Ouroboros Spine feel good hit of the summer
Duskfire Glacier

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#1
All Welcome 
She kinda felt like a heel as she loped in a random direction (north). As her older sister's time drew near, her misgivings increased and totally eclipsed any excitement she felt about her nephews and nieces. Meerkat still couldn't name the feeling that overwhelmed her whenever she remembered that Bronco and Fennec were, if not an official item, at least creating a family together. They hadn't spent much time with her lately, probably because they were entirely focused on those pups now. Even Towhee was totally swept up in all of it. Meerkat felt like some sort of forgotten outsider, a thought which had tears streaming down her cheeks.

The sight of some red flowers distracted her in Bramblepoint. Swiping a foreleg across her wet eyes, she moved closer to investigate. This time, they were poppies. Meerkat didn't know the first thing about extracting seeds but she somehow managed to dissect a few of the blossoms to get at the little black kernels. These she swallowed rather recklessly, keen to escape from her stupid emotions. She ate many more than Eldritch had ever offered her, chasing that sense of pleasant drowsiness and deeply peaceful sleep.

Instead, she found herself in a state of utter euphoria. With dry eyes now, Meerkat pranced her way around the lake and even cut straight through Firefly Glen. High as a kite, she twirled her way through the ruined territory, the sight of familiar landmarks bringing about peals of gleeful laughter rather than tears. She danced on the graves of her family and friends before spotting Ouroboros Spine in the distance and making a dash for it, suddenly eager to see her good friends at Moonglow.
Moonglow

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#2
first, the tupilak.

then the coming ceremony, and last, and last — aiolos.

not last; he kept company in her mind with the thoughts that did not abate; she looked toward the sea often.

to her surprise, meerkat suddenly appeared that day, roguish and gay. "you have come back!" she called, willowy legs closing the distance between them. a smile wreathed her own mouth, but it faltered when she saw an odd sheen to meerkat, an edge to her aura that had not been there before.

"did you find the ones for who you searched?" the duck asked softly, searchingly.
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Duskfire Glacier

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She rolled to a stop at the borders, humming pleasantly under her breath as she waited for Kukutux or Sialuk to appear. Meerkat completely forgot to call for them, though it didn't matter. The elder of the two approached and the yearling never even realized her mistake, although she didn't overlook the serendipity of the moment.

"Kukutux!" she exclaimed joyfully, springing toward the pale she-wolf, tail waving with enough enthusiasm to swing her hindquarters. She whimpered happily as she nudged at her former leader's muzzle, kissing along her jaw. "It's so good to see you! This is the best day ever!"

Still pressing excitedly against the woman like an overexcited puppy, she finally registered Kukutux's question and replied with an airy, "Nope!" Her second year had been marked by one tragedy after another but none of it mattered right now. Right now, Meerkat was flying high above it all.
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she frowned. last meerkat had spoken of them, she had been crushed beneath stones of grief.

she examined the fine lines of the girl, looking for injury or aggravation, something to explain the sudden burst of harshly lit joy. tail swayed uncertainly behind her.

how many can a tupilak curse, if she comes to a village?

blood turning to the sluggish icechoke of winter. "meerkat, listen. look to my face, look." she tried to catch the younger's eye, stepping closer. "before you came here to moonglow this day, did you have the sight of a girl who was only red?"
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Duskfire Glacier

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Kukutux's stern tone did little to ground her. "Hmmm?" the yearling said with a pleasant smile as the woman questioned her. She did as Kukutux asked, staring directly into her pale face, revealing the pinpoints of her own pupils.

She blinked sluggishly at the strange question. She frowned, albeit in a thoughtful way, trying to parse what it meant. But Meerkat couldn't be too bothered about it. She shrugged and shook her head, then returned to smiling, swaying slightly against Kukutux and just generally enjoying this pervasive sense of nothing hurts.
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ah.

"you have put kuajautik into your mouth." that was the only thing of which the duck could think that could do such things to the eyes. all of meerkat was not right.

"you did not find them," she said softly, pressing her gentle body close along the side of the younger wolf, meaning to reassure. but also to keep meerkat from acting in such a way, as despite herself, fear had begun to rise.
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Duskfire Glacier

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The next few words out of her friend's mouth certainly captured her attention. Meerkat pulled a face, then her eyes widened and she wheezed. She tried to bite it back but a little laugh burst from her lips. Soon, she stopped fighting the feeling and let the amusement roll through her, hitching in great gasps of breath that drowned out Kukutux's second statement.

"No, I did not," Meerkat said between little hiccups of laughter, her voice shivery with it, "I did not put a cock in my mouth! Kukutux! Who even does that?" She pressed a paw against her mouth, a halfhearted effort to muffle the giggles and snorts.
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kukutux stared at the girl, not understanding the connotations of the misunderstanding. "what is the matter, meerkat?" she inquired breathlessly. "what have you done?"

what had been done to her? and the duck thought of the tupilak again, and was dour with hatred and horror for the possibility that the fox had crossed the path of this year-girl, and taken something from her as well.
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Duskfire Glacier

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Her companion did not seem to share in her amusement at all. Slowly, the fit of laughter tapered and Meerkat removed her fisted paw from her mouth and cleared her throat. She realized there were tears at the corners of her eyes, which she wiped at with a tickled sigh of, "Ahhh..."

