[P] Hunnybee, oh hunnybee
Mahigul Feriqi receives lessons in playing the duduk from her mother, Azade Feriqi
Date: Mid October
Time: Afternoon
Location: The Yurt, Ranchero's Watch, Silverado Field

The child sat against a wall of the yurt, not leaning against it for she was bent over her sketchbook, a thing of parchment and rough leather, tied with thin cords of rope. With the fingers of her left hand she gripped a piece of charcoal, her white fur blackened by it. An image was springing forth from her tool, busy with detail and smudging. It depicted a female coyote mounted upon a horse in elaborate tack, her hair swaying in the wind, the equine reared up on its hind legs while the canine took aim with a bow. At least, that was the girl's vision, but the rider looked of vague specie and sex, the horse's tack was so detailed that it all smudged together, and the poses of both looked stiff, unnatural.

A groan came out the young dog and she took her hands off the book, running the free one trough her raven, unbraided hair. She had been at work on that piece since early morning and it had yet to look right. She thought her familiarity with the subjects - archery, horses, coyotes - would let her vision materialise with ease, yet that was not the case. With restrained movements the artist set her work aside, angry at the drawing yet conscious enough of the fragility of her father's gift.

She leaned forward and propped an elbow up on her knee and her chin on her knuckles. Apa was supposed to come soon, for the daughter's lessons in playing the duduk. Mahigul eyed the woodwind instrument in the corner. Truth be told, she had lost the fascination she once had with it. Initially, when she first shifted, the girl was eager to learn to play it, but as time passed and her attentions drifted toward the visual arts, that eagerness turned to neutrality - and she knew neutrality as the death of passion.

Mahi stretched. She would indulge her mother for today, for she thought of herself as a good, obedient daughter, never one to fuss or complain - although prone to discomforting questioning, which she had in store for her mother that day.

so sorry for the wait!! // 358

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Azade had spent the morning patrolling, as she was apt to do on days such as this. Clear and beautiful, she didn’t mind meandering on Azwer as they went, ears alert for intruders. It was easy to hunt on days like this, and she did. Two rabbits hung from her hip, caught by Altani seamlessly. The young eagle was finally reaching a point in her training where she was consistently catching everything. She was even managing to catch their meals without puncturing the furs or starting to eat them, understanding that Azade would come with her preferred treats soon.

These rabbits, and many others, died from a broken neck or back, depending on where Altani’s claws caught them first.

To say that Azade was proud of her was an understatement. The eagle preened herself on her arm, warm talons clenching tightly the thick leather glove Azade had made for herself, feathers puffed proudly as if she knew exactly how special she was. Perhaps she did. Azade certainly told her often enough.

As they approached the yurt, Azade called out to her daughter. ”Mahi! If you’re out playing, come to the Yurt while I give your father these rabbits!” A hand stuck out from behind the door to The Yurt, Mahi waving at her to express that she had arrived before her. ”Wonderful! I’ll be there soon.”

Transferring the eagle onto her perch and tying her to it, she roved about the yurt looking for her husband. ”Set ‘em by the fire, my love.” He called from where he was watching Kylychbek groom Finale. Waving in greeting—she’d left before he’d awoken that morning—she did as he’d asked before swooping into the yurt after Mahigul.

”Hello darling, have you had a good day?” She asked in greeting as she stripped herself of her bow and arrows and her saber. Any other unnecessary items were discarded as well before, finally, she took the duduk down from its place on the wall and sat before her eldest living child.
(344) | NPCs: | Optime | Sorry for the wait! <3


She heard her mother ride in on Azwer, returning from what was either a patrol along their seldom-visited stretch of borderland, or a hunt for the family's daily meal. Most likely it was both, knowing her ene and her vast skills. The woman practically lived on horseback, and Mahi saw how her brother yearned to someday be like her. Mahigul didn't share his fantasies (well, at least not often, for her mind was a playground for even the most outlandish thoughts) being more interested in the study of horses as creatures, instead of the ways their strength and speed could be utilized. Horsemanship was the domain of the red Feriqis; she and her father were satisfied with caring for and admiring the equines.

