Redhawk Caldera I know you
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#1
All Welcome 
Anyone!
Another sister pack.
Run by wolves called @Phox and @Towhee, persons that Toad believed may have been the children of Fox. The reckoning had come when there was mention of the Firebirds moving to the Redhawk Caldera, said to be a historical location for them. This had greatly confused Toad, who had always assumed that the Redhawks had died with Fox. She knew that Fox had had at least one litter of children, but afterward, the trail had run cold.

Since coming to the Wilds, Toad had searched for some sign of existence of her sister's line. She had met many wolves with names that reminded her of animals, but had long assumed this to be coincidence alone. @Meerkat had a huge family because she had more than one set of parents, but there were many families that were large like the Ostregas. It was impossible for Toad to track Fox's lineage because she had carried no surname upon leaving her natal pack. This was the first time that Toad felt certain that this time, the Caldera would hold the answer.

She had set out in the early morning when it was still dark. Frost coated the grass and trees as she moved from Firefly Glen toward the rocky shelter that she had hunted for answers in before.

When she reached it in late afternoon, she found a scent marker, clear as day. The Firebirds did not know her. The Redhawks in their original state would also not have known her. Her heart was in her throat.
Had she found it at last? Her family's legacy?

Toad howled. She howled for knowledge, for curiosity, for family. Had she been so lucky as to accidentally align herself with wolves that were allied with her nieces and nephews?
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#2
AW YISS.

The call that beckoned Phox that morning was not a voice he knew. Phox was still reeling from Maia's recent return (thread pending), but he knew it was his within his duties to answer it. Towhee or Niamh may show up as well, considering they shared leadership with him, but it was a nice distraction from the imminent danger of Maia's injuries. Not that Phox knew how to fix that. He did think it would be wise to head out to Blacktail Deer Plateau sooner rather than later and make sure Wraen was made aware of what had happened. She needed to know.

But first, the summoner.

From the crest of the caldera, Phox made his way down one of the familiar paths he'd traced so many times as a child. Down, down, down he went until he spotted the brown mottled wolf. It wasn't anybody he recognized, but as he approached, Phox did pick up on hints of Moonspear and Meerkat. Perhaps she was part of Hydra's latest sprawl into the wilds.

Hey there, Phox greeted, slowing to a halt before the stranger.
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Thump. Thump.. Thump.
Her heart was thick in her throat. She felt a kind of anxiety that was abnormal for her. She had come here with a purpose, and for some reason, her body had decided that it wanted to focus on the potential excitement instead of the necessities. Toad was not a person who shied away from the unknown. She couldn't understand herself in the moment.

Not long passed before a dark male answered her call. She stood there for a moment, her ears low, her tail dropped low. She blinked. She tried to shock herself out of it, and inhaled sharply as though to speak. Nothing came out for a moment. Then, I-I'm from Firefly Glen. Well, I'm from... Not originally, I mean, she stopped. Bumbling was not going to get her anywhere. That was not the person she needed to be.

Toad took a breath. She stood up straight, ears more relaxed but tail still low in respect. My sister was a woman who once lived here. Her name was Fox. Do you know anyone by that name? Toad asked it proudly. She waited curiously. She did not bother to introduce herself as would have been her normal script. At that moment, it didn't matter. It only mattered that she might get answers. She had been seeking such answers for as long as she had been hearing the story from Robin.

She looked at the man. She did not know him. Perhaps she should have.
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#4
There was nothing that set off "familiar" bells to Phox, but she mentioned that she was from Firefly Glen, just as he had suspected. He understandably assumed this was just a quick message drop, but the name dropped along with the question was enough for Phox to give her a look of mildly suspicious confusion. Well, I don't exactly know her, but I happen to be one of her youngest kids. Guess that makes you my aunt, eh? At this point in his life, Phox was rather aware of the legacy his parents (and grandparents) had left behind.

She unfortunately died right after my siblings and I were born, Phox added apologetically. He hated being the bearer of bad news, but there was no avoiding it. His parents had both died before he was born, and their best friends had passed just last year. Eljay might be the best lead if Fox's sister wanted to talk to somebody who had known the infamous Redhawks when they were alive.
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Toad got what she wanted. Her eyes remained attentive and wide like a child seeing the hunt for the first time. She stood fast, like she was waiting for a tidal wave to hit her. It did in the form of the dark-coated wolf explaining his relation to Fox. He was the child of Fox. Towhee's brother. Fennec's father. One of the leaders of the Firebirds, who were the successors, she now realized, to the Redhawks. Phox.

Everything was starting to click into place. Phox said that she was his aunt almost as though it meant nothing. To Toad, it meant everything. He told her that his mother, her sister, had died. She had known that for years, though knew nothing about how she had died.

