'Souls RPG

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Announcement: Leadership change and Hunt Fest

Date: Mar 15, 2014.
Setting: Grand Lake
Time: Noon
Info: All pack members are assumed to be in attendance. Posting is not mandatory, which means if you do not post, your character is assumed to be quietly watching in the audience (if they have an IC reason to be absent, assume they were told the news upon their return). Reaction posts are of course welcome! :) Hunt Fest threads can begin after March 15th, 12:01 midnight EST - they should ICly take place after this meeting for continuity. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to PM them to the Pack Account!

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Colibri drew a deep breath, and counted as she held it to steady her jangling nerves. Sometimes the little tricks worked, but right now her anxiety clenched in her stomach and chest, and did not release as she howled a low call into the chilled air. She had called gatherings before, even recently, but the fact that this would be her last was somehow worse than her first. Her wolf song hung suspended for a brief moment, then the wind scattered it and left her waiting in silence by the Grand Lake.


She could not postpone this. Grace’s recent reappearance hadn’t helped her nerves any, although it had at least reminded her of her priorities – she wanted more time with her mate, her family. Being exhausted and ill all the time did no one any good; it was time to choose what was most important for her, and she prayed that her packmates would understand her selfishness. It’s not the same as Crimson Dreams, she assured herself. She wasn’t running away any more, and neither was Florina — one of the few traits that mother and daughter shared.


Florina had returned several days after the confrontation, and said little other than she had bid New Dawn farewell. Colibri knew better than to ask about it, so instead she spent the week showing her daughter around and familiarizing her with the territory she had grown up in. They had expanded last year, after all, and there were new landmarks to learn about and goings-on to share.

Coli now found herself strangely missing the somber outings. Even though they scarcely spoke beyond the necessary, and had the dark cloud of impending responsibility looming over them, it was the first chance at one-on-one time with her long-absent daughter. She wished Florina would move into Jordheim so they could continue to get to know each other as adults, but her wolfdog daughter seemed resolute to stay elsewhere, so pressing the issue was pointless. Some small progress at mending their relationship would be enough for now.

Florina stood beside her now, stone-faced with arms crossed, towering over her slight mother. Miskunn stood solemnly to the right of her, hands vanished in the deep sleeves of her robe. Colibri felt small between the powerful women with their inscrutable silver eyes, and knew she no longer belonged in front of the growing crowd, but rather as a part of it. She only regretted that she hadn’t found Saul that morning – the knock on his door had not been answered, and she was left to assume he was searching for his sunshine child. The Virding’s support would make the transition go more smoothly, though there would be some bumps in the road regardless. She hoped her friend would not be too upset with her. Her blue eyes closed for a brief moment, readying herself, and then she stepped forward to address the pack.

“Th… Thank you all for coming. I won’t keep you long,” her small voice called out, and the murmurs faded. She had the sinking feeling that most of the buzz had to do with Florina’s imposing presence, and she tried to stand straighter to alleviate the doubts in their stares. They needed to have faith. This was not the same hot-tempered child they remembered.

“I… I am proud to have helped you all in what ways I could, over these seasons… but I feel I have done all I can, in… in my condition. I am no longer your Sannindi. I will step down to the Eljun tier, where I hope to be of better use.” Colibri clasped her hands and bowed her head, as gratitude and relief washed over her. She would never give up this pack – her one true home, and she was glad to have contributed something to its continued future. Her burden was lifting, and with it, confidence crept into her halting tone.

“I have chosen to pass my title and duties… to my daughter Florina. I… know that many of you may not know her well, or have reason not to trust her. All I ask is that you give her the same chance you gave me. She is more deserving of it than I ever was.”




florina incominggg :) | [wc — 700+ ] template by hilli
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good luck hunters!! [600+]




The chill wind came strong from the lake surface, whipping at the curls of her white mane. She herself stood immobile, carved in pale stone beside the Godja who once baptized her with this lake’s water, and the wolf who birthed her. It was a surreal scene to her eyes – some of the faces gathered were familiar, but seasons older than she remembered them, and it was jarring to see a Frithr pendant around every throat when she had gone for so long being the only one. She looked for her sisters, and wondered if Farina was still so willing to offer her a place to sleep, now that she had returned only to uproot their subleader.

Colibri’s words were still warmer than Florina expected, and she nodded in curt acknowledgment, wanting to thank her but knowing her actions would speak loudest. She would shoulder the burden because she could do what needed to be done, and Colibri could not. The tension here was heavy, nothing like the shared joy of the Ausa Vatni, she noted as she impassively studied the expressions of those listening to her mother’s resignation. This was how Florina would redeem her tarnished name – by giving her life in the protection of those who might never accept her. She stepped forward as the now-Eljun deferred to her, and let her gaze sweep over those assembled in the cold.

Vináttans, she barked.

Florina knew instinctively that she had to start off strong. She expected dissent, but she would give them no reasons to whisper their doubts behind her back. She was the first generation born and bred on Vináttan soil, and she was fit and capable of leading. Her time in New Dawn taught her dominance. She would earn their respect once they saw just how much the post suited her in comparison to her frail mother. She had given up much, but this was the way it had to be. The strong replaced the weak; the young replaced the old.

Her alto voice rang loud, arms crossed over her broad chest. Any of you have a problem with me, say it to my face. Fight me for my rank if you can do better. She was utterly serious. An electric current raced through her at the prospect. She would never allow a weakness of hers to hold them back from greatness. She would accept any challenge.

The wolfdog continued brusquely, Packmates have been stolen from us. Some are still missing. Not on my watch. Double the patrols, and never travel alone. She would patrol harder than anyone because she belonged in the fray. She was built for solid action, not flowery speeches. She would put her true skills to use.

Miskunn’s melodic voice then rang out from behind Florina, who waited for the priestess to say her piece. There is more for us to do. Winter is Skadi’s season, and we shall honor her before Thor drives back the frost and brings us spring. We will hunt from this full moon to the next, and then we will feast on the bounty for Ostara.

Florina jerked her head in compliance. They would celebrate their strength as the largest pack in the north, and take what was theirs. I will hunt with you, and I will ask the wolves of New Dawn to hunt with you. This season's bounty will be the greatest yet.

She had said all that needed to be said, but there was one more caveat. The wolfdog’s teeth flashed as her voice lowered to a growl. And if you find the trail of Sólieri or the one who took her, don't follow alone. Come to me.



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See galleries for image credits.

Grace's appearance had soured her mood and made her more guarded and moody than before. She disliked the sensation of losing control, but some days she made to avoid her pack mates, knowing that her mask was not as well-constructed as it used to be. Her family especially was privy to her moods. Wilson had stopped giving her advice and merely hung around her in silence, while Jérôme submissively stayed out of her way. Dreyma was a little unnerved by her mother's sudden protective nature, but she likely blamed her ferocity on her sister's departure, as Shi had kept Grace a secret from her, or tried, at least.


Her preoccupation meant that she'd missed some of the signs. Florina's scent was too obvious to ignore, but she hadn't gotten a chance to speak with the returning Soul. And, if there were other signs, she didn't see them or put them together, not until the summons rang out and Shiloh appeared, grasping her staff and smoothing down her dress, blue eyes seeking out the trio of females before the lake.


Colibri seemed so weak, so fragile, compared to her looming daughter. And Shiloh nearly expected the words before they came, as realization dawned on her that the Sannindi had not recovered from the birth and everything else. It was nothing to see her so small before Grace, or with her young puppies—but here, calling a meeting, Shiloh realized she could not ignore it. She'd been polite, she'd kept silent, and she'd trusted Colibri's wisdom even if she was not the warrior-leader that other packs had. She said she would step down, and Shiloh pressed her ears against her hair, offering a silent look of sympathy and acceptance to the new Eljun. She genuinely thought that she would be happier there.


But then Florina was named as her mother's successor, and Shiloh glanced at the one she remembered as a youth, a puppy riding in a cart. She considered this—even briefly considered whether she would do better there, or one of her brothers or cousins—but she knew that the helm was not her place. While she had ambitions to join Palaydrian in the council, she knew that she was better suited for support and advice rather than actual decisions. It was what had kept her content with Colibri's leadership, knowing that she remained as foundation even if Coli or Saul floundered. Perhaps Vinátta needed stronger, younger blood. The founders of the pack would only grow older.


And then Flori's voice rang out, a sharp bark, and Shiloh briefly tensed. She heard the words, mention of their pack mates, and a growl rumbled through her—one of agreement, her blue eyes fierce. She was Araedi, and while she did not look the part, that spirit burned in her. She was mother, she-wolf, guardian. And Florina seemed to understand the priority. Vinátta was not weak, was too deeply rooted and numerous to be weak, but peaceful times had softened it. This Shiloh understood; she'd grown soft, too, in her illness. She hadn't been able to protect those stolen from them.


