Broken Antler Fen We don't need to be related to relate.
All Welcome  April 23, 2021, 02:51 PM
Towhee
Redhawk Caldera
Sovereign*
As it turned out, the tree growing atop the Hobbit Hole was a pink dogwood. Soft ros茅 blossoms scattered underfoot as Towhee exited the den with a purposeful step. She left the puppies in capable hands as she traveled to the southern borders, then beyond them. She couldn't stop thinking of that tree or the lovely home they kept underneath it, in the very ground she sometimes still thought of as cursed.

There was something on her mind. Towhee hadn't mentioned it to anyone else just yet, though she might give voice to it today. The Sovereign arrived at the outskirts of the fen and stopped. She drew in a breath, admiring the springtime scenery a moment before raising her head and howling for @Wraen.

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Redhawk Caldera are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

April 23, 2021, 03:24 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
Towhee's raspy off-tune howl was something that Wraen had not expected to hear anytime soon, so she approached the borders with a bit of apprehension about the reasons for the arrival of the Redhawk Queen. It is a sad truth universally accepted that those, who are already beaten down, get more kicks for good measure. Or as in that old joke: a very pious man is plagued by constant bad luck in all spheres of life despite him being an upstanding citizen. He聽turns to God and asks: "Why?" And the God Almighty opens the curtain of clouds, looks down and asks: "But why not?"聽聽

So, when Wraen saw her friend in a fairly good health and good mood, she sighed in relief from avoiding more "why not"s for now. She appraoched her smiling and teased: "Did you get tired from the marital bliss and fulfilling family life?"
April 23, 2021, 03:30 PM
Towhee
Redhawk Caldera
Sovereign*
Just the sight of Wraen's face made Towhee want to spill her guts, simply because she knew she could. Her friend would listen without judging... well, on second thought, she might judge, but it always came from a good place. Unlike last time, however, Towhee buttoned up her lips instead of springing a verbal assault on her longtime friend.

She even managed a smile at Wraen's teasing. "I just like you so much, I can't stay away for long," Towhee quipped in reply, pausing before saying, "Hey, have I ever told you that you're one of my best friends?" Actually, she might've defaulted to her closest by merit of the others dying (Hydra) or leaving (Niamh). But that seemed like an unnecessary thing to say. "We should come up with a better title than that though," she added in the next breath.

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Redhawk Caldera are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

April 23, 2021, 03:45 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"Oh my god, you have crush on me!" Wraen squealed like a kid and broke out in a merry laughter and moved forward to give a wolfish hug. Then she retreated, gave her聽friend a fond look聽and continued: "And to answer the question you did not ask聽- of course, I will marry you. This very day! And we will live happily ever after to the end of our days. Sounds good, eh?"

"What brings you here? Because with four kids and a young husband to boss around, I did not expect to see you like... ever?"
April 23, 2021, 04:05 PM
Towhee
Redhawk Caldera
Sovereign*
As much as she loved Wraen dearly, her response put a flush of heat in Towhee's cheeks. She didn't normally mind hugs one bit, though she squirmed a little as her friend clutched at her. Fortunately, Wraen released her pretty quickly and resumed a more normal demeanor. The Sovereign cleared her throat as she mentally smoothed her petticoats and focused on the question.

"I had a thought," she replied, her voice a little more stilted than usual. Towhee paused, trying to gather her thoughts (and her wits). "My Regents are both gone, possibly for good. I have some great wolves supporting me but there's not many of us. Sometimes," she came right out and said it, "I think we should just join forces with one of our sister packs."

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Redhawk Caldera are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

April 23, 2021, 04:26 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"Well, as your secret admirer and lover I would jump at the chance and tell you an enthusiastic "yes, yes, YES"," Wraen replied, drawing the joke to an end and becoming serious after this. "But as a co-leader here there are practical reasons that deter us from merging with you now," she said. "My niece - Ibis - is expecting children this spring. Maia and Eljay are having kids too. They'll need all the resources and help they can get," she told. Adding four more would be a bit too much of a stretch. Ironically enough the same four and Niamh's brood that had never seen light at the caldera had been the reason, why Eljay had been turned down. And now... situation was reversed and Wraen was turning Towhee down. She wanted to help, she wanted to say - definitely - but could not. It was not her decision to make after all. A small consolation to the fact that she did feel a bit like a jerk.聽

"But we have large game here and we can join forces in hunting it down. And I recall that you, Fireflies and Moonspearans had an inbetween territories for meets and greets, and teaching.We can have this too," she suggested. "We can return to your offer, when all of the children are old enough to stand independently on their own feet and the circle of life begins anew."
April 23, 2021, 04:45 PM
Towhee
Redhawk Caldera
Sovereign*
She hoped the implication was pretty clear, even if she hadn't finished her thought outright. Fortunately, Wraen seemed to understand exactly what she was inferring, before proceeding to reject her. At least, that's what it felt like to Towhee, who would be a big fat liar if she'd said she wasn't both angered and hurt by it. It pricked her in particular when it felt like Wraen specifically threw her own words to Eljay back in her face. Maybe she deserved that.

