Redhawk Caldera When she sleeps there is a fever dream
Private  November 19, 2020, 08:12 PM
Bronco
Firefly Glen
Gamma
wc:424
Meerk tag for visibility AND BECAUSE YOU'RE IT <3
Frost covered the grasses in the Glen when Bronco woke, not long before dawn. He'd begun to notice that it took longer and longer for the sun to rise every day, and that his natural sleeping pattern hadn't exactly adjusted to match the length of the nights. He generally maintained a biphasic sleep pattern through the night regardless, which had him up and patrolling through the middle of the night but returning to sleep for a few more hours before dawn broke. With the nights stretching further into the morning, though, he found himself up and on his feet in time to watch the horizon begin to brighten.

He'd let @Meerkat know that he would be going to the Caldera for a quick visit, but had made it fairly clear with his quiet tone that he intended to make the journey on his own. He didn't like implying that he didn't want her company, but he simply didn't have it in him to put on a cheerful face just for the sake of being a good travel companion. He figured she'd sensed by then that something was up, but he hadn't felt like talking about it.

So he wasn't sure why he went to the Caldera- and he spent most of his journey there trying to figure out why he was even going there. It wasn't like he wanted to go to talk to his Mom and figure things out- so maybe he just wanted a distraction, and maybe he just wanted to get away from the Glen for a bit. Maybe if he made this into some kind of job, he could get away with telling himself that he was useful, somehow.

He'd thought at first when he saw the extinct volcano reaching up into the blossoming blue sky that the borders might be along the upper edge but he was wrong- he found himself facing scent markings left behind by Towhee, @Phox and several others before he even began to climb- so he waited. He didn't want to call out, because he didn't want it to seem like he'd come to the Caldera for any particular reason...If asked, he wasn't sure what he'd say. It was simply easier to just play it off as a “I was just in your neck of the woods” sort of deal, and began meandering around in the area, figuring that someone would be by soon enough, and wondering if they had some food stashed away somewhere that he could nab- the journey had made him hungry.
November 19, 2020, 09:30 PM
Phox
Redhawk Caldera
Regent*
Phox had done more perusing of the borders ever since he had chased off that stranger. What an idiot, thinking that he could just walk right up here. Not only that, but he'd had a meal in his jaws, and Phox was horrified to think that the trespasser had hunted on their land. Even if he hadn't done it within the caldera's borders, it was still too close for comfort. It left a bad taste in Phox's mouth, and he wasn't about to let the caldera be anything less than perfect.

This was his home, his birthright, and he wanted to be able to pass it on to the children someday. He found himself more protective of this place than he had thought he would be, but he didn't consider that a bad thing. He also chalked some of that up to the colder weather. After the cold weather came springtime, and with springtime came children. The thought of more of them running around made him smile head to toe. Phox lived and breathed for his kids.

The Regent caught Bronco's scent, and he found it odd that the boy hadn't called for anybody. Then again, maybe he wasn't here to see anybody. Phox doubted that, though. He thought back on what Niamh had said, about the kids only coming by when they needed something (and for a meal). That made him chuckle, and Phox jogged toward his son-in-law stepson until he was within earshot.

Hey Bronco, he said. What brings you over here?

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November 19, 2020, 09:55 PM
Bronco
Firefly Glen
Gamma
wc:358
He should have been more prepared to have a conversation with someone like his mother or Phox. Part of him had been hoping to catch Figment, because then at least he could be reasonably comfortable around someone his own age, rather than risking another one of his mother's mood swings or trying to find his place in the odd relationship of son-in-step-father-ling-thing. He wouldn't have expected to find one of his siblings at the borders, but he figured he could get permission to explore the new territory, and hunt one of them down while he was there. As it was, he realized a bit late that he should have potentially called out for someone specific, rather than leaving it to chance- but Phox was the one to show up along the borders to greet him.

And that wasn't the worst thing in the world, really. Bronco had no issues with Phox himself. While he still wished that his father was alive, he knew that it couldn't be so, and that Phox wasn't trying to be a replacement. He was glad Niamh had found someone to be with, and happier still that she'd chosen someone like Phox who was even-tempered and kind. He also loved his younger siblings to bits, and knew that without Phox...Well, he probably still would have had younger siblings, knowing his mother- but they wouldn't have been the ones that he had, and they were perfect.

