Blacktail Deer Plateau i told you i didn't want to go to this dinner
Approved Members

1,566 Posts
Ooc — mercury
Missionary
Toxicologist
Offline
#1
All Welcome 
Prevost was gone. Peregrine scarce, too. The love and joy she had felt upon reuniting with her eldest daughter had been dashed away—because of course it had. When could they ever be happy? When could they ever be content?

Now, Maegi searched every inch of the plateau, looking for the girl. An all-too familiar tightness had settled in her chest, constricting her breath. She couldn't leave, not without warning, to search. She was tied to her other children—

Jaes, this wasn't even her child to lose!

It was time. She stood in one of the open fields of the territory, sides heaving. Anxiety prickling her skin like cold raindrops seeping through the pelt. She howled for @Mou, first, then @Phox.

The man would not seek Prevost out for their sake. . .but, perhaps, he would for his own.

If he knew.
Loner

81 Posts
Ooc — m
Offline
#2
she couldn't find them; had failed in her efforts to watch over them, a third parent alongside father and mother. she blamed herself for being so preoccupied with blueberry, who still lagged behind the rest of them, but not quite as much as she used to. blueberry, who now rivaled vesper in size and would soon overtake her.

something had shaken her from her dreams, and when she opened her eyes the hole left by the absence of prevost and peregrine was immediately palpable. she had taken a glance at her sleeping parents, then silently slipped away, eager to bring her siblings home before mou and maegi would need to worry. she did her best to follow their scent, searching for signs of their passage through their makeshift home, but they were long gone— and a tapestry of other, wild scents covered their trail. she lost them completely somewhere near the river's edge, and she knew better than to cross alone.

vesper was on her way back to the den, panic in her throat as she ran, not thinking to call for her parents or let them know she was safe, only focused on getting to them and telling them her brother and sister were gone. when mother's voice rang out, the dark child altered her course and very nearly crashed into her a few heartbeats later.

sides heaving, clearly distressed, the child tried to tell her— mama, they... they gone. she looked up at her mother, sorrow in her eyes. past the river. i can't... can't find them... i'm sorry. vesper whined, searching for comfort, for news that she was wrong and that mother knew where they were, but deep down she knew maegi had no answers. mama, i'm sorry.
current age ·
may 20 eyes begin to change, limited vocabulary
may 27 allowed to be outside but close to den w/o supervision
june 17 allowed to roam pack territory w/o supervision
june 25 fluent speaking
july 1 rapid growth begins; start losing milk teeth
july 15 eyes fully transition to orange
september 30 "young adult"
december 25 enter adult ranks
january 25 first heat
Duskfire Glacier

Gamma
907 Posts
Ooc — Kat
Coach
Therapist
Master Ambassador
Offline
#3
Her paw no longer hurt. Of course, nothing ever hurt when she ate poppy seeds. Meerkat hummed under her breath as she drifted in some entirely arbitrary direction, her head somewhere in the clouds. She'd bumped up the dose this morning, to make sure it took effect. Boy howdy, she thought with a lopsided grin, I feel better than ever! Any worries about her home life and her injury—and even her self-awareness about her drug usage becoming a problem—were gone from her.

A soft howl rose up in the distance across the river. Meerkat froze, listening. Wait, was that voice familiar...? She squinted but she couldn't quite place it. She most certainly recognized Mou's name though!

[Image: giphy.gif]

"PHOX?" she blurted loudly to no one, her heart jumping like a jackrabbit in her chest all of a sudden. Mindlessly, she tossed back her own head to answer the call with a wild cry of, "PHOOOOOOOOOOX?!"
Loner

1,228 Posts
Ooc — Talamasca
Tactician
Seer
Offline
#4
Finding only Blueberry snuggled close in their den had been a shock, but at least Vesper's scent was fresh enough to follow, and he trusted that she would not go far without good reason. Her last foray away from the family had earned a scolding that Mou hoped would have taught her better.

She came bursting back towards Mou soon enough, not even seeing him as she bee-lined for where Maegi waited. Mou gave a cursory look around as best he could before tagging after her, arriving to see the look upon his wife's face, the announcement by Vesper slicing a piece off of the father's weak heart.