Honestly, she was too preoccupied with schooling her expression to hear the rest of what Wraen said beyond that, including the helpful suggestions she provided. Her eyes turned to her feet as she took a couple deep breaths. When she raised her gaze again, it seemed her friend was finished. But Towhee didn't speak again right away, still trying to quell her knee-jerk reaction and look at the matter more pragmatically.

"There's Moonglow," she said almost to herself. She really didn't like the idea of subjecting herself to Kukutux's rule, despite not knowing the woman personally. For a deaf wolf, she sometimes put a lot of stock into the things she heard, particularly from trusted sources, such as Wraen herself. "It was just a thought."
April 23, 2021, 05:17 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"Towhee - this is a decision that I cannot make alone," Wraen tried to make her friend see the point in her initial refusal. "I do not have that power - our members do, they collectively decide on, which direction they want the pack to go," she explained, not expecting that Towhee was going to listen now, hoping that she would think it through afterwards. "And have you asked your people, what they want to do? I mean, our way of governing is not for everyone. What if your mate or your packmates聽refuse to take care about any other children than his own. It is their right to do so, but not, when under someone else's rule," she pointed out. The split in Firebirds had happened not only because of alliance with Moonspear, but with the fact that Towhee and Niamh had excluded Wraen from decision-making process. Informed her after everything had been said and done.聽

"How badly are you struggling, Towhee?" she decided to sniff out the situation first. "There are more ways to get out of this than just giving up and climbing under someone else's roof."聽
April 23, 2021, 07:23 PM
Towhee
Redhawk Caldera
Sovereign*
I get it, she replied, her voice a little throatier than usual. She really did, despite her butthurt. She twitched her lips into a faint smile, which she could only hope looked convincing. Despite Wraen鈥檚 insistence that it wasn鈥檛 her decision alone, Towhee accepted it as already made.

She shook her head. She hadn鈥檛 voiced this thought to anyone else. Towhee hadn鈥檛 wanted to float it past Wraen only because she was part of one of said sisters packs; she also valued her as a confidante who could tell her if the idea even had any merit at all before involving anyone else in a more serious capacity.

I鈥檝e only talked to you, she clarified, because you鈥檙e my friend. And you鈥檙e a leader too. I value your feedback. I wouldn鈥檛 make a decision based on your input alone鈥攏o offense鈥攂ut I know you鈥檙e a great sounding board. This time, the smile came a little more easily, more genuinely.

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Redhawk Caldera are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

April 24, 2021, 11:18 AM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"In that case - let's "feedback" this in-depth like two leaders," Wraen stepped aside, turned and beckoned Towhee to follow her in the fen. She was taking her friend to the Thinking stone that was her favourite spot in the whole territory. And she did not mind sharing it once in a while, especially, when she did not wish to let someone go off thinking that they had been turned down "just because". If the Sovereign had voiced concern, there had to be grounds for it.

"So - what is going on? What is worrying you?" she asked and a second later. "Who's Moonglow?"
April 25, 2021, 12:07 PM
Towhee
Redhawk Caldera
Sovereign*
Towhee fell into step beside Wraen, her demeanor a little pensive again until her friend picked up the thread. She asked two specific questions, which the Sovereign contemplated before deciding to answer the first, well, first.

I guess I just feel a little like I鈥檓 in limbo. Both of my Regents have disappeared. But they weren鈥檛 just my co-leaders. She paused. I don鈥檛 know if either one is coming back, so I don鈥檛 feel like I can promote anyone else in their stead, even though I need co-leaders more than ever right now.

Saying that out loud made her realize that talking about merging the pack with another was quite a bit more upheaval than simply promoting some new faces into leadership. Towhee sighed. There was still the worry about numbers, though she supposed they were managing reasonably despite her concerns. She just felt lost without Phox in particular.

To answer your other question: Moonglow is what鈥檚 left of Moonspear and Firefly Glen. It鈥檚 led by Kukutux and her daughter, based on what Meerkat鈥檚 told me.