Yeah, I know, though I don't know how, she said slowly, trying to ensure her voice did not rattle. It didn't, but she could hear a squeaky wavering toward the end of her words. You're Phox, right? Toad confirmed. I'm Toad Amelia, I'm sorry I didn't say before, I just..

Toad paused for a moment, blinking and dipping her head, looking at the ground partly in respect but also trying to collect herself. Her excitement made her shake as though she was frightened. It welled up within her. She didn't know what to do with it.
I've been trying to find our family here for a long time.
It was a simple sentence. She looked at him. This time, she really looked at him. He seemed to hold nothing in common with the stories she had heard of her sister. But Phox was strong. He was a handsome animal. He was proud. He was everything she had expected and hoped for. Fox's legacy.
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Phox got the feeling that Toad was taking this moment to be a lot more than he was. He felt a bit self conscious about that, truth be told. He'd been surrounded by family his whole life, so adding one more to the bunch didn't feel like a big deal to him. Maybe he had taken them for granted, but having known most of his siblings (even the wretched one, Titmouse) made an aunt feel like not that big of a deal. Phox felt some sort of dissonance being on such a different level emotionally. He rocked his weight from left to right, averting his eyes and generally wondering what to do with this information.

Yeah, Phox Redhawk, he said. Towhee, my sister, she lives here too. Raven, our oldest living sibling, she lives a little ways south in a pack called the Frosthawks. He still hated that name.

Phox tried to recall if they had any other immediate family here, but at this point it was mostly descendants of himself and Towhee.

If you're in Firefly Glen, you've already met two of my daughters: Fennec and Meerkat. Niamh is my partner, also Bronco's mom. Figment, Fennec's full sister lives here with us. Niamh and I also have three kidlets here: Primrose, Alyx, and Quetzal. If Toad had wanted to find family, she'd come to the right place.
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Toad's gaze seemed to bring Phox a level of discomfort. She was reminded at once of the way Fennec had reacted to her revelation that the two were related. Quickly, she looked away, not wanting to make her nephew feel strange.

Toad knew that she could be an intense person. She knew she had ideas and fantasies and passions that seemed to put others on edge when she expressed them. Normally, she might have apologized for this, but just now she couldn't let the excitement go. She listened very intently as Phox went on to list a plethora of family members.

Her grin widened as he mentioned Fennec and Meerkat, thinking fondly of the two girls. Though Fennec was the feisty sort, she seemed to have a good heart. Meerkat was an incredible treasure. The newfound great aunt felt absolutely tickled. There was a warm fluttering in her heart at her good fortune. She had thought that finding any family was a long shot, but to have found a great big pile of them? Here, in an ancestral home? So many... She observed, eyes glazed.

This is fantastic news. It's so funny that Meerkat is family — she was one of the first people I met at Moonspear and she's been a total treat to have around, she said. Her tail was wagging ecstatically behind her, though she was trying her best to maintain a level of calm for his sake.
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Maybe he should try to be a little more understanding. Phox tried just that, and he couldn't deny that it was nice to have another face that he knew was friendly in some way or another.

Oh, and we have some other family through my father, Peregrine. Wraen and Maia, who used to live with us, are our cousins. He was pretty sure that was right. Close enough at least.

Is there anything you can tell me about my mother's family? Did you know her when she was alive? Phox asked.

He wasn't very good at judging somebody's age once they were fully grown, and he was certain it was rude to ask a lady her age.
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Phox cited even more members of their family. Her eyes were welling with tears of joy, though she was trying, quite hard in fact, to hold it all back. Her eyes were glassy and glad, more than a puppy in the face of their first sunrise. Toad carefully filed the names away for later use, knowing that she would need to meet these members soon. This was what it meant to be of blood. This was what it meant to be of family.

Then, Phox asked of his mother, of Fox. Toad blinked, her face cleared of joy for the moment. She had come here to learn more about her sister, in fact, and she knew that she could not tell Phox what he wanted. No, I didn't know her, she said slowly, squeezing her brow. She recalled what Kukutux had told her, and knew that now was the perfect time to bring forth the offering to her sister. Perhaps she would learn what her sister might have wanted of her. But Phox... But I did know our mother, your grandmother, Amelia. Toad grinned.

Her smile was wide. It was proud. Amelia was more than just a matriarch, a mother. She had been a teacher, a storyteller, a woman of faith and of passion. She had known true hardship. Toad had been there through it all. She was the support beam. Right there to the end.
Your mother, though, Fox. She is one I heard through fantastic stories. My older sister, Robin, she came back from the Wilds and told us these tales. Tales of your mother, and of Peregrine. You... Toad had to push a wrist past her eye for an itch, or more likely, a stray tear.
You and your siblings were the end of the story. You were a myth, and now you're right here! Toad beamed, smiling, happy, ecstatic.

