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 Council in the Holt-Glen

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Westering Holt
Holt Mistress


Posts : 131
Join date : 2011-06-15

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PostSubject: Council in the Holt-Glen   Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:39 pm

Role Play Forums » 13,398 Season of New Green: A Call to Council » Council in the holt-glen
http://westeringholt.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=rp1&action=display&thread=78
Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 4, 2008, 12:35am

Mist leaned against a gnarled root and watched his chief silently. Sureshot had been gnawing on a bone for at least an eight of seasons now, and which each transition from one to the other, the gnawing had grown harder. He knew what worried his friend; they’d discussed it often enough.

The light of the moons caressed the glen where the ancient tree that was the center of the holt grew. The massive tree bore the scars of its long life, and Mist knew that only the tending of twelve generations of plantshapers had allowed the tree to keep its life. In the normal course of events, even trees eventually tired and returned to the earth. Mist could not count how many turnings of the seasons had passed since Chief Stalker had led their tribe here, but this tree – a sapling then – had been part of them the entire time. He could feel the spirits of their kin gathered around the holt tree.

Mist lifted his eyes and watched the gentle shift of new leaves as the wind whispered through the branches. He drew a deep breath, smelling damp earth, green growing things, the uniquely individual scents of his tribemates and their wolf-friends, and wealth of other scents that all compiled together to breathe ‘home.’ Peace settled in his soul, soothing the knife-sharp edge between healer and wolf. On nights like this, in moments like this, both halves of his soul were in harmony.

“Mist…”

The healer looked down to meet his chief-friend’s gaze and the arched his eyebrows in query. “Sureshot?”

“Have you considered what we discussed?”

Mist stiffened, then sighed. “I have.”

“Your answer?”

Mist grimaced. “The good of the tribe comes first, Sureshot. I’ll do as you’ve asked.”

Sureshot’s shoulders slumped and Mist sensed his chief’s relief. “Not much sense waiting longer,” Sureshot said. “Best be done now.” The chief closed his eyes and sent his voice out to his tribe. *I call council! Tribemates, come to holt-glen!*


Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 4, 2008, 12:40am

Sunsong trilled a ripple of birdsong as her hands caressed the rough bark of the Father Tree. She felt her senses drift down into the wood, flowing through it from damp, water-laden root to loftiest, moon-soaked leaf. She tasted the loam of the earth and drank in the sweet wind in the air for an eternal moment before reaching out to find the stresses in the wood that growth and use were weakening. Fibers thickened, strengthening the encroaching weakness and Sunsong pulled herself back. Not too much. The ancient holt answered too readily to magic now, having been shaped and reshaped so many times, housing the Wolfriders.

“Poor old tree,” Sunsong murmured, willing the roots to dig deeper into the soil, the branches to spread just a wee bit more so more leaves could benefit from the nurturing of the sun. “You’ve been stretched and strained as far as you can go, have you not, dear one? And all the others in the grove, as well. There are so many of us now sheltering beneath your branches.”

And it was true. The Wolfriders had been settled here for longer than anyone but the howl-keeper could remember. The forest around the Holt was so saturated with magic that one had to take great care in doing anything. Sometimes it felt as though the magic was gaining a will of its own. A benevolent one, but still… There were times that Sunsong felt quite unwelcome, and the feeling saddened her.

Her plantshaping talent had only recently manifested itself, and she was so eager to explore the potential she had! She dreamed of racing through the hearts of the living world around her, experience life in all its forms!

And yet, she couldn’t here. There was little need for another plantshaper. The tribe already had two others and compared to them Sunsong’s newborn magic seemed weak. She didn’t mind that, but she did so yearn for the experiences that they had had, the chance to learn and create and grow – which she could not do, for the Wolfriders had no need.

Today’s tending had been a small thing. Simply a practice set her by Fernflower to determine how thorough her sense of the tree could be. Sunsong had no doubts. Her talent was small, yes, but she was thorough!

Her task complete, she returned to her body and blinked, trading the senses of the tree for her own wolf-blooded perceptions. Her tribemates attended their various tasks around her, chattering and laughing. Her stomach rumbled with hunger and she sighed. The winter stores were long gone.

She slipped out of the den and danced along the broad limb of the tree until she reached clear point and could see who was in the glen. Her task done, the rest of the night stretched before her and she considered what she could do with all that time. But before she could think of much at all, her chief’s sending reached her mind. Looking down, she wondered what prompted the council. Then her body followed the path of her eyes as she dropped lightly do the lower branches until her next drop would put her on the ground.

“Council, my chief?” she asked brightly. “Are we going to have a howl?”
Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 4, 2008, 1:02am

Stormfire stopped as Sureshot's sending reached her, moving only to give a sharp tug on the lace of her carry-sack. She looked up at the faces of her mothers, Sureshot's lifemates, and felt a lump swell in her throat.

Waterdance was the first to move, reaching out to touch a hand to Stormfire's cheek.

"It's time, she-cub," she said, a small, wistful smile belying the tears that welled up.

Quickflight got up and headed to the back of the den. Alarmed, Stormfire reached out. "Quick--"

Waterdance shook her head. *I wouldn't, daughter,* she urged. She wiped her eyes and took hold of Stormfire's arm. Stormfire let her blood-mother raise her to her feet, still worried about Quickflight. *She took the news hard. She needs time to accept it, and time to grieve.*

Stormflight swallowed hard, trying to push the lump back down where it belonged. "She won't be happy unless I stay, and I won't be happy unless I go." She met her mother's deep blue eyes, clear as a pool under the moons, and--except for the tears--as tranquil. "I wish I could give her her way . . ."

Waterdance shook her head. "Giving Quickflight her way in this is not going to help at all," she warned. She slid her hand from Stormfire's arm to her hand. "Come now, Stormfire. We have a council to attend."

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by viola on Oct 4, 2008, 2:40am

Longdusk looked up when the sending of the chief touched his mind and his eyes sought Lightgaze's. "Council?" He frowned. "That sounds rather serious." A shiver ran down his spine. He couldn't stop and feel a dislike whenever council was called. A few turnings of seasons ago, when Fleetfoot had died, there had been a council. The association kept being there whenever Sureshot called for one.

He hated it, and he hated that he had became so suspicious and bitter, but the memories kept haunting him everywhere. Sometimes it even seemed that he could hear Skylight's laughing, and he had wondered if he was truly losing his mind.

His mother knew. Lightgaze touched his shoulder and squeezed it gently. "Let's go, cub," she softly said. Immediately, Longdusk wanted to tell her that he wasn't a cub anymore -- it had been his common reaction on the phrase as soon as he had reached his adulthood, but he swallowed it. He could use her comfort.

He got up and offered to help his mother up, which she accepted with a smile. "Chin up, Longdusk. Maybe he has something nice to tell," she told him as they went outside, and although Longdusk smiled about her recently regained positivity, he shrugged slightly.

Overhearing Sunsong's words, he sighed deeply. The send had sounded seriously, but all the young plantshaper seemed to think about was joy, feasts and howls. Fleetfoot had been like that...Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by viola on Oct 4, 2008, 6:10am

Firecat and her... well, almost lovemate entered the holt-glen fairly soon, because they had been nearby. She felt uneasy, but hid it well behind a facade of jokes and flirts. But her mate knew.

Hazel observed Firecat as they approached the ones already gathered, and with some hesitation, he took her hand. She stiffened only for a blink of an eye, but he noticed. And he knew she would bolt away from him any time soon, now.
Still, he realized that Firecat had been comfortable with him for a long period already. He'd had feelings for her ever since Firecat had reached adulthood, and he had observed her closely. He had seen, several times, how Firecat would break off a relation because someone expected more, or if she had wanted more. She seemed to have an innate fear of letting someone in. Her sendings showed that faintly, but her soul would be filled with it.

Thus, when he finally dared to approach her and she and he began to spent time together -- and eventually denned together -- he had tried to keep his expectations as low as he possibly could. This wasn't the ideal situation for him, but as long as she was happy, he was so, too. He didn't want to lose her, and perhaps that was the real problem.

Firecat smiled as she saw Lightgaze and her far too serious son Longdusk, and chuckled at Sunsong's remark. "Oh, I do hope so. It's been a while since we've had a good howl or celebration. What story would you like to hear? I'll bring the dreamberries!" she added with a wink.

Casually, she let go of Hazel's hand, and instantly she had the feeling she missed something. She shivered, barely noticable, and was anxious about her own feelings. Hazel had come so close that she felt tied to him. Part of her enjoyed that, the other part wanted to flee from it.

She didn't even know when she had become like this. She had always written it off to her raising Evenstar, but there had to be more about it. Before, she had had an enduring lovemating which she felt comfortable with. Now, things had changed. Everything was different.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 4, 2008, 11:47am


Oct 4, 2008, 6:10am, viola wrote:
Firecat smiled as she saw Lightgaze and her far too serious son Longdusk, and chuckled at Sunsong's remark. "Oh, I do hope so. It's been a while since we've had a good howl or celebration. What story would you like to hear? I'll bring


Sunsong settled comfortably on her branch, this mischieviously stretched her leg to tickle Longdusk's ear with her toe. She giggled when he when he steadfastly refused to react.

"Something fun!" she answered Firecat. "Oh! When Stalker fell into the pricklebush that had the stinkcat nest?"

"Cub, hush," Sunsong's mother said sternly. "A council is not a howl, as you well know. For once, child, be serious - and quiet!"

Sunsong was not subdued by the scolding, but she did refrain from commenting on a howl again. She tickled Longdusk's other ear and settled to wait. Of course, waiting for Sunsong always involved the twittering, trilling sounds of birdsong.

Mist looked up and watched the sunny-haired plantshaper as she teased the sober Longdusk and filled their glen with the bright sounds of sunlight.

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 4, 2008, 5:27pm

Whirlwind swung down from a tree, landed on the ground, and straightened to find herself face to face with two males. She sighed. "Longtooth." She threw a look at the other one. "Skystrike."

The two half-brothers, both sons of the chief, gave her a long look and then walked away. Whirlwind felt her upper lip curl in response. The day would come when Sureshot would deal with his two overbearing offspring--and that day would be a happier one for all.

She took a path out of their way and met up with Tallspear coming from the stream. "Hey," and Whirlwind nudged his arm. "Why the long face? Someone shove you out of the furs early?"

"Stormfire hasn't spoken to me in two days," Tallspear returned, his eyebrows lowering over his eyes.

Whirlwind almost laughed. Pretty as Tallspear was, he looked almost comical when he was upset. Still, he and Stormfire had been inseparable since Stormfire was old enough to toddle. Instead, she just grinned and said, "She's spent the last two nights with Sureshot. I think he's teaching her how to deal with Skystrike without putting a fist through his teeth."

"That might make him look better," Tallspear muttered, but his scowl softened. "I worry when she holes up alone. She keeps too much to herself."

"You know why, Tallspear."

"Longtooth."

"And Skystrike."

"Skystrike challenged her and lost, though," Tallspear reminded her.

"That's why he's clinging closer than a burr to Longtooth," Whirlwind returned. She met Tallspear's eyes, glad to see the youth's expression harden in understanding. "We'll go to Council, but stay by Stormfire. If anything happens . . ."

Tallspear raised his chin defiantly.

**Nothing is going to happen,** he sent to Whirlwind. **Not if I can help it.**Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 4, 2008, 11:31pm

Evenstar tilted her head to the silent call to tribe, breaking her gaze from the sparkling night.