Kukutux demanded to know what she'd done, what was wrong. "Nothing's the matter," Meerkat countered. "I feel great, Kukutux. Have you ever tried poppy seeds? I thought they'd just make me sleepy again but I took more this time and I feel... I feel..." She didn't know how to describe this complete euphoria, so she made some random gibberish ptero signs that similarly failed to encapsulate how fucking terrific she felt.
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kuktutux lifted her chin in understanding. "they bring much joy. but it is false happiness." she studied the girl who had swung through several words and many expressions.

"why did you take the spirit plant?" moonwoman asked softly, though she felt the answer was already known. 

her eyes asked meerkat to speak the truth.
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Duskfire Glacier

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Her head cocked at Kukutux's insistent words. "But I feel really happy, like, for real," she protested good-naturedly. Meerkat paused before adding, "I can't remember the last time I felt this good. I wanna say it was when my little siblings were born. But my dad wasn't there, so I wasn't completely happy like I am now," the yearling mused.

Kukutux wanted to know what had prompted her to take the "spirit plant." "Well, Eldritch gave them to me to help with the pain when I hurt my paw. The seeds only made me sleepy then. That's what I was hoping for when I ate them today. I just wanted to escape, you know? It's the best sleep of your life, Kukutux." She chuckled breathily. "But then this happened." Once more, she made sweeping gestures that really meant nothing.

"You don't need to worry," she reassured, tiny pupils fixing on her companion's face. "I'm fine. I'm more than fine. I'm so much more than fine. Everything," Meerkat declared a bit overly loudly, "is awesome!"
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eldritch.

the name resonated with kukutux; she knew that it had not been the tupilak. she was a spirit-talker, after all, a shaman who was also woman. if she had been the one to show meerkat the plant, then it was more well than before.

but the sandpiper girl was unhappy beneath it. it seemed she meant to put a parka around her mind, to shield it from the many pains that had been given to her soul. "there are other ways to heal. but they are harder. they are not a good feeling."

and if many were taken, the sleep would never break.

was this was meerkat wished?
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Duskfire Glacier

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Her lips formed a moue when Kukutux spoke of healing. Did she really need to heal? It wasn't just the drugs addling her mind that made her question it, Meerkat really hadn't looked at it that way. She'd just written off her own emotions as stupid, more or less, at least when it came to the situation with Bronco and Fennec. Of course, there were more genuinely tragic events at play, like the continued absence of her co-parents and their litter.

"I don't want to think about all that shit," she said cheerily, rolling her shoulders. "I deserve a break. I didn't really mean it like this but... hey, I'm not complaining!" Effused with a pervasive sense of well-being, the yearling beamed.

"I assume it'll wear off though," Meerkat said matter-of-factly a moment later, "although I don't really know how all this works. When that happens, though, I can tell you all about that shit, if you want to hear it. I just don't wanna talk about it right now, okay?" Despite the heaviness of her words, she was nothing if not chipper as she said it.
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kukutux listened. it seemed so often these days that only her ear was useful. but in the hearing she felt as thought she had untied the strings of meerkat's pain. 

cut off by the firmness in the girl's voice, moonwoman at last relented. "in the time that you have not been here, i have made the finding of a pool that is warm water, always." the hot spring she had discovered in her climbing of the alpine rock-faces. "i will show it to you. you may find it more wonderful, now."

the sensation of warmth upon flesh, heightened; she wanted to keep meerkat close for a short while.
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Duskfire Glacier

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The pale woman didn't press her further, instead switching the subject. Meerkat smiled placidly at what Kukutux described. It sounded rather pleasant and soothing. But when she invited Meerkat to come see it, the yearling found herself shaking her head.

"No, not right now," she murmured. "Maybe later. I'm feeling pretty..." Before she could get out the word, her jaw suddenly gaped in an emphatic yawn. After it passed, she smacked her lips and smiled a rather dopey smile. "Now this is what I actually signed up for," she remarked mostly to herself.

As the wolfish equivalent of couch lock bound her limbs and weighed her down, she sank to the ground with a happy sigh. "I think I'll stay here a while," she said sleepily to Kukutux, reaching to press her nose to a snowy white cheek, "is that okay with you?" Without waiting for an answer, she curled into a ball, tucked her nose under her tail and closed her eyes.
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meerkat slept.

kuktutux draped herself around the girl. she would keep watch over the yearling as she found slumber, perhaps dozing where they had both laid.

and she would wait until meerkat was ready to say the unsaid things, for if there was pain in the girl, kukutux wanted fervently to pull it from her, to heal her here in moonglow.
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