Broken Antler Fen I wrote you a letter
All Welcome  March 03, 2021, 02:02 PM
Maia
Brecheliant
Raven
Maia was too much of a wreck to go back to the fen right away. She hovered near Lake Rodney instead and had a solo, much-needed meltdown.  By the time she passed through the familiar boundary, she was completely drained.  All she wanted to do was hide away and cry for a solid week, but she knew she couldn't do that.

Wraen was bound to come looking for her, and how was she going to explain this?  Maia's eyes squeezed shut as she thought about it.  She thought she was going to be sick.

She'd been so happy when the first started founding this place, even knowing that she likely wouldn't stay. She hadn't worried; she knew Wraen would be there for her and her happiness either way.  But that was before she'd fallen in love with this little forest and the family they'd made, and that was before Wraen had chosen her to be a leader here.  It didn't matter that she thought of herself as an utter failure now.  The thought of going to her sister and telling her she no longer wanted it made her want to crawl into a hole and vanish forever.

Maybe there was no good answer.

She wasn't sure when she made the decision to go there, but somehow Maia ended up at the place she and Wraen had named 'Warden's Watch.'  She leaned against the boulder and pressed her cheek against the rough stone, then breathed out.  I know what you'd do, she said quietly.  Terance had chosen leadership over a family... and so had Sarah.  They'd both seemed happy, but she didn't know if she was built for that.  She really only had one choice; at this point she was just delaying it.
March 04, 2021, 04:22 AM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
Wraen had woken up with a dizzy head and the familiar feeling of an invisible weight pressing down on her body. So, after a toilet break, she had found for herself a nice sun-lit spot, dressed in soft moss and there she had slept soundly for the better part of the day. There in the dream-world she was free of ailments and continued to discover those corner's of the fen she had not yet visited on foot. It was afternoon and the sun had begun it's journey to the other horizon, it had got a little chilly and this woke her up. She yawned, she blinked, she stretched, while still lying down and then got to her feet. First to sitting position to test, whether her head was no longer spinning. Then carefully she lifted her up on all fours, stood for a bit so that the world around her stopped spinning. And then - far from ideal, she was good to go. 

The headache that had plagued her earlier had receded to the furthest corner of her brain, as if graciously giving her some time to do all the preliminary things that would ensure Wraen's survival. Not feeling like she could hunt without alerting all prey within a mile about her half-drunken attempts to stalk and attack, she found a cache and gnawed on some scraps there. With a pleasant heavy feeling in her belly, she decided to take a look, what others were doing, and - lo and behold - there she saw Maia, who she had not talked with in quite a while. She did not sense that something was amiss right away, but it was evident, when she had drawn closer. "What happened?" Wraen asked, taking a seat right next to her favourite sibling and looking at her expectantly.
March 04, 2021, 10:07 AM
Maia
Brecheliant
Raven
Maia didn't look up as Wraen came and sat beside her, asking what was wrong.  She did lean gently against her though.  It sounded like at least she was having a good day, which was something.  Maia wasn't completely oblivious to Wraen's health lately, though her sister hid the extent of it well.  She'd worried ever since their travels, but some things were easier not to talk about.  

She didn't knew where to start so she jumped right in.  I asked Eljay to come live here, she answered flatly.  And it really upset him.  But I was tired of living separate, and I felt bad being leader here and constantly thinking about him.  She thought she was done crying, but suddenly, she was fighting back another round.  I don't know what to do.  He loves there more than he loves me, and I love him more than I love here, but I love you most.  She turned and buried her face in her sister's pelt.  She couldn't help hoping her sister had some kind of magical answer she was missing, or some wise saying that would make all of this easier.
March 05, 2021, 04:16 AM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
Oh, my... Wraen sighed and thought, how karma liked to work in full circles. Her ears (eyes) to tell everything were Towhee's. And she was Maia's shoulder to cry on. And, perhaps, Maia was Eljay's and Eljay... she could imagine that guy being the equivalent of a quiet and patient bucket, where everyone poured their troubles in, if they decided to do so. She gave her sister a moment to pull herself together, while she went through everything she had been told now and sieved facts from wild assumptions. 