The only issue with Phox was the fact that he figured anything he told Phox would then get back to his mother. And he wasn't exactly keen on sharing much of anything with her. So he did his best to brighten up a bit and turned to greet Phox with a soft smile and a wave of his tail. “Oh y'know, just wanted to check out the new nest,” He said, raising one forepaw and knocking it against the beginning of the slope, the way a man will nudge a car with their boot as though to test its framework. “Nice to have you guys a bit closer, too,” He commented. “Wanna show me around a bit?” He asked.
November 20, 2020, 12:59 PM
Phox
Redhawk Caldera
Regent*
Bronco explained that he was only here to see the caldera, a statement that Phox took as truth. And why wouldn't he? Bronco had no reason to lie to him. The two had always had a pretty good relationship, which was kind of a miracle considering Phox had been so paranoid about Niamh's older kids hating him. That paranoia had waned over the past year, especially since the new kids had been born. Even though Nellie was no longer around (and had caused quite an upset for other reasons), it felt like Phox had managed to gain the trust of both of his stepchildren. Friendly, cordial, and always open for conversation.

It was exactly how he had hoped it would be.

Sure, he said when Bronco asked for a tour. What should we start with? Maybe the spooky skull cave?

That place in particular had always been a little bit creepy to him. The skulls that had been there hadn't been moved since before his parents had gotten here (or so the legend went). Occasionally, Phox had even added his own kills to the cave. It seemed like the right thing to do, and it gave the cave a feeling of ownership to him. Whoever had started the project had done a pretty bang-up job, and who was he to shirk traditions, even if they weren't his own?

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November 20, 2020, 01:26 PM
Bronco
Firefly Glen
Gamma
wc:192
The suggestion about getting a tour was mostly just offered because it was the first thing that he could come up with that made sense. It'd be the quickest way to familiarize himself with the area, so that he could find his younger siblings if he wanted to visit again in the future. So he nodded and prepared to simply follow Phox toward wherever he decided to start their journey- until he mentioned a word that made Bronco stop dead in his tracks, and then shuffle back a few paces the way a Western horse will, once a calf is roped. His ears flattened and there was an expression mixed with fear, cofusion and betrayal on his face.

“No caves,” He said firmly, with a shake of his head. “No caves. Why'd you suggest a cave?” He asked, before he blurted “Did Fennec tell you?” He demanded, before he realized that there was a potential that Phox had no clue at all what had happened. But if news of what had happened had gotten around- if Fennec had begun telling her family what had happened, well...That'd be the end of him.
November 20, 2020, 03:35 PM
Phox
Redhawk Caldera
Regent*
No caves? Fennec? Wait, what? Phox asked in rapid succession. What the hell was Bronco going on about? But then, Phox did remember something about what Fennec had said in passing.

Fennec said her den collapsed, but not much more than that last time I saw her. What happened?

Phox got the sense that there was more of a story there, and with the way Bronco spoke, it worried him a little bit. Fennec hadn't given him any indication that she'd been upset about anything. She seemed pretty upbeat when he'd seen her, and she'd even gotten what he'd asked for. Now Bronco made it seem like there was some kind of trouble, and that really put Phox on edge.

Then again, maybe Bronco was referring to something else entirely. Was there some embarrassing and/or funny story about caves that Phox had missed out on? He wouldn't badger Bronco too much if that were the case, but if it was something more serious... if Fennec had gotten intoxicated actual trouble... well, that Phox would want to know. Even though she was older than Quetzal and Alyx, all three of them would be his "little girls." The father-daughter bond was one that Phox would be hard-pressed to ever let go of.