It had become difficult finding a safe, comfortable clearing for such things, for with the age of the forest came thick, towering branches and broad leaves. However much she enjoyed dancing under these branches, moonlight glittering around her, the shattered view of the sky the trees provided left much to be desired for the young stargazer.

She had been lucky to convince Sunsong to shape such a fine nest for her atop one of the older trees, coaxing the branches to give Evenstar but a little more room. She relaxed there now, leaning into the rough bark.

Her heart quickened at the call to council, Chief Sureshot's sending echoing in her mind. She had known there had been some tension as of late, over many things, but she did not know what this concerned.

As she descended from her perch, the blue eyed female tried to give herself comfort in the beauty of the stars tonight.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 4, 2008, 11:44pm

Softling had almost given the sending no pause as she focused on skinning the ravvit in her hands, crouching beside her father Flintfire in some tall grass. **You'd do well to hold that dagger right,** Flintfire sent to his daughter with some humor. **Else you start counting by threes.**

The young female bared her teeth at the skinny meat in her palm. **Can't I leave this to Evenstar? I can get the meat easy enough.** His gold eyes flashed in the darkness. **And scar the skin? She would have a fine time for that.** Flintfire looked adoringly at his stubborn cub. "You must learn this." He said gently.

Flintfire jerked his head at the firm sending from their chief. He tried to read its meaning, to no avail. It seemed they would learn with the others. He nudged Softling, pulling the limp ravvit from her hands. **Later,** He cast a look that made Softling nod quickly. **Come.**Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 4, 2008, 11:55pm

Icemark walked into the holt-glen, one eye following Silvercub's bounding progress. He smiled as he watched his cub join a group of other children. Their happy chatter was a sweeter music than Sunsong's trilling.

He found a spot on a thick, gnarled root thrusting up from the ground and settled down to wait. He had a clear view of his she-cub and the other children, and he could see the chief and the healer. There was also room by him for Redthorn, when she returned from the hunt.

While he waited, he settled the basket of his day's gatherings in front of him. Spring wasn't the best time for gathering plant stuff, but he'd found that some leafy greens were good to eat, as were some particular flowers. They were also good for decorating a little cub's hair. He tickled Silvercub's chin when she came running over to him and claimed some of the blossoms in the basket to put in her hair.

"Pretty as a songbird, my little petal-top," Icemark teased.

Silvercub giggled and dashed back off to join her agemates.
Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by viola on Oct 5, 2008, 4:10am

Longdusk's ear twitched when he felt someone tickling, but he didn't pay attention. Usually, when you ignored this kind of behaviour, it would go away. Then, his other ear got the same treatment, and he growled lowly, but saying nothing of it. Lightgaze sat down on a root, and he leaned against it, waiting for the rest to arrive.

Firecat grinned at Sunsong's reply and laughed when her mother corrected her. "I know, councils are serious matter. I just like to see Sunsong so happy," she apologized. Unaware of it, she leaned into Hazel's embrace, who closed his eyes and sighed.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 5, 2008, 11:08am

"I'm always happy," Sunsong assured her. "Even when Longdusk won't play with me," she added, leaning over and ruffling the other elf's hair. Her mother reached over, grabbed her hand, and pulled her back upright.

"Sunsong! Please! Leave him alone and be still!" Fernflower said impatiently. "You have far too many seasons to continue this cub-like behavior!"

"I am not being cub-like. I want to see him smile. He doesn't smile enough." Sunsong nimbly pulled her hand from her mother's grip and dropped from the branch. She paused to rub her cheek against Longdusk's arm and smile up at him. "You have a pretty smile," she told him, then skipped across the glen to be closer to Sureshot and Mist.

She folded her legs gracefully and settled on the ground, her hands buried in the spring grass as she instinctively explored the bounty of the growing world around her. Oh! There was a seed there, right in front of her! A lovely ripple-leaf! She allowed her magic to breath over it, coaxing it to life.

"Oh....!" Silvercub and her friends hurried to Sunsong's side as they felt the breath of magic in the air. They watched, fascinated, as a tiny, fragile green shoot slowly worked it's way up from the forest soil.

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by viola on Oct 5, 2008, 11:35am

With a wry smile, Longdusk looked up at Fernflower. He realized the young plant shaper was out of control, and he pitied the female. He all too well remembered what it was like to have a daughter like that.
Clenching his teeth when the girl addressed him and touched him before moving away, while trying to push the memories of Fleetfoot back in the past where they belonged, he managed to hold his smirk towards the girl back.

"I don't smile enough, you smile too much. I guess that evens the score, don't you think?" he told the youngster, while Sunsong had found something else to do in the meantime. He wish the others would hurry already. He disliked gatherings like these. At least councils were informative, but he didn't care much for celebrations. Stories he liked, but he wasn't one to enjoy dances a lot. Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 5, 2008, 11:44am

Sunsong looked at him over her shoulder, part of her attention still on coaxing the flower to bloom. "There is no such thing as smiling too much, Longdusk. The score remains uneven until we hear your laughter at least once a night! Shall I make it my mission?"

"I'll laugh for you, cub," Mist said, deftly intervening. "You won't have to tickle my ears to do it, either."

Sunsong mocked a pout. "But you already laugh, Mist. Ah!" The ripple-leaf burst into full bloom and Sunsong straightened. "Look, cubs! See how lovely it is?"

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 5, 2008, 2:04pm

Evenstar laughed as she strode into the clearing.

*Oh Sunsong, is there any moment that can be free of your joy?* She settled on a tree root near Mist, smiling at the young plantshaper. "Soon the cubs will be grieving their lack of such a gift! What will we do then?" She teased.

"And Longdusk!" She turned her attention to the darker tribemate. "Must you tease her with your silence, or all of us for that matter? She is right you know..." Evenstar stretched her long legs against the cool earth. "A true smile from you could fade these stars!" Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 5, 2008, 2:13pm

Softling and her father entered the growing council cautiously, Flintfire choosing to stand some ways away to observe, while the golden haired cub knelt by Snapbone and a few other curious wolf-friends. They sniffed her palms, eager at the smell of meat and anxious at the tense gathering, but she calmed them with ear scratches and an image of a good hunt.

Softling watched the plantshaper with some jealousy and some dislike; wolves did not need or use such abilities. The thought of having that sort of magic made her heart tremble; she could not imagine that sort of sway over the trees and grass around her. Still, even she couldn't deny that Sunsong's trills were welcome often enough, a sign of good health and hunts.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by viola on Oct 5, 2008, 3:46pm

Longdusk nodded an appreciation towards Mist, but shot a dark glance at the tanner as she interfered, as well. High Ones, what was wrong with everyone today? Why did everybody suddenly want to see him smile? It wasn't that he never smiled, and while his uneasiness grew, his mood darkened even more.

"There there, younglings," Lightgaze soothed, "Leave my son alone. We're not gathered here to make Longdusk laugh," she added while she patted his knee, as she had done when he was littler, "but we are here to listen what the chief has to tell us." She forced herself to keep a straight face, and sent with a wink to both maidens: **But I know what you mean. He's a handsome one, isn't he?**

Unaware of his mother's send, he sighed deeply, hoping that the youngsters would back off for the moment.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 5, 2008, 4:44pm

Stormfire and Waterdance walked up to Sureshot. He greeted Stormfire with a calm nod and an affectionate, wordless sending; she replied in kind, her stomach knotting as her father turned to Waterdance, pain clear on his face. She knew Waterdance had told him that Quickflight refused to come.

The entire tribe was gathered at the foot of the Father Tree. Stormfire smiled to see Whirlwind and Tallspear poking each other in the ribs as they took their seats; she gritted her teeth to see Longtooth and Skystrike sit on gnarled boles of the Father Tree, close to Mist. The healer, she noted, looked less than pleased to see them there. Just then her two oldest brothers, Keenedge and Preyfinder, arrived. Keenedge, as chief's-heir, made a beeline straight for Sureshot's right side; he smiled at Waterdance and Stormfire. **So what's up?**

**You'll find out in time, my son,** Waterdance informed him, reaching out to touch his cheek. It was always so with Waterdance; she made the subtle gestures, not the expansive ones, but you knew where you stood with her, mate, cub, or tribemate. Keenedge shrugged, winked at Stormfire, and sat down.

Sureshot locksent. Stormfire swallowed, knowing who it was for. At last Quickflight came out, her eyes swollen; she kept them downcast as she sat down by Waterdance. The black-haired huntress, openly dismayed, put her arms around Quickflight. Stormfire would later swear that the tension in her tribemates was like a strangleweed vine at its tightest.
Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 5, 2008, 4:48pm

**I'd welcome him denning with me anytime he wanted,** Sunsong lock-sent back to Lightgaze cheerfully, refraining from voicing the comment out loud since Longdusk was clearly becoming uncomfortable with the attention.

"They'll not be jealous, Evenstar," Sunsong continued at loud to the tanner. She brushed her hand over Silvercub's mop of hair. "They all have talents that I don't. I share my plantshaping with them, and they share their gifts with me. Is that not so?" she added, tickling Silvercub's cheek.

The child giggled and hugged Sunsong before darting back to Icemark's side. "So!" she agreed, grabbing a handful of the leafy greens from his basket and taking them to Sunsong. "You make flowers, I feed you leafs!"

"Delicious!" Sunsong accepted the offering and immediately put one in her mouth, cheering with every sign of pleasure.

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 5, 2008, 5:05pm

Evenstar was worried to see Quickflight emerge in such a state, but resisted the urge to send to her and risk upsetting her further. Sureshot's gaze was upon the tribe now and she felt a cold trickle down her spine, fear of what was to come.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 5, 2008, 5:07pm


Oct 5, 2008, 4:48pm, Anna wrote:

The child giggled and hugged Sunsong before darting back to Icemark's side. "So!" she agreed, grabbing a handful of the leafy greens from his basket and taking them to Sunsong. "You make flowers, I feed you leafs!"

"Delicious!" Sunsong accepted the offering and immediately put one in her mouth, cheering with every sign of pleasure.


Stormfire snickered. *Is that your favorite treat now?* she sent to her friend. *Whirlwind and I will bring you back baskets-full if so.*

*Oh, hush, Stormfire. It takes so little to make the cubling happy.* Yet Sunsong tipped her head back and ate another leaf as if it were the most succulent root ever found. Stormfire buried her face against her knees, giggling as Whirlwind and Tallspear joined in the mirth.

*Sunsong, you treewee!* Whirlwind half-scolded, laughing. *Eating leaves like a caterpillar! Next you'll be spinning yourself a cocoon and hatching out with moth-wings!*

*We could always wrap her up in a hide and have Evenstar make her wings,* Tallspear slyly suggested, winking up at the treeshaper. Sunsong's delighted laughter brought attention from all sides.

*Now is not the time for play, cub,* Waterdance sent sternly, still attempting to console a quietly weeping Quickflight.

*What would you have me do?* Stormfire sent back defiantly. *Behave as if I'm about to be exiled? If I can't laugh when I'm facing nothing worse than this, I'm pretty poor stuff to send out on my own.*

Waterdance's frown deepened, but she settled for shooting her daughter a disapproving glare. Stormfire met it, rankled. She loved her mother dearly, but Waterdance always seemed to want to keep her as tied down as a human's near-wolf. I sometimes wonder, Stormfire told herself, if Waterdance really wanted a girl-cub or just a cubling's stuffed leather poppet.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by viola on Oct 5, 2008, 5:09pm

Lightgaze was about to reply Sunsong when Quickflight came out of her den, and she stiffened up. The female's eyes were swollen, she apparently had cried a lot just now, and Lightgaze hated that they could only guess about what it was.