I want to speak with you after, Sannindi, Shlioh called, glancing at Florina. She knew now that she accepted her, accepted this new path, but she did not want to let the girl go without her input. Florina was strong, but she was also young, and she was also gone from Vinátta many seasons. Shiloh needed to very quickly cement her place as an advisor, if she could. It was ambition, again, ambition to be the support, the counselor. She wanted to make sure the child had a guide, wanted to contribute to Vinátta's leadership in this way.


She fell silent after this, ears pricking with interest at mention of a hunt with New Dawn. As diplomat, she smiled, looking forward to strengthening their allegiance with the feral wolves, especially after the scar the barbaric Sangi'lak had left on the north. All could be mended, and such a primal instinct would help drive them together. They would hunt as one family, for a while, and be the stronger for it.


Her smile faded when Sólieri was mentioned, but Shiloh merely frowned and gripped her staff tighter. She would do no such thing, but she saw no reason in defying the order now. If she found her niece, she would take her, and there would be no need to have Florina come.



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Anu was surprised to hear the call of the Vináttan leader. But she hurried along the path, passing her children’s homes and joining them as they traveled to the Grand Lake. The meeting place was quite a familiar one.


She wondered if they had found the lost Stormbringer girl, and Anu prayed to the gods for good news. Let the sweet child be found, and in one piece. Yet when she came to the milling of packmates before their leaders, Anu found a stranger standing beside the common sight of the Haki woman.


Andi strode up next to her, the presence of the taller merle female calming her worries slightly. The look on her face just as curious, and just as unsure as her own. Oak touched her shoulder, standing behind her. Augustine beside him.


She looked but out to the ones that called for them. Colibri spoke, looking even less confident then she normally did. Cracked voice spoke, and it was surprising news. But it was good news.


Andira wore a scowl, and Anu could almost hear her teeth grinding beneath dark lips. The silver woman placed a hand on her wrist. Calming the anger that was felt. They all knew Florina, in some way. But it was the act of leaving that stuck in their minds. The mother figured her daughter questioned the young woman’s abilities, her loyalty and her love for Vináttan. Knowledge of right and wrong.


They would all wonder such things. But Anu assured her pale haired daughter with a soft look that this would be right. Even if she would not admit it, Anu had never believed that Colibri was fit for leadership. She knew too much, saw the weakness that plauged her, moments of confidence so rare… they were faded moth eaten memories. Fantasies.


Time would tell if the child of the Haki woman could take the weight of leadership, bear it well and with grace. Only time could show them the truth. But in that moment she could not disagree. Her voice was hard, holding a bite that ran through Anu and hit her core. The difference of mother and daughter was not just seen but heard. And Anu could not disagree.




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Niernan Stormbringer
Why can't the moon stay full forever? Right now she's got nothing on her mind.




Her scent had been unavoidable, it was all over the borders, so he knew that she was here but it was still a shock to see Colibri's pale daughter stood before the pack. The girl that hated him. He was getting kind of tired of hate, distrust and malice aimed his way, his days were plagued with thoughts of his cousins missing daughter, the mislike that Colibri's flowers aimed at him like an arrow, and now Grace's reappearance and the fear and anger that sparked. He feared that she was trying to take his children, he could believe it of her, she was cruel that way and though he was sure of his kids sensibilities he knew that they had both spoken to her. He couldn't stop the fear from settling in his heart. He had started to have nightmares and often awoke to headaches that carried over for hours into the day. Alongside all of his own deep seated fears and stresses was the worry for his mate; she had never truly recovered from the difficult birth of their children and she had remained weak. He had tried to help her; he had hunted for her, urged her to take walks and gentle exercise, but nothing seemed to have worked. He saw the life draining out of her every day and it terrified him. He couldn't lose her, just like he couldn't lose his twins; he would be unmade if that were to happen.

So now, standing to the side of the crowd, he stared at his mate and her daughter. His heart lurched uncomfortably in his chest when he looked at Florina. He wasn't even sure why she hated him. Yes he had witnessed her shame, but he had tried to help her, he had been nothing but kind to her until she snapped at him and he had snapped back. That was no basis for the resentment she seemed to bear him. His eyes widened in surprise as Coli stepped down and Florina was revealed as their new leader. He fixed his eyes on his mate, he saw the relief in her, she was glad to step down. He could see the benefits of this, but he could also see some of the problems Florina could encounter. By stepping down Coli was giving herself the opportunity to recover, she could spend more time with him and their family, and for that he was grateful, he could stop worrying about her so much, not that he would of course. Though he could see how this may displease some in the pack; Florina was young and unknown, she had run away after attacking her own mother and while both Colibri and Niernan had forgiven her long ago others may not see her as innocent. Also she had spent a long time in New Dawn, while they were not at odds with the feral pack they were not allied either, and many in Vinátta may remember the friendship that New Dawn had shared with Sangi'lak. Flori was strong, that was true, much stronger than her fragile mother, and her strength would be good for the Viking pack, if she could make herself trusted and liked. Without the support of the pack Florina would fail, and for Flori to gain the trust she might have to thaw some of her ice princess facade.

Florina's words about patrols made him bristle for a moment; what did she think they had been doing? Did she think they had been idle, sitting on their damned thumbs just waiting for Sóli to wander back home? Why was he so Gods damned tired all the time if he was patrolling regularly, why were his paws worn down and ragged? It was in that moment that he knew she still needed to learn about the pack, she had been away and she was not aware of what was going on. He flicked his ears back and looked away from the three females stood before the pack, looking for his brother or Palaydrian, wanting to see what they felt about Florina's announcement. He was a little shocked and jumped visibly when Shiloh's voice rose from the crowd, and just like that the title of Sannindi was passed from mother to daughter. He trained his gaze back onto Colibri, wanting nothing more than to take her into his arms now. He sighed, tired and feeling much older than his three years, not paying much attention to the rest of the words that came from Florina and Miskunn. He heard the announcement of the celebration of Skadi, a brief surge of excitement rising in his chest, though it faded quickly as he thought of his new doubled patrols. Perhaps Teagan, his hunter extraordinaire, would participate. That would be nice. And then Florina's final words hit his ears and he stood ramrod straight. It was in that moment that he became sure; he and Florina would clash. If she expected him to come running to her with news of Sóli rather than immediately pursue it she was sorely mistaken. He had already spent the last few weeks out there, looking for his niece, if he found evidence of her out there he was not running back home first; he was hunting her down and bringing her home. He suspected that disobeying his new Sannindi's orders would not go down well, but in that moment he didn't care.



((wc: 904. ooc: Ramble all over the place. Nier has mixed views...))


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As head of the Vald, Palaydrian felt it was directly her duty to contribute just as much and more with the pack in finding the Virding’s missing daughter. It was a personal blow to have yet another of their own taken from them right under their noses. The Vald were capable and strong, their patrol doubled with the Araedi should’ve turned up something, but the trail had gone cold. Even after the siamese woman had formed and sent out numerous search and rescue parties, they’d all had come back empty pawed. The girl’s scent had seemed to simply vanish into the surrounding territories, but Palaydrian wasn’t ready to allow any depressing thoughts to sink in. She continued scouting, pushing further into unclaimed lands and turning over every leaf and snow covered rock for clues. Though her efforts seemed to be in vain, the days from her last appearance now stretching farther away, she couldn’t stop and wouldn’t, until Saul’s golden child was returned to them.


Another morning spent outside their lands had the mother of four returning to Vinatta with a burdened heart. She sent Zalia home, deciding she’d go about the usual business now, border patrol that would keep her from the Jordheim until the evening, but she couldn’t brave the hopeful faces of Ivy and Leaf when she had no news to give. Her thoughts drifted to Saul. She was starting to see less of him these days, his own efforts on the brink of madness now, but who could blame him? They’d found and brought back Runi, but Soli was still out there somewhere. He couldn’t rest until she was safe, a choking sadness Drin tried to ignore, she needed to be strong for her friends and family, and a shoulder for the Virding if he needed it.


A wavering sound caught on the breeze and pulled the Aor Vald from troubling thoughts, Colibri. Curious, the viking woman diverted from her path and started making her way towards the lake. It had taken her longer than expected, what with the slush and snow melt dampening her usual path, so she wasn’t the first to arrive, but quickly picked her way through the throng of those gathered saying “hello’s” and offering hugs to her friends and family until she found an unoccupied spot near the front. Dagr licked at her legs, Ivy and Leaf escorting the youngster to his mother’s side. With a soft chuckle, the viking mother dipped down to scoop the growing child up in her arms, ears quirking forward when the timid Sannindi began to speak, a questioning wrinkle of the brow was given when her mismatched eyes focused on the tall female at Colibri’s side.


This had to be a dream. Time seemed to slow to a stop, a buzzing drone filling her ears after Colibri dropped a bomb on the entire pack. She could hardly focus her blurred vision on the white haired female, now named their new sub leader, as her body went through mechanical motions of placing Dagr safely on the ground next to his fox brother and sister. She straightened back up, realizing now who the stranger really was, the one who’d injured her own mother before running away to New Dawn, the hot headed sister of Farina and Fiora. She was aggressively addressing Palaydrian’s pack sisters and brothers as if she had the right to and a rage of which she’d never experienced began to slowly wash over her. Orders of increased patrol and the search for Solieri completely rubbing her the wrong way. Did she think they were all sitting around with thumbs up their rears? Had they not already been trying their best to recover her? She could no longer remain silent and nobody else seemed to want to step up.