It was as though a fairy tale had come true for her. She had waited for so long, and now, it was here.
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Phox thought she might cry, and he wondered what he would do if that happened. In all likelihood, he'd just stand around and wait for it to pass. Aunty Toad was now known to him as a very emotional lady. It wasn't a bad thing, per say, but it was something Phox wasn't particularly used to. Except for Eljay. He knew that his cousling could be incredibly emotional at times. It was a far cry from Phox and Towhee, who tended to be a little more even keeled, if not rough around the edges when it came to things like this.

Toad spoke of his grandmother, Amelia, but Phox hadn't really heard much, if anything, about her. That drew his interest, even as Toad continued on about another aunt (Robin) and his father.

What was it like where you and Fox came from? And what was my grandmother like? he asked. Phox realized he didn't know much about his father's side of the family either, but those questions might be better answered by Wraen and/or Maia.
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#11
-makes shit up- Let me know if any of this should change :o
Toad's intensity didn't fade even as Phox freely directed her back to what he wanted to know. She was pleased that he was curious about his roots. Obviously, roots were incredibly important to Toad and she would readily talk about it all day long. She thought of her birth pack, knowing that it was likely Fox had a similar childhood before dispersing out into the world.

It's a quaint place — pretty much entirely family and extended family, since your grandmother had so many children. She started, sitting down, tail gently resting around her. I was litter number five, and Fox was number three. She left home before I was born. Your grandmother, she loved all of her children; she wanted to see them succeed. I'm sure you understand, she explained, knowing that this was a very natural feeling to have toward your children. Toad often felt it on behalf of others, for though she had no children of her own, she wanted others to do well.

Your grandmother used to tell us stories when we were kids. She and I were really close, we were almost like sisters for a while. And she would have loved to have met you, Toad followed. Of both her mother and Fox, she held very rosy images. Even though she had seen her mother through dark times and knew that she was imperfect, she gladly painted a pristine picture for her successful grandson.
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Phox listened with interest. It sounded like a nice place, wherever his mother and Toad were from. Not that different than the environment he'd grown up in. Between the Blackthorns and the Redhawks, there was plenty of family. The two bloodlines had more or less merged into one over the years, even if not biologically (outside of Tegan/Bat and Eljay/Wildfire). His smile grew especially warm when she mentioned how his grandmother wanted to see all her children succeed. It seemed that at least ran in the family. Phox desperately wanted all of his children to succeed.

It sounds really, really nice, he said, the warmth in his face apparent.

Do you know if any of your other siblings—my aunts and uncles—are still alive? he asked. Now he wondered if there were even more relatives from his mother's side roaming about. Maybe he had met them at some point or another without even realizing. In fact, he just now realized something about Toad.

Do you all have animal names? His mother had been named after one, as had he and his siblings, but he didn't realize until now that the tradition went further back than that. Phox silently wondered what other familial traditions his maternal side might have had. Storytellers ran in the family on his father's side, and it sounded as though his grandmother was one as well. He'd had his own way of connecting with that, through the constellations and their stories. Perhaps it was something that came in from both sides of the family.
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It pleased her greatly to talk about her family, his family, and share a connection with her nephew. To his question, she shrugged. Probably, definitely, I don't know where anyone is, though. I'd imagine we're all pretty scattered, she said. Her brothers were surely around somewhere, and Goose, she was also definitely still out there. Sometimes it worried her to think what might have happened to them all, but Goshawk and Flycatcher were both strong and tended to walk their own paths. The Crestwood family in general was a strong one. If Toad was doing okay, and she was, then everyone else was probably fine.

Yeah, it's tradition. She said. It was a bit of a sore spot for her, since people had a tendency of making fun of her name. It was the only thing she didn't fully understand about her mother. To name a child "Toad" in hindsight seemed cruel.

She had made it a note to not do this to her own children, in the unlikely event that ever happened. My two brothers are Goshawk and Flycatcher, and my sister's name is Goose. So they all got birds, she shrugged again. The boys in the family are the only ones with the last name Crestwood, girls just take the surname of their husbands. I have two names because I took my mother's name for a middle, she explained, smiling fondly. It was all very convoluted and, to be honest, rather silly. Other people had given her a new perspective on traditions and now Toad was feeling that these naming conventions in particular maybe didn't have a place in the modern world.
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Only two of Phox's own children bore a true animal name: Fennec and Meerkat. The twins looked much like wolverines, and although he occasionally referred to them as such in his thoughts, he hadn't done so out loud. He and Towhee had, obviously, followed that route, as well as Titmouse and Orca. Most of their older siblings as well. Wildfire was a notable deviation from the norm, but hadn't she had a nickname as well? Phox couldn't recall, and he frowned at that thought. His oldest sister was fading from his memory now that she'd been gone for so long. It really was a shame she hadn't had more time in this place.