Ene's call confirmed that the household would have fresh food that day, and the girl frowned for herself when her mom assumed she was out playing. When would she have time for that? There were chores to be tended to, errands to run, things to help her father and brother with. Not to mention that each free moment she had she used to retreat into the Yurt and work on her drawing -  likely contributing to its messiness and general poor illustration of the subject matter. 

Mahi leaned over to stick her hand out beyond the entrance and wave. Soon after, the Feriqi matriarch entered.

Azade Feriqi was a tall, slender woman, full of agility and grace and stories to tell. It was easy to imagine her springing into action at a moment's notice, unsheathing her sabre or nocking an arrow. She was her daughter's ideal of strength, and there were times the girl envied her appearance, her presence, her skills. Sometimes, when in her daydreams she toyed with the idea of becoming a warrior or a hunter, Mahi imagined herself as a tri-coloured, raven-haired copy of her apa, standing at a greater height, proud, confident and full of coiled energy. And yet, the way things turned out, Mahigul was more akin to her homesteader father. There was no shame in that, for such a life was better suited to the girl's interests, but now and again she would look longingly at her ene's sabre and wonder what it would be like to wield it with purpose and violence.

"It was okay." The child answered her mother, eyes darting to the discarded sketchpad. "Went to fetch water and groomed Rojin. Not Finale though, Kili wanted to do it on his own." Mahigul frowned again, crossed her arms and spoke in Spanish, mimicking her brother's voice which had begun to crack and deepen. ">It's my horse, not yours. Don't touch it.<" She harumphed. "He talks like I'm gonna eat it."

Her mother, freed from excess items, seated herself before Mahi. Almost on instinct, the girl fixed her previously hunched posture, her hands coming to rest in her lap. A strange spark was in her orange-gold eyes.

">Can you teach me that one I like?<" She switched to Kyrgyz, as it seemed fitting. Despite the lack of enthusiasm for mastering the instrument, the daughter liked to listen to her mother play the duduk. It made a sound so different from what could occasionally be heard in The Ugly Coyote. It was a tangible, thick connection to the Feriqi's ancestral lands. It was the sound of places the girl saw only in her dreams.

// 557
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Azade nodded, a neutral expression set on her face as she listened to her daughter’s recount of the day. Only when Mahigul mimicked her brother did a smile crack across her features. ”Your brother is silly, but he is right in that the horse’s owner should always be the one to care for him most. He is bonding with Finale. They need space to get to know one another without us getting in their way.”

She raised her brows when Mahi switched to Azade’s own mother tongue, but was grateful for it. There was something freeing about finally being able to speak Kyrgz with someone who understood it—even Fernando had been picking up on it some and could understand some of what they said, though he was still terrible at speaking it. Though she was strong in the languages that the canines spoke here, Spanish especially, sometimes she felt dumb. She knew that the language barrier kept her from speaking as often and as well as she would have if they’d been speaking Kyrgz.

>”Yes, my dear, of course we can. I’ll play the introduction first, watch what I do and take in the sound. When I’m finished we’ll go through each part together.”< Azade lifted her duduk to her lips and began to play. When she played there was nothing in the world except her and the duduk, and that was exactly what happened here. Her fingers moved of their own accord (in fact, this was the struggle with teaching Mahi—she had to figure out how to play the songs when in reality she just knew them in her body), her body swaying slightly as emotion was poured into the sound, her great lungs pulling in life and releasing music.

She almost played beyond the introduction, but remembered just in time and let the song die quietly before setting the duduk in her lap and opening her eyes. Mahigul was watching closely, and she smiled at her audience. >”Ah, you are my favorite daughter, you always pay such close attention when I play.”<

Gesturing to the duduk that Azade had asked Fernando to make when she’d still been pregnant, Azade lifted her own to her lips again. >”Let’s go through the introduction piecewise.”<
(385) | NPCs: | Optime | We can't reference songs that are new (made after the 80's) so let's just say the song that Azade is teaching Mahi is inspired by that song. <3


Her mother's explanation made the child pout, despite it being very much sound. 

