Neverwinter Forest He's always playing with a light
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@Figment

Thus far, the weather had been relatively kind to the trio as they roved West toward the coast. The gentle wind had died down as the day began to draw to a close beyond the thick, evergreen forest. Bronco made the suggestion that they split up to search for something to hunt down together, so he made his way through the southern area of the forest in hopes of catching a trail before it got dark. 

This had once belonged to a pack, he recalled. They'd skirted the Glen, which brought back pained memories of all the wolves lost so suddenly, either from the landslide or the bear attack that had followed swiftly thereafter. With disappointment and concern, he noticed that the edge of the forest that borded Ouroboros Spine had also lost its markings. Moonglow, too, claimed that land no more, as far as he could tell. 

Five packs, within a year, seemed to have disbanded as far as he could tell. Moonspear, Moonglow, Neverwinter Forest, Firefly Glen and now the Redhawks- all of which had been allied, at one point, but it hadn't been enough. Some lived in Brechelient, some had gone to the Frosthawks- but the idea of founding a pack that would stand the test of time...Suddenly seemed less like a possibility, and more like a dream.
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#2
Fig thought he had enjoyed traveling on his own, but it didn't take him long to realize how much he preferred being with pack. It was gratifying to know he at least could survive on his own if ever he needed to, but it was not what he wanted for his life. He wanted to be with pack. And more than that, he wanted to be with family.

He was supposed to be searching for food to hunt on his owner, but somehow, his trail brought him back to Bronco. He spied his step brother... brother-in-law... step brother-in-law? Let's not get into it. He spied the Blackthorn ahead of him in the trees and chuckled to himself, turning his paws so his trajectory aligned with his sister's mate.

"We've either both found the same scent trail, or coincidentally found the same path to aimlessly wander," Fig commented as he approached with a smile.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Fenn is welcome at all times and will in fact make me sad if she doesn't show up.
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He looked up, mildly surprised to see Figment wandering toward him. He looked around, as though to try and get a bearing on where he was, just in case he'd wandered out of the area he'd said he'd search. Deep in thought, it was entirely possible that he'd drifted into Figment's path. 

He humbly shook his head. "Oh, I probably wandered the wrong way. Kind of...Got a bit lost in my head I think," He admitted softly. Before Fig could ask, he elaborated. "There used to be a pack here. And Moonglow, just that way. And Moonspear, and the Glen. All allies, all neighbours but...Gone, now." He said, with a shrug, looking to his step-whatever-in-law to see what he made of it all.
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Bronco seemed to be in a serious mood, which Fig didn't find too surprising. He sensed something had changed in his brother-for-multiple-reasons since last he'd seen him. He hadn't asked, which is quite the testament to how well-controlled Figment was of himself. Who else would resist the urge to ask why the man looked like he'd gone to war with a lawn mower on multiple occasions and lost a majority of those battles?

"Survival is no easy feat, not even when families stick together," Fig commented, turning his gaze from Bronco's marred face out to the woods around them, "Makes you realize how impressive it is for how long the Redhawks managed to stay together. I think they're the exception, though." It was a sad truth--sadder still that even the Redhawks had disbanded in the end. But it wasn't all a melancholy tale; fragments of the pack lived on, clearly. He, Fenn and Bronco were living proof of that.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Fenn is welcome at all times and will in fact make me sad if she doesn't show up.
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Bronco frowned lightly, and nodded. He was quiet for a few moments, consiering their shared appreciation for how hard life really was. Maybe he should have figured it out from a younger age, having lost his Dad so young, that life would never pardon even the kidnest of wolves from an untimely death. "I guess I wish someone told me that when I was younger," He said, scoffing shortly thereafter at his own words. He wasn't even old enough to say something like that, was he? He was old enough to be an orphan and have a child of his own, after all. "Probably wouldn'a listened," he mumbled with a shrug. 

The longevity of the Redhawks was pretty damn impressive, even with losing members, floods, bears, and moving from one territory to the next. It'd taken the determination of several wolves to make it continue and he couldn't help but feel like its downfall was at least in part due to his mother's ailing condition. Naturally, it was a guilt he bore like a leaden shawl. 

"Yeah. I think...When it was strongest, it was the combination of Towhee, Phox an' Niamh that did it. The sheer willpower of those three," He said, before something rueful entered his voice. He shrugged. "Mom was never the same after Primrose died." He admitted.
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Bronco had his faults, but at least his was self-aware. Fig smiled a bit at this and nodded his agreement. Bronco probably would not have listened had that piece of wisdom been shared earlier. Fig would have, though. It wouldn't have changed anything for him, though. The Redhawk had somehow missed the boat on the whole hot-headed, rebellious youth fad. He'd always been even-tempered and obedient, probably to a fault.