Who are you?! The incredulous bark left her lips, hands now fisted at her sides as her glare flicked between Colibri and the ex Dawner. The tall female took a step forward out of the crowd, defining herself as passion gripped her. Why would anyone fight you for a title you do not deserve? We don’t know you. How can I put any trust in you to protect my family and my friends when you don’t even know our names!? You may have been born here Florina Soul, but you left us long ago, the Aor Vald’s teeth were set on edge. How could she simply come back and resume a position of leadership when she knew none of them and hadn’t proven herself to the rest of the pack?


She may be your daughter, eyes now turned to Colibri, but that does not make her entitled to the role of our Sannindi, the stalwart female’s head was now shaking side to side, anger and disappointment etched in her forehead. I cannot support this decision and will not be led by a fledgling stranger. Colibri, her voice softened now, a sadness touching her tone, I respect your choice to step down. It speaks volumes of your strength, but this is not the answer. Whether she was alone in her thoughts or not, Palaydrian could not remain a bystander, she had put her heart and soul into Vinatta and would protect it with her life. She had no doubt that Florina meant well, but until she proved herself and warranted a reason for Drin’s respect, she’d remain the one who’d run away.


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So Florina was back, then. Just like that.


Heartstrings pulled in varying directions, Farina sat among them with a passive compliance about her features, gold fingertips idly turning in place the Frithr hanging at her collarbone as single proof of discomfort and anxiety. Farina and Fiora would be in the middle of this fiasco by assocation though the former did not know the exact circumstances that led to such point. When had Florina overcome her selfishness and agreed to return? When had Colibri finally come to realize she was stretching herself thin and ill?


Where had Farina been for these advances?


Certainly the wolfdog could breathe easier seeing Florina in their company once more, but Sannidi? Farina had only ever known Colibri to possess the title, and now her little sister seized it without notice, without reason but to force action. She spoke something about Sólieri that Farina was, once again, left in the dark about despite her recent attainment of Araedi, and between her younger sister's usurpation and her own cluelessness the black behemoth was nothing less than humiliated.


When they were dismissed, Farina would say nothing. A glance at Florina confirmed a long ago claim to make space for fellow residency, but the vin Haki did not linger. She needed to be alone.

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Ascher frowned, setting down his whittling knife as his chocolate-backed ears reached for the sound on the breeze. His immediate thoughts were of Solieri – that she was back, or, on the other end of the scale, that some unfortunate soul had mirrored her fate. At every call, now, he thought of Soli, and he felt guilty. His own children were safe and well, always in the arms of family – and Ascher's family had extended to include not just Stormbringers in name, but others – chiefly Drin and Aspen, one a good friend and one something beyond a friend - as well.

It was the grey-pelted she-wolf with the striking silver-white face whom Ascher called upon, rushing to her door with Bel and Orvar following closely. The pups were, as always, excited to see Aspen. Ascher greeted her with a soft word or two and a nudge to the cheek before they set off towards the Village Hall to investigate the reason behind the call.

Ascher smelt it immediately – an aroma which different from the salt and pine of Vinatta, though there were recognisable notes in it. Directing his gaze to the top of the room where the leadership stood, clear blue eyes widened to moons as he took in their familiar leadership – and one other. Calmly, he assessed their stances, but his hand searched for Aspen's without realising it. Bel and Orvar had seen Florina, as well, and while Bel seemed fascinated by her appearance, Orvar set himself into a crouch, ears folded in confusion.

Ascher, too, was confused – and then Colibri began to speak, and it dawned on him what was happening. Her final words, asking for them all to give Florina a chance, had the Eljun on his way to nodding – until the silver-eyed young woman stepped up and proclaimed that she would fight anyone who thought they could carry the rank better.

Ascher's eyes flashed to Drin. Colibri's plea had been reasonable, but he genuinely had no idea if Florina Soul was prepared to reason – her initial impression, while it would be memorable, wasn't wholly reassuring. The Eljun Rikr licked his lips, his nerves showing through as Orvar looked up at him for reassurance. How could he reassure his son? He had no idea about Florina as a wolf or as a leader, and could only wonder if she was as strong mentally as her persona presented. She was young. She could crush Ascher like a bug. But she was overzealous, aggressive almost in her address to the pack. Ascher listened, as he always did, and he waited, as he always would, for someone with more courage to speak.

Drin's words came with a passion and conviction which Ascher hadn't seen in her since his disagreement with Bran over Sequoia. Ascher's eyes rose from the boy at his feet to the Vald woman as he absorbed her spirited words. Glancing first to Aspen, he took a step closer to Palaydrian, wide-eyed. She had not put the words as calmly as Ascher would have tried to, but before he could even work out if he agreed with them the thought came to him: why wasn't it Drin up there? She was trusted, respected, leader of her path and a long-standing, contributing member of Vinatta. She had been here for all of it; she had suffered with them, had seen their faces.

Fountain blue eyes scanned the room, confused, for a moment, before Asch worked up the courage to speak from behind Drin's shoulder. “I, too, respect your choice to step down, Colibri.” He bowed his head, his brows knitting in thought. “But I cannot respect the idea of offering a fight to packmates before a discussion. Sannindi stands for trust and respect from the pack – yet it appears we aren't trusted to do our very best in finding my niece. It is a large pack, and no doubt many will disagree, but we already have at least one strong leader among our ranks.” Pointedly, his gaze moved to Drin before he took a step back, looking down at his son. Ascher knew change was difficult, knew that it was inevitable, too, but it didn't make it any easier – nor did it make what was happening any more logical, to him.

[721]
Arriving with Ascher, Aspen could only wonder what had happened now that they needed to tell them. She had been working on an arrowhead when Ascher arrived and she went along with him and his children, glad that she was already in Optime so she would be able to at least see some of what was going on, despite her small stature.

The female standing next to Colibri was wholly unfamiliar to her, and the necklace she wore only increased the confusion. A returning member, perhaps? Although like new joiners, Aspen didn't think they were ever formally announced to the pack. There was no need. Aspen glanced up at Ascher, about to ask if he knew what was going on, and then Colibri spoke. At first, her words were reasonable; she looked ill and stepping down sounded like a good idea. Aspen had always wondered how she managed the stress of being a leader because, like herself, Colibri had seemed so timid, although Aspen did not know her well.

However, then everything stopped making sense as their new Sannindi was announced, offered a fight, and then started barking orders. Aspen jolted as her ears flattened against her skull and her posture became hunched. How was this possible? How was someone who was not a current member of the pack suddenly a leader? If Aspen didn't know her, she was willing to bet that those who joined since her own arrival didn't know her, either. How would she be a responsible leader to canines she didn't even know?

Aspen squeezed Ascher's hand and looked up at him, trying to see if he was as confused as she was. Why would Saul agree to this? Why were they doubling patrols when, as far as Aspen knew, the other kidnapping victims had also been snatched while outside the pack like she had been? These questions and more swirled in her mind until Drin spoke up, and Aspen found herself drawn to the woman's strength. Aspen moved a step towards Drin, and then squeezed Ascher's hand again, offering him what little confidence she felt.

It wasn't much. Having familiarity ripped from her was never something she dealt well with. And now, was there going to be a fight? Aspen's eyes went to Ascher's pups and she hoped not. She felt no safer than she had before, and in fact, now she was scared. She took a breath and realized she was shaking. Not badly, but enough. Swallowing hard, Aspen knew there was no way she would be able to say anything. Between Ascher and Drin, though, she thought maybe she would not have to.
The caramel pelted male didn’t take long to get back from the borders when the call came, but there were already wolves gathered there when he arrived. His family, his friends, his pack, and another. He didn’t know Florina well, but could recognise her by sight, and knew she’d come back. Curiosity sparked in his chocolate eyes, or it did until he saw Nier. It seemed the so rarely had a chance to speak these days, and while he was happy with the life they’d built here, he sometimes missed the days when it was just the two of them. Still, though they might spend less time together, Bran was no lest adept at sensing his brother’s moods, and even had he been, it was clear that Nier was tired, and it seemed to go beyond mere physical fatigue. With confident and easy strides, he moved over to his brother and held him in a one armed hug, draping the arm across the charcoal pelted male’s shoulders.

”Hello stranger.”

He said softly, his lips pulled up in a grin, before the gathering hushed and proceedings began. It didn’t take long to find out what this meeting had been about. Colibri did look weak, and Bran gave his brother a sidelong glance, but said nothing as the white maned female began to speak. It had all happened so quickly, and with such little ceremony, and they had a new Sannindi, but perhaps not for that long. The pack’s reactions were mixed. Drin was fairly vocal, the thought of what he’d said to her and quickly brushed off as a joke coming to him. He nodded as she spoke, and then Asch, his quiet cousin who seemed to have found happiness chirped up, it was so strange that he would, but there you go.

