Dragoncrest Cliffs Alaska
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I have so much muse! Set before the pack meeting. Tags for ref.

Dawn broke over Rusalka on a frosty November morning. While most creatures in the forest slept, Njord was wide awake in his den. He couldn’t sleep. Couldn’t eat. He could only think of the woman @Valmúa and how she had sent electricity through his whole body. Back on Meares, his small family tribe scarcely brought in new blood. He was related to most of the girls there, and too low ranking to ever think about courting the others. His brother, Aegir, had always made sure he never got the chance, either. Over time, he had stopped caring and simply became aloof to the female kind.

Njord rolled onto his side, frustrated with his new freedom. He was scared to act, and left wanting so much more.

He huffed, rising from the floor and exited out into the chilly world. He headed towards the river with a heavy mind, preoccupied by the copper beauty he had met. Maybe some fishing would ease his worries.
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While Njord's thoughts were with Valmua, Merlin had thought about the fun fellow for the past few days, since they had gone their separate ways. Of course - the lady had been astounding - somewhere deep in the most primal parts of his brain, he still yearned for her in a ways that he did not yet understand. But, frankly speaking, she had not impressed him that much as the realization that he really missed being surrounded by people.

So, imagine his joy, when he came upon Njord's scent along that of his packs, when he happened to cross the coast territories. He hesitated only a little bit, need for company won over all the rational and irrational reasons, why he did not need any pack at the moment. He changed his course, arrived at the borders and called for the fellow, hoping that he would be the one to receive him and not his angry mom with hair-rollers and in dressing-gown.
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Njord trekked through Rusalka towards the river as his head hung deep in thought. It was unlike the man to hold such posture, but he couldn’t help wear his mind on his sleeve. Ice formed at the river’s edge where the water was slowest, dead leaves from fall caught among the ruffage. Njord stepped carefully over the bank stone by stone until he reached a quiet area without much activity. He looked down at the water and regarded his sullen face in the  ripples. He was consumed by thoughts of the woman; to have her and to hold her… but also, just maybe, someone to love. All these feelings were new, and difficult to sort out. A fish swam by… looking at the sad predator with a big, oogling eye wondering WTF he was on about. Wolf things.

Suddenly, a call from the borders rang out and broke Njord’s trance. He recognized the voice and darted from the river edge’s with a quick hop and a skip. Not only was this his first encounter on the border as a patrolee, but it was also the first wolf he knew! He arrived, a little short of breath, to stand before the young man.

“Ahoy! Merlin!” Njord said excitedly, “what’r you doing here, bucko?” His red tail wagged, moving in to take scent from the nomad. “I see Valmúa didn’t track you down an’ gobble you up. She was lookin’ at you like shark bait.” He laughed, genuinely happy to see a familiar face.
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"Nah, she did not," Merlin shook her head. Come to think of it now, though Valmua had ignited some previously unknown sensations in him, she had been rather civil (a little weird, but still polite). "I met a crazy bitch afterwards though. She almost ate my face for no apparent reason. Wanted me to help her decorate her den and then went all berserk, when I told I had not the slightest idea, how to do it," he shrugged, still feeling puzzled about the whole encounter. 

"So, if you encounter her at some point - do yourself a favour and decorate everything she wants to," he suggested. "Well, I happened to be around here, caught your scent and figured - I could see, where you live. So - this is, where you live, right?" he asked, craning his neck to look over Njord's shoulder to spy, whether other wolves were around. Did not seem like it. "Who else lives here with you?"
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Njord bellowed a hearty laugh as Merlin recounted his harrowing encounter with the fickle woman. "Sounds like my sister," he commented. "Full bore A-Type personality. A sweet girl, but blimey... you need to do things exactly as she says or else she'd rip an ear clean off 'yer head." Njord had a soft spot for Angoboda, but sometimes he couldn't stand her controlling and manipulative side. 