Longdusk grabbed her hand, because the commotion near the chief's family had startled him, as well. He didn't know what had happened, but it confirmed his thoughts that this council was serious. He couldn't imagine Quickflight crying when it was not serious.
He laid his hand on his mother's shoulder, squeezing softly, and she placed her hand over his.
Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 5, 2008, 5:21pm

Softling buried her face in Snapbone's fur, growling to herself. By the High Ones, what was going on here? The tension made it difficult to think, and yet pressed her to investigate, something she very much wished to avoid. 'All chatter and no talk!' She thought to herself with a heavy huff. 'Won't somebody say something that makes any sense?'

Flintfire observed his daughter's quiet tantrum with some worry and soothed her with a gentle locksend.

She nodded quietly without looking to him, and straightened up some to listen.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 5, 2008, 5:58pm

With the hunt successfully completed, Windsoft led Oakstaff and Redthorn into holt-glen. The stag they'd found was strung between the other two, and Windsoft was smiling widely with pleasure at having it to offer for sharing after the council. It had been a while since they'd been willing to hunt so close to the holt, but the stag was at the end of his life and had little left to offer those of his kind. His death would nourish the tribe now, just as their deaths would one day nourish the pack and the forest.

The tension in the glen, however, quickly banished her high spirits. She traded glances with her companions and they silently delivered the stag to Sureshot before retreating to join lovemates, lifemates, or family members. Oakstaff knelt next to Sunsong, absently plucking the flower she'd grown and tucking it into her hair. Windsoft and her wolf-friend found an unclaimed spot and settled in.

After a moment of silence, Oakroot looked around and realized the tribe had gathered. "You called council, my chief?" he asked quietly when it seemed likely the wainting - and tension - would continue to stretch on unbroken.


Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 8, 2008, 1:15am

Normally Journey would have flung himself on his mother the moment she returned--just desserts for making him remain at the holt while she went hunting. Part of the punishment was the chief's doing; staying home was supposed to rid him of the taste for slipping off on a jaunt away from the holt without telling anyone. All it did was make him more eager to leave--and more careful in planning how he did it.

But by the time his mother took a place with her wolf, Journey's mouth was sour with anxious anticipation. He sat behind her and leaned his chin on her shoulder, watching Sureshot comfort--and confront--his family. His two youngest sons, who'd taken places by Mist the healer, were fixed by the chief's stern gray gaze; they quickly got up and moved to another bole on the Father Tree. His lifemates watched him, Waterdance with calm patience, Quickflight with tears--and Journey couldn't remember ever having seen that chieftess cry.

In the heavy stillness, Oakroot glanced around at the gathered tribe, and then turned to Sureshot. "You called council, my chief?"

Sureshot stepped forward. A light breeze ruffled his thick brown hair, and he waited until it died. "I've brought you here tonight to tell you that the tribe is about to be parted."

Parted? Journey sat bolt upright, ignoring the gasps of dismay around him.

"We've had good years here," Sureshot continued. "We've made our holt, had our cubs, lived and died and kept the Way . . . but, perhaps, we've done too well." He stopped, his eye falling on a recently Recognized pair, whose cubling stopped sucking his thumb long enough to stare up at the chief. Sureshot smiled, but turned grave as he looked again at the tribe. "We've multiplied like ravvits," he said, "and I daresay that if we continued, we'll end like ravvits, caught in any number of snares. The humans still attack us when they can. We've had foaming sickness. And although the game is still good . . . who can remember when it used to be more plentiful than it is now?

"To keep the Wolfriders alive, we will have to send some away." Sureshot spoke now to tribemates who hung on his every word. "This is no exile. The oak grows strong, and spreads his branches wider than an eagle his wings. The acorns which drop are his children, yet only by leaving the shelter of the great oak can they grow themselves.

"And so I am going to send a number of you to new lands, so that you can grow strong and live well."

Commotion broke out at once, as Wolfriders fought to show agreement or dissent with their chief. Journey ignored them. He could see Sureshot had only one question he intended to answer . . . and there were four possible answers.

"So who will lead us to these new lands?" he called out.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 8, 2008, 1:56am

**Hush, cub,** Windsoft lock-sent, reaching behind her to take his hand. **Draw no attention to yourself. You are not in his good graces at the moment.** She looked back at him and knew, instantly, immediately, what he would want. He was well-named, was her son. Perhaps...perhaps.

She sighed quietly. There was no perhaps. Whoever led the offshoot tribe, Journey would want to go. She was not yet ready to part with her cub, which meant she would have to go. She eyed the chief's sons and daughter and worried.


Oakstaff felt his jaw drop in shock. Split the tribe? Well, yes, it had been done in the past when their numbers grew too many, but...now? As the idea sank into his stunned brain, he started to smile. This could be quite interesting. Challenging. New territory, new game... Depending on how Sureshot was choosing to lead this little adventure, it could be well worth the going. He eyed the chief's offspring with a careful eye. Now, just who would he choose...?


Mist had known what Sureshot had called council for. He already knew he'd be going, as a favor to his chief-friend. Mist disliked changed, prefering the safe stability of the familiar, but there was no denying that those venturing into unknown territory would have more need of a healer than those remaining. He folded his arms across his chest and tried to maintain a serene demeanor. His decision had already been made.

"A new holt? How exciting! Oh! You'll need a plantshaper to shape the holt! Who's going? Who will be chief?" Sunsong's excited babble of words merged with the other comments, questions, and demands being voiced by the tribe. She turned her wide, blue-green gaze towards Stormfire and immediately some of her eagerness faded. Stormfire did not look happy.

Sobering instantly, she quietly stood up and circled around the outside of the gathered tribe until she could come up behind Stormfire. She put a gentle hand on the shoulder of the chief's daughter. **Stormfire?** she lock-sent gently. **He has chosen you, dear friend?**

The voices of their tribemates continued to sound around them, but Sunsong ignored them, ignored Stormfire's gathered family, and simply waited for her friend to confirm or deny.



Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by viola on Oct 8, 2008, 10:20am

Longdusk eye's grew wide as he heard the news, and he tried to make up his mind as Sunsong asked who would be their new chief. He sought the chief-cubs with his eyes, but couldn't really focus on what he wanted to do. The tribe was large, too large, and to him, it had too many memories he was willing to put behind him. A trip like that would be dangerous, especially when they would wander in unknown territory. The threat of humans was there, predators... They would need a skilled hunter. Someone like him could be of use.
His mother's hand tightened around his knee, and he tilted his head to look her in the eyes. Lightgaze was worried, and he could sense that she knew. **You're leaving,** she stated, and he just stared at her.

He loved his mother, and it would be so hard to leave her. Longdusk felt she wasn't happy about this, but it seemed she knew him better than he did himself. **Yes. Apart from you... there's nothing for me here.** It felt like the right thing to do. **You don't want to come?** he asked his mother. He wanted her to come.

Lightgaze bit her lip, and then slowly shook her head. **No. My life is here. My chief is here. I'm not sure I can follow another by splitting the tribe. But you can.**



Firecat fell utterly silent when Sureshot announced his news. Hazel wrapped his arms around her. "Don't be sad that a part is leaving. It's healthy for us all." She let him hug her, but it wasn't what she was thinking about. It would be a change of scenery, without the strains that she felt were here. Particularly Hazel's. She'd grown to like him, a lot, and she started to feel uneasy near him. She would have to convince him not to come, but she knew that was absolutely possible. She knew how to get her way.

Her eyes sought out her sister. What was Evenstar thinking? Though shallow as she might seem to some, she didn't want to be seperated from her sister. She would follow her sister, whatever she chose. **Evenstar?** she sent privately, mentally asking her what she wanted. Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by oddsong on Oct 8, 2008, 5:58pm

A little way behind Windsoft, standing, leaning on his spear, Thornberry felt a sudden and powerful twist in his guts at the chief's words, and noticed that his fingers around the long wooden handle were white. Sureshot's words were a great shock, but, more surprisingly yet, not a painful one, and on second thought, almost obvious. Split the tribe? ... yes.
He'd felt it for a while now, creeping like the cold into bones, and didn't know what to name it: more than a discomfort, but a profound feeling that things were not right as they were. If only it had been something as simple as scarce game, a hard winter, a sickness! Something that was truly wrong, instead of things simply being too right. But there were too many of them, they ate too much and made too much noise and too much waste and took up too much place, almost like humans.

One glance across the council circle, and he caught Shimmereye's gaze and knew she was thinking the game. Her son sat by her feet, still a half-grown stripling. She surely couldn't go, he mused, and if she didn't, then neither would Cleartrail. But in her eyes, he saw a flash of hunger

**It's the obvious solution,** she sent to him, a trace of that hunger in her mind-voice.

**Aye.** He kept his answer brief, focusing on Sureshot now. Her unspoken desire was getting to him. The chief seemed to stand fast, secure in his decision. A few tribemates had already spoken up, but it was Sunsong, babbling away as ever, that asked the question that most concerned Thornberry as he digested the news. Perhaps the most important question of all. What was a body with no head, after all?

"Yes, my chief, who leads us?" he called out, his eyes sweeping across Sureshot's cubs. Would it be Longtooth, Keenedge maybe? Skystrike was useless, even the stripling girl had taken that one... but surely not her?
Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 8, 2008, 6:40pm

'No!' Redthorn thought first, the words like the cry of an infant cub in the back of the huntress's mind. She was flushed with surprise at her own emotions. She knew why these things were needed, she knew Sureshot was a wise chief, and she trusted him. 'But...' She knew why this was necessary, but there remained a deeper question she trusted only one to answer.

Redthorn turned to Icemark, violet eyes bright with something not quite fear, and looked back at her still twirling, giggling cub. **Dei?** She sent to her lifemate, the sending implying far more than the question.

Evenstar remained frozen, rigid to her seating beside the healer Mist, even as her sister's sending echoed into her mind. Her heart beat in her throat and she spun a piece of grass in her fingertips. 'Separated? A broken holt?' She thought. The cold trickle down her back was a waterfall of emotions, feelings, memories, then...a spark of something... joy perhaps? This revelation grew on her slowly, a warmth spread through her long limbs. 'Strange! Wrong! Can't...' It must have been her wolfblood howling to her. She put her forehead to her knees. 'What a chance!' Part of her called, a smaller, but insistent song. 'Think of the stars!'

**Firecat,** Evenstar sent smoothly. **Sister, I must go.**Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 8, 2008, 7:16pm


Oct 8, 2008, 6:40pm, peachbug wrote:
'No!' Redthorn turned to Icemark, violet eyes bright with something not quite fear, and looked back at her still twirling, giggling cub. **Dei?** She sent to her lifemate, the sending implying far more than the question.


Icemark caressed Redthorn's cheek gently, looking into her eyes and smiling reassuringly. **Our holt is with you, lifemate. Either here, or elsewhere. Our chief will not force any to leave. Wait and see; he'll ask for volunteers.** His thumb brushed her bottom lip lightly. **It is your choice. My choice is to be with you.**

He put his arms around Redthorne and turned his gaze back to Sureshot. There was no rush in any decision. Sureshot would surely give them time to think, to consider - to decide. The only thing they really had yet to learn tonight would be who led the off-shoot tribe.



Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 8, 2008, 7:31pm

Softling struggled for a moment, absorbing the strange words from her chief. She had grown as a cubling trusting Sureshot as her sire and mother had, but what was to become of this? Softling rarely acknowledged her ties to her tribemates, but her heart hurt and her anger and sadness bubbled over her broken thoughts like heavy mud, clinging.