It all struck Bran as a little ridiculous and he couldn’t help a snort of laughter escape him. Florina seemed like the brand new pup, tail raised and hackles up, ready to take on the role and anyone who cared to challenge her. The image of a four legged, fluffy tailed and white maned cub made him chuckle.

”Drin’s right darlin’. Colibri’s respected, and she earned that rank, any rank is earned not bestowed like some crown from the songs, that’s just stupid.”

He chuckled softly again, his arm still around his dark pelted brother.

”And why does anyone need t’ challenge yu? I don’t recognise yu as Sannindi. As for a hunt with new dawn, it better not be on our lands without Saul’s say so.”

Florina may have been born here, but the hierarchy in new dawn and vinatta seemed to work a bit differently, perhaps because Vinatta had greater traits from being Lupreci. She might announce her rank, but she had either grossly miscalculated her audience, or she was trying the same tactics that might work in new dawn.
Carrie's head swiveled on her shoulder's and she shrugged along the conversation having mixed emotions, thinking that Florina had no right to challenge such a wolf as Colibri. She had arrived alongside her mothers', surprised to hear the howl, but figured she might as well attend.

Coli had been there for the young wolfess, relaxing her in her time of horror, or confusion, and protecting them. Sure, Soli was missing, but they would find her. They had too. Everyone filed in, and she pushed closer to her mother and her sibling, Andi, wanting to be near her mothers' for support and finding herself frowning as she heard Coli's speech, her ears pinned on her head, and she looked back and forth over the crowd, watching as some people reacted differently. Coli's plea was reasonable, but she couldn't just sit here and watch as everything went down hill. She offered a tug to her sister's shoulder watching as she scowled towards that female, offering her a small smile, before she turned and frowned towards Florina.

Turning to walk towards Drin, she stood beside her side, and gave a cross look to her feet, then to Florina, ears still pinned. She was foreign. Different. Unknown. Someone who wasn't worthy of Coli's already position as Sannindi, in Carya's eyes, she would always be Sannindi. Coli was the one who deserved this, and when Drin spoke, Carya's ears flickered upon her skull, and watched as Ascher spoke, then as Farina escaped the pressure of everything. A sad look towards her as she watched her friend leave, she would have to seek her out later. Drin is right. she echoed, and then turned to hear Bran speak, and spoke her own mind as well.

No one even knows you! she exclaimed, lips rising in a sort of snarl, but no sound erupted from her throat, just a mere lip curl, white teeth showing. Sure, Carya was just a pup- still- but she was high in rank. Florina had no right to come into Vinatta and act as this. This wasn't her home anymore, she made it that way, in Carya's eyes anyway. I don't recognize you as Sannindi, either. her hackles rose, and she let loose a growl with her words. Colibri was there whenever I went missing. She found me. Rescued me, as did my family. She was there. Ascher, Niernan, and Lochlan even. she paused, as she glanced towards Ascher, then at Drin- as she would likely remember this as well. Then with a partial lip curl again, hackles rose completely, she said: Where were you? You left. You fled from us. Abandoned Vinatta. she paused, looking apologetically towards Coli, then shook her head to herself, voice sad now. I did not even see you anywhere near Vinatta until now. Her words were harsh, slightly, and she frowned deeply, standing beside Drin, her face a complete scowl, and the bite of her own traumatic incident happening, brought back rude memories that everyone would likely remember. Carya's own scar from her incident showed on her face, and she flipped her hair back, ears folding backwards again.

Fighting is stupid. She concluded at last after a thoughtful few seconds, and then folded her arms over her chest, figuring that she might as well step up in ranks. She was rising in ranks as well, hell she outranked all of her mothers' and most of her family. Practically, she was a leader as Drin was. Leader or not though, everyone deserved to speak their minds. Carya's words may have been harsh, but she couldn't just sit there and say nothing, she was a Rirk. A born leader, and she shook her head again, stepping back so she was partially beside Drin, or maybe even Ascher. How could Coli do this to them? She couldn't look to Florina as someone who would be strong enough to fill the roll. Fighting wasn't the answer. If Carya had back-bone, she would have challenge Florina. Hell, she still might. Her body shook with anger.

Carrie's pissed.
Three days of rediscovering the comforts and camaraderie associated with tribeship had made Inara feel like a new woman. Vinátta, though different from life in her old tribe, was quickly and easily growing on her and for the first time in months, the tendrils of happiness were slow beginning to take root in her heart.

So this sudden upheaval was not something Inara was prepared for. And, judging by the reactions of those around her, neither was anyone else.

Standing in the back, away from the majority of Vinátta's well-established members, the coydog's bi-colored eyes took in the scene around her. She was still learning the pack's hierarchical ranks and hadn't yet met any of the leaders aside from Palaydrian, but she could see that the slight, frail-looking wolf named Colibri was obviously a well-loved, highly respected tribal leader. Inara didn't understand the relationship dynamics Vinátta had with the larger, seemingly abrasive pale canine standing besides Colibri, but the wave of tension and mistrust rising up from some of the members of the tribe caused the small coydog to let out a quiet, self-comforting whine.

Being a brand new member of Vinátta, Inara had no opinion either way on the decision playing out before them. But the reactions of her more outspoken tribemates was anything but reassuring. Especially that of Palaydrian's. The pointed she-wolf, being the first and only tribal leader she knew, held a great deal of respect to the coydog. If she was unhappy with this decision, surely there was a very good reason for it. The others who spoke up after Drin held less weight to Inara, but the fact that they mirrored the Áðr Vald's own opinions left an unsettling feeling in her heart.

Arms crossed over a pale chest now, Inara furrowed her brows and let out a slow, stead breath to help calm herself. Reminding herself to keep an open mind and not get mindlessly sucked into the biases of others, the slate coydog silently continued to watch the rest of the meeting play out.
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This was the part she had dreaded. The looks on the faces of her beloved packmates coalesced from surprise to anger, and the crowd began to buzz with all the imminent hostility of a hornet’s nest. Coli’s hands shook, and she tried to clasp them behind her back as her mouth went dry. She had tried to convince herself earlier that she was being paranoid – Vináttans were reasonable, civilized; they would accept the changes with good grace, and she should not fear their initial reactions. Shiloh and Anu seemed to understand, and it gave her a glimmer of hope.

But the dark part of her that whispered doubts had been right all along. Voices clamored in dissent, and she flinched at each mention of her name – each a blow to her confidence. She looked quickly, desperately, for the comforting shape of her mate. She watched with flattened ears as Niernan, too, bristled at Florina’s words, and her heart sank further. He did not speak, but he did not have to. His silence said it all.

Coli felt the familiar clutch in her chest of her rising panic attacking her. The need to escape all the judgmental eyes grew unbearable. She wished she could flee into the woods like she had the last time she felt this trapped, when her second litter was about to be born and she didn’t know if she could handle any more pressure. At least there had been somewhere to go; she had a lake behind her and a crowd in front and nowhere to run. Her eyes darted nervously about, while her mind worked to remind her that not running away was the right thing. If the earth spontaneously cracked beneath her feet and she plunged into a crevasse below, she would have been grateful for it.

For so many long seasons Colibri had done her best to hold it together in front of them – to fake it. While her nerves frayed and her fears ate her alive, she struggled to put on a calm face and deal with everything with dignity. As if that was ever a part of her. All she had wanted was to crawl into her house, lock the door, and never come out. Her poor, poor daughters had seen her do just that, and had learned just how unreliable she could be outside of the public eye. Anu had learned the hard way too, and she thought perhaps that was why the elder said nothing. She knew why this was inevitable.

Now, some twisted trickster god was getting the last laugh, because apparently she had hid it too well from all but a few. They didn’t see her as the fool girl who got her tail eaten, the pathetic thing that got beaten and kicked around by the men of the world, the failure who lost the battle in her head more days than she won. Her Vináttans actually cared about her, had some semblance of respect for her, and they were lashing out because she did not want to fake it for them any longer.

A small, hysterical laugh/sob escaped her lips at Bran’s words – she earned it? In what way had she ever earned the right to be called a leader? Were they so set in their ways that they had imagined the status quo was actually working?

“Y… you aren’t respecting my choice at all,” she objected faintly, and cleared her throat. When had the air gotten so thick and difficult to breathe? Blue eyes blinked rapidly, struggling to focus on the sea of angry eyes. Her heart was hammering so loudly she could barely hear her own voice, or realize that miraculously she was not stuttering nonsense. “Rank is bestowed, Bran, that is exactly how it works. It was bestowed upon me during a smaller and more peaceful era, and now I am passing it on to someone who can wield it better and do you more good. Palaydrian, Ascher, if you think for a moment that I will not be counsel to my replacement, that I won’t guide her and make her worthy of all of you, then I’m disappointed in your shortsightedness.”