Maegi called for Phox; Mou couldn't think of what to do, let alone remember his brother in that moment. Their curse had taken more children from them, and as much as it burned him, Mou knew it to be inevitable.
Approved Members

1,566 Posts
Ooc — mercury
Missionary
Toxicologist
Offline
#5
The first wolf to answer her call was not one she'd expected. Vesper, completely out of breath, saying. . .something—

They gone. Mama, I'm sorry.

It was the worst pain imaginable, even worse than the other children turning up missing. Flashbacks of searching for Sobek with Anansi and Sakhmet—they had been so young—too young to take this burden upon their still-small shoulders—!

Oh, Vesper, I know, Maegi whispered, bending lower to speak to her daughter face to face. It's not your fault, sweetheart. They—

Another howl split the air, one she didn't recognize. . .but one in which the message was clear.

But why was it echoing Phox's name—?

She lifted her head, only to meet the eye of her mate, looking stricken. I—it's time, she said, her voice hollow. Prevost is gone. Peregrine, too. We have to find them, but we need his help. We have to. . .

The wraith trailed off, rolling her eyes skyward. Help me, Jaes! she prayed silently, hoping this all could be resolved with minimal bloodshed and heartache. 

Not likely, chimed a mocking voice in the back of her mind.
Approved Members

lord of the hunt
1,235 Posts
Ooc — Autumn
Astronomer
Tracker
Offline
#6
He had been scouting for any signs of Niamh. Any signs at all. Maybe she had come this way, even though she had no reason to. Maybe something here had drawn her in. Maybe, maybe, maybe. He still had hope, even these months later, that she would return. He could be forgiven, and she would come with their children in tow, just old enough to wobble around on their little stubby legs. Oh, how he wished to see them, to see her, to—

Maegi called. Phox lifted his head to call back when—Meerkat? he wondered aloud, bewildered at hearing her voice here. He had come to accept that he may very well never see her, Figment, Fennec, or Towhee again. Let alone the children that Towhee was still carrying when he left her at the caldera.

Phox moved toward Meerkat, but stopped a few strides in and turned toward Maegi's call instead. Hers had been a call of urgency. Once again, Phox felt pulled in two directions, wishing he could split himself into multiple parts and help everyone who needed it.

To Meerkat, he called out: Meerkat, come!

He found Maegi, Mou, and two of the puppies huddled together. No sign of the other two puppies. Phox's heart sank. They may not be his own, but he had gone through that sorrow enough times to know what it felt like.

Phox gave Maegi a quick glance, then averted his gaze and spoke. Meerkat, my daughter, she is the one who echoed my name. The other two? The children?
player preferences
-speaking+ptero- -ptero- speaking
Loner

81 Posts
Ooc — m
Offline
#7
she exhaled relief, that mother was not upset with her and that she was not going to be scolded for going off on her own again— she nuzzled into the fur of maegi's chest, breathing in her soothing scent. the overwhelming weight of responsibility fell away from the child, giving way to sorrow that her siblings were gone. howls echoed then, in response to mother's, and as vesper pulled away in curiosity she noticed father. she dipped her head, ears back, a non-verbal acknowledgement and apology for running off again. but he did not scold, and she intuited from his expression that he understood.

vesper stepped gently towards mou as maegi addressed him, understanding the words she spoke but unable to decipher the situation. time for what...?

moments later, as the stranger drew close to the group, vesper settled between her father's legs. she laid down there in safety, resting her head on her paws with ears flattened, her blue-and-orange eyes dolefully watching the trio of adults as they discussed her missing littermates, each acknowledgement sending a pang through her chest.
current age ·
may 20 eyes begin to change, limited vocabulary
may 27 allowed to be outside but close to den w/o supervision
june 17 allowed to roam pack territory w/o supervision
june 25 fluent speaking
july 1 rapid growth begins; start losing milk teeth
july 15 eyes fully transition to orange
september 30 "young adult"
december 25 enter adult ranks
january 25 first heat
Duskfire Glacier

Gamma
907 Posts
Ooc — Kat
Coach
Therapist
Master Ambassador
Offline
#8
A few beats of silence passed in the wake of her bellowing. Meerkat held her breath, heart pounding in her chest. Her legs trembled, even though she tried so hard to stay still and listen. When an answer came—in her father's voice, not someone else's—the yearling's mouth fell ajar and she actually screamed.