In truth, the sister's attempts to aid her brother in training and grooming the equine were borne of pure childish envy. She so desired a mount wholly her own, a steed to carry her trough the vast world she had yet to explore, and it hardly sat right with her that her twin preceded her in obtaining one. She had been making eyes at Rojin for months now, but it seemed neither parent noticed her silent begging, and she had begun to suspect that the mare would never become hers, despite how obviously fond the animal was of she. 

All thoughts faded from the younger Feriqi's mind once the senior put the duduk to her lips. Mahigul straightened her already straight back, and watched her mother with great focus.

No fitting words could be found to describe the melody within the less musically-minded youth. 

It carried with itself sadness, sorrow and perhaps - contemplation? Yes, it was a song of loneliness, of melancholy, composed by someone who felt othered by the world. With just sounds it described the story of a different place, and the child could almost picture some ancestor of hers, long-snouted and feathered of limbs, seated upon a hill, the sound of their duduk carrying over the yellowed steppe stretching endless, as wild horses grazed and an eagle soared high above, its cry seemingly just another note in -

The song ended before she could fully immerse herself in the fantasy it presented, and as her mother opened her eyes Mahigul realised she had been miming her subtle swaying, and she bashfully fixed her posture.

">I'm your only daughter.<" She mumbled. This small correction, coupled with the mood of the song, reminded the girl of those that passed away before she got to meet them, those that she would otherwise need to compete with for such title. Such thoughts were pushed to the back of her mind when her mother gestured at the instrument Mahi was to take.

The reed, junior to her mother's, was picked up in off-white hands and brought to her lips. Mahi blew a few testing notes, got her fingers used to the motions, and reminded herself of the proper breathing techniques. Then, she waited for the older woman to begin.

Once she did, Mahigul closed her eyes and blew.

They weren't a harmonious duet, that was for certain. The daughter lagged behind, occasionally missing beats, but never once did she fumble severely enough to warrant a pause. Still, she found herself miscalculating and running out of breath as the intro came to a close, and once the melody was finished she had to lower the instrument to take in a few deep breaths.

She waited for her mother's criticisms or instructions, and once they were given she looked her in the eyes, gold matching gold.

">Mom, what were my grandparents like?<" 

oh oh i wasn't thinking of that exact one, but of something similar in mood to the linked song ^^ // 504
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If Mahigul thought that Azade and Fernando hadn’t noticed her begging for Rojin then she was direly mistaken. There was a reason that Azade had been letting her groom the mare and ride the mare as she liked. She wanted to ensure that she really was prepared for the horse. Kylychbek was easy; he’d been obsessive with his interest in Finale since long before he could shift. And they took advantage of this in the name of training the boy. He soon was offering to groom all the horses.

”>That changes nothing.”< Azade said with a small smile on her face, a hint of a joke in her tone. Strangely, she did not think of the children who had passed. As peace settled over them, she found herself thinking of them less and less. Perhaps it was a by-product of happiness to make one think less of the tortures haunting the past.

Sharp gold eyes inspected her daughter as she played, seeking errors to correct. Nothing. . . egregious. As it should be. They had practiced this song often enough that Mahigul should know it well by now. Perhaps not so well as to play in time with her, and perhaps not perfectly, but certainly she was moving along as expected. Azade nodded in satisfaction, allowing her daughter a small smile. >”Well done. Practice on your own when you get the chance. I know it is hard to play in tandem. That being said, you must learn that skill if you wish to ever be a good musician. Timing is very important to understand.”<

Out of the blue, then, Mahigul asked a question that Azade had not expected. Blinking in surprise, she lowered the duduk and set it before her crossed legs before straightening and collecting her thoughts. Her parents. Well, they had been complicated dogs, certainly. For far too long she was silent, simply staring back down at Mahigul, trying to determine what to tell her and what to keep quiet. Finally, she spoke. >”Your. . . grandparents were very interesting. They had many good sides to them, sides that I appreciated—do appreciate. Our relationship was also strained for many reasons. “<

She sighed, scratching her scalp beneath her headscarf. >”This was very surprising Mahigul. Why do you ask? Was there something specific you wanted to know?”< Perhaps if she had better questions Azade would be able to answer her more clearly.
(402) | NPCs: | Optime |  >Kyrgyz<


She nodded at her mother's advice, not bringing attention to the fact that no, she no longer held much interest in becoming a musician. Scratching of charcoal of parchment was the only song of her heart now. Another glance was cast at the discarded sketchpad.