Of course, Wraen had known that Maia's and Eljay's current settlement could not have worked like this forever. She had even discussed this with the spouse-to-be's side of the family. She had hard time believing that the eldest Finwood son was the kind to give an ultimatum, nor to be overly stubborn or unwilling to change. Sure, it had come hard, but she had witnessed him being brave before. She did not see a reason, why he should not be such again. 

"Well... first things first - you never ever drop a bomb on Eljay. You ease him in with patience and gentle coercion, and an honest discussion. Besides he is a head healer at Redhawks with an apprentice to train, two pregnant and needy she-wolves to look after. He cannot just get up and leave. If he was to do so, he would need time to tie things up and hand over the job to Fennec. And be sure that she was able to everything that the pack needs," she told her in a level tone. 

"And as for one of you moving to this or the other pack - it depends, what you want. If it is to continue boyfriend/girlfriend stuff for the rest of the year, I vote you go there now and be happy," she said. "If, however, you want to have a family this season, I suggest you look at things pragmatically. Redhawks have two pregnant she-wolves that will deliver few weeks from now. That means two wolves, who won't be able to leave kids or hunt for themselves for a month or so. They may have a single kid each, they may have twelve or more. Which puts pressure on resources. 

If you go to Redhawks with an intent of having children, you might face a possibility of being denied that chance. As a low ranking member you will be roped in taking care of toddlers of others. With all the love and respect they have there for Eljay, their children will be the utmost priority. No hard feelings, just how survival of the fittest works. Whereas here you not only have a rank and rights to breed, but also plenty of resources in terms of people and hunting opportunities," she continued. 

"And I understand that it feels as if all you need is Eljay in your life and that love will be enough to fill every void, every unhappiness you'll ever feel, but he should not be your sole focus. You need a life and a job outside the relationship, so that it never comes to "you love this more than me" or that you give up too much in favour on the significant other's wishes," Wraen said. "You are new to the leadership and I think that you should not give it up so quickly. There is room for you to learn and grow. Believe me, starting somewhere anew again is not easy," she sighed. "In the end, decision is all yours - I just want you to think it through very, very carefully, before you make a move. And also have an honest and pragmatic discussion with Eljay - hear him out, tell him, what you want and what you need, and you may find a solution that works," she finished.
March 05, 2021, 10:31 AM
Maia
Brecheliant
Raven
Maia listened quietly as Wraen delivered.  She cut straight to the solutions, some of which made sense, some of which made her feel worse.  Not because she didn't like Wraen saying them, but because she should have known Eljay well enough to know them herself.  She felt embarrassment fill her as her sister pointed out her mistake and how she should have done things.  

The more she spoke, the less hope Maia had too of him ever being able to leave.  He had such a big job there, of course he loved it.  And she was right about the kids, which was another reason she'd wanted to stay, but if she did stay did she even have any chance?  And wasn't some better than none?  Why is everything so HARD.

I do want kids.  I want to be with him and have a family, and we can't do that like this.  If he has to stay to take care of them, and I stay here, then there's no chance.  Right?  They have theirs and I have none.  Her voice was smaller, but she was calming down a little.  The advice about talking about it was good, but she still couldn't help but think there was only one outcome here.  His face, when I asked.... it was like I just drained everything out of him.  And he still almost agreed just to make me happy, which... what if in the end, he just hates me for it?  

She couldn't live with that, she didn't think.  I can't even talk to my own boyfriend right, and he's the wolf I know the best after you.  I don't know how I'm supposed to do anything as a leader aside from make everything worse.  I just.... I just wanted to prove I was good enough.  Ah, nope, she was working her way back towards upset again.  It was clear in the rise of her voice on that one.  I don't think I ever will be.