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Redhawk Caldera are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

April 25, 2021, 01:18 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"To put it bluntly - Regent's job is not a birth-right or a friend-right, but a job. If a person, who is supposed to do it, is not there to do it, you fill in that position," Wraen replied. "Especially, if you need that help and there are people fit to provide it." That was the thing with Ravens here - as long as you could do the job, you held the position. Once you could not, someone else stepped up to keep the equilibrum. "Besides - after your fall-out with Niamh and with her going away without a single word - would you still want her as your Regent? Sure, people mess up and they deserve second chances, but it is always a question of trust - do you still trust them fully?"聽

"Arcturus told that he had pulled her out of, what was left of the spear. I am glad that she is okay and it is impressive that she now leads. Lost a mountain and found one in its stead," she mused.
April 25, 2021, 07:02 PM
Towhee
Redhawk Caldera
Sovereign*
Wraen made several valid points, to which Towhee could only reply, "I know, you're right. It's just a lot easier said than done. And there's a part of me that's having a really hard time accepting the situation." She exhaled through her nose and turned her head to the side to peer off into the fen. Appointing new Regents meant giving up on her brother. (Especially after Wraen pointed it out, Towhee realized she'd given up on Niamh already.)

She missed her friend's observation about Kukutux, though she swung her gaze back to Wraen's face to say, "I miss him, Wraen. Nothing feels right with Phox gone. He wasn't just my Regent. He was meant to help raise my pups." And his own, of course. Her heart ached as she wondered for the nth time: had he found Niamh in time? Were they simply elsewhere, bringing up their litter wherever Niamh had given birth?

"I guess," she concluded after another sighing breath, "I need to start moving on with my life. It's just..." Well, she'd already said it: it was a lot easier said than done. Just saying it out loud made Towhee feel a lot like crying.

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Redhawk Caldera are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

April 26, 2021, 05:05 AM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"Well, just because you appoint someone trustworthy to help you in is absence, does not mean that you are giving up on him. Perhaps, taking a break from leading and everything that has gone wrong recently, will be, what's best for him. And... unfortunately, if he does find Niamh and she refuses to return here... you won't have much choice anyway," Wraen said sympathetically. It was hard to set work and family life apart, especially, if it had been so closely intertwined for such a long time. But there were other people in the pack besides them too and they were just as important, even if they weren't related to Redhawks by blood.

"It's normal to feel that way and it won't get any easier, but... has there been a time in your life, when you have been entirely on your own? Without Phox?" she asked. "Because you are no less of a good leader without him. And maybe finding out, who you are and what you can achieve, when you are on your own... is a good thing. I was on my own, when I led Firebirds for the better part of the year. It was hard, but it showed me, what was I capable of. And now... well, being on my own again would suck, but I know I would manage."聽
April 26, 2021, 08:46 AM
Towhee
Redhawk Caldera
Sovereign*
Maybe because she felt so tender in that moment, Wraen's objective advice stung. She knew her friend wasn't being unsympathetic on purpose, she was only trying to provide the practical feedback Towhee herself had requested. But the Sovereign found it impossible to simply divorce her feelings from the matter or look at anything other than subjectively when she was on this end of an advisory conversation.

She didn't answer Wraen's question directly. Yes, Phox had left her once, a long time ago. But he'd come back and stuck by her side ever since. Towhee could only croak, "I don't want to do any of this without him." And that was the crux of the matter. She could and she would, for her own sake as well as her pups' and the rest of the pack's. But she would be heartbroken all the same.

It was tempting to stop, flop to the ground and weep. Instead, Towhee tried very hard to do what Wraen was doing, plus take it a step further. "I have Reyes, Rue, Fen, Meerkat... even Bronco's back," Towhee said, shooting Wraen a sideways glance as she mentioned his name. "And there's this new recruit, Sifaka." Lenny had disappeared, despite her faith in him. Towhee couldn't afford to dwell on that right now. "They're all great. And any one of them might make good Regents..."

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Redhawk Caldera are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

April 27, 2021, 02:38 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"You don't have much choice, Towhee..." Wraen told her and reached out to touch her shoulder in a reassuring manner. She wondered, what it was like to be that close with a sibling that you could not imagine your life without them. Sure, Maia was her best friend and she would hate to see her go ever, but then... she had let her go on numerous occasions and it did not feel like her life and well-being depended so heavily on the other person. Her life was a little lonlier, when her sister departed for yet another scouting trip, but in the twilight years of her life, she was quite indpendent and self sufficient.

"Well, you can have a young buck and a more experienced stag/cow at the helm. Who's more mature - Reyes or Bronco/Fenn or Meerkat? Which of the oldies you think are more reliable?" she said. "It helps to have varied people in the leadership, to see all points of you. Especially young ones - we tend to forget, what it is like, when we get older."
April 27, 2021, 04:02 PM
Towhee
Redhawk Caldera
Sovereign*
Looks like you're gonna get my 3,000th!

Although the words were blunt, the touch softened the blow a bit. Towhee sucked in another breath, held it and released it in a long-suffering sigh. She felt a little like a deflating balloon and probably sounded a bit like one too, not that she would know one way or another.