She did as she was told, scrambling across a narrow part of the river and scaling the plateau, looking around wildly for any sign of her dad. Tears of joy were streaming down her face and she kept unleashing whoops of giddy laughter even as she frantically searched, knowing she would actually find him this time.

There was a clearing near the center of the plateau where she found not one but four figures. Three of them were familiar, though Meerkat only had eyes for Phox. With another strangled bleat of joy, she ran to him, throwing her still-dripping body at him and showering him with kisses even as she shook with glee.

Sure, some of this overpowering euphoria was because of the poppy seeds she'd popped earlier; but mostly, finally reuniting with her long lost dad was the best feeling she'd felt, past or present. Hell, Meerkat might never touch a red flower again, 'cause nothing would ever beat this high.
Loner

1,228 Posts
Ooc — Talamasca
Tactician
Seer
Offline
#9
Prevost is gone.
Peregrine, too.

Guts twisting, heart aching, Mou knew it was only a matter of time before their curse stripped their family away again; misfortune came to them hastily this time around. He had hoped their effort to rescue the unborn from their dead mother would have broken the cycle.

We have to find them, but we need his help. We have to... Tell him. Yes, Mou knew this too. He dreaded what may come of the telling.

Vesper; she tucks herself against her mother first, then seeks her father and hides against the dirt. The shadow of a man appears and Mou cannot help but feel that this is all wrong. All eyes on Phox. Mou's reedy limbs shifted closer to Vesper's sides, looming protectively over her.

He heard his brother's questions and saw the way his face twisted with remorse, how he looked so sad for them. Mou could have been the one to tell him everything, and yet he could feel Vesper's little body huddled so close to him, unable to draw together the right words.

So, he looked to his wife — nervous, of course, but equally apologetic for leaving such a sensitive moment to Maegi's discretion. It always seemed to be this way; the silent ghost haunting a heavy-hearted family.
Approved Members

1,566 Posts
Ooc — mercury
Missionary
Toxicologist
Offline
#10
Another call. This voice she recognized, or at least she thought she did, as Phox's. But he wasn't calling for her, and she remained bewildered until he arrived with a very familiar-looking young woman in tow—

Meerkat, she managed, feeling as if all the breath had been stolen out of her. She had wanted this to be a 2-on-1 conversation, but now their numbers were even—no, they had the advantage, for Maegi's deformities and slim stature only hindered her in conflict. Her eyes briefly flashed toward Mou, then back to the pair.

Meerkat, my daughter.

The other two? The children?

It was as if time and space stood still; she could feel the earth turning under her toes, gravity pulling her stomach down, down; the call of the Void. . .

Your children, Maegi corrected. Her mouth was dry. Your children, Phox. We have been caring for the older three pups since they were born and Niamh died. No need to really get into specifics on the order of those events.

And so, there it was. She couldn't look at Vesper—she didn't want to see the girl's reality crumble within her innocent gaze. She couldn't look at Meerkat, nor Mou. She only had eyes for Phox, watching every small movement, bracing herself for sorrow, for rage, for denial. . .for all of it.
Approved Members

lord of the hunt
1,235 Posts
Ooc — Autumn
Astronomer
Tracker
Offline
#11
If anything was off about Meerkat, Phox didn't notice. He was, of course, delighted to see her, and their embrace was a heartfelt one. Phox didn't have much time to recover before Maegi was speaking.

Your children. Phox's ears shifted forward, expecting to hear of a sighting of them. Of Niamh. His heart leapt, but Phox became confused at what she was saying. He realized it was a correction, not new information. But Niamh, she...

What? he blurted, wondering if he had misheard her. That couldn't be right. Peregrine, Prevost, Blueberry, and Vesper were Maegi and Mou's children, not his. Not Niamh's. Because Niamh wasn't here, and she'd taken the children with her. She had gone away, but she was coming back.