Women aside, Merlin seemed interested in learning about Dragoncrest. "Aye, I moved here a few weeks ago!" Njord's chin lifted with pride, happy he had found a new home like this. "This land is named Dragoncrest Cliffs, but the pack is known as Sapphique. Maybe you've heard of their old name, though... we used to be called Rusalka. From what I've gathered, there was a turnover in leadership last season. Needed a fresh start, yanno? The crew here are good people. The family kind." Njord moved aside to give Merlin a better look at their land, although they couldn't see the cliffs from here. Rolling hills were dotted with copses of pines, thickly forested near the heart of the territory. "Erzulie and Rosalyn are the captains. Wives. Can you believe that?!" Njord exclaimed, still in love with their novel leadership system. "I've met a few others. Still getting 'ta know everyone. I joined 'em for the winter after I left my home on Meares island." Njord paused to give Merlin a chance to ask more questions.
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"Yeah, well... no thank you! I would like to keep my head intact," Merlin shook his head, not wishing to encoutner Njord's belowed sibling even if she was the last woman in the world. "Are all girls like that - insane?" he asked, because Njord seemed to have more experience in this matter than he did. The only lady-friend he had had... Q-something... he furrowed his brow, trying to remember more about her, but nothing came to mind. He found a bit of consolation in the fact that - had she been mean, he would have definitely recalled her. As hard as your head been bashed, life-threatening situations stick with you even, when everything else is gone!

Njord seemed to be very happy to be, where he was now, which made Merlin less anxious about being near claimed lands, considering them even as a suitable home for him. "Oh, I haven't heard about them, no," he did not tell that he had not heard about any pack other than the one he had been part of during the summer. "Wives? How does that work?" he asked, having never heard about this kind of arrangement before, but then - he did not know much of anything, how relationships worked and what forms they may take. He was perfectly clueless.
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Despite being over two years old, Njord was still hopelessly unpracticed when it came to understanding the female kind. Blame it on his isolated island life and pious clan. “Seems that way, yeah?” he ruminated with a grin, half joking half serious. “Though I hope tisn’t so. I don’t know how you grew up, but my family was as severe as they came. That means the women were, too.” Njord huffed a sigh. “Erzulie ‘an Rosalyn have good heads on their shoulders. There’s ‘nother girl here named Grimm and she’s nice too… so I’m hopeful there’s some good eggs out there. We can’t be bachelors forever, right?” Though Njord wanted a free and adventurous life, he still craved love and intimacy in the depths of his little heart.

Merlin indicated he had never heard of Rusalka. Though Njord was new to the pack, he had begun to understand that they had quite the history in Teekon. He could have never imagined, however, that it had been the indomitable Caiaphas who once ruled this pack… the same women that Aunt Maera had told him horror stories about when he was just a lad. “You know…” Njord began, trying to figure out the best way to explain, “how usually there’s an alpha male and alpha female? Well, Erzulie and Rosalyn are mates and they rule together. Two alpha females! And they have children together,” he added, almost as a whisper. “I never heard of such a thing before coming here. This pack works so much differently than what I know. But that’s what I like about it.”
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Had it been anyone else say it, Merlin would not have trusted their judgement on both leaders, but it was Njord and, though he knew hardly anything about the guy, he had a feeling that - hey - he would not let be bullied. Let alone live in a pack, where it happened. Nice and well then. With his pal's recommendation, he too had a feeling that he could live with Erzulie and Rosalyn. 

"Oh, okay," he nodded, having not known this fact, because the last pack he had run with had had men only, and he had no memory of any other pack he had lived at. He stored this piece of information as something he should know, so that he did not embarrass himself in the future. "What else is different here?" he asked, not exactly knowing, what was considered a norm.
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Merlin continued to pick Njord’s mind, to which the Sveijarn cocked a brow, a smug cheshire grin on his maw. He read between the lines and wondered what Merlin was actually looking for. “Why don’t you find our for yourself, friend?” he suggested. “Erzulie mentioned we were looking for more hunters,” well, that’s how he got in anyway, “’an winter’s coming. Plus I need your help with more pickup lines!” He laughed, the last part a joke. Njord appreciated Merlin for far more than just his one-liners.

“Besides, I feel like I’ve been yammerin’ this whole time but I don’t know much about you. You out ‘n Teekon all alone?” he asked, curious about the bachelor’s current situation.
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Merlin's face lit up, when Njord mentioned that he needed him, his heart warmed up at the thought of being useful to someone. You see, he was fine on his own, he managed well, he could have survived the winter more or less in the same piece, but he was lonely. And this feeling even with the memory loss of him before the bachelor pack and a Q girl was almost like a good friend for him. Felt like home at times too. 