Coli drew a shuddering breath, and felt the tremor in her knees as her body threatened to collapse. The strong arm caught her around the shoulders, and she sagged against Florina’s side, screwing her eyes shut in shame. She thought she could have held onto the undeserving dignity one last time, but alas, they had pushed her too far. Now they would watch her break. Bitterly she hoped the image of Florina holding her up while they broke her down would burn in their memory forever.

"When the Ironside C-Coalition attacked us, stole our young, wh-where was I? Others had to go to battle b-because I could not. And, and, Carya—" She raised her head, and the hurt was visible in her eyes. "—I came to rescue you, yes, but the one who scarred you is st-still at large. Wouldn’t you rather a Sannindi who c-could also fight for your rights, and be y-your champion, not just pick up the pieces?" Her head bowed, unable to look any longer. Holding a magnifying glass to her mistakes was the last thing she wanted to do, but there was no going back from this.

“Wh… What you all deserve… is a Sannindi who stands with you, n-not hides behind you.”






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Florina’s stony expression did not change throughout the clamor. It went as she expected, and it was nothing she had not heard before – she was used to being unpopular, and she had made a very unpopular decision in coming here. They judged her for her past, as she knew they would. She could have lived under them for a year and still be called the outsider, the runaway, the traitor – better to get it over with now so she could start repairing her reputation hands-on.

Privately, she was content that they had at least done as she asked of them – they had spoken their grievances directly to her face, and now she could answer them. It would have been easier still to prove her dominance physically, but picking apart the subtleties of disapproving glances would be beyond her scope of empathy or patience. This was an acceptable middle ground.

Shiloh addressed her directly, and the new Sannindi gave a curt nod of acknowledgment. She had at least one supporter, and Farina did not argue, so perhaps a second. While her mother squirmed under the tension, Florina stood firm and watched silently as she waited for them to finish speaking their complaints. Miskunn too was a neutral observer, offering no opinions for or against – the gods had their plans. But Colibri could not take it, and finally burst. Impassioned words spilled wildly from her jaws in a desperate attempt to equalize the pressure that crushed her.

Florina would have told her mother it was not necessary to try so hard for approval. The Vináttans would not accept her anytime soon, and that was their right. She was not asking for their love, nor did she want it. She did not, however, appreciate watching her frail parent taking the strain for Florina’s sake. Colibri stepping down was the right decision, and as the older wolf nearly sank to her knees in front of the crowd, Florina was there to catch her. Her mom did not need any further humiliation. Flori had left Vinátta for her mom’s safety, and returned only when she knew she could control herself and not cause another accident. It was still strange to touch her mother and hold her scant weight when for so long she had avoided her for fear of accidentally hurting her. She did not mind being the pillar now, though. It felt all right to be leaned upon. It was still her fault that Colibri suffered.

Florina said nothing on behalf of Colibri’s breakdown, but her silver gaze seemed to harden with accusation as she held her mother’s shaking form. Her low voice rumbled, I offer a challenge because actions speak louder than words. You did things your way already. Let my actions define my way. As blunt as it was, she still held back what she could have added after that. She had to pace herself and speak slowly so that she did not blurt anything without thinking first. Control was her keyword now.

Palaydrian would be a problem. She had remembered a sweet, harmless mommy-type nursing a fox as a surrogate son, but in her lessons Colibri explained how the loss of Jiva had hardened the she-wolf. Palaydrian was high-ranked and well loved; her dissent would sway others, and even as Florina watched, others sidled closer to the Áðr Vald. That would be the biggest obstacle, because Florina did not make friends easily. Bran’s resistance to the mention of New Dawn was puzzling; a mere month ago, Bran had gone to chaperone their party and played guitar for them. She chalked it up to pigheadedness, and let his remarks slide. Then there was Carya, Auggie’s sister. (Of course an Aston would bring up the abandonment with such personal vehemence.) Florina saw no point in denying what was true, though Carya’s snarls and bared teeth did not go unnoticed.

Her voice was flat as she projected over the gathering. Even if they chose Palaydrian to overthrow her, it was still the catalyst their pack needed. Any change was better than stagnating under a Sannindi that could not lead them. I left, and it was a child’s mistake. I came back to fix it as an adult when I saw you need me. You do not have to recognize anything if you would rather pretend I do not exist. But I’m here, I’m Vináttan, and I will be patrolling for you, hunting for you, and fighting for you. I will not leave again. Judge me however you want.






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Her voice called out first, calm, but on the heels of her simple words came a sharp bark. Blue eyes flicked to the other pale she-wolf, and Shiloh blinked once. She knew that some would throw aside civility in this meeting, instead mock Florina's challenge, but she had not expected it from someone who was in the master ranks. And when Ascher and others stepped closer to Palaydrian as if in support, Shiloh knew that any hope for a peaceful moving-foward was gone.


It was not as if Shiloh disagreed with their words. She knew it would be difficult to trust Florina after she'd gone, and that others might have been hoping to be promoted in their stead—greedy, it seemed, for leadership (though Shi was just unambitious in that way, wanting more for her children and family than for herself; she still craved something). Shiloh just knew that it was pointless to argue against this. Colibri had decided what to do with her rank, and if it was the wrong decision, Vinátta would find out.


She snorted at her hot-headed cousin's words, then glanced back at the lake as Colibri piped up, obviously shaken by the arguments. This was not what she had wanted, and there was no relief on her face as there might have been if she'd been bullied out of her rank—if that was what her pack mates feared. Shiloh's face softened from its taut mask. She'd never thought Colibri suitable in anything more than peacetime, and perhaps that was why she agreed with this, or agree to it more easily than her comrades.


When Colibri and her daughter had finished speaking, Shiloh turned to the crowd, wearing a light smile. Anyone who'd seen her recent rage with Grace would realize that it wasn't as genuine as those who knew her less well, but she did not care. Vinátta will not fall apart in a day, she told the others. Unless you have so little faith in Saul and yourselves that a new subleader will destroy us—then we have problems beyond this one rank. Perhaps Florina will clash with us so much that we won't be able to accept her, but she is no longer a child; she'll know if that time comes, and she'll step down. Another glance over her shoulder at the girl to confirm this. Meanwhile, we are all there to guide her as she guides us—those who want to ensure our leadership is strong ought to give counsel rather than argue. She swished her tail and lifted her head, glancing at Palaydrian. She'd helped the woman as she grieved for Jiva, or tried to, but decided she did not know Palaydrian nearly as well as she should, for this shouting to be a surprise.


I don't think that Florina makes a better candidate than some of us here, Shiloh added. She knew Florina was feral, bossy, and that her priorities were questionable since she only came back to cement herself as Sannindi. She had a few choice words for the girl to ensure she understood this and understood that she would have to adapt to this pack again. But I can either help, as I've helped Saul and Colibri, or I can fight. Our current leaders have had their weaknesses and mistakes, too, but we didn't oust them. Her smile faded as she tried to hide the truth of this. When Saul grieved, he grieved hard, but she'd never speak out against her brother. Florina has yet to make a mistake besides trying to come home and fix things, apparently.


She linked her fingers together in front of her and fell silent, then, frowning lightly to signify she was done talking. It was an outburst, if in opposition to the outbursts before, and idly she wondered if it would make her an enemy as much as the wolfdog before the lake.


The angry part of her that snapped and growled when Grace came almost welcomed it.



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Niernan Stormbringer
Why can't the moon stay full forever? Right now she's got nothing on her mind.




The comforting weight of his brothers arm around his shoulders was welcome, he smiled at Bran, something soft and shared only with his family. Though when others of the pack spoke up angrily, Bran amongst them, and he remained silent that weight became uncomfortable. He felt a prickle of nervous tension run through his body and his eyes went straight to Coli. She was too weak for this, she didn't deserve this onslaught, and neither did Florina, he realised. The girl was trying to honestly make amends with the pack in the best way she knew; by returning and leading. Just because she had been away, and because her abrasive attitude rubbed others the wrong way was no cause for this massive backlash. His eyes widened in horror as Coli burst with words, her frail body sagging against her daughter. He couldn't help moving; he shrugged away from Bran's embrace, shooting his brother a disappointed look, and rushed to the other side of his mate. He placed an arm around her waist and glanced at Flori, hoping she didn't protest his presence; she may dislike him, but the truth of it was that he was her mothers mate and he had every right to stand by her.

He watched the pack briefly from Coli's side, seeing the hostility in them, and feeling deeply ashamed of their reaction. While he had not agreed with Florina's method of announcing her return and promotion he was willing to give her a chance, to respect Colibri's decision. He felt his body straighten, his back straight, ears up and tail jerking angrily behind him. Flori's speech and then Shiloh's washed over him, he allowed his eyes to seek out the most hostile of the opposers, hoping to convey his anger and disappointment, before he let his gaze rest on Ascher and then Bran. Those were the two he felt failed by the most, he knew his brother was hot headed, but he had expected at least a little support from him, while Ascher's opposition was a genuine surprise and a deep blow. A beat of silence fell between the end of Shiloh's speech and his own miniature explosion; "Shame on you all!" He growled, eyes flashing. "Is this what Vinátta has fallen to? Throwing past transgressions around willy-nilly? Holding things against those that they have already been forgiven for? I thought this pack was family, willing to welcome those that were lost back to the fold, but here you all are railing against them."

