She reiterated when the girl spluttered, but she seemed to have misinterpreted Niamh's message. “No, not me, your pack- ah whatever,” She said, trying to convince the Kingslend wolf to at least listen to some reason, but she seemed more alarmed by the moment so with a flick of her tail Niamh dismissed her, and turned on her hock to stalk back toward her homelands. So much for at least one of the Kingslend wolves redeeming themselves. But, in the very least, she'd learned just enough about the wolves to have solidified her decision. She did not like them- and she doubted she ever would.