"I could do that," he nodded his head, smiling sincerely at Njord. "Can't leave you out in the world alone - it's rough there," he grinned, but he knew that with Mr Nordic by his side, they would conquer it all. "Oh, yeah. Run with a bunch of outlaws and marauders for a long time and then decided to hit on my own. They were good chaps - wasn't a bad egg among them," he explained. 

"So - you can couch me in, how to impress these alpha ladies? 'cause it was pretty damn straighforward with the guys. But I kind of don't want to anger the leaders, if - just in case - I refuse to redecorate a den and that was the most important stuff I had to do to get in," he asked.
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Merlin was truly a kindred spirit. He exuded a carefree street savoir faire that Njord really liked. Friendship was a novel thing to the islander – he never really had close comrades growing up. So far, the mainland was all he dreamt it would be. Friends, freedom, females, and food! The characters of Sapphique were, so far, all unique. You had the stoic Kartok and the shy Grimm… Merlin, to Njord, would be a perfect addition.

The vagrant’s expression glowed at the suggestion of joining their ranks. Njord laughed at his comment, “Aye, m’just a lost little lamb without you, Merlin!” he exclaimed, shoving Merlin playfully with the butt of his shoulder. “Marauders and Outlaws who were good eggs?” Njord queried, “I want to hear your stories sometime.”

Merlin asked for suggestions on how to appease Sapphique’s alphas. “I don’t think they’d ask you to do anything like that,” he reassured with a chuckle. “Just be ‘yerself. They seem to like an honest man and enjoy a good laugh. Rosalyn is the one with all the scars and Erzulie is a cinnamon-brown color with two-toned eyes. They’ve seen a lot of tha’ world…” Njord trailed off and craned his head back to call for @Erzulie and @Rosalyn . The final decision would be with them, but Njord was (perhaps a bit naively) confident that they would like the man.
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Well, maybe Merlin should not feel that nervous about the whole thing. Njord had said that both women weren't crazy. Still he flinched, when his buddy went ahead and called for the two and wished that he had been able to buy more time and get to know more about the two. But then - true men didn't face danger hiding in the bushes and hatching all pros and cons about getting in the danger. They went straight ahead in it. They owned it!

He would own it. Right here and now. With head held high. And good thing that Snowman had cured him of his stomach-illness. Wouldn't be good to puke right in front of your potential leader's feet, would it? And good thing he had not eaten anything recently either. Because he did feel a little sick and green in the face. "Deal! And you tell me all about that island!" he said. "Hey, how do I look? Representable enough?"
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erzulie had been enjoying a rare daytime nap, stretched languidly in the coolness of the den she and rosalyn had claimed. it was good to sleep, good that the pack flourished as it had not before. whilst the core of the seawives had been stability, it was enjoyable to see their work complimented with loyalty.
she had begun to draw up a list of rankings in her mind, and it was not in displeasure that the harlot rose to answer njord's call. brushing her shoulder gently along his as she circled close to the pair, the chai-tea courtesan tossed their promising young cully a wink before she stopped before them. erzulie's gaze passed with a cool efficiency over the fiery stranger with a vibrant coat that shone almost as brightly as njord's own tail. silence as always, interested and expectant.
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Njord was oblivious that he might have phoned Erzulie a little prematurely, too excited to bring Merlin into the fold. Hey, how do I look? Representable enough? “Pwitty as a pwearl,” Njord said in baby talk to tease him. “Just kidding, you look real good,” he added with a nod to reaffirm that Merlin was of good standard.

It wasn’t long before Erzulie arrived, a beauty of Sapphique. The captain moved with swift strides, confident and poised. Njord regarded her with a kind expression, admiring her. Her goldspun pelt shone in the sun. Did Njord not realize how beautiful she was when they had first met? Had Valmúa truly awaken something that previously laid dormant inside the seafarer? The captain brushed against him and caused Njord’s spine to tingle. Outwardly, he actively kept a straight face telling himself 'common’ Njord, yer losing yer marbles. Keep it together!'