**Father, we cannot split the pack! The-the tribe is...** Her sending went unfinished and she buried her face in Snapbone's dark fur again, snarling. **This is wrong! This...this is not...how...**

**How would you have our chief act, my cubling? By remaining, we do not only harm ourselves, but the precious wolves as well. We must think of the tribe's sake, above all.** The hunter sent gentle as a mother's touch, and Softling visibly flinched. **Wolves would not-** **We are not wolves.** Flintfire sent firmly. Softling swung her eyes, green with touch of gold that glowed fierce in the night, and glared with all the wolf in her she could muster. She felt him try to send once more, but blocked it from her mind.

The young female leapt to her feet and howled, ignoring the surprised expressions of the elves around her. Her cry was loud and long, and with a quick swivel in step, she ran beside Snapbone from the heart of the holt. She wept and her mother's bright face followed her footsteps.

Flintfire thought better of starting after her. He looked apologetically to his tribemates and considered the events quietly, the decision he knew he must make creeping into his thoughts.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 8, 2008, 7:52pm

Redthorn nodded and brushed her younger lifemate's hair with one hand. There was one more she must speak with before this went any farther, close to her soul as her lifemate and child.

**Lightgaze, soulsister?** The huntress sent tentatively. **What do you make of this?**Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 8, 2008, 11:25pm


Oct 8, 2008, 1:56am, Anna wrote:
Sobering instantly, she quietly stood up and circled around the outside of the gathered tribe until she could come up behind Stormfire. She put a gentle hand on the shoulder of the chief's daughter. **Stormfire?** she lock-sent gently. **He has chosen you, dear friend?**

The voices of their tribemates continued to sound around them, but Sunsong ignored them, ignored Stormfire's gathered family, and simply waited for her friend to confirm or deny.


Sureshot stood, impassively waiting for the tribe to be silent. At last he held up a hand and the quiet that descended was almost thunderous.

"I've made my decision," he said.

Quickflight buried her head against Waterdance's shoulder. Keenedge took a step forward, his eyes betraying his distress. "Father," he began, reaching out a hand. "Father--you can't mean--"

Sureshot met his son's eyes and smiled sadly. "No, son. Not you." He put a hand on his eldest's shoulder, and Keenedge sagged with palpable relief. "I need you here. And you," he added, placing his other hand on Preyfinder's arm; the young Wolfrider's face mirrored his brother's, relief mingling with rising curiosity.

Longtooth stepped forward. "Is it me, Father?"

Sureshot paused for the smallest moment before shaking his head. "You've good instincts, Longtooth," and he let go of Preyfinder to clasp his youngest son by Quickflight. Longtooth pulled loose, his face downcast. *You'd make a good chief if you'd learn to think of others first,* Sureshot added, not unkindly. *And in time, I think you will. One day. Today is not that day.*

Keenedge and Preyfinder looked at each other, and Preyfinder swallowed hard. Both turned to look at the figure who now slid off her perch on the Father Tree, and advanced towards them, slight as a fawn.

Sureshot's eldest shook their heads in unison.

"Father, you can't," Keenedge blurted, stunned. "She's barely more than a cub! She's a bare stripling--"

"Send one of us with her," urged Preyfinder and Longtooth.

"No," Stormfire said, before Sureshot could speak. She met her brothers' eyes, her head held high. "I'm not having any of you come along," she said softly. "I will lead this new tribe. I'm of the chief's line as much as any of you. And I can do my duty as well as any of you."

Longtooth was the first to snort. "You're barely over three eights and four," he returned. "All you know is how to sit on a wolf and throw a javelin or two. What are you going to do when there's a real threat to the tribe? You can't run to Father then. Or your mother."

The derision in his eyes made the hairs on Stormfire's nape rise. But she remembered what Sureshot had said. You'll be questioned by all of them, and they'll test you in different ways. If she couldn't meet Longtooth's test, she had no business being chief.

*I won't need to run to our father or mothers,* she sent. *And I daresay I know more than you do about dealing with a threat. You see a chief, and you see nothing but a figure about whom songs are sung, and howls are held. I see a chief, and see the mother or father of the whole tribe--the one who protects as well as leads, who shoulders the blame for what goes wrong and shares the praise when all goes right. Are you ready for that, brother? Prove it to me, and I'll let you tag along.*

*Let me?* Longtooth's eyes narrowed and he took a step forward. Stormfire held her ground and shared with him the memory of the last time the foaming sickness had stalked their tribe, of the bitter grief they'd shared as elders, adults, and cubs were lost; of all Sureshot had done to try to save them. Her brother winced as she added, as sure as a spear-thrust, *Can you do this? Will you do this?*

I don't know if I can, a small voice deep within her whispered. But I know I must.

Longtooth shook his head as if to clear her sending out of it. Then he broke their link and staggered back against the Father Tree. Shock was clear on Skystrike's face as he hurried to help Longtooth. Stormfire drew a deep, ragged breath as she realized she'd just won the first challenge of her chieftainship.

Sureshot drew her close, and she fought to stop shaking. She couldn't look at him until he put a hand beneath her chin and raised her face. Blinking, Stormfire looked into eyes as gray as her own, and made herself stand straighter.

**Ready?** Sureshot smiled, and Stormfire felt her spirits lift. She could feel the faith he had in her, and it warmed her better than summer sunshine. She would not fail. For him, she would keep her part of their tribe whole and well.

**Ready,** she returned, and Sureshot turned back to the tribe.

"Silence!" His call brought quiet crashing back down, even as many elves stared at him in disbelief. "Stormfire will lead as many as will go with her to the new lands. This is my decision." He laid both hands on her shoulders, and added, in a softer tone, "Go, daughter. Pick out your hunters, and choose well. Just remember . . . no one with cubs, and no maiden in cub."

Stormfire nodded and turned to Sunsong. "Plantshaper?" She heard Keenedge groan in protest, "That's our treeshaper," and Sureshot hush him; but she only had eyes for Sunsong's reaction. "Come with me, my friend?"Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 9, 2008, 1:16am

Sunsong blinked, stunned that Stormfire even felt the need to ask. "Of course I'm going with you," she said instantly, sending a frown at Keenedge. Hmph! Chief's son or not, she didn't like that possessive 'our' coming out of him. She was her own being, and could go where she wished. Besides, it wasn't like the tribe would be without a plantshaper when she left. She was the younger, weaker, and less experienced of the two.

Even so, the prospect of stretching herself and her abilities as wide and far as she could thrilled her. She grinned at Stormfire, all her eagerness and excitement reflecting in her blue-green eyes. "You lead us to the spot, my chieftess, and I'll shape us a home."

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by multifacets on Oct 9, 2008, 2:54am

It was a good thing Silent had been in his den among the roots of the holt when the council was called. Otherwise, he would have missed it. As it was, the noise of several voices at once brought him out of his usual trance, and curiosity brought him out in time to hear Sureshot's announcement.

It was a shock, of course; Silent had not been aware things were so bad that this had to happen. It was a large tribe, but....

Ah well.

"No one with cubs, no maidens with cub" was the order. Wolfrider women were tough, though; a journey would not hurt them- though that would slow the journey. So that was it.

Silent scanned the people gathered, finding the particular black-haired maiden who was now excluded from the trip, Recognized and pregnant as she was. A familiar twinge gripped his heart.

Sunsong was one of the first to speak, and Stormfire seemed glad for it. Others began to volunteer, giving Silent time to think. He would miss his parents, but perhaps this was for the best.

Somehow he honed his thoughts and touched Stormfire's mind. **I'll come. I will try not to be a burden.**Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by viola on Oct 9, 2008, 12:20pm

Lightgaze sought her soulsister's eyes, after the revealing of the new chieftess. **I don't know. Stormfire might pull this off. But I don't know if I... If I can.** In opposition to her son, Lightgaze loved the memories of her past and was unwilling to let those go. She swallowed heavily. Redthorn would want to leave, but Sureshot had told Stormfire not to pick anyone with cubs.

*I will go.* Longdusk's open send was filled with a mild aggravation towards the bluntness of the chief's son, and respect for Stormfire who was burdened with this task at a young age. He felt the grip of his mother's hand tighten around his own. *If you travel, you will need a guard when you rest and a scout to move ahead of the group.*

The moment he had sent, he felt relief about his decision and a weight fell off his shoulders. In new lands, he didn't have to carry the memories about his deceased lifemate and daughter's whereabouts, and could just remember them as they were. He sighed deeply.


Firecat smiled to her sister. **I know, little sister,** she sent. The arms around her started to make her feel restrained, and she bit her lip, forcing herself to stay put. But Hazel, as always, seemed to sense her discomfort and let her go. Without saying anything, she walked over to her sister and settled next to her. **I need to think this over. It grants new possibilities, but...** For a moment, her eyes flashed to Hazel, **I must decide on the right reasons.**Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by oddsong on Oct 9, 2008, 5:04pm

Even in the wildest of his younger days, when he questioned even when told the sky was up and the ground was down, Thornberry had never recoiled at a decision of his chief. Sureshot was old and wise and capable and had raised a gaggle of good cubs, and the tribe flourished quite so much under him. Now, though, he felt this faith shake like a tree under a hard wind even as his eyes were growing wide. Stormfire? She was a third his age, he remembered her all in moss and down, still with her pup-fat and milk-teeth. She was no fool to be sure and he'd never refused her company in the hunt, but...

"She'd never led a hunting party - how could she lead a tribe?" he thought out loud, not caring that Windsoft was near enough to hear him. It was a question he was sure he wasn't alone with, after all.

Was Sureshot sending away the one he could spare?

Doubt flared in him, worse when Sunsong and Silent, of all fawns and strangelings, spoke. If the new tribe would be a gaggle of youngsters, all of them eager to meet adventure and prove themselves, they'd drop like leaves in the white-cold. He couldn't be the only one who saw this. Nothing Mist's presence close to the chief and his family, he lingered another moment, hoping.
Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 9, 2008, 7:22pm

Despite her earlier shock, a new feeling arose in Redthorn as she watched her chief's announcement unfold amongst the tribe.

**Dei, something feels right for this. Stormfire is a cub, surely, but she is Sureshot's cub. I trust his guidance and this holt. Lightgaze is as a sister to me...I cannot leave her son to this path. I know he will not be alone, but...** Violet met silver as she looked into her lifemate's eyes. **I cannot risk you and the cub on one of my feelings. Never again.**

Leaning against a tree a ways across from the red haired huntress, Flintfire wrestled with the truth of his daughter's condition. Stepping out in front of his chief, he sent.

*Softling, my cub...she is a fine tracker, Windsoft, any of you can account for that. She would...* Flintfire grimaced, lowering his golden eyes. *Sureshot, she needs to join this new holt. This old one, however much it may hold, keeps nothing more for her. The spirits of our grandsires watch this holt, but she cannot hear their songs.*

His eyes slid to Stormfire. *I know the risk. She needs this chance at finding...* He could only try to convey what the true 'elf' sense meant, the words to the purpose, and could only share the feeling of the memories, the song, the howls, and knew the tribe felt his sending and understood it. His eyes pleaded with the young soon-chieftess.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 9, 2008, 9:56pm


Oct 9, 2008, 1:16am, Anna wrote:
She grinned at Stormfire, all her eagerness and excitement reflecting in her blue-green eyes. "You lead us to the spot, my chieftess, and I'll shape us a home."