Wraen offered more advice, exactly the sort she needed. Phox and Niamh had defaulted to her seconds without really having to think about it. But now that she needed to elect new candidates, how should she go about it? Her friend suggested she choose someone older and someone younger, strive for a balance of views.

"Who says I care about other points of view?" Towhee asked, raising her brows. "Maybe I just want wolves who'll blindly agree with me and do everything I say." The corner of her mouth twitched, giving her away as not entirely serious, though she tried to school her expression to see what Wraen might say.

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Redhawk Caldera are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

April 28, 2021, 03:27 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"Good luck finding them..." Wraen grinned, but she too (as well as her narrator) had often wondered, what would it be like, if the in-depth, emotional and one-sided conversations with imaginary versions of people, who agreed to everything and never talked back, were realistic. Handy for a while, sure. But then you would never learn about different ways of approaching a situation and solving it. There would be only one way. Yours. The biased one.

"I think that you will die of boredom, if everyone always do as you please and never question you.聽If you really wanted that kind of people around, you would not be here talking to me now," she concluded.
April 29, 2021, 09:09 AM
Towhee
Redhawk Caldera
Sovereign*
Her smile grew a little at Wraen's sage words. Of course, she was right, though Towhee couldn't resist saying, "Do you know what I'd give for a little boredom? Maybe not enough to die of it, but..." She knew there must have been times in her life when all was well, though right now she couldn't remember any such spate. It seemed to her like her whole life had been filled with chronic conflict, drama and its ilk.

A moment or two passed in entirely companionable silence before the Sovereign said, "I'll get everyone together soon." She almost added, "if we don't hear from Phox soon..." But Towhee pressed her tongue to the roof of her mouth. They'd already passed that threshold, hadn't they? "Maybe start by seeing who'd be interested in stepping up to the role or something."

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Redhawk Caldera are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

May 02, 2021, 03:28 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"The first step is usually the hardest and you are on your way there," Wraen told Towhee glad that rather than sulking somewhere in the corner, she had already taken a step to solve the situation. "Since you made the long journey here already - and you did come to the right place - there is just as much boredom to choose from as activity," she announced.聽

"It is a nice day outside and perfect for basking in the sunlight," she told. "Want to occupy your perfect spot on the beach? And while we are on our way there, you can tell me, how your Bobs and Johns are growing up."
May 03, 2021, 09:27 AM
Towhee
Redhawk Caldera
Sovereign*
She took Wraen's lack of further feedback as tacit approval for this plan of action. Towhee did feel a little lighter for having hashed out the decision, though her heart remained heavy with Phox's absence. She was officially going to operate as if he wasn't coming back, which felt terrible and wrong in so many ways. But what choice did she have at this point?

Towhee fell into step with her friend, letting out a sigh at the invitation. "Sounds good, really good. Except for the part where I talk about the kids. Consider me childless for the next few hours. I've done enough talking anyway. I want to hear more about what's going on with you, Wraen. Spare me no detail, even if it's boring. Especially if it's boring."

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Redhawk Caldera are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!

May 04, 2021, 02:28 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"For a multigravida and multi...parita, whatever... you sure know, how to advertise children," Wraen said sarcastically. "Just want to go out and have a litter right now!" she laughed, noting that, if she was able to joke so easily聽about, what was a personal tragedy, then she had made her peace with herself and the divine about it. Wasn't it nice to be in a place, where she no longer envied or mourned, but was quite happy?

"Well... since it is spring season, we won't be able to venture far from the topic about children. My niece Ibis is having a litter," she said. "And... I told that Eljay and Maia were planning to have a couple too, didn't I? Good thing that at least one of them knows, how it's done, because that is a thing for once that I am unable to describe to my sister, without traumatizing her for life," she grinned.

"A-a-a-and... then comes the boring," she shrugged.
May 04, 2021, 04:14 PM
Towhee
Redhawk Caldera
Sovereign*
Although she knew Wraen was only kidding around, her words made Towhee think. At age two, she'd thought herself barren. At age three, she'd delivered a miraculous child: Meerkat. At age four, she'd somehow produced six children. What might next year hold? She found herself recoiling at the thought of reproducing again, although surely she would change her mind by then...

Following her friend's words required enough concentration that that line of thought slipped free of its moors and drifted away on the spring breeze. Towhee gave Wraen her undivided attention as she spoke of Ibis's litter, then Maia's. She felt a little lurch in her gut at the news of the latter. She supposed she should be happy for him鈥攁nd she was, somewhere inside her鈥攂ut even after all this time, she still felt the sting of Eljay's betrayal and found his name turned her stomach sour.

"None of that was about you," Towhee pointed out when Wraen finished, arching a brow playfully at her companion.

-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Redhawk Caldera are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!