He glanced at Florina, she was remarkably calm, something that he admired in her. Then he looked long at Colibri, she shouldn't have to listen to this, he should have voiced his opinion before, he should have supported her immediately, but honestly it had all been such a shock, if she had informed him before then he could have prepared. Rage rose in his chest again and he turned back to the pack, "Can you not see how tired Colibri is? This-" He swept his arm out, indicating the situation, "is not helping at all." He stared pointedly at the group of opposers, "While I do not necessarily agree with the way that Florina has gone about assuming leadership, nor some of the things she has said, I am willing to give her a chance. Which seems to be more than what any of you are willing to do. I trust Florina to do her best, to take counsel from those of us willing to give it, and to guide us." He paused for a moment again, sure that he would win no friends with his next words, but sure that it had to be said; "Vinátta was founded on friendship, that is what the word Vinátta means, something that I think you all need to be reminded of. You have all been less than friendly. I expected more."

While he wanted to leave, to guide Colibri back home and comfort her, assure her that everything would be alright, he stayed. He stood strong before his gathered packmates, open to their return comments if they had any, inwardly hoping that they would take his words to heart and give up on their attack of the new Sannindi. He also hoped that his standing as a high ranking, well respected and liked wolf, and founding member would be enough to bring them to their senses. If not, and this turned violent, which he did not foresee, then he would still stand beside Flori and defend her claim.



((wc: 752. ooc: Ohhh, Nier's pissed. HE BRINGING THE STORM! :P))


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Instead of shaking, her hands had become steady rocks against her thighs. She would not be a sheep in this tension-filled takeover, remaining passive and subservient to the aggressive youngster flexing her dominance. The Aor Vald had come a long ways since she’d first joined Vinatta and was no longer a mat to be walked upon. Aedan and his twisted games had been the last straw and since her former mate’s death, Palaydrian had grown a thicker hide. She had her share of difficulties and wrong choices to overcome and grow from, but in that learning time she’d become an independent and fiery soul, more sure of herself than ever before. Ascher and Bran had borne witness to her ferocity in times of struggle and the extreme gentleness she also possessed. She was a viking full of compassion, a capacity to forgive even the most grievous offenses, and the patience to teach those that were willing, but this was something she’d not stand for. Colibri was what they needed in times of peace, but now her brethren cried for a soul who could bravely lead them through hardship and strife. A mere stranger was not the answer.


A strange sense of relief washed over the tall female, it seemed she wasn’t the only one riled up by this sudden change and her heart thumped heavily as the unexpected voice of Ascher filled her ears. She glanced back at her friend, a smile forming on lips that had been tight in agitation before. It was no small feat for the kind-hearted and soft spoken male to speak up and this action alone spoke of the sheer insanity Colibri’s choice truly meant. “Trust and Respect”, two vital things Florina did not have here. Palaydrian wasn’t alone in this thought, but even if she was, she would’ve stood for what she so deeply cared about, her pack and family. Bran was next to speak up and though her ears initially folded back at the sound of her friend, another strong wave of encouragement moved through her body. Though their last encounter had gone from something sweet to a thing of complete embarrassment, the chocolate male was still in agreement with her and he too seemed very much so against this.


Carya was next, her delivery tempered and just as passionate, if not harsh, but the girl was only being honest. All these thoughts whirred about the Aor Vald’s head. She was beginning to think that nobody really felt at ease with this decision, why couldn’t Colibri see this? As Sannindi for some time, shouldn’t she have realize the waves she’d create by allowing her daughter to selfishly take over? A Vinattan in that role would’ve made the most sense, there were plenty of packmates to chose from, to groom for such a highly respected position, but she was allowing a total stranger to rip the carpet out from all of them, and in a time when they needed order more than anything! Palaydrian looked to Carya, her head nodding in agreement, that was now four well-established vikings speaking out against this rash decision.


Her eyes returned to Colibri, now visibly frazzled by all the push back, but what had she really expected? These were vikings who loved and cared about the beings standing to their right and to their left. This was a huge decision in which they all wanted, no needed to be a part of. Palaydrian hadn’t wanted this, she did not want the ex-Sannindi to break, but she’d not back down from this. Colibri’s frail voice grew in strength, but just as swiftly as it had come, it slipped away. Drin was shaking her head with annoyance, this wasn’t shortsightedness and if she really saw it that way, Coli was delusional, but the truth they’d all been denying for some time was clear, Coli was unfit for this position. She looked away, not wanting to see the bob-tailed leader in such a state, her words taking hold in the Aor Vald’s heart. Yes...they needed a leader that stood with them, but Florina was not the one.


A soft sigh left the siamese mother’s lips as she listened to Florina. Actions speak louder than words? She laughed softly to herself, ...what, will you break all of our wrists now? The Aor thought quizzically. She knew people could change and would give the girl a chance if she decided to stay, but right now all she saw when she looked at the white haired female was a hothead, a bad influence, her recklessness, and that she was still very much so a child in the viking’s eyes. Shiloh’s voice came then, the Araedi trying to be some sort of voice of reason, but all Palaydrian heard was coerced acceptance. The Aor met the other’s gaze, disappointment etched in her mismatched eyes and a bit of sadness tugging at the corners of her lips. She had expected more from the Dawnbringer female, especially when she had a family of her own to look after, but the pale female’s words only stung. It was another slap in the face that was completely unwarranted. This has nothing to do with my faith in Saul--Colibri, or our pack as a whole, but everything with handing over the reigns of our family to someone we don’t know, Palaydrian replied in an even tone, not about to be belittled by someone who so clearly misread her sudden outburst as one of thoughtless malice. It was because of her love and dedication to Vinatta that she’d spoken up and every word she’d said, backed by the others, had been out of a place of protection.


Niernan was quick to rush to his mate’s side and Palaydrian couldn’t blame him, but again his words were in defense of Colibri and taken as yet another intimidation towards agreement, chastising everyone for their behavior when the Aor Vald saw nothing wrong with their reactions. They were incensed because this was their home, not idle chatter to discuss and toss around. Again the siamese female’s head shook in sad disappointment. She understood where her fellow Vald was coming from, this was too much for his mate to take, but it didn’t change the fact that she’d be putting the lives of her loved ones into a stranger’s (to them) hands. Palaydrian’s main flaw was that she had been too trusting in the past and she wasn’t about to make the same mistake again, nor allow her packmates suffer for it. Their name revolved around friendship, yes this was true, but that did not mean they were all silent pacifists. Was not Vinatta also founded on the freedom of speech? You misunderstand me Niernan, she began gently, I have no issues with Florina coming back to us, in fact, I’m sure it must be a relief for Colibri, but again, I just can’t support this, her shoulders shrugged sympathetically then, but she wasn’t sorry for how she felt and couldn’t change that.


It was extremely troubling to Aor Vald that Colibri was so intent on “bestowing” her rank on a complete and total stranger when there were plenty of souls within the Vinattan family that would’ve stepped up in her stead, brothers or sisters Palaydrian would’ve been more than happy to support in a new role, but that wasn’t the case here. Vinatta needs a champion they know and can trust. I’m sorry Colibri, finally Drin’s gaze moved back to the recovering woman, --but I will not be standing behind this choice. In my heart, it is wrong. It wasn’t right, she felt sick with the very thought that they’d all be forced into this change and to agree with this uncounseled decision. A pack divided was no pack at all and if Florina was to be their Sannindi, it seemed a good portion of their own wouldn’t even recognize her as such. The Soul child wanted to make amends for her past faults, this was something Palaydrian could respect, but couldn’t she do all those things and more as a regular contributing member of viking society? Apparently not.



That previous sense of relief turned into a crushing realization for the Aor Vald, arguing was pointless, the decision had been made, they’d obviously have no say in this. Mismatched eyes moved to Florina, the new Sannindi, that Palaydrian would most likely never recognize as such, at least, not in her mind’s eye at the moment, before averting to the ground between her feet. There were more important things to attend to, the Virding’s daughter was still missing, and the longer Palaydrian pointlessly stood her ground, the more time was wasted on not searching for her. A resigned sigh left her lips, before her gaze moved upward and she turned towards the crowd. I have grown and endured a lot in my time here and have guided and nurtured the Aeska now standing strong at our sides. As a viking, I came to accept and embrace the faith, I’ve watched my own children flourish and have another well on his way, I’ve had the honor of getting to know many of you all on a personal level and have offered comfort in times of hardship. I fight tooth and nail to keep our lands safe and I will continue to do so until I die. This is my home, the place I’ve come to love and know, but new Sannindi or not, we all have duties to tend to. Soli’s still missing, and that’s what we should be focusing on. That said, Palaydrian rejoined the throng for a moment to scoop up Dagr and began to walk back towards the Jordheim. There was nothing left for her to say, it seemed they’d all need to adjust to the changes, but some would take far longer than others.