The last two words rang in his ears over and over again.

Niamh died.

No, she... she visited Yuelong... I—I don't understand.

His ears continued to ring. Buzz, in fact. Phox blinked at the bigger of the two puppies at Mou's feet, then returned his gaze to Maegi. Confusion was written all over his expression.
player preferences
-speaking+ptero- -ptero- speaking
Loner

81 Posts
Ooc — m
Offline
#12
she relaxed even more as she felt father's protection wash over her, in shadow and in the tightening of his embrace. he had found her, after all, and he was big enough to cross that river... but for now, he did not leap into a search, and as much as vesper missed her littermates, she was also selfishly glad he remained here to comfort her. especially as another adult exploded into their midst, showering the dark stranger— phox— with affection, no acknowledgement of the rest of them.

this sudden turn of events did nothing to break the growing tension. vesper dipped her head up to nose father's underside, an effort to comfort him in turn, for she could hear the booming of his heartbeat above her. not the steady, calming sound she had grown accustomed to— now, it was more akin to the thundering hooves of a stampede. vesper was mature for her age, sure, but there was still so much she didn't understand.

her mother's announcement, for example, landed upon vesper's large ears with no impact. the child furrowed her brows, knowing most of the words, but not understanding their meaning when strung together like that. her eyes lifted to look at mother and she whined softly, again seeking reassurance, but maegi would not acknowledge her.

she loosed a frustrated growl-yawn from beneath her father, resting her head upon her paws once more, watching and listening to the exchanges between the adults, struggling to grasp what was happening.
current age ·
may 20 eyes begin to change, limited vocabulary
may 27 allowed to be outside but close to den w/o supervision
june 17 allowed to roam pack territory w/o supervision
june 25 fluent speaking
july 1 rapid growth begins; start losing milk teeth
july 15 eyes fully transition to orange
september 30 "young adult"
december 25 enter adult ranks
january 25 first heat
Duskfire Glacier

Gamma
907 Posts
Ooc — Kat
Coach
Therapist
Master Ambassador
Offline
#13
Someone spoke her name and Meerkat finally withdrew from her father's embrace to ascertain the rest of the group. She knew Mou and Maegi, though her eyes lit curiously on the youngster. So many questions cropped up in her head all at once. What were they all doing here? Why were they here together? The opiates still singing in her bloodstream decided the answers to these questions were ultimately unimportant. They were here together! That's all that mattered.

"Hi," she returned Maegi's greeting, still exuberant from her reunion. She glanced at Phox, her cheeks aching with the broadness of her grin. Wait until Towhee heard the news! Of course, her mother wouldn't hear it. Meerkat snorted, then whipped up her good paw to cover her mouth and give the other four a sheepish look from behind it.

Her expression sobered quickly at the scarred woman's next words. In fact, Meerkat felt her mood plummet straight out of the sky at two in particular: "Niamh died." Her stomach rolled, her eyes bulging. Surely she'd heard that wrong. Meerkat's gaze skirted to Phox again, watching as he also reeled at the news, meaning he'd heard the same thing.

Abruptly, her whisky gaze flicked back to the puppy huddled by Mou. Her face contorted in confusion. Maegi mentioned three children, yet Meerkat only saw the one. And her mind grappled with the implications. Niamh had given birth? And then died? Her eyes bored into the little girl, who looked about the same age as her younger siblings. Her entire body began to flash hot and cold.

"H... you..." Like her father, Meerkat fumbled her words. "You. Wait." Her lips trembled as Aiolos's words came back to her: "But by the time he arrived, she was already gone." She felt like she couldn't breathe properly. "You..." Her eyes swung to Mou. "...if we hear from Niamh, we can send word." She had been out of her mind with confusion and fear for her Neema and they'd... they'd lied to her face.

Quaking from head to foot, Meerkat choked out, "You lied?" Her eyes opened, closed, opened again. "You LIED."
Loner

1,228 Posts
Ooc — Talamasca
Tactician
Seer
Offline
#14
There it was — the truth, sitting before Phox and his daughter. There was no way to anticipate their reactions but the ever-churning mind of Mou thought of many in the days between Niamh's death and this precise moment. Mostly he remembered the feeling of his own flesh giving way to teeth from his last run-in with one of his siblings. The scar across his throat flared with ghost pain and Mou curled slightly inward.