Her question, sudden because she had never quite grasped tact, caused a long silence. Mahigul kept her face straight throughout it. If this turned an uncomfortable topic to broach, she would only push harder. Information regarding her whole patrilineal lineage - every mundane detail of every distant cousin her padre could remember - was already obtained, then stored in the form of notes and small doodles on the last page of her sketchpad, not to mention frequent fantasies. Mahigul couldn't explain it - because she never really needed to - but there was a burning want for curiosity within her. A want for facts that would fuel her drawings, her daydreams.

Finally, her mother spoke, and a pair of floppy black ears perked up to listen.

It was an answer. But, it wasn't sufficient. She needed more.

Her mother's inquiry gave her good reason to elaborate.

">Mom.<" The child began, straightening her back, puffing out her meagre chest. ">Your clan disbanded, right? And grandparents and aunt Dilva, they're all dead, right? That means that even if I travelled to the Steppe someday, I probably wouldn't find anyone who'd know about them. And mom, I want to know.<" So much emphasis was put on this word, and something bright and strong flickered trough those golden orange orbs, showing what the girl hungered for. ">Who were they, as people? What did they do, how did they live, how did they die? The clan they were from, and the enemies they had, I want to know about them, too. I-I think,<" Now she hitched, gaze flickering to the side, for the time came to explain herself. ">I think that's important to know. Because if we don't talk about it we forget it. And I...<"  She bit her lip, chewed it for a moment. ">I don't want anything to be forgotten. Ever.<"

An unrealistic, childish desire, even to her own ears, but it was the truth of her heart.

// 377
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Azade had, in fact, noticed that Mahigul spend most of her time scratching away at her notebook. She and Fernando had even made plans to get her a new notebook as a gift. Still, she hoped that Mahigul would enjoy playing the duduk and tanbur. And a part of her thought that, perhaps, if she stopped giving Mahigul lessons now while her interest was briefly flagging, then Mahigul might regret it later. It might be better for her to push through and keep on trying. If she really wasn’t interested, and if she came to her one day and told her that she didn’t like the tanbur or duduk, then Azade would give up.

Until that day came, she would keep on teaching her and hope to never hear those words.

Mahigul’s rapid-fire questions left her head spinning, and she stared down at her daughter with slightly narrowed eyes as she processed what she wanted to say. Anyone who didn’t know her (and maybe even people who did know her) might have thought her angry. No, she was not upset, only considering what she wanted to disclose to her only living daughter. >”Not disbanded. We were slaughtered. Ah, Mahigul, you’ve never seen war, so you can’t even comprehend what it was like. But I’ll try and tell you anyway, so enough with the questions.”<

She leaned back, setting down the duduk and thinking. >”Well, I’ve told you a bit about the Steppe. But I don’t think you really can picture what it’s like, since you were only a young pup for your first winter. And winters on the Steppe are far harsher than winters here, especially in the mountains, where our clan lived. My great-grandparents, apparently, weren’t even from the Steppe. Their family moved their from a place far to the west, which has an enclosed sea. In fact, their moving there is part of the reason why they were at war in the first place. They brought with them many, many head of sheep and married into a family on the Steppe. That family owned many horses. Combined, the two families were very large and very wealthy.