"Yes!" Stormfire hugged Sunsong, ignoring Keenedge's groan. "I have my treeshaper!" She turned to Sureshot just as three sendings reached her.

The first was from Silent. **I'll come. I will try not to be a burden.**

Stormfire blinked. A sending from Silent was like swallowing a double-handful of dreamberries--her perceptions went slightly off, and she had to retreat for a moment to ground herself again. She'd known Silent all her life, and knew things were . . . different, where he was concerned. But at that moment, she met his parents' eyes, and found herself nodding. **Come, then,** she told him.

The second sending was from Longdusk, and Stormfire affirmed it the moment she heard. Longdusk would definitely be helpful, and she trusted him.

But the third . . .

Stormfire met the eyes of Flintfire, and beyond him, Icemark and Redthorn. The Recognized pair stood together; if she chose Longdusk, either Lightgaze or Redthorn would want to come--and if she chose either, she would be separating a family. Worse, if she chose Redthorn.

I can use them both. And why not the cubs, when all of us can protect them? Stormfire drew a deep breath and walked over to Sureshot. She touched his arm, and he turned to her from Mist. "Father," she said, and sent to Flintfire, Icestorm and Redthorn to join her. "We need to speak."

(OOC: Peachbug, Viola, we're going to make this a separate RP. See you there!)Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 9, 2008, 10:47pm


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PostSubject: Re: Council in the Holt-Glen   Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:40 pm

Oct 9, 2008, 5:04pm, oddsong wrote:
"She'd never led a hunting party - how could she lead a tribe?" he thought out loud, not caring that Windsoft was near enough to hear him. It was a question he was sure he wasn't alone with, after all.


Everyone was speaking at once, and decisions coming so quickly, that Stormfire had led her father and the handful of others away for a private discussion before she could process Thornberry's doubts.

"There's more to being chief that being hunt-leader," Windsoft chided Thornberry gently. "What does it matter, if she has other hunters there to lead the chase? A chief's strengths are different than a hunters."

She paused, watching the quiet discussion mostly hidden by night shadow and foliage. "See? There is a chief's decision. Sureshot set a rule, which tribemates broke. Instead of challenging before full pack, she draws away only those involved to resolve the problem. She thinks of everyone, not just herself. She seeks to keep peace, not stir trouble. Her first choice to go with her is one who can shape a safe home for all."

She looked back a Thornberry and raised her eyebrows. "Which kind of chief would you prefer, my friend? One who thinks only of immediately filling your belly, or one who thinks far enough ahead to see what's needed to keep us warm and protected during the white-cold?"

Mist had moved away from his position, leaving his chief and the others to their private discussion. The decision they reached did not matter to him, and he had no imput to give. This was an unplanned test for Stormfire; she'd need to handle it on her own.

"Stormfire is young and inexperienced," he said, nodding to Thornberry to give him his points. "However, she is Sureshot's choice, and it is the right one. She listens to advise and is not to proud to heed it. She's the right choice."

"Are you going, healer?" Oakstaff asked, wandering over to join them.

Mist nodded and gave them a slight smile. "New leathers chafe where old leathers do not."

"Well. So we know. Stormfire, Sunsong, Silent, and Mist. Possibly Softling, Redthorne, and Icemark. What of you, Thornberry? Do you stay?" She looked at Journey. "And you, my son?"

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 9, 2008, 11:00pm

Journey followed his mother when she walked over to Thornberry and Mist, half in a dream and half frozen with fear. He wanted to go with Stormfire. He wanted it badly. Not only was she his friend, she was also leaving the holt.

He loved his birth-home, but the thought of living there for the rest of his life was like strangleweed wrapped around his throat.

And yet Windsoft might not want to leave. Journey steeled himself for that possibility, for while leaving the holt was something he could do blithely, leaving his mother was not even to be considered.

But what if she said no to leaving?

He paid little attention to her words and Mist's to Thornberry. All he could see was a vast forest, spread out before him like a great cloak . . . and then yanked out of reach, as if from a cubling's grasping hand. Journey couldn't stifle the voice in his heart that called out, I want this, I want this, I want--!


Quote:
"Well. So we know. Stormfire, Sunsong, Silent, and Mist. Possibly Softling, Redthorne, and Icemark. What of you, Thornberry? Do you stay?" She looked at Journey. "And you, my son?"


Journey jerked out of his anxious reverie to see his mother looking straight at him. His mouth went dry, and he swallowed hard. "Um . . ." Because words wouldn't come, he had to send. *Mother, do you want to? If you don't, I'll stay, it's all right--*Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 9, 2008, 11:13pm

**No, cub, it's not 'all right.' I can feel your spirit already following this trail.** Windsoft swallowed hard. It hurt, oh, how it hurt! But times came when cubs had to stand on their own and make their own decisions. She knew what hers was, but she'd not tell him until he decided for himself.

There was more to raising cubs than keeping them safe from harm. There was also allowing them to understand decisions had consequences, and every exciting thing had a price of some kind. He was adult-grown now, and just a few years younger than Stormfire herself. This had to be his decision.

*You are an adult - a young, inexperienced one, yes - but an adult of the tribe, Journey. This decision is yours, and only you can make it.* She smiled gently, reaching to touch his cheek, and wished she could simply make the choice for him. But she could not. He was a child no longer, and her time to choose his path was over.

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 9, 2008, 11:18pm

**Yes,** Evenstar began, looking down at her older sister with a small smile. **It seems you have far more to consider in light of...certain things. I would miss you sorely should you choose to stay, but...** The tanner looked up into the trees, into the dark sky, resting her chin on her palm. **I would be happy to have you beside me, sister, but for the right reasons. I made my choice because something called me to it...** She sighed and rose from her spot beside Firecat. **I must tell Stormfire and Sureshot that I am joining her. I wish you peace with your choice, Firecat.** She gave one last glance to Hazel. **For the right choice.**

Evenstar's mouth was dry also as she struggled to approach her new chieftess, hopefully new chieftess. The stargazer was not the only skilled tanner in the holt, but she was valued as the one the others came to for the truly extraordinary designs or mendings. Now she prayed to the High Ones her skills would pose no conflict as she went forward amongst the scrabble of sendings and words to deliver her request, cautious as a skittered ravvit despite her imposing heigth.

As she approached the gathering around Sureshot and Stormfire, she felt the tension of locksending going between the group. She tugged at a loose lock of her brown-gold hair and determined to hang back for the time being. Nothing she had to say was more urgent than whatever now concerned her chief.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 9, 2008, 11:20pm

Journey stared at her, his mouth falling open. He shut it quickly as a, "No!" threatened to come out of it. She was right--he was an adult, no matter how much of a cub his elders still made him feel.

Time to make an adult's decision . . .

He could feel this calling him. If he remained behind, it would tear at him forever, driving him out of the holt after the leave-takers, no matter how cold their trail was. And yet Windsoft's face would haunt him the rest of his days. It had been the two of them for so long, amidst the rest of the tribe. How could he leave her?

Windsoft's hand remained on his cheek. Journey took her other hand between both of his. **Mother,** he sent, trying to keep his emotions from choking him. **Mother . . . please come with me. Please! I'm not asking because I'm afraid to go. I'm asking because I love you more than anyone else, and I don't want to leave you here.**Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 9, 2008, 11:31pm

**Your choice is to go then?** Windsoft asked, wanting to be sure and clear.

**Y-yes. I have to.**

She could feel the tearing of his heart in his sending and it hurt her, too, that she'd forced this decision on him alone. But the lesson was learned now, and she could be mother again and comfort her cub. "Then we go," she said quietly.

"I think your concerns about hunt leadership are just invalidated, Thornberry," Oakstaff said cheerfully. "Windsoft's got more experience at that than even you."

Mist shook his head. "Sureshot will be happy to know you're with her, Windsoft," he assured her. "She's been leaning towards the younger members of the tribe, not wanting to separate families, but she needs more experienced people, too."

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 9, 2008, 11:48pm

Journey flung his arms around Windsoft. **Thank you,** he sent, trembling with a mixture of glee, excitement, and gratitude. He let go of her and started off for the Father Tree. "I've got to get my paints ready, and my things, and . . . wait, no, I'd better wait and see what's needed . . . talk to Evenstar--Evenstar's going, isn't she? We'll--"

Wingfoot, coming up on the scene, stared at Windsoft's youngster chasing around in circles and talking to himself. He shook his head and muttered, "Just as I thought. That cub's moon-mad."Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 10, 2008, 10:51pm

Sunsong watched Journey dashing back and forth, talking to himself like a suncrazed troll, and smiled.

Her smile faded when she felt her mother behind her. Fernflower was not pleased. She was far from pleased. She didn't bother to hide her disapproval and discouragement when spoke, either, and so any tribemate within hearing knew the scorn and displeasure Fernflower sprinkled around her daughter.

"You cannot think of going, Sunsong. You have neither the experience nor the wisdom for such a journey! You've barely begun your training and you have much to learn, if you can."

Sunsong's shoulders hunched briefly, then straightened and she turned to her mother with a bright smile. "Oh, but mother, I must! Stormfire asked me to, and she's my friend. There are so few of us going, that I'm sure even my skill will be enough to shape us a safe holt somewhere."

She didn't bother to comment on the wisdom issue. She knew she wasn't wise. She was little more than a child, and if Stormfire would no more have chosen her for wisdom than she'd have chosen young Softling for it. There were other tribemates that Stormfire would choose for that quality.

Fernflower snorted, crossing her arms and glaring down at her sun-haired offspring. "Your 'skill' can barely bloom a flower and I don't foresee it improving," she said sharply. "You'll leave your friend and the rest of the tribe to freeze to death in the white-cold, foolish cub! They need a real treeshaper with them, but I assure you I won't be leaving my chief. You'll be a burden on them, daughter, and they'll be few enough that they can't afford anyone who doesn't do their share."

Sunsong fought to hold on to her smile, to not let her mother's words hurt. Ever since her plantshaping magic had first manifested, Fernflower had expressed her disappointment that Sunsong's power was so weak and useless. It wasn't Sunsong's fault. She was happy with what she had, and she took great joy in it.

"They're going, whether I go or not," she said finally, clasping her hands tightly in front of her. "I can only try, mother, and I will try with everything I have. It must be worth something. And if not, then I will be a gatherer, and feed them. There are other ways besides shaping to make shelter. I won't be a burden to them." She leapt for a branch overhead. "I have to see to Shade now, and make sure she's in health for this journey. Good bye, mother."

Even as she darted along branches, and jumped from tree to tree to reach the wolfpack, Sunsong blinked away tears. Her mother must fear for her greatly, to be so harsh in her approach. She wished that Fernflower had simply asked her to stay instead of trying to intimidate her into staying. It wouldn't have changed her mind, but at least then there wouldn't be these harsh words between them.

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 10, 2008, 11:37pm

As Stormfire moved away from Sureshot, Icemark and Redthorn--and a nearby Evenstar--she heard a sharp, unmistakeable voice. It was a voice that had angered her ever since she was old enough to understand what it was saying, and she found her fingers twitched as she strode forward to close the distance between herself, Fernflower, and Sunsong.

She caught sight of Sunsong moving through the trees, and told herself she'd find her friend later. Fernflower half-turned, as if to walk away, and Stormfire sent to her.

*Wait, treeshaper.* There was no gentleness, no fondness, in her tone. There never had been. And the cool look Fernflower threw her indicated the older elf had an equal lack of feeling.

"Your father must hold such confidence in you," she said.

