Firefly Glen The Masquerade
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#1
Joining 
Moth to flame, the typically solitary creature is drawn to the myriad scents of a new pack; intrigued, even captivated. She must see it, know it. She needs it as much as she needs to eat and breathe. The absence is almost painful. And so the phantom has waited, and planned, and prepared — and this is the culmination.
She comes bearing a gift, drifting toward the borders on light feet with the long, twisted neck of a slain swan between her teeth. The kill falls from her jaws and she goes still, scanning and watching as if being observed herself. Then, she calls for an audience, low and long, taking a single step back from her gift. It is time to sate her curiosity — and perhaps stay for a time, or else be on her way to the next curiosity. She is young, after all, and all the time and curiosity in the world is hers for now. There is so much she has not seen yet; this little pack is but one corner of the world. Still... she has grown fond of this particular corner, even in the beginning stages of her acquaintance with it. So many young, strong wolves here, by the scent; beautiful, she imagines. Her nose twitches, tail tossing once. The yearling knows nothing of virtues like patience or self-control; she knows only beauty and pain, danger and purpose, life and death — and her own endless

e n d l e s s
greed.
Note; Astrid is non-verbal and primarily communicates through body language.
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#2
Hope it's alright for me to toss him in here :) I'll try to be quick with my responses.

While the summon didn't mention a name it did submit a request for an audience- and Bronco knew full well that with the establishment of their new pack would come a fair amount of new visitors. Regardless of whather he had any authority at the borders or not, if he was in the area he always found it best to hasten his pace and greet their visitors, just so that they weren't kept waiting and left unsupervised. 

The woman who had called out was as beautiful as the voice with which she'd sung, with her pelt the colour of a fawn in springtime, though her chest bore a splash of cloud white, like a shield. There was curiosity in her azure gaze, which was met with a calm one of his own. He glanced down to the sizeable feathered creature at her feet and he chuffed with surprise. "That's quite the catch," He said, admiring the tenacity she must've had to go for a swan. Like geese, they could be incredibly vicious when attacked. "You've reached the borders of Firefly Glen, I'm Bronco, a guardian here. I believe you called, yes?" He asked, opening the floor for her to explain her summons.
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#3
absolutely! thank u for joining!
Her call is not left unanswered for long; soon Astrid is joined by a dark youth, a muscular boy with eyes of burning gold. Not the leader, she senses, but a strong individual — and kind, by his words and the look in his eyes. She greets him with a dip of her head, the hint of a smile on her lips. And then every ounce of expression disappears from her features, and she is all business. Her ears sweep back against her crown, posture dipping smoothly into a show of submission; the second half of her ticket into the pack, she hopes. She noses her offering toward the pack wolf, eyes respectfully level with gilded forelegs. The gesture is almost intimate. There is no fear or reluctance, or even shyness in her movements; only a silent invitation, the promise of an exchange with all the confidence befitting a woman of the wilds. Surely these wolves know their own game — submission and obedience in exchange for a role, a place among others of their kind. It is a cruel game, and perhaps unfair, but Astrid thinks nothing of this. She has no need of it the way other wolves do, and will not mourn if she is turned away. This is all play to her; a venture in the petty thrills and worries of those beneath her. If these ones will not have her, there will be others — there are always others.
Note; Astrid is non-verbal and primarily communicates through body language.
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For a moment, he caught a glimpse of a friendly nature on her features, which set him at ease. If only all of the wolves who came to the borders hoping to join the pack could be this easy to read! The friendliness only lasted a moment, before she gestured with her posture that she was submitting, and that the meal was offered. Her actions were almost a tad exaggerated- and he was surprised when she didn't supplement them with words, but he thought perhaps she was just shy. 

"Thanks. Is this, uh, an offering for the pack?" He asked, then, flicking his ears forward. His demeanour was still calm, and his voice friendly. In seeing no threat posed by the stranger- and having been shown respect so willingly- he saw little reason to boast or flaunt his rank, and simply remained as he was, tall, but relaxed. He sniffed the air between the; she didn't smel of Neverwinter, nor did she bear traces of scents that might place her in the few other packs he knew. "You looking to join?" He asked, as a continuation of the question he'd posed earlier.
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#5
He speaks further, and it occurs to Astrid that she ought to pay more attention to the words; it's so easy to forget that those odd little noises have more meaning than their tone, to tune out the drivel in favor of the more honest indications. Words can be lies, she has found, and she has no time for false intentions. The heavy overtone of submission in her posture fades slightly with his acceptance, and her head tilts as she relaxes and starts to decipher his words. There is a brief pause between the end of his speech and the slow nod she gives in response. Her eyes glimmer with an almost feline intelligence; the intersection of near-genius and utter apathy. I know your language, but I have no need of it.
Note; Astrid is non-verbal and primarily communicates through body language.
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There was a look of concentration about her features as he'd spoken to her, and when she replied with nothing more than a nod he began to wonder perhaps if she wasn't simply being quiet because she was shy and subservient, but because of some other reason. She was watching him with clever focus in her gaze, and he wondered for a moment if she'd been reading his lips. Towhee and Meerkat both watched other wolves with the same sort of interest and focus, so he was used to it, and didn't bristle. Whatever the reason for her silence, he didn't jump to any conclusions- but habit and protocol called for more questions to be asked.