So too did Vesper, before she made a curious sound towards her mother; Mou had not considered how deeply this would affect the three shadows, although... Now he supposed, it was only the one. Having grown up with a pair of ghosts, protecting and loving her younger not-a-sister, and now faced with such adult knowledge — Mou supposed that the only way to handle all of that at her current age, was to stop trying. The girl crumpled in to a heap but she did not seem sad, she tried to console Mou, as though that were her job.

Poor sweet thing.

She visited, she stayed. The stress of travel was too hard. Mou tried to be as delicate as he could be, with his blunt and rasping voice.

But then there was Meerkat. The smell of poppies on her breath, which came as some surprise to Mou. He could not meet her gaze as she processed the information alongside her father, so he could not see if her pupils were dilated; her voice was a jumble of sounds as she struggled, inevitably reaching the conclusion that the little family had dreaded from the start ---

You LIED.

To protect our family— Mou's head snapped up, his eye trained on Phox.

Sympathy hung about his face but not apology. He had only done what he needed, to keep the family safe. But he knew that they had also failed in that regard — with Prevost and Peregrine having vanished, their lie was now so much more damaging. He knew there was nothing they could say to redeem the situation. It was up to Phox now, and Mou could only hope his judgement wasn't as visceral or violent as Towhee's had been.
Approved Members

1,566 Posts
Ooc — mercury
Missionary
Toxicologist
Offline
#15
Incredulity, from Phox. Maybe he really didn't remember Mou, after all, nor saw the two for what they were to his family—enemies. Denial, then. It hadn't sunk in yet. She knew she had to press the issue herself, for understanding would not come without further explanation.

She went to Yuelong, Maegi confirmed. She—

Her voice had been low enough that Meerkat was able to cut in. YOU LIED! And as her poor husband tried to explain, Maegi whirled upon the young woman, stressed enough that her already grisly face grew even more ghastly, eyes burning.

This is none of your concern! she snapped, brow furrowed in anger. I did not call for you.

Still bristling, she looked back at Phox, angry at herself now for losing composure. She came to Yuelong; she wanted nothing to do with her old pack, which presumably included you, she continued in clipped tones. She stayed for a week, and on the day the pups were born, she died.

She let out a little noise, not quite a scoff. What were we supposed to do? Maegi asked, her voice softening a little now. Niamh gave us every indication that she wanted a fresh start. And then you showed up.

Relatively calm again, now, her flare of temper subsided to a simmer: I have lost children, Phox. I would give up the whole world to see them again. And I wanted that for you—once I trusted you. Once I knew the other side of the story. Once I was sure the children would be safe and secure with you, loved by you.

And now what? Obviously they weren't safe and secure with you, for here you are, having lost two more children. You cursed woman, and your pestilent womb.
Approved Members

lord of the hunt
1,235 Posts
Ooc — Autumn
Astronomer
Tracker
Offline
#16
Meerkat, wai—but Maegi was quick to correct her. That sent a new flurry of emotions through Phox. He was protective of his children.

His children.

Phox tried to digest it a second time, swallowing physically as he attempted to swallow the information he'd been given in rapid succession. Niamh. No more. But he had searched! They had let him search! What horrible lies had she weaved in her last days to make Maegi and Mou so afraid of him? He could not know. He knew that if he did know, it would tarnish the good memories that remained. The memories that had kept him going these past three months.

He looked more closely at the one laying at Mou's feet. He didn't know anymore who belonged to who. Maybe none of them belonged to him. He hadn't even met them until they had agreed to leave the island.

Phox had always been the steady one. The level-headed one.

He found today was no different.