It was melodramatic, but Maia believed it with every fiber of her being right now.  Reaching for leadership had been a tentative hope, a stretch outside of her comfort zone that she'd been teetering on.  This blow to her confidence had her stumbling back into her old habits and patterns, the ones that told her to just keep her head down and let others handle things.  All she ever was was a mistake.
March 06, 2021, 03:11 AM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"Well, Maia, I have known him for years and way before you even considered him as a potential mate-to-be," Wraen sighed, feeling sorry that her sister was about to exit the honeymoon period of her relationship and begin to see the person of their interest for who they truly were. Eljay, who through and through was a good guy had three faults: 1. He had a self-confidence of melting ice - step on it wrong and it either cracked or shattered; 2. He tended to overthink and overanalyze things; 3. He resisted change, unless it slapped him across the face and then he was forced to deal with it. And here was Maia, who... except for more flexibility was more or less a female version of Eljay. A very much improved one, in Wraen's biased opinion. "The secret knowledge of, how to handle Eljay properly, is passed on from one generation of women to the next," she told her in a conspirational whisper and grinned at the joke. "And I will tell you, what I was told by late Wildfire, who had known him all her life, the key of understanding and dealing Eljay is - patience, patience and patience," and for Eljay's sake she hoped that Maia would be the last woman, who would ever need this advice. "And being a kind of a mom to him too - not in an obvious sense, but he needs someone to care for him and reassure him, and gently push him on the right path," or the path that you consider to be the right one. 

"The point I was trying to make earlier is that your situation is not an "all or nothing" case. I understand that he was caught off guard by your proposition, but he did not say a big, fat "NO!", did he?" the people-pleaser Eljay was, she could not imagine him doing so. Even if it made him unhappy and anxious. "I say you give it another shot, but this time have a discussion. Ask him, what he has imagined for you and what he has to offer, and then tell, where you stand, and what is important to you. And I am sure that you will be able to meet in the middle and find a way that suits you both well. It can go many ways, you just have to talk to each other and be honest. Relationships are hard, but you do not stop trying, just because there has been one hiccup along the road," she said. "If you both like each respective places of residence - you can even agree to raise your family in both packs - first half of the year here with us and the second half - the useful and bratty one - over there. That way your kids will enjoy and get to know both sides of the family and can eventually decide, where they want to stay," Wraen liked the idea, though she did not hope that Maia and Eljay would act upon it. There were selfish reasons for her to want Maia to stay here - she remembered well, how very lonely she had felt during those months, when her sister had gone to visit their family. And she knew that, if her sister moved away to Redhawks, that would mean another member of her very small circle of close friends lost. She knew she would not be able to make those journeys to and back from the caldera frequent enough... if at all. 

She could have told Maia this and had she been younger and with a more fiery temper, she would have. Along with many other things she would later regret saying. Now, however, she could not afford to lose any more friends.
March 07, 2021, 02:04 AM
Maia
Brecheliant
Raven
Oh.  Maia grew a little flustered, the slowly more horrified.  Oh.. She'd thought that maybe, but then she'd assumed not, but... apparently...  You..... did you.... do you??  She asked, a little stammeringly, completely thrown off by Wraen's totally casual admission.  Had she stolen Wraen's crush!? Was her sister secretly upset, and had she ruined her own sister's happy ending too by going after hers?! Oh she was feeling a little nauseous.

Wraen had moved on quickly, but Maia was too hung up on that first part and the way her mind began to spiral on it to listen closely.  There was some good advice and attempts to put her worries to rest, but none of it worked.

She didn't want to be a mom to him, and she didn't think that was what he needed. The few conversations she'd had with him, she'd been completely honest.  Some had gone well, some hadn't, but this was how she was.  She couldn't change.  She didn't want him to change either... but she didn't think he'd need to.  And she wondered, not for the first time, if maybe others didn't see in him the glimpses that she did.

Both packs... that wouldn't work.  Would it?  She doubted that Towhee and Phox would much like that, and leading while she lived in the caldera? No way.  She'd have to step down, to move away, and at that point... she might as well just move there.  There was no difference.

She felt hopelessness settle in her chest, but mostly she was still shell-shocked by the admission that her sister had seen Eljay as mate-material.  Had she ever said that about anyone before? Even Arcturus?.  Omg.  She really did ruin everything.
March 07, 2021, 09:49 AM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
Wraen noticed that not only Maia did not respond to her well-meant joke, her expression changed and shut off completely. She probably did not hear the rest of her speech and she knew that there was no point in saying anything else, just to figure out, what had upset her now. Maybe this had been the least appropriate moment for her to flood her sibling's mind with wisdom, she should have lent an ear, listened carefully and offered supportive "uh"s and "ah"s, and "I am so sorry, sister..." and so on. 