"Well, you're in luck, because we're accepting joiners. We're kind of new, actually- Firefly Glen is led by Osiris, who'll probably be here shortly. We're sort of a sister-pack from the pack that lives on that mountain over there," He gestured, with a deft movement of his paw to the peak that rose, purplish, in the distance. "Moonspear." He said. "I'm assuming hunting's one of your specialties, but d'you have any other skills that might be of use to the pack?" He asked.
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The simple movement seems to satisfy his need for acknowledgement, and she finds herself fascinated with this detail she hadn't known. Words, she knows, but this trade — this exchange of gestures (words, she knows, if she were to participate) — this is new to her. Where she was raised, silence reigned, and statements were thrown as passing blows; or else it was the senseless nattering of the others, mirrored phrases of judgment and devotion without regard to the target. This is different.
In an instant she finds herself effortlessly enamored with the steady sound of his voice, the words he chooses, his gestures. The phantom soaks in the information given, offering another of those precious nods when his tone turns questioning again. Skills, yes; it's almost laughable to think one might show up to bargain with nothing to offer aside a basic proficiency in feeding oneself. A bold move in her homeland, risking death for certain rejection — yet here it seems to cross the mind with no anger toward the thought. She watches him carefully, waiting to see where he takes his questioning, wondering if he has realized none of his words will be returned. His name comes back to her, then; he'd said it in the beginning, before she'd remembered that those noises mean something. Bronco.
Note; Astrid is non-verbal and primarily communicates through body language.
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He was perfectly at ease being watched intently as he spoke, though he found himself becoming endeared to her for showing him her full attention as he was reminded of the way he'd be regarded by his aunt during one of their conversations. He'd expected an answer to his question, but merely received the hint that she'd interpreted what he was saying- but she didn't exactly offer to explain any other skills she might have had. And with the imbalance in verbal communication beginning to dawn on him, her silence began to speak louder. 

"I'm sorry," He apologized, somewhat sheepishly. Oddly, though she hadn't spoken, his first assumption wasn't that she might be non-verbal- it was that she might be deaf. -"Can you hear me?"- He asked slowly, incorporating Ptero into his language. Even while he was aware that it was a form of communication that was fairly unique to his family, the gestures were often quite self-explanatory. Even a wolf with little to no command of the Redhawk Ptero might be able to follow along in a simple conversation if words weren't used. His gesture had involved a flick of his paw in her direction, and then a gesture to one of his own ears, which he tilted toward her- easy physical communication to ask if she could, in fact, hear the words he was saying. He'd met very few wolves who spoke an entirely different language- and had more experience communicating with the deaf, so he simply fell back on what he knew best.
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#9
His demeanor changes without warning, the shift dazzling and baffling in equal measures until he speaks. Her head tilts again, now at the movements suddenly accompanying his words — but after a second, another slow nod follows. Then she steps forward, head ducking as she reaches out to lick his chin in hopes of soothing the needless guilt, if the touch is welcome. She understands his words well enough; it is only the answering that she cannot abide, and never could. It simply isn't in her nature, as it was not in her sire's nature (not her true sire, though she will never know this). Drifting back out of his orbit, she casts a brief glance past him, mind elsewhere for a moment before her attention snaps back to Bronco. He'd mentioned a leader, Osiris, was to be expected; yet she had seen no others.
Note; Astrid is non-verbal and primarily communicates through body language.
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She nodded, so he assumed that meant that she wasn't deaf. He was quickly distracted from any other potential questions he might've had when the enchanting, azure-eyed creature stepped forward, closing the gap between the two of them, and instinctively, he lowered his muzzle slightly. He recognized her body language as an appeasement, though- so he didn't snap at her or ward her away from his chest and throat, but remained quite still as she licked his chin. Was she trying to reassure him? Or was she just trying to get him to stop talking so much? In the end, acheived both results, though he was perhaps more flustered than he was reassured. After all- she was very pretty, and she'd just come very close to him. He uttered a sheepish, guilty little laugh, his cheeks warming a bit as she stepped back. She definitely seemed harmless enough to him. 