>”Some other families didn’t like that, and they began to fight each other, first with their words, then with swords.”< Azade took a break, leaning back and looking at the fire pit. >”We kept on winning. And that was that. The Feriqi clan quickly became the big bad enemy of almost everyone. By the time I was your age, we were very large and very strong, and while we had many enemies we also had a few strong allies. I grew up fighting, always being prepared for an attack, always training, always attacking. I married my childhood friend when I was. . . oh wow I must have been your age?”<

Azade scrutinized Mahigul, surprised, because she couldn’t imagine marrying off her daughter or son at this age. >”My parents were. . . we had our disagreements, mostly about religion, but overall they were good parents. I miss them, I wish they could have met you two. They were killed later. Wolves from the north started invading our territory. Our clans were divided, we never could fully trust each other enough to ally completely. They decimated our clan, stole our horses and our sheep. The land we usually grazed our head on, they took that. And, of course, they killed most of us. The rest either went to stay with other family or left the area completely.”<
(596) | NPCs: | Optime | >"Kyrgyz"<


Yes, her persistence had won her a tale (and a look from Azade which could be mistaken for anger, but the child knew her mother's face)! The younger Feriqi set her duduk aside, straightened her skirt and adjusted her posture, hands in lap, a serious, focused look upon her face and, of course, dark ears perked up, facing forward.

Only the swishing of her feathered tail betrayed her childish excitement.

It was the first time she heard of the generation of Feriqis preceding her grandparents. She frowned, as the child had always assumed her family boasted ancestral ties to the Steppe, perhaps going all the way back to the age of humans. But the sea? One, apparently, enclosed inland? Like the boring lake of the Gang? That doused her enthusiasm quite a bit...

...Unless that sea-lake had pirates? Oh, did her ancestors have to fend-off vicious, thieving sea-scum on the daily? No - wait! What if they were pirates? Yes, yes, she could work with that. Already her fingers itched for charcoal. Her tail wagged as fast as it physically could without snapping off and continuing to wiggle on the floor.

War. She truly did not know it. And how fascinating, how utterly incomprehensive it was! Bloodlust and conflict at a scale so large that it saw settlements razed to the ground, fields dyed red, guts and bones piled high, crows feasting on the fallen, victors drinking from the skulls of their enemies...! Now, perhaps her vision of it was ever-so-slightly exaggerated, but it certainly put a shine in her eyes as she now appraised her mother, as well as herself, with the knowledge that they were daughters of such a powerful, accomplished clan.

Mention of marriage, however, returned neutrality to her expression. If she correctly guessed the meaning of her mother's narrowed eyes before, now she boldly assumed the scrutinizing look mixed with surprise was Azade assessing her daughter's capacity for matrimony and finding it lacking. Mahi defiantly lifted her chin, proud of the fact that she had never once held any interest in something so silly and pointless, or anything that would precede it - such as having a crush or getting a boyfriend or having sex or making out. Yuck!

Although - and now her defiant gaze mellowed out as it shifted to the side, the girl lost in though - there would be referential benefits to knowing how one should position the head and arms when kissing in a romantic manner. She would definitely need to check out sex to see how the whole thing is supposed to look. Would the eventual other party be okay with her bringing a mirror or sketching during the act? Anatomy practice is a vital part of art improvement. She hoped they would understand.

Ears and eyed focused back forward. Yeah, it was too bad her grandparents were dead, but their absence from her life did not wound the child. Instead, it allowed her to come up with idealized versions of them in her head, think up stories and assign roles to them. The dead could not disappoint.

Mahigul took in a breath, then released it after a pause. The tri-colored Feriqi then hunched slightly, crossed her arms high on her torso and rubbed her thumb and pointer finger into the fur of her chin. 

Interesting. All of it. And the new knowledge led to a new question in her mind.

">...If there was a pack that was like your clan, would you join it? That was big and strong and warred a lot?<" This was purely hypothetical, as Del Cenere was their home and as far as the girl was concerned, they would always be a part of it.

625 // i love writing off-in-her-own-world mahigul. btw we can start wrapping this up if that's alright
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The Gang was her home, and Azade could not imagine leaving it. That being said, she had left many homes before this one. Mahigul’s question had her let out a long and slow and deliberate breath, considering how to answer. It was not a true scenario, for there was no talk of moving. She and Fernando loved the home that they had built together in Del Cenere. But Azade knew her daughter, and she knew that she would not be satisfied unless Azade truly considered the question.