But at least he too was self-aware.

"Things like that can change you for sure," Fig commented, sorrow evident in his tone. He'd never been too close with Primrose, but that didn't mean he'd been unaffected by the pup's loss.

He let the moment sit for a beat out of respect, then attempted to gently turn the conversation towards something a little sunnier. "So, if it was Phox, Niamh and Towhee before, and now it's me, you and Fenny," he mused with the start of a smile, "Does that mean I'm the Towhee? As the mated pair, I think you and Fenn would have to be Phox and Niamh, right?"
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Fenn is welcome at all times and will in fact make me sad if she doesn't show up.
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Bronco had never exactly been jealous about the way his mother had fawned over Primrose- everyone did, he was an adorable child- but he had always been left feeling somewhat inadequate. Niamh had pushed him so hard to be strong, learn to be a warrior, and be ruthless in battle but Primrose? Prim had been treated like soft poetry. Perhaps it was because Niamh had failed so horribly with Bronco that she was better able to raise a gentler soul like Prim. While he was glad his younger brother hadn't had to suffer the same training and discipline, he pined still for the gentle upbringing his sibling had had. 

When Figment mentioned the Redhawks leaders, Bronco's lips pulled into an exaggerated frown for a second. The last thing he wanted was for there to be another Niamh. 

But Figment was trying to lighten the mood- he picked up on that, shook his head and chuckled. "Dude you are totally not a Towhee. You're Phox 2.0 through and through." He said. "Fennec's the Towhee. With...Maybe a bit Finley, too." There were a few others to consider. "Huh." he chuffed, lightly. "I think thay makes me sort of an Elwood." He wanted to say "Colt," badly, but he wasn't sure he could step into that legacy. And being an Elwood set pretty lofty standards for him too. He hadn't been in Bronco's life long, but the feisty pair had made quite an impression on him. 

"It'd be nice if Sugar Glider came back. I haven't seen her in like...A long time. Haven't seen any signs of Penn either," His tone became a bit dry, but he shook it off. If he said Penn's name too loud, surely he'd show up. "You met anyone new while you were travelling?" He asked.
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Fig grinned and feigned insult when Bronco told him wasn't a Towhee. He couldn't argue the next point, though. If anyone was a Towhee, it was Fennec. Fig personally thought she was a bit more of a Niamh, actually, but he didn't think Bronco would appreciate that comment, so he kept it to himself.

"A Towhee with a sprinkle of Finley," Fig mused, "An intimidating combo." He was quiet as Bronco continued, enjoying the trip down memory lane. He hadn't thought much about Finley and Elwood, or their kids, for some time. He remembered them fondly, but couldn't claim he'd ever been close with them. The only one he'd been close-ish with had been Sugar Glider. The memory of her brought some warmth to him, and he smiled wistfully. It would be nice to see her again.

The question pulled him out of his reverie. "Some," Fig answered vaguely, "Just a few strangers I made some small talk with. I helped a couple with a hunt once. They promised they would share the meal if I helped, then ran me off once we made the kill. That was a nice life lesson." He smiled and added, "Some people really suck. But a majority of the wolves I met were kind enough."
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Fenn is welcome at all times and will in fact make me sad if she doesn't show up.
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There was something about Figment that had made him a suitable companion for Bronco. He was steadfast, and could complement seemingly any wolf. From one as fiery and mercurial as Fennec to one like him, who occasionally needed to be rescued from his tendency to become sombre. 

While he hadn't asked what had happened to Bronco- who was very aware of his altered appearance- what he said, about strangers, struck him as perhaps a gentle nudge. He suspected Figment might be sugar-coating his experience with humour. He became quiet for a moment, contemplating. He knew Figment was likely trying to reassure him. Maybe Fennec had told him how way Bronco had been of strangers and venturing beyond the Caldera's borders after he'd come back. He wasn't sure how he felt, considering the fact that even Fennec didn't know what'd happened. Anything she would have told Figment would have been her own observation, and he wasn't sure he felt settled about that. 

"Yeah," He said, uncomfortably trying to agree with Figment. He wanted to believe the majority of wolves were good, but...The notion fell flat. He didn't want to invite interrogation so he cleared his throat. "Well hopefully we find a bunch of non-douche-canoes to join our pack. There've....Gotta be some out there somewhere."
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Fig had never really been one for profanity, in spite of being raised by the woman he called mother. It had never bothered him to hear it, but he preferred not to use it himself. Still, he had an appreciation for the cleverness of some terms, such as douche-canoe (or non-douche-canoe in this case). He would never have come up with something like that on his own. He gave an appreciative chuckle.