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November 20, 2020, 03:43 PM
Bronco
Firefly Glen
Gamma
wc:305
Phox confusion made Bronco regret pitching such a fuss- but it had been a knee-jerk reaction, really. He did not want to see another cave; he'd tried, and he'd tried with the most Bronco-friendly cave he could find- the one he and Meerkat had shared, happily, on Moonspear...But he couldn't even step inside without having a panic attack. He wasn't even interested in giving it a second try here- not if there was a chance he'd have another panic attack. He certainly didn't want to feel that again, and he didn't want to go through that in front of Phox. Thus far, this was his little secret- something that only he knew, and something he assumed Fennec might've known as well though...He figured, given the fact that she hadn't bothered to come check him out after his first panic attack, that she simply didn't care.

She'd mentioned the cave-in to her dad, but when he mentioned nothing else, Bronco felt disappointed, and a little bit angry as well. “Is that all she told you?” He asked. Then again, it wasn't like he was coming here to talk to his own mother about what he'd gone through, so he shouldn't have expected that Fennec would have gone running back to tell her Dad all about it, either. “When was she here?” He asked. He hadn't crossed her path- but then again, he'd not taken the most direct route either, having caught the news from Meerkat that Nellie might be in the area. He'd wandered a little bit, hoping that he might catch her scent- and hadn't picked up a trace of Fennec's trail at all.

Regardless, he didn't want to answer much more of Phox's questions until he had his own answered, so he could gauge how much the Regent already knew about Fennec's den's cave-in.
November 20, 2020, 05:52 PM
Phox
Redhawk Caldera
Regent*
Wow, what had Phox gotten himself into.

Yeah, he said, replying to Bronco's first question.

She wasn't. I went to Firefly Glen when Maia got hurt to ask her for supplies. Phox's eyes narrowed on Bronco now. There was something that wasn't being said here, and Phox—while usually fine to let others keep their secrets (Frodo style)—couldn't help himself but ask the question that was tickling the back of his throat.

What aren't you telling me? he asked, hoping a rephrase might get Bronco to spill whatever it was he seemed so worried about.

Is Fennec hurt? In trouble? Is that why you're here? Spill the beans, Bronco!

Why hadn't Bronco led with Fennec being in trouble if that was the case? None of this made any sense, and Phox felt himself growing impatient with him. Bronco was hiding something, but it was clear that it was something he both need and didn't want to talk about. Why the filler asking for a tour, though? And why hadn't he called for Phox when he'd gotten here? Or hell, Niamh?

All Phox could do now was tap his paw, waiting for Bronco to say what he was so hesitant to get out.

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November 20, 2020, 07:59 PM
Bronco
Firefly Glen
Gamma
wc:311
Wow, he had not been expecting this.

He'd missed Phox's visit, and had somehow not noticed his scent on the border either...But then again, he had also spent some time on Moonspear, trying to give himself a bit of space. “Wait, Maia-” He started to ask, but he wasn't able to finish his question. He hadn't seen Fennec, and hadn't heard anything about Maia being hurt. He wasn't even aware that she'd been in the area- and hadn't even seen her since she'd left the Firebirds with Wraen and Arcturus. But he wouldn't find that out now- as Phox interjected to question him about whatever it was he wasn't saying.

He clamped his mouth shut- guilty as charged. Bronco would be dead in the water if he ever joined a poker game. He had his secrets, but he wasn't sure he wanted to, or needed to share them with Phox. It'd be awkward, anyway- as it'd involve some admission of feelings and Phox was not the wolf he wanted to talk to about that, so he bristled and stepped back a few paces. Maybe he wouldn't visit his siblings today at all- maybe now was about as good a time as ever to ditch and just go look elsewhere for Nellie.

But when Phox asked pointed questions about Fennec's well-being, he felt compelled to answer, if only to stop Phox from assuming something bad had happened. “Nothing- she's- look, she's fine, or at least, I figure she is, I don't know,” He admitted, his posture drooping slightly as he reluctantly offered a bit of information just for the sake of getting out of the spotlight. “Look- her den collapsed on me when I was helping her dig it. I think she's sort of...Been holding a grudge against me since then, so I haven't seen her much. That's all.” He murmured ruefully.
November 21, 2020, 11:52 AM
Phox
Redhawk Caldera
Regent*
An exhale of relief. Fennec was fine, at least as far as Bronco knew. Bronco finally spilled the beans, and what he said didn't make a whole lot of sense to Phox. Then again, lots of things Fennec did didn't make a whole lot of sense to Phox. And she was his daughter. Maybe that was just the way daughters were: not making sense to their fathers so much of the time. Phox had not known that Bronco had been present for the den collapse, but that didn't really explain much of anything. At least it didn't feel like it.