Stormfire gave a short laugh. **Not that you'll send that, but for what it's worth . . .** She paused, and realized she'd unintentionally given Fernflower insult from the way the treeshaper's face crimsoned with offense. **I'm not here to quarrel with you, Fernflower. But if you truly can't bear the sight of Sunsong, why don't you shut up and keep away from her? Or are you really so cruel that you enjoy seeing her hurt?**

"Hurt? She's my daughter, cub. Of course I don't wish to see her hurt." Fernflower flicked her fingers out, in a dismissively, throwing-away gesture. "But better she suffer a small hurt now than a larger hurt later when she realizes how completely inadequate she is for the task you've set her."

**And still you won't send.** Stormfire crossed her arms over her chest to keep from reaching out and ripping handfuls of Fernflower's golden hair loose. **You know as well as anyone that she's capable of being a great treeshaper. At the very least, she's going to be *my* treeshaper.** She drew a deep breath, frustrated by Fernflower's impassiveness. She wanted the elder to shout, yell, or fight--anything to prove she felt ~something~ for Sunsong. "I never thought a mother could be so unfeeling," Stormfire accused Fernflower. "When we go, that's it. You'll never see Sunsong again. High Ones, I find myself wishing that's true, for you're as poisonous to her as a mouthful of snake venom!"

Fernflower sniffed. She had no reason to send to this infant whose head was fluffed up on a doting father's pride. Sending was an intimacy that she gave to few, and certainly not a child. "You are as foolish as she, child. You may speak about a mother's love and care when you are a mother. Until then, you've no grounds for judgement, and no right to pass it."

"I may not be a mother," Stormfire returned, "but I know a mother's love when I see it. And I don't see it in you. I don't think you know what it is, either."

Fernflower crossed her arms and looked at Stormfire coolly. "Such wisdom and insight gained in so few seasons! My, how blind and stupid we must all seem to one as advanced as you, young High One!"

Stormfire gritted her teeth at the mockery. Fernflower was excellent at that, and it galled her that she couldn't wither the treeshaper with a few words. Or knock her across the holt with a well-placed punch . . . "Be happy, Fernflower," she finally said. "Our paths--mine and Sunsong's--won't cross yours again, and for that ~I~ will be happy." She turned on her heel and walked away, wishing she'd felt sure enough of her new rank to hang Fernflower by her heels over one of Evenstar's tanning pits.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 10, 2008, 11:53pm

"Oh, come on," Whirlwind insisted.

"No! Leave it be. Sureshot would tell you not to interfere."

"But that barb-tongued spider--"

"Is an elder. Do you really want Sureshot to scorch your ears over the likes of Fernflower?" Tallspear glared at Whirlwind, and the huntress rolled her eyes scornfully. "Go on, think what you like. Just stay--"

"Oh, here she comes!" Whirlwind pulled free of Tallspear's clasp and darted out from behind the tree as Stormfire approached. "Ayoooooh! Sister! Haven't forgot about me, have you?"

Stormfire jumped, and the anger on her face faded. Tallspear smiled, pleased when she began to chuckle. "I'd as soon forget my shadow," she said, taking Whirlwind's hand and reaching out for Tallspear with her other. "So . . ." Her gray eyes danced with sudden mischief. "I'm your chief now, and you have to do as I say!"

"Ohhhhh, no!" Whirlwind sank to her knees, pressing her hair to her bosom and pretending to be faint. "Whatever shall we do? Led by little Shrill . . . I mean Trill--ouch! Don't pull my hair," she warned, and Stormfire grinned.

"Do that when we meet up with some trolls. While they're spewing over your performance, we can rob them blind." She turned to Tallspear, who hugged her. "A hug? Just for being named chief of whoever's mad enough to follow me?" Stormfire tilted her head back to look at him. "Are you sure you're coming with me?" she demanded accusingly.

"Sure as anything." He pressed his forehead to hers, grinning back at her. "Besides, you need someone who knows how to use real spears, not those squirrel-stickers of yours."

"I'll remind you of that the next time my 'squirrel-stickers' take a kill out from under your nose," Stormfire retorted. She took Whirlwind's hand again, helping her up. "Well, come on, you two. Someone has to find Sunsong, and I have to make certain Evenstar is coming. And we have Icemark, Redthorn, Silvercub, Mist, and Windsoft . . . and Father just sent now, there are more . . ."

Whirlwind winked at Tallspear. **She won't sleep a wink until we're out of here.**

**Good. We'll tie her to the wolf, take over the tribe, and throw Fernflower in a thorn thicket.** Tallspear proudly escorted his new chieftess back among the tribe, where more elves approached Sureshot to say whether they would go with his daughter, or stay behind.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by viola on Oct 11, 2008, 10:27am

Longdusk touched his mother's face, and she looked up, blinking heavily. "I'm going to miss you," she whispered, and he pulled her in an embrace. "As I you," he softly said. "It's the best for me, mother, and I would love you to come along but I know you can't." Lightgaze breathed deeply, to control herself, before she pulled loose.

*When will we leave?* Longdusk then questionned. Certainly, there would be a short period of time for Stormfire to choose who she was asking along, but he sincerely hoped it wouldn't be too long. This meant a new opportunity, and he wanted to grab it with both hands.

~*~*~*~


Lightgaze drew to the shadows and retreated. She didn't want to hear the answer, but instead, she heard something else. Stormfire, young chieftess now, had a heathed debate with Lightgaze's sister Fernflower. She could only hear the words, but she flinched at Stormfire's accusations. True, Fernflower and Sunsong's relationship was troubled, but talking like that to someone who was still a tribesmate, was something a chieftess couldn't permit herself. Lightgaze realized Stormfire spoke from her emotions, but should have thought about it a bit better.

True, she didn't have a great bond with her older sister, either, and part of her understood why Stormfire had spoken like she had. It was something she had wanted to do herself. Sunsong, her niece, had been a charming cub and had grown to be a lovely young adult, and didn't deserve the coldness of her mother.

**Niece?** she sent out to Sunsong, **where are you?**

~*~*~*~

Firecat bit her lip. Her sister knew her better than anyone else. She sighed, and felt at a loss. She would have to talk this over with Hazel. He cared deeply for her, she knew... she could feel it in his sending. Lately, she had barely sent to keep her arousing feelings hidden. In any case, it wouldn't be fair to leave him wondering what had happened.

But leaving for the right reasons would be tough. She could easily tell Stormfire that a hunter and fisher aboard would be useful, and travelling with her sister also was a pragmatic reason, but either way, no matter how she twisted and turned the idea, it always revolved around bolting away... like she always had in relationships that got too tight. And in Hazel's case... it wasn't what he deserved.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 11, 2008, 12:07pm


Oct 11, 2008, 10:27am, viola wrote:


**Niece?** {Lightgaze} sent out to Sunsong, **where are you?**



Sunsong ran her hands over Shade's strong, thick-boned leg, then blinked at Lightgaze's sending. Her mother's sister seldom sought her out, so Lightgaze's query caught her by surprise.

A pleasant surprise, of course, and her response contained that taste of happiness. **I'm with Shade, checking to make sure that she's fit for the journey.**

Her wolf-friend, as loyal and sweetnatured as any wolf could be, was also becoming aged. Sunsong would not more consider leaving her behind, however, than she'd leave behind her own leg. Shade had strength enough yet to see them to a new holt.


Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by viola on Oct 11, 2008, 3:01pm

The weaver smiled as Sunsong sent a bit of her joy with her words. A cub less happy in life would have become either cynical or shy with a mother like Fernflower. Lightgaze felt little guilt in thinking about her sister like that.
From the mental words, she could see where Sunsong and Shade resided, and made her way over. She found her soon, and leaned against a tree, unsure if the youngster would appreciate her nearness or not.

Lightgaze had stayed away from her sister, preferring her soul sister Redthorn's company who felt much more like a sister than Fernflower. The bond between the true sisters had always be somewhat rocky, and Lightgaze had sometimes wondered if Fernflower looked down on her little sister because she didn't posess the plant shaping magic that seemed to run in the family.

"Fernflower was harsh on you." It was more a statement than a question. She hadn't heard the conversation but overheard Stormfire's and Fernflower's, and she had easily figured out what had happened. She knew Fernflower.

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by oddsong on Oct 11, 2008, 5:28pm

The Elder had spoken and the Elder was wise, but Thornberry was not satisfied. He rarely was. Sureshot was as capable of mistakes as any elf, he could make bad choices, have the wrong reasons. And Stormfire was so young, and her spit and spirit were bubbling over. He heard it in her exchange with Fernflower. Turns and turns back, Thornberry himself would have spoken to the plantshaper this way, and that was not something in Stormfire's favor.

He chewed on his lower lip in thought, careful not to nick himself with his fangs. Bah, rotten habit! He glanced up. "She'll do well if she has elders and wiser tribemates at her side, to keep her on her toes, and keep her to the Way," he commented. With Windsoft along, and Mist as well, there was at least some assurance that the offshoot tribe could go in safety. On the other hand, Sunsong... Journey... High Ones, Silent! What were they going to do with that lot? And if Softling came as well... they could all grow yet into a fine pack, but they needed an alpha wolf, and if not that...

Some things were stronger than any one Wolfrider; the beating heart of the tribe.

"Maybe I should come," he said in a low voice. "Maybe I should."
Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 11, 2008, 6:03pm


Oct 11, 2008, 3:01pm, viola wrote:
"Fernflower was harsh on you." It was more a statement than a question. She hadn't heard the conversation but overheard Stormfire's and Fernflower's, and she had easily figured out what had happened. She knew Fernflower.



"What?" Sunsong blinked, for a moment, not placing the comment. She'd moved past it to other things. "Oh!" She smiled at Lightgaze reassuringly. "She worries for me, but I'll be fine. It would feel better if she'd simply ask me to stay, but it is the intent that matters, isn't it?"

And with that explanation to ease the prick of her mother's words, Sunsong's heart was easy. She was used to her mother's ways, after all.

"Will you be coming with us?" she asked, looking up from her examination of Shade's paw. The nails were worn, but the pads were still firm and uncracked. "With Redthorn and Longdusk both coming, it would seem strange for you not to be there, as well."

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 11, 2008, 6:14pm


Oct 11, 2008, 5:28pm, oddsong wrote:
"Maybe I should come," {Thornberry} said in a low voice. "Maybe I should."



Windsoft took both his hands in hers and looked into his eyes. Not challengingly, but searchingly. She was quiet for long moments, and those with them waited in silence for what she would say. In their little pocket, there was only the sigh of the wind through leaves and nightsong of crickets. The distant hoot of an owl ghosting through the forest.

"If you come, huntbrother," she finally said, "you and your skills would be welcome. It is the Way for the tribe to disperse when it grows too large, and each dispersal must have a leader. Stormfire has been raised for that purpose, and we have not."

She released one of his hands and laid her palm lightly against his cheek. "But if you come, Thornberry, you must honestly accept Stormfire as your chieftess and extend to her the respect and trust she deserves. She may fail us, yes. But if we do not give her the chance to succeed, she will certainly fail, and we will all suffer for it."


Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 11, 2008, 9:28pm

*Stormfire! I wish to come with you.*

Evenstar blushed at her awkward sending as she stepped up beside her new chieftess. "Surely you'll have a few torn leathers at this new holt of yours; would you mind taking a tanner and friend?"Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 11, 2008, 9:33pm


Oct 11, 2008, 9:28pm, peachbug wrote:
*Stormfire! I wish to come with you.*

Evenstar blushed at her awkward sending as she stepped up beside her new chieftess. "Surely you'll have a few torn leathers at this new holt of yours; would you mind taking a tanner and friend?"