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Word Count: 588
EDIT: Updated because I shadow posted during Drin's edit. :3

He had never seen a meeting fall apart so quickly. Well, actually, he had never seen a pack meeting fall apart at all. The pack was generally rather levelheaded and there had never been anything controversial brought up that caused such a huge rift within the Viking pack.

When he had showed up, he had figured it was about something related to a ritual coming up. There had been no indication to him that there would be a shift in power. To his shame, he hadn't realized just how fragile his stepmother had become. He had recognized that she was getting thinner but thought it had to do with the cubs. He had also been preoccupied with his own problems, letting Colibri's needs slip from his mind entirely. For that, he felt slight guilt, and a touch of anger at his father. Niernan should have been the one helping her, making sure she was taken care of and that there was no reason for her to be standing up there trembling. It really wasn't Loch's responsibility, though he would have helped if he was home. Or if someone had just asked.

It was not her stepping down that bothered him or any of the other Vinattans. That was her choice, to be lovingly accepted and respected. It was the next statement that made his shoulders stiffen and his upper lip curl a bit in silent agitation. His ears flipped back and he looked around at the other faces of his pack. His own feelings were mirrored in many faces and he felt anger rising in the group. How could Florina come back and merely step into her mother's shoes? One Haki was not the same as another and it wasn't as if they had any knowledge at all of the former Dawner's experience or her abilities as a leader. Hell, she hadn't even stepped foot in her own birth pack's land much except to be a sulky presence at the Ausa Vatni of her younger half-siblings. It was hardly a glowing recommendation for her to take up a subleader position within the pack.

Voices rose up in response - Drin's first, but it was followed closely by his uncles and then Carrie. He felt a brief sting that he was an afterthought of wolves that had helped save her, but didn't let it linger. She was impassioned and - as he well knew - when she got angry, she didn't really think too much about what she was saying. The boy watched as Colibri nearly collapsed, observed as his father moved to support the retiring Sannidi and then cast shame out upon his packmates who had stood up for their own thoughts and feelings. Drin spoke again and seemed disgusted with the whole thing; he understood why. His ears flattened and he nodded in solemn agreement. Though he would not - could not - accept Florina as his Sannidi in good conscience, the boy knew that he had little choice. None of them really did. In the end, their peaceful pack even was a dictatorship in the matter of ranks.

His tail flicked lightly and he moved to Carrie's side, his fingers brushing her arm. "Want to go?" he whispered softly to his best friend, wanting desperately to get away. His eyes sought Iris amid the crowd, too. If he could spot her, he would try to signal her to leave with them too. They could all patrol together. So they weren't alone, as their new leader suggested.
Ascher held his breath as voices rose like a steady eruption from the crowd – not just his and Drin's, but more than one other packmate. His gaze left the congregation at the front of the Hall to wander over the crowd, his chocolate ears pinning back when Florina claimed that actions spoke louder than words. It was little more than a trite saying, but it made the man's chin rise defensively, the way it had when Bran had questioned him about Sequoia. Ascher was usually an open-minded soul, but the dismissal of words, his bread and butter so to speak, made him recoil. If Florina Soul had no use for words then she had no use for him.

With Niernan stepping up to rightfully defend his mate, Ascher thought of the woman who had come to glow brightest for him throughout everything. Aspen had moved closer, perhaps seeking strength in the conviction which seemed to flow from Drin as she spoke. The copper-coloured scholar's ears lifted a fraction at her words and he reached towards Aspen, intending to wrap an arm around her protectively. A whine rose from the floor again – Orvar was looking up at them, his green eyes wide in something which had turned from confusion to fear. Change was difficult for Ascher, but he had to put his mind to helping his children flourish with it.

Drin turned and stalked out, and Ascher's eyes followed her, his eyebrows lifted. His gaze was flat when he looked back to the meeting. He waited only briefly before the quaking grey and black Aeska at his feet caused him to move. He bent to try and soothe Orvar but his own hands trembled over his son. Somewhere the meeting was probably still going, but Ascher's priorities were Aspen and his children, and two of the three seemed less than comfortable. He turned his body towards Aspen and shook his head in a silent, shamefaced apology before he, too, made his way from the gathering.

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As arguments continued, Aspen was suddenly back in her birth pack, where youth took the lead with unyielding force and it merely tore them apart. It started with a meeting similar to this one, sides formed, canines who were barely more than children and clearly not ready to lead demanded control and wisdom fell to brute force. Her shaking grew worse as fear curled in her stomach and chest. Was that about to happen again? Was she about to lose her home again? Then their foolishness really became apparent and everything truly fell apart.

Niernan's anger was shocking and Aspen cowered, shoulders curved forward and she moved slightly so she hoped Drin's form hid her from his line of sight. His words themselves were lost to her, simply the force of his anger made it through as her shaking continued. She barely felt Ascher's arm around her, but leaned towards him automatically. Her ears remained flat against her skull as she tried to separate past and present, and as Drin spoke again, for a moment, she was able to focus on the Aor's words. Everything was still foggy and strange, but there was that small bit of clarity, and then Drin understandably left. Aspen found she couldn't follow her.

Aspen felt exposed now without the much larger figure in front of her and her shaking only worsened. She avoided looking at those standing in front of the group, and couldn't look at Ascher either, only the ground in front of her. Then Ascher was leaving, too, but Aspen still couldn't get her legs to move; fear held her in place.

It was a couple more seconds before Aspen could finally turn around; her limbs moved robotically and if anyone was speaking as she left, their words were a dull, muffled sound. As she continued walking, she was able to pick up her pace as she fled to find somewhere to hide.
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She had been there the entire time, in the background like a flower growing neatly between the cracks of a wall. She had been silent, a coward like se always had been. Harsh words were thrown out, confusion turned to anger in a blink of an eye. Like her mother she felt as if she would drown in such a wave of criticism and hatred, all at another member of her family that she had always loved. Her heart seemed to quicken its beat, her lungs gasping at a small amount of oxygen. A panic attack seemed to find its way to sink in, biting its fangs into her neck and paralyzing any movement she wanted to make.


Her breathing rasped for a moment before she found her legs moving forward on their own accord, moving closer to where her mother and sister stood before the hostile glares and unwanted atmosphere. She could not stop herself as her delicate feet closed the distance not sure to why she needed to stand beside them and make a stand, if she could find her voice. Again the panic knack was biting down on her neck, trying to paralyze her very movement. His efforts were successful in making her breathing accelerate further, her cheeks growing flush as if she had been drinking.


Her voice came out as soon as she stood next to her sister, ”how can you bring hostility from a pack of peace? I do not understand how you could bring such anger filled words from a sister of this place, was she not born here? Even if she came to the rank in a way you do not approve how can you bring such cruel words to my mother’s wishes? A woman you trust, is this how little you trust her?” Her words surprised even herself, where her voice came form she did not understand. Her body shook out of anxiety and fear and yet her usually pinned tail was not swaying softly; she needed to know how this pack felt. She needed them to see their words were showing distrust in her mother.


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Carrie's just leaving :P

Everything was going way too fast, too fast for the Strafa's likes. She turned her head from person to person, and then stopped to assess Florina, her eyes shooting towards Colibri, and she fell silent. Perhaps my actions were too quick, but I still do not agree with this at all. She assessed, knowing good and well that she couldn't' agree with any of this. She would have to speak with Coli, and Drin, and Lochlan. She shook her head and turned to leave whenever Niernan spoke, throwing Carya off guard completely. She paused, meandered for a few seconds then agreed with Drin whenever she said that Niernan misunderstood her.

He completely misunderstood everyone! She concluded, but figured biting her tongue would prevent her from creating a bigger hole that the Aston female had dug herself, and just watched as Drin stalked out of the gathering. She sighed, and hung her head, speaking loud. Your presence as a Vinatta, Florina was unknown for so long. She said sadly, shoulders sagging. It is hard to just accept it just like that Carya snapped her fingers to emphasize it.

Niernan misunderstood all of them, and this upset Carya even more, she just shifted her feet and momentarily held back the urge to punch Niernan in the face. Carya pulled back another growl, before almost running into Lochlan as he approached her. She almost jumped into his arms crying, but figured against it, and just pulled back her ears, offering her arm towards and gripping his elbow. Yes, please let's go. Carya's hand would twine around Lochlan's arm as she awaited to be hoisted away where they could go do something. Maybe even Iris too, so they could all do something together. He was her rock whenever she needed him. And boy, did the Aston female need her rock in a time like this.
The caramel Araedi stood mute as the tension seemed to ratchet up a good few notches. Even Ascher, soft spoken, retiring Ascher, had spoken up. The Sannindi appeared to break then, cracking apart like an egg, perhaps everything had shattered. Florina had been jammed into place, cracks had quickly appeared and, in mere moments, the equilibrium of the family had been fractured. Gone was the trademark crooked grin, and the laid back guy who was content to do his duty and party in his free time. Bran felt several emotions swirl inside him, building so that his hackles rose. Niernan’s quick escape from his embrace, to see to his mate left Bran standing alone, and when the charcoal Stormbringer voiced his disappointed and looked in his direction, Bran felt it like a blow, and it stalled his words. That look clearly didn’t have the same power on others, and he listened to Drin speak, there was anger there, but she made sense, and then she was gone, her actions reflected in many of his packmates. Finally the caramel male found his voice again. He could feel the angry words crowding together on his whiplash tongue, but he held them back, he’d hate to think they thought he was talking from a purely kneejerk reaction. So when his words finally came out, they were calm, the anger was clear from the lack of amusement that always seemed to underline his tone.