"I like to think the odds are in our favor," the Redhawk concluded. Fenn hadn't been too forthcoming about any specific goals they had in mind for where they were looking to settle and it only then occurred to him to ask. The where had never meant as much to him as the who. He didn't often become attached to places so much as the loved ones he lived there with. Still, he found himself curious.

"Did you guys have anywhere in mind you'd like to settle?" he asked, "I'm assuming Fennec would like a pitch black, haunted forest of some sort, but I guess I'm hoping maybe you've tried to curb that impulse."
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Fenn is welcome at all times and will in fact make me sad if she doesn't show up.
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He gave Figment an audible eye-roll. "Of course she wants someplace haunted. It's Fennec. Someplace haunted where even the plants are dangerous," He said with a roll of his shoulder. He didn't actually mind Fennec's passion for the more morbid things in life, like ghosts. Just so long as he didn't have to. One of them had to be the one to deal with spiders, and the other one could reach things on higher shelves. That was good enough.

"Personally, I...I like being near mountains, but I don't want to live on one, or like...On the slopes. Y'know." He'd understand; between Moonspear, Asterism Grove and Firefly Glen, there'd already been enough trouble with mountains. "I like the beach, but I think I'd prefer being in a forest. Maybe 'cause I was born in one, I dunno." He said, recalling how life had seemed at least somewhat safe and stable for a little while, at Sun Mote Copse. "What would be your ideal kind of home?" He asked.
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"Sounds like the ideal place to raise a family," Fig replied with a chuckle. His sister was certainly an oddball, but she was theirs. He listened thoughtfully as Bronco mused about their future home. He didn't think anything of the way he reacted to the comments--it was just habit for him to consider everything in relation to Fennec and what was best for her.

"Slopes would be a little tough for Fenn. I know she's plenty capable, but looking out for sudden drops is one more thing she'd have to be wary of," he replied, thinking things through aloud, "Beaches are loud. Her sense of hearing is greater than ours. Might be overwhelming to be listening to it all the time. I think you're onto something with a forested area. Lots of game, generally more even terrain. And I think that's what she's most familiar with, where she'd be the most comfortable. Not that she would ever think about something like her own safety or comfort."
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Fenn is welcome at all times and will in fact make me sad if she doesn't show up.
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He felt his heart twinge. Of course he felt that Fennec and Figment were family- but what he implied was that he and Fennec would likely be having children again. This gave him reason to doubt that Fennec had told her brother that she'd practically goaded him into becoming her official mate. Perhaps Figment hadn't noticed the lack of intimacy, or the way they hardly ever touched. His voice was dry when he uttered a fairly false laugh, his gaze distant. "Huhuh, right?" He swallowed. 

Hopefully that topic was done. He wasn't ready to talk about having more kids. 

While he already knew mountains were dangerous, he hadn't considered how noisy the waves might have been and how that might interfere with Fennec's hearing. That realization hurt a bit. Why hadn't he considered that? Probably because he loved the beach, and overlooked how it might not have suited Fennec. 

Forests, though- that was something he felt they could all agree on. "I think you're right. We'll just have to find the right kind of forest, with old trees that creak and groan with the wind and sound like ghosts. That'd probably be enough spookiness, right?"
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Any discomfort Bronco showed over his comment about family went unnoticed. Fig's attention had gone into his thoughts about Fenn, though he would've been quite intrigued by it had he noticed. He'd never really questioned his sister's relationship with Bronco. They were mates, they had a kid. He could see how they would've gotten together after being close friends for so long. He didn't think to question it, probably in part because he was so relieved it wasn't Penn, but mostly because it just made sense from his outside perspective.

He would've been fascinated to know better, though.

"Exactly," Fig replied with a grin, "And if it happens to be a favored hangout for crows and spiders, all the better."


Do you think we could fade with your next post? Trying to wrap up some old threads for him :) <333
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Fenn is welcome at all times and will in fact make me sad if she doesn't show up.
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Yep! Thanks for this thread, though! always happy to have a thread go on for a while when the characters vibe so well :)

also I super dig the Penn ref. There's something so delightful about having your own characters be at odds with one another hahaha!

"Nyehhhh," He whined, tilting his head from side to side. He gave Figment an odd look out of the corner of his eye. "I mean, spiders...Buh. No thanks. But the crows'd be fine." He said. For some reason, a memory was called to mind when spiders were mentioned. He vaguely recalled someone threatening to stow a nest of spiders in his mother's den as a prank. He chose not to mention it in case it gave Figment any ideas. 

It eased his worry and anxiety a bit, talking with Figment. It seemed his step-brother-in-law knew when to ask questions, and when to give space. He felt invited into conversation, as though he was tempted to say things he might've otherwise kept fiercly hidden. Needless to say, it made him feel even more optimistic about the forming pack's future, knowing that he had a solid, secure friend to count on.