>”I do not think so.”< Azade stated bluntly, leaning back and reaching behind herself to search for her pipe. >”The days of war are behind me now, I am getting old. I have a family, as well. I do not need or desire to join a pack to sate my lust for battle.”<

Tsking slightly as she considered her pipe, Azade began to pick the weed apart methodically. >”War is not an easy thing, Mahigul. You lose the people that you love. You go hungry. You get sick. I hope that those days of true war are behind me now. I do not want to lose any of you, nor would I want to have to endure your grief from the spirit’s realm. It is one thing to die of old age, another to be killed.”<

Rolling the sticky weed between her paw pads, Azade began to pack the bowl. She could see how her daughter was fascinated by the prospect of war, of her ancestors. A part of her wondered why she wasn’t proud. How could it be that she didn’t feel pride that her daughter was curious about their past and curious about battle? Perhaps there was some internal block keeping her from feeling that pride, not for such a thing as this. >”Enough of this, though. Pick up your duduk and practice the introduction again, slowly.”<

As she did so Azade lit a stick and held it to her pipe, inhaling deeply. The harsh sound of her daughter’s duduk rang out through the tent, and Azade blinked and grimaced as she listened for faults. Even as they sat there, Azade could feel herself drifting slightly, her body sinking into the floor as the music helped her to transcend. She said nothing, only watched. After all, it would be wrong to interrupt. When Mahigul reached the end of the introduction, Azade waved her onwards, urging her to continue.
(412) | NPCs: | Optime | 

Location: DCG, El Tramo, Silverado Field, Ranchero's Watch, The Yurt Date: Fluid; Mid October Time: Afternoon NPCs: - WC: 475

Mahi and her twin were raised on milk, blade and bow, to value the skills of violence and blood. The sister grew to be fonder of the arts, sure, but to her war and combat were still things of glory and honor - how could anyone get tired of them? Old age was a good excuse, yes, but as her mother fiddled with her smoking pipe the daughter watched her with a mild, mistrustful scowl, chin on ball of hand, elbow propped against right thigh. 

Azade Feriqi, as far as her offspring were concerned, was invincible and unmatched in talent with sabre and bow, in a way that none of the Gang came close to. Who else could shoot with such precision from the back of a galloping mustang? None! The Feriqi matriarch was one and unique, and as the children did not see her before, well, before they were born, they had nothing to compare her current age to. She was not that old, not in the eyes of her daughter who, in an environment lacking elders, perceived this as her golden days of strength and skill. 

So, then, why was she insistent that the warring days were beyond her now? There were many wrongdoers whose doings needed righting and a good ass-beating would surely do to put them on the straight and narrow, and who else to dish out the justice than her badass mom? Not to mention vile Salsola, name of which the most seniorest members cringed to mention, looming as a shadow kingdom in the southeast, known to have once beaten old Inferni and rumored to keep thralls and officiate marriages between close family - surely they would someday show themselves as the villains they are and there'd be a need to chase them back to their thorn-laden borders? 

Mahi's eyes narrowed as it was explained to her that war was maybe not the best thing in the world. Yeah, right. She'd bet dying at the end of a blade would be one cool way to go, far better than growing old and rotting away. Hunger, sickness... to a child who knew neither - not in full, at least - these things seemed mild and insignificant. 

And thus, the lesson did not sink in.

Mahigul Feriqi picked up her duduk again and, as her mother blew long wisps of scented smoke, played the introduction again. It was not a perfect play, not in comparison to her ene's skill, but it did not take much for the youth to get lost in it. For a mind full of fantasies of war and strife, the melancholy tune came surprisingly easy, and soon she was back in her old dream, that of vast plains and sleek-faced families, drumming of horse hooves and above it all, soaring high, andeagle's call...

OOC: and i'd say we're done with this :D
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