“Erzulie, this is Merlin,” he introduced. “Merlin, this is Erzulie, one of the leaders of Sapphique,” he felt is proper to establish the alpha’s rank in her presence. He turned back to Sapphique’s captain, “Merlin and I met a few days ago at Firefly ravine. He’s interested in joining our crew. He’s got a sharp tongue and a smart mind,” he added, wanting to give Merlin the best run for his money.
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And I am Rosalyn.  The russet woman slipped up alongside as well, giving a small nod and a smile to Njord, then training her attention on Merlin.  She stayed close to Erzulie but a pace behind, allowing her wife to take point.  

What brings you to wish to live on our shores, Merlin?  The pirate asked, hoping to prompt him to speak some of himself.  She would listen and ascertain, but she couldn't help but feel a touch of amusement as yet another male graced their shore.  If Grimnismal were looking, she'd be overwhelmed with possibilities.  They were building quite the collection and at this point entirely outnumbered.
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"Pearl pretty enough to hand to Valmua?" Merlin teased back, but despite being reassured that he was okay, he brushed his muzzle with one of his forepaws, checked that there was no obvious sticks and dirt clinging to his coat and shook it heartily. He even sneezed in the end and, when he opened them, a stunning she-wolf had materialized before him. Good thing that Njord pitched in and gave him a head-start, because for the first few seconds all the russet boy could do was gawk at the lady, speechless, while his courage had almost completely left most of his body and hanging onto his toes somewhere. What was worse - she did not help on with the conversation, just watched him in silence, which made it all the more awkward for him - he averted his gaze shyly and seemed to have a newfound interest in one of the lady's cream coloured toes. 

The arrival of the second queen - Rosalyn - surprisingly came as a relief. One look at that scarred maw of hers and the feeling that she was the manlier half of the pair, gave Merlin a feeling that just maybe everything was not lost yet. He could look at her without the same irrational fear and embarrassment he felt being in the presence of Erzulie, therefore, when he finally opened his mouth to speak, one would notice that he was addressing Rosalyn with an intensity of a man, who has seen is last hope in avoiding to be eaten alive by a shark. "Uhh... Uh... Yeah... well, I've been out on my own for a while and happened to meet Njord out there, and we hit it off and... uh, it gets kind of lonely and I really want to have friends," so much for eloquence in words and smart mind. But he was nervous. Very. He was afraid that he had hardly made a good first impression, so with furrowed brow he tried to recall, what had his wingman said about hunters and fighters? "I can hunt and I can support myself. Not much of a warrior, but that I can learn," he offered. 

There was a whole verbal whirlwind in his mind now and good thing he had enough control not to blunder such things as: "I know nothing about your pack, but you have to be decent, because you have not yet tried to eat me. And Njord said you weren't crazy." / "There's not much inside my head, but that just gives room for learning. I am a good student, I promise." He kept his mouth shut now and hoped that either Rosalyn or Erzulie would lead him on with questions rather than giving him a free-reign on, what to say next.
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the gazes of men in their admiration pleased erzulie as did any other mildly enjoyable sight. her attentions, in all regards, belonged solely to rosalyn. but she had not plied the oldest trade in her youth without skill, and one such was using the stare of a man to link him close.
njord spoke, and she watched with open amusement as the man called merlin dipped his gaze away after a prolonged expression that suggested he had forgotten him. rosalyn had come among them, putting her own question to the joiner. erzulie looked warmly at her wife a moment before turning her spiced ears to hear what merlin had to say.
he hit upon three points most important to sapphique and their place in the cliffs. and njord, who had already made himself greatly supportive to their cause, had provided a glowing review. "what you be t'inking of de sea?" she asked the crimson man, for it formed the backbone to their packlife. everything that could be harvested from the waters would be put to good use, and the salt would become a part of merlin's life also if he meant to stay.
quiet now, in the event rosalyn wished to lend her voice again, a united front as always.
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He was clearly nervous.  Rosalyn didn't soften for his benefit, but she didn't disapprove either.  If he was intimidated this was good, because it meant he did not think so highly of himself as to question their judgement.  An unspoken test passed, one tick marked.  Another few in skills that he listed, though those could be learned.  Most wolves could hunt - could he run with a crew and support them.  If she asked his answer would be yes, so that would need to be seen with time.  There were many new faces she was curious about, honestly, and a pack hunt might be just the thing to illustrate it.