"Maia, what's wrong now?" she asked, deciding it was easier to find out directly than waste time speculating fruitlessly. "Did I offend you?" because that had been the case with Bronco and she had messed up that relationship.
March 07, 2021, 02:45 PM
Maia
Brecheliant
Raven
She looked at Wraen as if she realized she'd just done something terrible, regret and apology and horror mingled.  Did you... like Eljay?  I didn't know, I'm... she trailed off, her ears tipping back.  She'd thought her sister supported them as a pair, but if she'd known, she'd have never...

At least this was a refreshingly new problem to focus on in comparison to the previous.  There wasn't much she could do to fix it, but Maia couldn't think of many things worse than choosing her own happiness and completely steamrolling Wraen's.  Why hadn't she thought to even consider the possibility?  What if every time she talked about him, Wraen was just being nice while secretly hating everything about the conversation?

She waited with an acute sense of dread for what Wraen might say next.
March 08, 2021, 12:21 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
Wraen's expression changed from concerned, to incredulous, to "oh, my God, Maia, please..." in a quick succession. She did not know, whether she should laugh about the crazy ways her sister's neuron network made connections inside that brain pot of hers, because they had reached a point, where being wise and supportive was becoming too difficult for her. Had she been human, she would have wanted to grab her sister by her shoulders and shake her a bit to get some good sense back in her. As a wolf, she was thinking of a canine-equivalent of it. 

"You are Queen of Crazy," she sighed and looked at Maia, wondering, if fairies happened to do exception to their baby stealing rule and, perhaps, she was talking to a changeling now. Not likely, though the mental picture of a chorde of dainty little fairies carrying grown-up Maia away, while she was sound asleep, was an amusing sight. "I was his leader for a long time and as such I needed to know my subjects well and how to deal with them. Nothing else. And before your mind takes another crazy twist and conjures more incredible scenarios, I suggest you have a nap. If you won't, I'll personally wack you on your head and take you out," she warned her half-smiling, half-serious.
March 10, 2021, 10:07 AM
Maia
Brecheliant
Raven
Maia (and her writer, oops) had both completely misheard Wraen, so for a moment she was extremely confused.  She hadn't just said they were friends... she'd said she had looked at him as a potential mate, hadn't she?  (When in reality, the comment had been directed towards Maia herself.). It was a hard thing to sort out, she'd misunderstood so heavily.

But Wraen seemed fine with it, and now embarrassment replaced her horror. It had been a really long day and she felt as if, at the moment, she was messing everything up.  Wraen was probably right, she should just go to bed and try to forget a lot of this.

Okay.  Thanks.  She moved in to give her sister another hug.  She'd said a lot of things trying to help, and while Maia knew she probably wouldn't be able to sleep much with everything bouncing around right now, she appreciated it.  She was just going to drop the other thing; she didn't have the room for it and Wraen seemed genuinely amused even by the suggestion.  I'm just... yeah.  she let out a small sigh, then started off to find a place to curl up for a bit nearby.
March 11, 2021, 02:17 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"So, come on, my dear, lovely Just Yeah," Wraen got to her feet, stretched and reached out to nuzzle her sister's cheek affectionately. "I know just the best napping place and I have a bedtime story for you too!" she promised her sister and, even though she knew that this would not distract her from her current problems and she would probably be listening to her with 1/4 of an ear, she beckoned her to follow. 

"One thing your good old sister can assure you - tomorrow will be another day and things will sort out eventually. Maybe sooner and easier than you anticipate," she told her and made a mental note to herself to go and meet Towhee and have a chat with her. Maybe she could nudge Eljay in the right direction too or have a valuable insight in the matters. Little did she know that this would definitely work in a ways that she would never have believed or hoped.

Last one from me! We can have an updated one, if you would like.
March 11, 2021, 05:10 PM
Maia
Brecheliant
Raven
She couldn't help but crack a little wider smile as Wraen made a joke about her words, and her sister's lighthearted manner helped to ease her anxiety a bit.  She knew in a way that she was overreacting but she couldn't help it.  She couldn't explain why suddenly it felt like the world was ending; like there was no hope for them, and the only option was to end up miserable no matter what they did.

That sounds amazing, she admitted, relieved.  A story would be just the thing to get her mind off of this, she hoped, and into whatever world Wraen chose.  No matter what, she always at least knew how to make her feel better... Maia felt a huge rush of gratitude, not for the first time, that she was lucky enough to have a big sister like Wraen.

yes!!!! I'll start us one here quick