Peregrine and Prevost. Those are the two missing? Where were they last seen? The rest could wait. Everything could wait until they were found. Processing what he'd just learned was a job for future Phox. Perhaps the former's name should have tipped him off, but he'd chalked it up to circumstance. Maybe Niamh had named them before... No, you can't think of that. Focus on the children.
player preferences
-speaking+ptero- -ptero- speaking
Loner

81 Posts
Ooc — m
Offline
#17
she shifted uncomfortably as meerkat's gaze burned upon her, and then it seemed that suddenly the adults were all speaking at once, and vesper watched the words fly from her dejected position, doing her best to keep up with the speed of the conversation and the underlying meaning. but something this newcomer said had stuck with the child, perhaps because it was the only thing she understood: you lied, directly leveled at father.

vesper waited, listened desperately for it, but neither parent refuted this claim as the heated conversation continued.

she carefully extricated herself from between mou's legs, confusion writ all over her face as she struggled to make sense of it all. her ears flicked backwards towards phox as he spoke the names of her siblings, but her eyes remained locked on her parents, shifting between them both. you... lied? she questioned them, pleading, desperate to hear them deny it. then, quieter, repeated their lessons back to them: lying is wrong.

vesper had no idea who niamh was, or phox's connection to her father— no one had directly told her that those she believed to be her parents were not, and she was too young yet to navigate and decipher the subtleties of the announcement and following exchange. but her little heart was breaking all the same at the revelation that her parents that she loved so fiercely, that had taught her right from wrong, were possibly doing wrong. it is a hard lesson when you first learn your parents are flawed; worse when you must learn it so young.
current age ·
may 20 eyes begin to change, limited vocabulary
may 27 allowed to be outside but close to den w/o supervision
june 17 allowed to roam pack territory w/o supervision
june 25 fluent speaking
july 1 rapid growth begins; start losing milk teeth
july 15 eyes fully transition to orange
september 30 "young adult"
december 25 enter adult ranks
january 25 first heat
Duskfire Glacier

Gamma
907 Posts
Ooc — Kat
Coach
Therapist
Master Ambassador
Offline
#18
Mou quietly countered with four words that made no sense to her. Meerkat simply didn't understand the connection, though before she could attempt to sort it out, Maegi snapped at her. The yearling instinctively recoiled at the sharp tone, letting out a high-pitched and even more highly inappropriate giggle out of sheer stupefaction.

But of course this concerned her! They were talking about her Neema! This wasn't their family, it was hers! And her dad had called her here! Her body flashed hot again, her skin suddenly burning with indignation. It felt pulled too tight against her bones and there was a moment where Meerkat actually wondered if her insides might invert.

The hurt rapidly eclipsed every other feeling. More and more with every passing moment and every additional detail, it swallowed her. "She died," Maegi repeated, the impact of that statement hitting her like a blow to the stomach. Meerkat flinched, then sagged. It wounded her that her saviors—her own uncle—had betrayed her by hiding Niamh's death for months, of course. But what truly stung was the loss itself.

She didn't know what to think, what to say. Meerkat looked to Phox, her heart stinging for him. If this loss felt huge to her, then she could only imagine what it must feel like for him. And then there were the pups to consider. She could barely wrap her mind around Niamh's death, much less what had become of her offspring.

If Phox was struggling, he didn't show it. Her jaw dropped, admiring his stoicism in this impossible situation as he gathered all the tension crackling in the air and grounded it, forcing all of them to focus on the two missing children. Peregrine and Prevost were their names. Meerkat swallowed at this bit of information. Wasn't that her grandfather's name? Her head was starting to feel like a carousel set to hyper-speed.

A small voice cut into her thoughts. "You... lied?" As Meerkat beheld her little sister(!?), she hitched in a breath that caught in her throat. She immediately wanted to clutch her to her chest and hug her, comfort her: the first step in making up for so much time lost. She twitched toward her, raising a paw abortively, but managed to restrain herself, though not so much her thoughts. Who are you? and Of course we'll keep you safe! and I love you already...
Loner

1,228 Posts
Ooc — Talamasca
Tactician
Seer
Offline
#19
What came next was not violence, but calm. Such news would be hard to handle for anyone and the fact this was a Redhawk standing before Mou, not frothing at the bit to tear his throat open all over again, presented a certain denoument that did not fit the scene, at least for the ghost. He was glad to see Phox trying to stomach what had been said; surprised and somewhat relieved when he got down to business inquiring about the other children; but it was Meerkat's instability in the moment that drew Mou's focus next.