Stormfire grinned and embraced Evenstar. "I hoped you'd come,"she confessed. "You're more than welcome, and I hope to find a holt that will give you all the time you need to keep us in beautiful new leathers!"

"That's our chieftess," Whirlwind remarked. "Always thinking of how good she--oops!--we look."

Tallspear threw her an annoyed look, and smiled at Evenstar. "I'm glad you're coming, Evenstar. We'd miss you otherwise."Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 11, 2008, 9:40pm

Evenstar smiled at her tribemates and felt a leap in her heart, confirming her choice. "I would have no one else to lead us; Sureshot is truly a wise chief, Stormfire." She sighed. "I was relieved to see your brothers keep their words so..." The tanner smiled. "Well, they stayed nearly brief enough for my tastes!"

With a glance to her golden haired sister, she locksent to Stormfire. **How many go?**Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 11, 2008, 11:10pm

Softling kept her torrent of feelings within as she kneeled in her father's den. She had attempted to convey the events to Snapbone and a few other curious pack members, but her own mixed thoughts left them whining amongst themselves.

How would the pack take such a split? It was not fair to the wolves...it wasn't they who approved this change. Her father had tried to reason with the she-cub, explaining that even packs split naturally when they are burdened, but she remained set in her frustration, much to his.

Her father Flintfire now rolled furs and tied them for her, silent since their last sending argument a few moments ago. She fumed and glanced down at the still bustling tribe below, spotting Stormfire, Whirlwind, Evenstar, and Tallspear deep in conversation. Was Tallspear going? She blushed and pushed her silly affection from her mind. Evenstar as well? She smiled to herself at her cub memories of frustrating the young stargazer in her work, purposely wearing out her leathers with mud and muck so quickly that she almost made the ever gentle Evenstar pop, almost. Softling glanced back at her father.

Flitnfire was hunched over something he cradled in his hands now, looking thoughtful. As Softling leaned in to look, she recognized it as her mother's hair ornament, green beads with white feathers, torn from her hair by herself in a fit of sickness. She recalled her father holding the ornament during the howl for her mother, and now...

He would be alone, she realized.

**Oh, father!** She sobbed and threw herself into Flintfire's arms. **I am not so terrible! I can learn, I can listen, I just-** "Softling, cubling, this is not punishment." He said aloud. "You make a fine elf, a better wolf, and a wonderful daughter. Do you not see?" He sighed and brushed her soft hair. "I am giving you the freedom you needed." Softling took the bundle he offered and sniffed. Flitnfire carefully extracted a bit of her thick hair from behind her left ear and tied the ornament into it.

'May the wider world give you what I could not.' Flintfire thought to himself sadly.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 11, 2008, 11:13pm

Beaming at the praise, Stormfire sent, *You, Mist, Wingfoot, Redthorn and Icemark--they offered to go!--their cub Silvercub, Softling, Whirlwind and Tallspear, Sunsong, I hope Lightgaze--*

"Stormfire!" Journey ran up at that moment, stopping just a hair from bumping into Tallspear. He arched an eyebrow at the older elf. "Are you going to stand there like a dead tree? Move."

Tallspear smirked, folding his arms across his chest. "Let me guess. They're making us take you."

"Although if you're coming, Windsoft must be, so it's not all bad," Whirlwind threw in.

Journey chuckled. "Laugh all you want," he informed the two young hunters. "I'm sure you'll still be laughing after I tell Sureshot what you've been up to those times you said you were going to Bluestone's Glen . . ."

Tallspear and Whirlwind exchanged quick looks and closed in on Journey. "All right, cub," Whirlwind muttered, lowering her head to his. "What do you want?"

"And make it quick," Tallspear warned.

Journey smiled sweetly. "Nothing, nothing . . . nothing more than a sack of blueberries from each of you."

"Not even dreamberries? You're easy," Whirlwind scoffed.

"I want them from the north side of the holt. They taste better." Journey's smile didn't waver, but Whirlwind suddenly cursed and Tallspear's scowl soured. "We won't be leaving for some time, so you should get started now." Journey headed off for the Father Tree, looking as innocent as a cubling with both hands buried in a bowl of honeycomb.

"I'm going to kill him," Whirlwind announced, shaking her head. "The north side of the holt?! It'll take us till afternoon to get there!"

"Do you really want Sureshot to know about the time we've spent stealing from the humans?" Tallspear snorted. "Journey's lucky I don't bury him up to the next in fire-ants."Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by viola on Oct 12, 2008, 5:52am

OOC: Hey Stormfire, don't forget Longdusk :-) And he posed a question a bit above about when they would leave Smile


Oct 11, 2008, 6:03pm, Anna wrote:

"Will you be coming with us?" she asked, looking up from her examination of Shade's paw. "With Redthorn and Longdusk both coming, it would seem strange for you not to be there, as well."


Lightgaze studied the young plantshaper for a moment. She knew the two of them weren't alike and that Lightgaze tended to think more about arguments than Sunsong, but to cast it aside like this? Maybe Lightgaze didn't know her niece as well as she thought she did.

She also realized that she didn't know whether Fernflower really cared for her daughter. Sunsong showed littler magical abilities than she did. Still, if Sunsong wasn't bothered.. "Intention is everything," she muttered, and looked up when Sunsong asked her wether she'd come to.

"No, I don't think so," she smiled apologetically. "It must seem that everything I live for departs with Stormfire, but... I'm not fit for travelling like that. I rather be at the holt than I'm going on a hunt... I prefer my weaving over providing food. And I've spent my life here, I have centuries of memories... I don't think I can leave those behind."Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by oddsong on Oct 12, 2008, 4:10pm

Thornberry allowed the touch briefly, before twitching away from Windsoft, nervous. Usually touch between tribemates was pleasant to him, calming, but the way the older huntress looked deeply at him was unnerving. He was not happy about being uncomfortable with Sureshot's decision, truly he wasn't. It was shaming, in a way, not right.

He gritted his teeth, looking over the group that was forming around the young chieftess. "I'm willing to trust and respect her," he grunted. "High Ones know, she's quick on her feet and quick with her tongue. She's Sureshot's own and no mistake. But I won't follow blindly. If she needs a nip at her heels, then I'll nip. And she will, sooner or later!" Even as he said that, he knew it to be too true to ignore. He had to come with them, never mind what he left behind or what might await them down the road.
Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 12, 2008, 4:23pm

Windsoft laughed and tapped Thornberry's nose lightly before backing off. "Chief's lead only when there are those who wish to follow, and no wise chief asks his tribe to follow blind," she said, and swept her eyes to Oakstaff and Mist.

Mist grinned at her. "Thornberry is right, as are you, huntress. Better, Stormfire knows it and expects it."

"Well, you two can be ready to nip and needle at her all you please, but I'm not counting kill before the hunt's begun," Oakstaff snorted, glowering at the other two males. "Wait for her to make a mistake before you start planning to gnaw on her over it."

Windsoft laughed again and held up her hands, standing between Oakstaff and Thornberry. "Enough! What need is there to bicker? Shouldn't we tell our chieftess instead that she has three more hunters in her tribe?"

"She already knows she has a healer," Mist said drily, "so I'll leave you three to it while I begin gathering my medicines."

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 12, 2008, 4:32pm


Oct 12, 2008, 5:52am, viola wrote:
"No, I don't think so," she smiled apologetically. "It must seem that everything I live for departs with Stormfire, but... I'm not fit for travelling like that. I rather be at the holt than I'm going on a hunt... I prefer my weaving over providing food. And I've spent my life here, I have centuries of memories... I don't think I can leave those behind."


Sunsong didn't understand that response. Not fit for traveling like that? Was her mother's sister ill? She hadn't noticed any signs of illness. She drew a deep breath, drawing Lightgaze's scent deep into her lungs, cataloging and identifying every nuance and shading. No, no illness in her scent.

"But, Lightgaze, your memories are your own, wherever you are," she said slowly, trying to understand. "But I guess I can understand being afraid to leave the familiar. I'm scared, too. I've never known anything but this holt." For a brief instant Sunsong's bright eyes darkened with fear of the unknown and unimagined. Then they brightened and her smile flashed into existence like the sun breaking free of a dark cloud. "But Stormfire says she needs me! Isn't that wonderful? She believes that I'll be useful to her and those who are following her! And I'll be able to try things I've never been able to do here before! We'll go places that are so soaked in magic that adding more is a risk - I'll really be able to see what I can do with my plantshaping, Lightgaze. I'll be able to shape a whole holt - even if it takes more seasons than I've already seen!"

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 12, 2008, 7:35pm

"Yes, plantshaper." Redthorn smiled as she approached the two. "This new holt will truly test those gifts of yours. I trust you won't wear yourself out making ringlets of flowers for all who accompany Stormfire." She looked down at her own calloused hands. "Nothing but a spear or a good kill could ever sprout from these old things!" The wolf Whitecrest butted the back of her knee affectionately. "And a good scratch of course." She rubbed the old wolf's mane vigorously. She had explained the situation the best she could, and her wolf-friend was surprisingly excited about the whole journey.

Redthorn looked back to Lightgaze and Sunsong. "Your mother giving you a hard time, cubling?" She nodded to the younger elf. "Fernflower has got her own plans, her own problems. Live your own life, she's got plenty of turns left to work herself out." She sighed and glanced at Lightgaze. "Still not going, sister?"Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by viola on Oct 13, 2008, 2:21am

Lightgaze smiled as Redthorn joined them, but her brow lowered when she asked her if she hadn't changed her mind. "You will do well, Sunsong," she turned back to the young girl, "I'm sure your magic will enhance when you are in a different surrounding and without the pressure of your mother. Stormfire has faith in you, and so have I."

"But there is no place for me," she quietly added. "I'm sure that if I wanted to go and if Stormfire wanted me to go, I would. But I can't. I'm an elder, I've lived my life here, at the holt... and mainly at the holt. I'm no hunter," she told Redthorn, "And I'm not as young as you to see it as an adventure. I've always been more a weaver and a tanner than a hunter. I stuck close. By leaving now.. it would be beyond scared. It would be terrifying."

Lightgaze turned her eyes to the ground. "I lived my life here, raised two cubs here. This place is soaked in memories... which is why some want to leave and start over. But it doesn't feel that way to me. My memories are connected with everything around me."Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 13, 2008, 11:40am

Sunsong embraced Lightgaze and rubbed her cheek against her aunts briefly. "Then here is where you should stay," she agreed easily.

She glanced between the two older females and decided that perhaps she should make herself scarce. Unfortunately she hadn't finished looking Shade over, and they had followed her. With a whimsical smile, she knelt down beside her wolf-friend and left it to Lightgaze and Redthorn to decide if they wanted privacy or if they wished to stay. Shade was content where she was and Sunsong wasn't going to ask the old wolf to move.

Running her fingers through the wolf's dark grey, almost black, fur, she kept her ears pricked for anything in the conversation that might include her. Her hands she kept busy running over Shade's legs and back, checking for soundness.

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by oddsong on Oct 13, 2008, 4:13pm

Scoffing, Thornberry already had the rebuttal to Oakstaff's words at the edge of his pointed tongue, and a good thing that Windsoft stepped between them. Her words had sealed it somehow - he was going. He glanced over his shoulder trying to find Shimmereye among the tribe, or Cleartrail, but both were not there, nor their families. He realized then that his former lovemates had understood before he did that he would find himself going. They did not want to be there to make things harder when the decision finally became solid in his mind.