Her gaze drifted past him for a moment and he flicked an ear back, turning his muzzle slightly to follow and see what she was looking at. When her gaze came back to him, it was questioning. "Oh," He said, as though he'd had an epiphany. "I could, uh, show you around a little bit, if you'd like?" He offered, assuming she was hinting that she wanted to see more of the packlands. So log as she had an escort with her, he assumed she would be welcomed, though he had yet to ask Osiris what the real hard rules were, with entertaining guests.
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Again, she receives a reaction she hadn't expected — and again, this intrigues her. There is something strangely alluring about Bronco's sudden shyness, the lilting tone to his laugh that seems neither positive or negative. Desire, she senses, but she has never seen it in this form; never so tame, so lacking in the bold aggression she is accustomed to. There is something beautiful about it. She decides to indulge his misjudgment of her own desires, nodding again and offering another rare flash of a smile. It seemed to please him the first time, and Astrid is quickly discovering that finding ways to please Bronco is more interesting than anything she's done in weeks.
Note; Astrid is non-verbal and primarily communicates through body language.
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As quietly as before, she nodded and the faltering grein on his face resumed once more as he gestured for her to follow him. He knew there was a difference between taing a stranger on a tour of the pack, and taking a trusted individual on a tour, so he'd make sure that they didn't stray too far from the borders or go near where some of the pack's new caches were, unless this was another (albeit much more skilled) spy from the Saints. 

What to tell her, though? He'd already mentioned Moonspear, and there really wasn't much else to the Firefly Glen history yet, given the fact that it was fairly new. He knew that when talking about a pack to a stranger, it was best to build the pack up- without exaggerations- so perhaps he would be best off if he chose to mention some of the strengths of the pack as he led her toward one of the many small ponds in the floodplains. 

"We got a number of good guardians and hunters here," He said. "And we also have an ambassador and a medic- though she prefers to be called a witch," He said with a soft chuckle. "And the nice thing about being so close to Moonspear is that with a shared border, our home's made all the more, uh...Strong, I guess," He said.
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She brings the swan along for the ride, marveling at how easily Bronco seems to forget her true purpose here in his excitement. Her gaze wanders as he speaks, focus drifting in and out, hearing his tone more than his words. The youthful enthusiasm, the flash of amusement, the conviction he speaks with. Strong interests her; she'd assumed he would finish with something like safe, secure, stable. Something to ponder later, perhaps. The mention of a witch sparks her curiosity, too, but for now she tucks it away; plenty of time to meet this witch, and the guardians and hunters Bronco speaks of. She glances toward him, then ahead, wondering what destination he has in mind and how far he'll invite her into the territory without his leader's consent. He seems quite confident in the combined strength of the two packs — but confident enough to ignore common sense? Her gaze finds him again, searching.
Note; Astrid is non-verbal and primarily communicates through body language.
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Bronco and Astrid had sent Osiris on a wild goose chase through the glen. After tracking the scent-trail they'd left behind, he was finally able to spot them in the distance; he picked up his pace, breaking into a determined lope. "Bronco!" Osiris called once he was within ear-shot, pulling up the rear and circling the pair until he stood alongside his packmate. 

"I apologize for the delay," he quickly atoned to the stranger. "I was in the middle of tracking down some lunch," and then, he glanced at Bronco with a grin, "Thank you for making it before I did." Now that his pleasantries had been shared, it was time to get down to business. 

"I'm Osiris, leader of Firefly Glen," he said to Astrid.
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WC: 223

There were a number of places he could show her- but he thought she might be most impressed perhaps either by the heart-shaped lake at the center of their packlands, or the red ravine that led to it, where the waters ran in swift rapids. He was still trying to decide where he should take her, and exactly how much he should be talking when he heard his name called out. He stopped, and peered over his shoulder to see Osiris coming toward them, so he stopped, and gestured for Astrid to do the same. ”This is Osiris,” He mentioned quietly to her, as he softened his posture slightly to show respect for his friend- but also his alpha.

He introduced himself and apologized for the delay, but Bronco simply shook his muzzle, to dismiss Osiris' need to apologize to them. “No problem. I was just showing her a bit of the pack's lands. She'd brought a swan with her, as an offering,” Bronco said, before he stepped back to allow Astrid a moment to communicate with Osiris as she saw fit. He was still puzzling through her silence- but thought that perhaps now, that the alpha was in their midst, she might choose to speak as she was finally in the presence of someone who could actually accept her into the pack.
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The leader finally arrives, interrupting the tour gracefully at the very least. She stops when Bronco does, head and posture lowering in a repeat of her earlier display of submission as she turns to greet the leader. A half-step forward to deposit the swan at his feet, then back again, maintaining her silence all the while. She has no intention of breaking it now, and her skin prickles with anticipation of what is to come next. Bronco has taken to her silence better than most, but his leader may very well be a different story; it all depends on these next few moments, and how they choose to explain the issue of her perpetual silence in their own minds. Perhaps she will be accepted as a pawn, someone to take advantage of; perhaps turned away as a liability.
Note; Astrid is non-verbal and primarily communicates through body language.
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Osiris was quickly impressed by Astrid. He knew how tricky swans were to catch, and the waterfowl at their paws was a testament to her hunting abilities. "Impressive," he complimented, pulling the offering closer. "We could use some more hunters in our pack, especially with winter right around the corner." Bronco had said nothing to indicate anything wrong with Astrid, and he felt comfortable moving forward with her acceptance. 