Lonely was a fair enough answer and 'I can learn' was something she appreciated hearing from any young wolf.  Humility and willingness.  She had no questions to add and instead waited to hear an answer to her wife's.  They were a seaborn pack.  It wasn't a requirement to love it, but if he disliked the shore, chances were he'd be unhappy here.

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"The sea?" Merlin stared at Erzulie, having momentarily forgotten that he was supposed to feel totally overwhelmed in her presence, that he should be blushing and being super uneasy. Yet of all the questions she could have asked, this was the most perplexing. What about it? Was it a trick question? He shot a glance at Njord, then looked at Rosalyn, sort of expecting her to go "HA - HA, just a joke!", but, when that did not happen, he felt just as lost as earlier.


"Uh, what about it exactly?" he asked someone to clarify. "It's a big mass of water," but it was not likely that he should describe it to wolves, who lived there all the time. "I don't really know. I have not lived by it myself, but any place's good for me, as long as there's enough food for all," he decided to go for the most genuine response from his side. "I don't think I understood your question," he added, now more quietly, because the embarrassment he felt in Erzulie's presence had returned.
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erzulie's two-toned gaze sharpened warmly the more that merlin spoke, the more that he tangled himself into the loopery of his own words. gold and green filled with a deep amusement; she exchanged a glance with her wife, smile batting the corners of her mouth. 
so far as she was concerned, his place here could be confirmed; a sugared laugh thrummed delightedly in her throat. "dere be food for all at de sea. you only need to be shown to de water a handful of times before you take to it. sapphique has dat effect." rosalyn now, commanding her attention; eyes sneaking to njord and then back.
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Throwing one in! Feel free to keep skipping me :D

As Njord introduced his friend to Erzulie, Sapphique’s other captain arrived. Rosayln stood strong, mighty, and wise before the recruit in contrast to her wife’s softer look and benevolent expression. Yet that did not mean Rosayln was not caring nor Erzulie cunning, it was simply an observation that besides one another they were a perfect yin and yang; balanced as all good things should be.

Merlin sorted himself out, but he quickly floundered beneath the wives’ scrutiny. He looked like a fish out of water, not quite sure how to address the pair of women. Njord smiled at him for encouragement. There wasn’t a shadow of a doubt that Merlin would make good company, and so the islander only thought it amusing that the young man struggled so. To him, it only meant that Merlin really cared.

Erzulie’s question about the ocean spiked Njord’s interest. While he had virtually no knowledge of mainland Teekon, here was a wolf that new nothing of the sea. Huh… Njord hadn’t quite thought that his oceanic knowledge might give him a one up. The Sveijarn’s gaze fell back to the cinnamon leader. He could read her expression and its positive appraisal. Encouraged, Njord piped up enthusiastically. “You’ll be an expert beachcomber in no time!” he proclaimed. “I’ll be teachin’ ‘ya my secret fishing technique. You’ll be smelling like a salty dog soon enough,” he added with a laugh and a thump of his red tail before turning towards Rosalyn to gauge her opinion.
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Rosalyn's amusement matched Erzulie's when she glanced back, but it was with the barest of smiles.  He was earnest and awkward in a way that reminded her of Reyes when he was younger.  She did not wish to hurt his pride and felt a slight pang at the relation.  He was unfamiliar with the sea, but that was no worry so long as he did not test it.  He'd need to respect the water - Ironsea had lost a good many wolves to the powerful tides and creatures within.

It was a foregone conclusion, but she felt them waiting for her word.  Rosalyn smiled with a soft breath of laughter.  Welcome to Sapphique.  Between themselves, Njord, and the rest of the crew, he'd find a fair amount to keep himself busy with here.
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The only thing that did not let Merlin drown in the sea of warm honey that was Erzulie's looks, presence, demeanour - everything - was Njord's interception and promise that he would make a salty sea-dog triscuit. The boy was effectively distracted from losing his shit and running for the hills to get himself clean from the sticky stuff he had been covered in by his own mind. Panic now would not make a good impression on the new leaders here, especially right after joining. And Njord would think him weird. That low he could not fall. 

Rosalyin had the final word and the boy let out a sigh of relief, glad that this was over. And after the leaders had excused themselves and gone to their own businesses, he followed Njord tentatively inside his new home. Sappique.