[AW+] The Harvest Fest
Bête Noire
#1
Whisper had spent long moons in her new pack, learning herself and learning those around her in a way that was enabling the witch to slowly venture out of her shell. She was somewhat healthier now than she had been as well, or so she liked to think, but it was still hard. She liked being away from her family and feeling independent, but at the same time she wanted that connection with the people she grew up around to stabilize her and keep her grounded. 

And so for the first time in what seemed like a long time, Whisper visited her home away from home to see her family, and it was Mabon, or just about that time. 


Jed came to a stop in the clearing that surrounded the rest stop, Whisper sitting on the back of him before she slid down on her own, not waiting for Theo to get off first and help her down this time. She was getting stronger. 

Nyx and Lukos were present, she could smell them, and people were milling about, but it didn’t seem like there was a party going on. The smell of smoke and apples and the sharp note of alcohol flavored the air, and the scents of so many people lingered, and Whisper didn’t feel too afraid, instead, she approached her mother, the petite white female turning when she noticed her, and the two embraced and laughed quietly. ”Hello mother...” she whispered as she hugged the shorter but much more solid form close.
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#2
Once they had settled in and assimilated into the pack more, it was more work than he had initially expected.  His new home hadn’t quite lost the luster from when he first arrived, but once the dream ended reality inevitably kicked in, and he had to work hard to prove himself.  Now that he wasn’t constantly moving around and had to actually apply himself, the manual labor from the last to months helped the coyote’s limbs tighten up a bit, becoming more refined than before.

Jed was improving for the better as well, now that he was around more of his own kind.  His temperament mellowed somewhat now that he had other horses that could put him in his place, though he had developed a terrible habit of seeking out snacks from others.  Theo had his traveling companion to thank for that, but he couldn’t really hold it against Whisper for spoiling the stallion.

Whisper as well had grown stronger, no longer holding quite the same resemblance to a walking skeleton.  Watching as she slid off from Jed’s back, the coyote felt like before he would’ve been disheartened by missing the opportunity to lend a helping hand, but by now he knew Whisper would’ve stuck her tongue at him for trying to offer such a gesture.  Instead he was just happy to see the witch was doing better, and how she was excited to visit family now that they had permission to leave the borders.

Not long after they’d come to Del Cenere, Theo had become uncertain about who they were to each other, the nature of their companionship grew difficult to read.  It had gotten to the point where the Reeves man worried about bringing this up to the lithe hybrid, the concern of damaging what they’d built in the process.  Finding where he stood in Whisper’s heart seemed less important than ensuring he stood near her at all, and especially at a time like this.

For the time being, he focused on problems he could more easily understand, like arriving to Bête Noire in one piece, and leaving exactly the same.  Dismounting from Jed, he followed politely behind Whisper and let the family be alone for a moment, before approaching with the horse’s reins in one hand, extending the other to Nyx, then Lukos.  “Good seein’ y’a again.  Hope we made it on time.” He said with more respect than his first meeting with the pair.
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#3
The sight of Whisper riding in on the back of a familiar stallion accompanied by the troublesome coyote she’d departed with so many moons ago was something that Nyx at first could not believe. ”May...?” she half croaked, her voice catching in a long pause before the mother raced over to pull her eldest daughter into a tight embrace. Her wheaten hair was long and flowing, her spindly limbs had more to them, the bones no longer so prominent beneath her hide. ”H-how have you been? You l-look well!”

Every day passed much the same since Whisper had gone, she woke up and she worked, she bantered with passers by and encouraged her family for all the effort she saw them put into their day to day tasks, the group having gone from a displaced family and a couple ragtag loners to a well oiled machine that served guests every day and thrived with the business they received. That being said, when every day passed in the same manner, time began to slip and lose all semblance of meaning in its passage, yes the leaves had turned and many had fallen already, yes it was time to harvest the ripened fruits of autumn, it was just another step in the passage of the seasons.

At least that was what she thought until she heard those words from the mouth of the cowpoke coyote that accompanied her daughter. ”Late? F-for what..? ...! Gods!” she exclaimed at the sudden realization at what Whisper’s visit must have signified. Amethyst eyes widened to full moons and her face grew near panicked. ”Mabon!” The femme that was usually so strong and composed looked around at the lack of preparation and up at her mate frantically, not knowing what to do.

[Image: 4PQhq5B.png]
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#4
Ooc here

[Image: Chefmani.png]“Mabon?” Manitou's head popped out of the door to the Rest Stop with the cacophony of rattling wooden beads, “She seh Mabon?” Golden eyes found Nyx, then Theo and delight caught his eye as the sight of Whisper came next. Bursting out of the door with open arms, a ladle in one hand and an apron across his chest, he made a bee-line saunter straight for the woman.

“She fill out, don' she?” He laughed, prepared to be the next one to embrace Whisper in honor of her arrival home after all this time, “Wuh she gine be up tuh?” He asked, the flat of his palm aimed to give her a solid slap on her back, thrilled that she was here.

As quickly as he'd come to assault Whisper with affection, he turned back and made the journey back to the Rest Stop's door. There he put a hand on the frame and offered Nyx a golden eye over his shoulder, “Don' worreh. I gine mek sum'ting real bashy fuh Mabon,” He promised before entering back into the fine establishment, and heading into the kitchen.

Taking up a few of the apples that had been waiting to be used, he got to work throwing a knife at the fruit and breaking it down. He had a simple trick for a tasty treat that would mark the occasion of Whisper coming home and Mabon all at once.