From what he could tell, Bronco and Fennec had gone through a sort of falling out (or in—haha, get it?!) after the den incident.

Oh, Phox said. He wasn't really sure how to respond after that. He was as good at dealing with Fennec as anybody else. She was a fiery creature, bold and defiant, and even the smallest thing could swing you from her good to her bad side in a flash. Phox had been in that position before, and he did tend to tiptoe around her more after that incident. He may have grown a bit of a spine when it came to Niamh and Towhee, but he had failed to grow one when it came to his own daughter.

She can be fickle, he said. Probably just needs time to sort things out. That probably wasn't what Bronco wanted to hear—in fact, he hadn't asked anything. Still, Phox thought it was important to note that Fennec could be a buzzkill sometimes. She had a temper, and her usual route when somebody set it off was to—oh shit, was she going to run off again?

At least now, if she did, Phox knew she had the smarts (if not the skills) needed to not get herself killed. And hopefully it would only be temporary like all the other times.

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November 21, 2020, 01:40 PM
Bronco
Firefly Glen
Gamma
wc:227
Phox seemed to understand how touch-and-go the situation was. He wasn't sure he was up for the conversation about this, and just the thought of it made him want to back out and head home to the Caldera. Phox's advice was something that Bronco had already figured, so he nodded and shrugged. Fennec would need time. But how could he ever spend any time with her, if half of the time he was expected to give her space because of every little thing he did wrong that set her off?

It was discouraging, to say the least, and made him feel slightly hopeless. “Actually if it's alright with you, I think...I think I'm gonna just head home.” He said, his voice quiet and sullen, but he stepped back a few paces, wanting to make it fairly clear he didn't want Phox to try and pull the adult trick with him, the way Wraen had, and try to make him sit down and talk his problems out. “Not feelin' to great, so I should just get heading back now. Can...You tell the bugs I said hi, though?” He asked timidly. He felt like a coward. He didn't even feel spirited enough to seek out his own siblings, and just wanted to go back to the Caldera, find a small place to hole up, and have some time alone.
November 21, 2020, 03:20 PM
Phox
Redhawk Caldera
Regent*
Phox frowned when Bronco mentioned going home. He wished that the kid would talk at least a little bit, but if he'd learned anything from raising two litters, it was that sometimes they didn't want to talk, and pressing the issue always made things exponentially worse. Instead, Phox tried to keep the mood as light as possible with a nod.

Of course. And rain check on that tour? We can skip the cave, he said. Phox felt bad that the conversation had taken a turn for the worse, and he really did want to show Bronco the new digs in depth. There were plenty of places here that could really take your breath away, given the right mood. As for Phox, maybe he would go check out the cave anyway and see how the skull collection was doing. Maybe he could even grab a snack on the way and add one more to the pile.

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November 21, 2020, 03:25 PM
Bronco
Firefly Glen
Gamma
wc:187
Bronco out <3 sorry he's such a bum!
Bronco had begun to nod when Phox mentioned that he could come back to do the tour later- but he froze and his eyes narrowed when the Regent mentioned the cave. He bristled, and his pride was wounded when he thought at least for a moment that Phox was intentionally trying to get a rise out of him, or make fun of him for his newfound fear. Either way, he was somewhat stiff, and his voice was thick when he replied. “No caves.”

Still feeling every bit as prickly and touchy as a hedgehog, he turned and trotted away, disappointed now that he'd come all this way for nothing, more or less. He should have just called out for one of his siblings, or maybe even Figment; maybe if he called for one of them next time, he could avoid seeing Phox or Niamh. For the meantime, though, he just wanted to get home and wallow in shame, knowing that now Phox knew one of his secrets- and that potentially, he might have to face up to his weakness being used as a joke in the future.