Toad explained a bit more about the family traditions, specifically surnames, which only went to the men in the family. That seemed wildly sexist to him, although he didn't say as much. It wasn't his place to go ragging on other folks' traditions, especially when those were the traditions of his ancestors. He was pretty sure Towhee would have had a lot more to say on the subject, given how fiercely she protected the Redhawk name. Heck, there had been a time when he and Towhee had more or less cast aside anybody without that name.

Dang, that's all pretty interesting, he said. Maybe we can organize a little family get-together sometime. I'll bet Niamh would love to meet you, too. And Towhee and all the others.

At least, unlike the children who showed up at the borders, Toad didn't seem to expect a meal out of their little meeting. Maybe a hunt would be good for them, though, or even just a big meal. Phox could probably arrange something in Bramblepoint at some point, since that was the go-to meeting place for the two packs.
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Toad had never actually put together that either Fennec or Meerkat were named after animals, since she had never heard of either. To be honest, she wasn't really that sold on any of her own family's traditions, even though her mother had been very big about passing around the Kool-Aid for everyone to drink. There were things about what she told Phox that bothered her, namely that she didn't have a last name.

Once more, she lit up at the suggestion Phox presented. Her tail wagged quick and low behind her, and she grinned wide and happy at the thought of meeting Niamh and Towhee and all the others. She was like a little girl, eyes bright and thoughtfully considering the logistics of such a gathering. Surely she wasn't the only one who would love a great big reunion. That sounds amazing, she said, very much meaning her words.

Let me know what I can do to help arrange that. I'm sure Meerkat and Bronco would just love it! Toad intentionally left out Fennec because, well, that girl didn't seem to like much of anything.
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Toad seemed into the idea, and Phox thought about how he had once planned a get together with a bunch of different packs. Which ones had they been? At this point, he couldn't even remember which year that had been. Maybe it was when Figment and Fennec had been little. Weren't the Frosthawks, Firebirds, and Asterism Grove supposed to get together at some time or another and have an all-kids play date? Too much had happened since then, and Phox couldn't recall what had waylaid his plans. This time, he thought, things would be different. Things felt stronger now, more solid.

If you can let the kids know to be ready for it, I think that's all the planning we'd need. Fennec, too, Phox said.

Maybe Fennec wouldn't be into it, but he knew he had to at least invite her. Let her be the one to turn him down rather than feel left out because she wasn't included. Phox knew he was always walking on eggshells with his older daughter, but it was so good to have her back home, even if she wasn't exactly living with him. As long as he gave her space, he was certain that she'd stick around.
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Toad nodded swiftly. She was sure to tell both Bronco and Meerkat as soon as she got back home. And, well, Fennec too. Toad wanted to like Fennec. Part of her did. She was a feisty, fierce girl, especially considering her disability that should have rendered her dead a long time ago. There had been something about the way Toad had interacted with her that was very off-putting, in particular the way she talked poorly about her family members.

Excellent, I'll let them know, said Toad, feeling quite pleased with the result of the day.

I'm.. She risked going back into her loving, emotional state, but she was just very happy. She paused and glanced at Phox, smiling calmly. I'm very happy to finally meet you, Phox, she dipped her head. It really did feel like an honour to finally have a face to not only a child of her sister's, but also the father of people she already really cared about. What were the odds?
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And you, Toad! Phox said.

It seemed like the conversation had come to a close, and Phox wagged his tail, waiting to see if Toad had anything else to say before she headed back to the glen. It was strange to have a family member come out of nowhere, and it had blindsided him to some degree, but from this initial meeting, Phox felt like she was a good representation of what the Redhawks (or Crestwoods, he supposed) strived to be. Friendly, intelligent, and always ready to learn.
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Fading!
Toad smiled with a kind of glee that was likely rare in adult wolves. Her tail was wagging behind her. She was honestly ecstatic, so much that she would probably need to calm herself down before she danced her way into the Glen somewhere along the journey. So, with that, Toad wiggled. See you later! she said, reaching out with her nose as a farewell. The newly discovered auntie spun around and trotted, or skipped, or danced, away. She headed right back the way she came, but she talked to herself most of the way home. She recited all of the new family she had, wondering if Phox liked her, and if she might finally have found a place she really and truly belonged.
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