That and Vesper. The girl had slunk out from her hiding place and while the gap between Mou's forelimbs cooled, she looked back at both of her parents with a look of utter betrayal. It was an expression that Mou had seen before — worn by Raven, Towhee, and so many others.

As Vesper began to speak Mou ducked and began to move towards her, wanting to bring her back to where she had been sitting before, or to hold her, to be her father — and that was when Meerkat made a similar motion. The man immediately bristled, short tufts of his bleached fur standing on-end while he effectively moved to protect the little shadow.

He would not let harm come to her — effectively becoming an obstacle between the sisters. Once planted there he leveled a final sharp look upon Meerkat and then turned towards Vesper, softening and lowering himself to be on her level, as he often did when putting her to bed.

From there came a quiet, heartfelt murmur of, I'm sorry. She could run, or yell at him, or hit him, but he would be there with her.
Approved Members

1,566 Posts
Ooc — mercury
Missionary
Toxicologist
Offline
#20
You lied?

The quiet voice of her daughter—of the heart, at least, even if not by blood—floated up to her, and with it, a small and absurd glimmer of hope. 

Blackfeather children were not only allowed to lie, but encouraged to do so. Lie and steal and kill. That Vesper felt otherwise was a testament to how far she'd left her own childhood behind. . . that maybe she was leaving a legacy worth something, after all. 

Mou saw to her, apologizing, and Maegi gave her a lingering tender look before returning her attention to Phox. She was having a very hard time believing that this even-keeled man was somehow related to the Redhawks who'd attacked her, invaded her home, slaughtered her family members. . .

Across the river, Vesper said, she replied. If we hurry, we might be able to catch them up before they get into too much trouble. They can't have gone far.

And yet, she thought, staring grimly across the plateau, it only took a momentary slip of attention for them to vanish, seemingly out of thin air. But she would not and could not dwell on the past now.
Approved Members

lord of the hunt
1,235 Posts
Ooc — Autumn
Astronomer
Tracker
Offline
#21
Please skip me in future rounds, if there are any! I'll start a new thread and tag Meerk.

"It is wrong," thought Phox when Vesper spoke, but he kept it to himself. There wasn't time to dance around the morality of what Maegi and Mou had done. Every minute that stretched on and on between the last time the two others were seen was another minute wasted. Phox wrenched his gaze and mind away from Vesper, focusing his whole ass self on Maegi's words.

Meerkat, come with me. Maegi and Mou, you stay here in case they find their way back. There was a silent "don't lose the other two" in the mix, but Phox didn't verbalize it, knowing it would be too cruel. He could only hope that this search would not end the same way his search for Niamh had.

He felt the flood of emotions surrounding his mate try and push its way to the top, but he bottled them up, sealed it tight, and buried it deep. Later. You can process that later. Find the children.

Phox didn't waste time bickering about who should go and who should stay. He set his sights on the river to the west and marched forward, expecting Meerkat to be in tow.
player preferences
-speaking+ptero- -ptero- speaking
Loner

81 Posts
Ooc — m
Offline
#22
last for me, too! you can pp vesper following whoever back to the den.

she was startled by father's sudden movement, squaring himself behind her. she spun on her heels, lowering defensively, eyes mistrusting of the strange woman as she peered around mou's hindquarters. because as much as it hurt to know her parents were liars, vesper still loved them with her entire tiny being. they had always kept her safe. when they did not trust someone, neither did their small little bat.

vesper relaxed slightly as her father soften towards her, lowering himself to peer into her somber eyes. i'm sorry, he told her, and the dark child considered this. she had done wrong, too— and although father had scolded her for it, he had also forgiven her. wolves made mistakes. she fully relaxed now, moving forward to plant kisses all over his snout. it okay, she assured him, again a little echo of all she had been taught: mi'takes... happen.

she yawned sleepily, then, exhaustion hitting her petite form all at once and she leaned hard into the comfort of father's chest. it had already been a long day for the pup, chasing scents across the plateau, the tension and emotions she didn't understand barreling through her form these last few minutes, mental exhaustion from trying to comprehend. she didn't know what she was forgiving, not really, and had she been even a week or two older she might not have given it so easily.