”Disappointed in me?” he said looking at Niernan. ”It’s a slap in the face, bringing in a stranger? Clearly saying there’s no one in Vinatta capable of doin’ the job. If we’re passin’ ranks around why shouldn’t I challenge and give the rank t’ someone I think’d do a better job?”

He saw the jagged and unpleasant colours in front of his eyes, for once they actually matched his mood, and it was odd they’d chosen now to appear to him. He continued though.

”This is wrong, a rubbish decision. In less than five minutes the pack has been split, half o’ the people stormin’ off. Yu’ve alienated Drin, and Ascher, one o’ the shyest and smartest guys I know, spoke up. Good job.”

He turned his eyes to Florina, his chocolate gaze hard and unyielding.

”Welcome back t’ Vinatta, I’m sure yu mum’s over the moon t’ have yu back. Yur not my Sannindi, I won’t come when yu call.”

Perhaps he could have said more, but what was the point, he’d said his fill and someone else could have the last word. Without saying anything else he left, heading for the border to take up his duties again.
OOC: oop entrance + exit in one post [WC: 479]
IC:
Lila was getting close to being half a year old, and still hadn't shifted yet, which was making Chloé wonder if the puppy was even a Luperci at all. She had assumed that she was, most everyone around Nova Scotia seemed to be, but there were still some canines who weren't luperci around. Chloé gave a sigh, looking down at the collie, prancing around through the mushy ground, her white paws turning brown from the mud that came from the melting snow. She was still standing outside her home when she had heard the call for a meeting. Lila had perked up at the howl, looking up at Chloé. "Lets go see what this is about," the wolf said, motioning for Lila to follow her towards where the call had come from.

Pack members had already started to gather when she arrived, although she wasn't late like she had been last time there was a meeting. The darkly furred wolf lingered at the back of the slowly forming crowd, looking down at Lila, who had sat down in the grass and slushy snow. "Stay put, okay?" Chloé instructed, attention turning up to Colibri when the Sannidi started to talk. As the frail woman started talking, her misty green eyes started to narrow. Who's Florina? the girl thought, looking around. She'd never really heard of a Florina before, but everyone else must know her since they knew exactly who the leader was talking about.

Finally, Chloé figured out who Florina was when she started talking. Lila had stood up, trying to see past the crowd of people. Chloé sighed, remembering how short the little girl was right now compared to everyone else, but didn't really acknowledge that she was trying to see until Florina had finished talking and everyone else had started shouting things out. No one really seemed to approve of the change — only a select few. Chloé honestly didn't know what to think, she was still trying to figure out who Florina was. Colibri's daughter, that was what had been said during the meeting. She seemed so... Chloé didn't have a word for it. She simply turned to look at Lila and gave the girl a shrug, wondering what she thought. Lila hadn't been in Vinátta too long, and hardly knew anyone.

"Give her a chance, at least," Chloé said, louder than she meant too (the words were something of a shout), inwardly hoping no one had heard, but outwardly she straightened up a bit and looked a tiny bit proud since she had at least said something. "You don't know her? Then you don't know how she'll do as leader. She might do pretty good," the Hollr added, slouching back down and turning to Lila. "Lets go," the Moineau girl said under her breath, turning and walking off with the collie in tow, heading back home.
WC: 504

Tayui couldn't decide if she was happy or upset to hear the news. She could never be one thing or another, so she decided to remain mixed on the matter. On one hand, Colibri had been entirely unfit for the position. It wasn't even in the same vein as Claudius ascending to AniWayan leadership: certainly he seemed fragile, but he had taken up arms, been held captive, and assumed a temporary leadership position all before becoming a true sub-leader in the tribe. Colibri, on the other hand, could not have done any of these things. As much as Tayui had tried to mend the fence with the woman and as much as Claudius seemed weak, he was internally quite strong. As for Colibri, she could not tell what she was on the inside. Weak, strong, she had to be something if she was still alive and living as the daughter of Haku.

But even if Colibri was not a fit leader, her daughter was just as ill a match. Tayui still recalled her as the youth when she had assaulted her own mother, stormed off to another pack, and then lured Auguste away to New Dawn. Now, she returned with little announcement only to have her mother give her the position. This smacked of cronyism.

Florina then went on to mention the missing pack members and Tayui frowned. What did she know of this? As a stranger, certainly she would not have heard about it from her mother. After assaulting her, Tayui would think that the only polite thing to do was keep well away and not hurt her anymore. Apparently, Florina was incapable of this.

Tayui was surprised by the reaction, however. Vinatta had never pretended to be a democratic pack -- after all, the leaders made the decisions, and Colibri's decision to pass on her title was her last act as Sannindi. But Carya surprised her with her anger; Tayui had never realized how much her daughter cared for Colibri.

But in the end, Tayui could not say anything. If Florina had challenged her mother for her rank in a fight and taken it from her, then that would have to be the ultimate betrayal: attack your mother, flee the pack, lure a puppy, return for a fight, and take a leadership role. That really was the cruelest way to hurt your kin. But if Colibri gave her the rank, then who won out in that situation? Colibri for recognizing her need to step down or Florina for stepping up?

In the end, she realized that she did not dislike Colibri, and was more concerned about a sudden new face in the role. But time would tell and Tayui would wait to see how things panned out. The pack would know soon enough what kind of sub-leader Florina was; Tayui could only hope that if the time came, it wouldn’t be too late to express her concerns. Until then, Tayui would wait – she had matters of her own to concern herself with.
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Coli leaned heavily against Florina as the debate raged on, ears flat and tail stump tucked as low as it would go. She was miserable in the face of such interpersonal conflict, and if any of them had demanded direct answers from her, they would have been met with speechless horror. This was one of her literal worst fears: a crowd full of family and friends she loved all shouting at her and disparaging her choices. The fact that some of them actually stood up for her and moved to the side of the lake barely registered through her quivering panic.

If they had been strangers, she could have stood up for herself and defended her daughter, but against Carya, Drin, Asch? Coli was trying not to think if she could ever face them again after this interminably long meeting. She could barely make eye contact with Anu or Tayui already, and Bran had more and more reason to dislike his brother's mate, it seemed. She just kept screwing up. Her mind wandered sadly to Conor, and she wondered how her little brother had ever come to lead Dahlia de Mai in their mad father's footsteps when he had been scarcely Florina's age, maybe younger. Had they treated him this way, too?

Only the warmth of a familiar arm around her waist caught her attention, and Coli whined softly and turned to embrace her mate. He stood by her after all, even though she hadn't told him of her retirement. His broad chest rumbled with an angry growl as he chastised those unwilling to give Florina a chance, and Coli buried her face deeper into the dark fur, hiding her closed eyes so that she did not have to watch the reactions. He alone would feel her flinch with each new argument.

Everything was out of her hands now anyway. Her last act had been to pass on the title; she had nothing to revoke, nothing to influence the schism one way or another. Those who raised their voices in protest seemed to realize it as well — Colibri was a used-up husk, and they should address their grievances to the new leader. Florina simply stood there, patient as a stone, listening to Shiloh, Bran, Chloé, and all the speakers. She had already said her piece, and it seemed she had no desire to parry words further.

Soon the dreadful ordeal would be over. Their packmates began to disperse amid malcontent muttering. Coli stiffened in surprise at one voice in particular — Fiora. Somehow her timid eldest daughter had summoned the courage to oppose the protestors. Coli peeled her face away from Niernan's safety, and cast an apologetic glance in Fiora's direction -- because she knew exactly how hard it was. You shouldn't have to be braver than me, she thought, but remained silently thankful.

She didn't say anything to Florina. There was no need; there had been enough words buzzing through the air already. Coli simply watched her with sadness lingering in her blue eyes, and wished that the transition could have gone more smoothly. Florina was complicated and sensitive, the secrets only her mother knew existed underneath that cold and abrasive exterior. Even Colibri was uncomfortable being around Flori for long, as guilty as it made her feel. There was something so overpowering about the wolfdog's presence. So few could withstand the pressure.

Coli didn't blame her packmates at all for feeling threatened by the sudden change or the steely-eyed wolfdog barking at them. What she wished for was for them to accept her anyway, because she knew Florina would be more understanding once they let their guards down and stopped dredging up her shame. Coli touched her wrist, the ugly scar a permanent reminder of the accident that Florina had devoted so much of herself to atone for.

But the former Sannindi was still too cowed to speak. Coli bowed her head and allowed Niernan to lead her home. She would not stop trembling until nightfall.

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