Realizing that he hadn't been told her name, he asked, "What is your name?"
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wc:358

It pleased Bronco to see that Osiris was appreciative of the female's efforts. Having had only one real experience hunting something in that league, he knew how tough it was to take down a bird that was not only large, but powerful. A goose had left him with several welts all over his chest and shoulders from its powerful beak and he could imagine- given its similar shape and size- that the swan had been no easy ticket either. And this all went without mentioning the fact that Bronco had already taken a shining to the pretty young woman with the turquoise eyes. It was also important to him that he and his alpha share similar criteria for those looking to join the pack. As far as Bronco could tell, aside from being fairly quiet, she seemed friendly enough.

So he nodded in agreement when Osiris complimented Astrid, who had without fail chosen to show an appropriate level of submission and respect, which made him feel all the more convinced that this would end well. It was only when Osiris called upon her to speak that Bronco's smile faltered slightly. While he'd been awkwardly trying to navigate his encounter with someone so quiet on his own, it now came down to the fact that she would either speak, and prove that perhaps she hadn't been comfortable enough with him to do so, or she would not. At which point, he'd likely be called in to speak for her.

And the worst part- he hadn't even asked for her name yet.

But in the hopes that perhaps her shyness might subside, he remained silent and allowed her to respond to Osiris' question without stepping in to make excuses for her. He didn't know her well enough to do so- and didn't want to intervene and tell Osiris that she didn't speak when it might not actually be the case. Hoping to encourage her, though, he dipped his chin slightly, and pricked his ears. Like Osiris, he was keen to find out what this startlingly pretty woman called herself so that he might know a name to give to her.
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The moment comes when a voice is expected of her, as she'd thought it would — and she lets it pass in silence once again. It seems that some kind of response is called for, though; simply ignoring him might not quite get her point across. So she lowers her posture further, opting to increase the exaggeration of her submissive display in lieu of words - like an apology for her lack of speech. Her ears flutter slightly as they press more tightly to her skull, and she waits to see how Osiris and Bronco take this response.
Note; Astrid is non-verbal and primarily communicates through body language.
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Astrid did not answer, and Osiris watched her for a long minute before speaking himself. "As long as you hunt and contribute to the glen, I see no reason to reject you," he replied, glancing towards Bronco to see if he thought otherwise. Astrid had already proved that she was able to provide for them, and as long as she continued to do so, she was welcome. 

"Are you hungry?" he asked then, shifting his focus to ensure that she was properly settled in.
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wc:302 + 160 = 362
Bronco waited for the female to answer and supply the both of them with a name- but she said nothing. She deferred to Osiris still, and Bronco perceived her shrinking motion to be an apology, an excuse for her silence- and one that he, personally, accepted. He did wish that he had something to call her, as he wasn't entirely certain how he should refer to her to others, if they asked- or how he might summon her if he wanted to call for her help with hunting or patrolling. But if it was not within her comfort zone or ability to speak, he would allow her her silence without stepping on her toes in an attempt to be her advocate. She hadn't asked him to do so- and she seemed perfectly capable of communicating her feelings without needing someone else to step in and explain for her.

So when Osiris' calm, verdan gaze drifted to him, he blinked and nodded, agreeing with his judgement. He considered for a moment what he might have done, and how he might have felt if Osiris had decided to deny her acceptance because she didn't speak. Would he have argued for her case? And would he have been able to watch her be turned away simply because she did not speak? These were things he would have to think about- he would have to consider how he might deal with the possibility that one day, he and Osiris might not see eye to eye- and he would have to be mature and rational enough to discuss his views without causing a disturbance.

She'd brought the swan as an offering- but that didn't mean that she'd eaten already, so he pricked his ears at the mention of the word 'hungry' and gazed at his newest packmate.

An idea occurred to him, so he chuffed, and gestured in toward the inner territories of the Glen. “Why don't we bring your swan an' stash it somewhere safe; I got two beavers I've caught in the last couple of days just waiting to be eaten down near the lake. Why don't we go an' have a bite to eat there?” He asked. It might be nice to take their new recruit to the heart of their territory, and show her the beautiful, heart-shaped lake where she could get a drink, and find her bearings. With all in agreement, he led the way, offering to help his new packmate by carrying the swan for her- which was probably for the best, after all. As a fairly quiet wolf, she probably appreciated not having someone talk -at- her all the time, and with his mouth full, Bronco was forced to walk in silence as they made their way toward the lake.