now, as far as she knew, the only thing to worry about was her missing siblings. when they returned, life would be back to what she had always known.
current age ·
may 20 eyes begin to change, limited vocabulary
may 27 allowed to be outside but close to den w/o supervision
june 17 allowed to roam pack territory w/o supervision
june 25 fluent speaking
july 1 rapid growth begins; start losing milk teeth
july 15 eyes fully transition to orange
september 30 "young adult"
december 25 enter adult ranks
january 25 first heat
Duskfire Glacier

Gamma
907 Posts
Ooc — Kat
Coach
Therapist
Master Ambassador
Offline
#23
This time, it was Mou who reproached her. Meerkat openly gawped at him, wondering, Why? This was her little sister, what did he think she would do to her besides adore her? She felt another flash of resentment at her uncle and his mate, though it was a conflicting sentiment, to say the least. They'd saved her life, once, and she wouldn't soon forget it. And they clearly cared for Niamh's pups, perhaps too much. She held her breath as she watched Mou's exchange with the little one.

As much as her heart ached, as badly as she wanted to refute his misguided reproof, Meerkat took a breath and tore her eyes from her baby sister, instead looking to Phox again for guidance. They were his children, no one else's. She was his kid too. She decided she would follow his lead. Surely he could use her support. Whatever he needed her to do, she would do it.

His directive was clear: "Meerkat, come with me." Although everything about this situation pained her, she set it aside with a nod, sidling closer to Phox and brushing her muzzle against his. "Whatever you need, dad, I'm here."
Loner

1,228 Posts
Ooc — Talamasca
Tactician
Seer
Offline
#24
If the end result of this confrontation was going to be the loss of his daughter, Mou wanted to make sure it was known how he felt about the situation, but by no-one more than Vesper; the darkling had become more than just a ward to watch over, but was a big sister to Blueberry, a daughter who was deeply loved.

The lie was hard on Phox and Meerkat but it would be something wholly different to Vesper, potentially something pivotal. Mou knew she was too young to understand. In time the situation might resolve itself; she could have the opportunity to know her blood-family and choose for herself, but for now she was so small; Mou would not let her be taken away and raised among the Redhawks if he could help it.

Perhaps that was a problem for another day. After all, Mi'takes... happen.

He thought of these things while focused on the girl. He could hear Phox moving away from them - heard him command his adult daughter to follow - and with their distance Mou felt a little more at-ease. He welcomed all the kisses that she shared with him, snuffling his nose against her, until Vesper collapsed in a heap against his chest. One limb hooked at her bottom, his one winking eye aligned to her bundled body as he rested his chin on the dirt.

Mou blinked, seeking Maegi's shape - mostly her feet since he didn't want to raise his head again or disturb their daughter. He wanted to wordlessly convey something but wasn't sure how; but motioned a moment later with a quick point of his nose and glance towards where Phox had gone — We're ok here, will you hunt for them too?

The chances of finding the girl's siblings were low, given the Blackfeather's luck.
Approved Members

1,566 Posts
Ooc — mercury
Missionary
Toxicologist
Offline
#25
Eventually, it was decided. Phox and Meerkat departed the scene, and Maegi watched them go, though her ears swiveled back to catch Vesper's tiny, innocent voice. Tears came, then, hot and fast, spilling over without warning. The day had come; it had always been on the horizon. She wondered when Phox would take her back home with him.

Just because it was the right thing to do didn't mean it was easy, damn it all.

She turned to Mou, slightly abashed at the wet tracks through her cheek fur. Caught his gesture, and looked back, and hesitated. He did tell us both to stay, Maegi replied, then sighed. After what we just told him, I don't feel inclined to go against his wishes. And, besides, I've never really been good at this 'searching for children' thing.

There was humor in that last remark, but an undeniable bitterness just beneath the surface. And she said it without a smile. She sat instead, suddenly exhausted beyond belief. Like the entire world still weighed upon her shoulders, even though the burden she'd carried was gone.

If it wasn't one thing, it was another. Always.