He missed them then sharply, with a physical ache in the center of his chest. Had Smirk not trotted up next to him as he rose to his feet, the wolf's cold nose pressing against the small of his back as was the large male's habit, impatient and curious and ready to stop with the elf-talk and start on the hunt-path, he might've sat back down again with a sinking, helpless feeling.

Thornberry's instincts were keen, but he was no wolf. Smirk knew better than him that to sit idly was never good for anyone and anything. He threw an arm about the wolf's wide shoulders, confident, suddenly, in the company. His bond would be there for him despite everything he left behind. Perhaps, away from the greater pack, Smirk could win the place he always craved as alpha wolf...

"We should, let's," he told the others flatly. *Stormfire - chieftess?*
Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 13, 2008, 5:36pm

Stormfire moved away when she heard Thornberry send.

*Stormfire . . . chieftess?*

Well, that send was just full of confidence. Stormfire bit her lip and fought the urge to roll her eyes before turning to find Thornberry. He was with Oakroot, Wingfoot, and Windsoft, and the elders greeted her cheerfully.

"Hello, Thornberry," Stormfire said, walking up to the older hunter. She couldn't tell what he was about to say, but she had a feeling it was going to be good news. "Oakstaff, Wingfoot, Windsoft. I never thought to see all of you together. What's up?"

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 13, 2008, 7:50pm

**Meith, you are my soul as much as Icemark.** Redthorn locksent sadly. **I will be sad to leave without you. Silvercub...I wanted you to be a part of her growth longer. I understand why you choose to stay, but...** She shook her head and touched Lightgaze's shoulder. "If you ever wish to join us in our new holt, I will know it. I will come back if it is what you need."Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 13, 2008, 8:15pm


Oct 13, 2008, 5:36pm, kris wrote:
"Hello, Thornberry," Stormfire said, walking up to the older hunter. She couldn't tell what he was about to say, but she had a feeling it was going to be good news. "Oakstaff, Wingfoot, Windsoft. I never thought to see all of you together. What's up?"



"If your followers aren't too many yet," Windsoft began.

"We're going with you," Oakstaff interrupted, grinning at Stormfire. "Though old gloomy over there has a good question," he added, nodding at Longdusk, who's open send had reached them all. "When do we leave?"

Windsoft rolled her eyes, but smiled at Stormfire. "Yes, that's the gist of it, if Thornberry and Longdusk will forgive us for taking the questions out of their mouths and minds."


Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 13, 2008, 9:19pm

"Actually, that is a good question," Stormfire mused. She sat down on the grass and began adding up the Wolfriders who were coming with her. At last she looked up at Windsoft, Thornberry and Oakstaff, and said, "I'm not sure how long we'll need. Mostly because I don't know exactly how many are coming along."

Drumming her fingers against her knee, Stormfire considered the facts. It would be stupid to go off on a journey and not take food and water. They couldn't count on being able to bring down game every day--and they had the wolves to think of. So they'd need at least one more night to gather provisions and water. And they'd have to be prepared for the weather; New Green would pass and Hot Sun would be on them before they knew it.

She looked up at her newest tribemates, drawing a deep breath to steel herself against any disapproval or challenge. "I'm not sure," Stormfire replied. "We'll need food and water to last at least an eight of days. What other supplies do you think we'll need?"

And then she sent to Longdusk. **Come over, Longdusk! We're discussing it right now.**

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 13, 2008, 10:17pm

**Cubling!** Evenstar locksent to the young Journey, smiling across the glen at him with her hand on her hips. **Surely you'd like to take a break from your mischief and help a poor elf check her dyes and skins?**Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 13, 2008, 10:48pm

Journey beamed. **I certainly would, Evenstar.** He left Tallspear and Whirlwind to grumble behind him, and ran to the side of the tanner.

"Are you going too?" he asked, too excited to remember to be tactful.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 13, 2008, 11:31pm

"Of course." Evenstar smiled down at Journey. "I certainly can't leave you to make poor Tallspear and Whirlwind cry themselves to sleep every night, can I? At least not alone" She winked. "What mischief were you putting them up to, eh? They looked like they were going to give you a good bite on the nose!" She tapped Journey on the nose and started off towards her tanning site. Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by viola on Oct 14, 2008, 3:04am

Longdusk moved over and raised his chin when he heard the question. "Basic number of sleeping furs would be nice. I figure we also hunt during the trip so we can stock up furs afterwards, but for the first nights it might be useful. Maybe new leathers for travelling convenience." He liked his own, but if they were really going to go out in the open, nights were cold. "Apart from fresh meat, we need to dry meat, as well... we never know what we encounter. Enough weapons, make sure everyone's weapons are being checked..." He shrugged, and shot a wry smile to Stormfire. "I guess we have a lot to prepare," he spoke.

~*~*~*~

**I know,** Lightgaze replied, while she tried to push back her tears. **I will always know if you're okay, and if you've settled... who knows. I hope you find the peace you are so longing for.** She pulled Redthorn in a hug. **Bree, take care of my son. He is going to need you.**

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 14, 2008, 10:03pm

Redthorn nodded in Lightgaze's embrace. **He is my cubling as well.** She reminded with a smile, glancing at Longdusk sidelong, as he mingled among Stormfire's new followers. ** I will keep him well.**Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by viola on Oct 15, 2008, 12:16pm

With a trembling smile, Lightgaze pulled back and followed her gaze. **Thank you. He can take care of himself... but it's good to know someone's watching his back.** When Longdusk looked up, she turned her gaze away. "I'm sorry, I... I want to be alone for a bit. I'll get myself together and will join you later on, all right?" Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by peachbug on Oct 15, 2008, 6:24pm

**Yes, I should go speak with Longdusk about the journey.** Redthorn agreed. She gave Lightgaze one last squeeze and turned towards Longdusk and the growing party.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 16, 2008, 10:44pm


Oct 14, 2008, 3:04am, viola wrote:
Longdusk moved over and raised his chin when he heard the question. "Basic number of sleeping furs would be nice. I figure we also hunt during the trip so we can stock up furs afterwards, but for the first nights it might be useful. Maybe new leathers for travelling convenience." He liked his own, but if they were really going to go out in the open, nights were cold. "Apart from fresh meat, we need to dry meat, as well... we never know what we encounter. Enough weapons, make sure everyone's weapons are being checked..." He shrugged, and shot a wry smile to Stormfire. "I guess we have a lot to prepare," he spoke.




Since her mother's sister and Redthorn were so ably ignoring her, Sunsong took it as a compliment for her discretion and finished checking Shade over. The old wolf licked her cheek as she finished and Sunsong ruffled the plush fur between the wolf's ears. Healthy and strong for a wolf of her age; she should handle the journey well enough. Even so, Sunsong made a mental note to walk as much as she could to spare Shade the burden of her weight.

Quietly leaving Lightgaze and Redthorn to their silent communication, Sunsong slipped back to the holt-glen. Stormfire was now standing with Thornberry, Longdusk, Softwind, and several others. She heard Longdusk's comments as she approached them, and didn't try to stop her laugh as she tucked up against Oakstaff, pulling the hunter's arm around her shoulders as she did so.

"And how will we carry it all?" she asked curiously. "It's warm enough now we don't need more than a single sleeping fur each - less if we den together," she added, grinning her invitation at Longdusk. "Food here is scarce enough, else the tribe wouldn't be splitting. Dare we take any, when it should be easier for us to hunt fresh?"

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by kris on Oct 16, 2008, 11:22pm


Quote:
"And how will we carry it all?" she asked curiously. "It's warm enough now we don't need more than a single sleeping fur each - less if we den together," she added, grinning her invitation at Longdusk. "Food here is scarce enough, else the tribe wouldn't be splitting. Dare we take any, when it should be easier for us to hunt fresh?"


Stormfire eyed her friend sidelong. "You frighten me when you're practical," she pointed out. Sunsong rewarded her with a teasing wink, and Stormfire sighed. "She's right. We can probably do with one fur apiece--not to mention that it is getting warmer." She leaned against the tree and thought for a moment. "How good do you think the hunting will be for us once we're away from the holt?" she asked Oakstaff.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 17, 2008, 12:07am

Oakstaff traded considering looks with Windsoft, then shrugged. "We've been hunting a day or two's ride out from here for the last several seasons, Stormfire. Initially our hunting will be about the same as it is now."

"Further out from that, we can't predict," Windsoft continued thoughtfully. "As long as we're in the forest, we should get by. We won't be uncomfortably full, but we won't be starving, either. After that, it just depends on where you lead us. If we stay with the river, we'll always be able to fish. We're well into the season of new greens, so we have many eights of days before we have to worry about preparing for white-cold."

Again Oakstaff and Windsoft traded looks, then turned back to Stormfire. "We may have days where we go hungry, chieftess, but I don't think hunting will be a problem, especially if, as Windsoft said, we stay close to the river. That'll also give us a ready source of water," he finished.

"And I can bring seeds," Sunsong volunteered. "They're light and don't take up much room. If we run short on meat, I can grow us something to tide us over." She laughed at Oakstaff's shudder. "You don't have to like it, hunter, but plantfood is better than nothing when your belly is empty."

Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by viola on Oct 17, 2008, 10:52am

Longdusk snorted, and defended his vision, ignoring Sunsong's implication of them sharing a den. "I wouldn't count on the usage of denning. High Ones know where we end up. There might not even be a cave nearby and we'd have to sleep in the open. Without any protection. One sleeping fur for everyone isn't much to ask and not hard to take along. And I'm not saying we should stock up food like squirrels. Just to get going on the first day. If you stick too long to this area, because we'd need time for hunts, we'd burden the area even more because we stay longer around."

He folded his arms, feeling uncomfortable around the seemingly tight group of Stormfire, Oakstaff, Windsoft and Stormfire. The four of them made him feel like an outsider, and he guarded himself against those feelings, telling himself that he had no reason to apart from their friendship. Relieved that Redthorn joined the bunch, he reminded himself to ask his mother for new leathers, if she could finish them in time.

~*~*~*~

Watching both Redthorn and Sunsong depart, Lightgaze breathed deeply. She hoped she was right in what she'd been telling the two of them. Her stomach turned around if she only thought about the departure of Stormfire's group. She slowly retreated to her den to clean it up. She'd been busy painting a hide for Longdusk when they had been called to council, but she didn't really feel like working right now.Re: Council in the holt-glen
Post by Anna on Oct 17, 2008, 11:45am

(Hey, now, if Longdusk is feeling excluded, it's not for lack of trying on Sunsong's part! Very Happy )

Sunsong sighed quietly. She didn't know why Longdusk kept rejecting her friendship, but he did. Now he rejected her contributions, too? It saddened her.

Not that she'd stop trying, of course. Hunters always discounted the potential of plants for food, and eventually she'd get him to smile. But it did sting, sometimes, to be rejected so consistently. She snuggled closer to Oakstaff. He never seemed to mind her company, whether in play or in joining.

"He is right," Windsoft agreed. "We'll not want to linger too long in this area, nor hunt. But two or three days ride should be enough to clear us from Sureshot's hunting grounds. Perhaps there's enough of the winter stores left to see us that far?" This question was directed at Icemark, who had quietly approached them when he saw his lifemate return.

Icemark shrugged. "There's a little dried meat left, but not much. However, if we're leaving then I don't see why we can't take it with us. With less mouths to feed here, what hunting there is will be enough to keep Sureshot's tribe well-fed. We could take the dried fruits and vegetables, and the nuts, as well. Fernflower is staying and if they run low she can force-grow them fresh."

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