With the apples cut, he tossed them in his smaller pot and set it to hand above the fire. Woodsmoke flourished around the cauldron as he pulled away and got to work at the topping. Taking oats, he minced the likes of it down and added honey to the mixture. All these fine ingredients having lined the shelves and just waiting for a reason to be used.

Moving from one side of the kitchen to the other, he ladled water in the apple pot, as well as another ladle of water into the oat mixture. There, he let everything sit, simmer and swell, before making his way back out of the kitchen, “Yuh gine like wuh Manitou mek,” He grinned, hanging off of the door frame with one hand, while eyes glazed across the people around, finally ending up on Lukos.


[+383]
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#5
His coat had to have grown in thinner this cold season, he could feel it. That, or it had been getting colder, and either way it was no avail to him, though the clothing he wore brought some relief.  The grey wolf felt like he was forgetting something, something about the way the cold crept into his bones, but for the life of him he couldn’t tell.  Was it winter preparations for their livestock? The smaller creatures they could herd into their house, but the potential mess was something one could balk at.  They had a fair supply of food for themselves stored up, along with what they would typically use for the restaurant.  If things became desperate, they could always trade for food, or go ice fishing…

 Interrupting his thoughts was the approaching thumps of hooves on earth, as he turned from the fire pit center of the clearing.  Seeing their eldest slide off the dark horse she rode on made him smile warmly, his muzzle widening as Whisper embraced his mate.  Lukos padded over to drape both of his arms over the pair, giving them a great big squeeze of a hug.  Theodore, the coyote she ran off with, seemed to have a much more polite tongue in the couple of months since they last saw them, which got him a snort from the large wolf.  Something he said had definitely clicked with the two parents though…

As Nyx whirled her head to look at Lukos upon realizing, it felt like an itch he’d forgotten for a week was just scratched.  Of course, they had forgotten Mabon this year!  It had honestly felt like they’d just done the autumn ceremony in celebration, but now that he thought of it, Whisper was the one who’d lead that ceremony over a year ago.  That probably should’ve been his first clue, how could’ve that slipped his mind?

At hearing the holiday, their resident cook had popped out of his restaurant not unlike an early gopher, echoing Nyx as he strode out with more energy than the sun had at present.  Just as he had blown through like a hurricane, the male retreated to the doorway, leaving bewilderment in his wake as he could be heard making something on the spot, almost as if it was his plan to do so all along.  The grizzled wolf gave a humored grin to his mate, feeling a few years younger just from witnessing the flurry that Manitou had flown into for welcoming Whisper home.

Manitou poked through the curtain door once more, and as he locked eyes with Lukos’ own yellow gaze the Greyfire couldn’t help but laugh silently to himself.  Glancing down to Nyx, Lukos murmured “There goes the food stocks, I suppose.” before giving his eldest a wink, lifting his head back and filling his chest with a howl, loosing it up into the sky as he summoned any and all nearby for a surprise festival.  They were overdue another party anyways.
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#6
The wolf was sound asleep behind the counter that served as the bar in the rest stop, they hadn't had any customers as far as he'd known during that time, it was quiet, the most he could hear was breathing and soft footsteps and maybe the occasional bit of dialogue from his family and friends, but none of that disrupted his sound slumber on the job, at least not until something seemed to have excited the Sefier and his booming voice piped up asking something about Mabon or whatever it was. 

His mind was already pulling him back into the comfortable fog of sleep by the time the pans thudding footsteps ran back into the kitchen and he began throwing things around and chopping apples loudly. "H'wha...?" The wolf sat up quickly, slamming his head on the underside of the bar as he did so and wincing, his face contorted into a half growl while hi9s hand flew up to his crown to rub the bruise on the top of his skull. 

"Ouch... What's going on?" He asked the cook, shrugging off the remnants of sleep that weighed down his body and mind and shaking out his pelt as he stood on two legs. Before he could collect himself, the thick man had thundered back out of the rest stop and the fragrant smell of cooking apples and honey began to permeate the air. "Mm... Mabon, huh?" He said, mostly to himself seeing as he was the only one in the room then. "Don't mind if I do."

Stretching as he got up, Uriah opened up some boxes to see what else they had, fresh as well as salted dry meats and fish, various fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, and now eggs as a more recent development. His stomach growled just thinking of the feast that lay in store, conveniently he chose not to think about how much work it would be to replenish all their stores before winter set in.
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#7
[+000]
Ooc:
Off in his own little world around the back of the Rest Stop, Mithra had found himself to work, axe handle rising and falling with an easy rhythm for now he was built for this kind of work. Summer, and early autumn had been kindly to him, and he saw the progression of his own actions. No longer flailing about quite so heavily in the wakes of others.

Thicker now at the neck and arms and chest than he'd ever been before, others to visit the Rest Stop sometimes stepped out of his way when they saw him coming.

Being referred to as 'the big motherf*cker' was something that continued to non-plus him but he wasn't about to argue when other luperci shifted to the side respectfully in his presence.

The clattering cacophony of clamoring beads as Manitou burst from the doorway reached even the Blacksun around the back, as did his hearty proclamations of 'Mabon!'

Mabon!

Dropping his axe, he hurried to gather up the rounds he had split into his arms, and rounded the corner swiftly, only to drop them onto his foot at the sight that greeted him.

Hardly feeling the pain in his toes, he swooped in too, a silly grin painted across his face, kneeling down to kiss the little woman upon her cheek gently. The soft, cowardly little boy that had sat in the snow with her and spoken of his fears was gone, much of him replaced with the makings of a man, though he were still his caring self at heart.

"It's g-good to see you, Whisper! You t-too Theo." Giving the coyote man a hearty handshake too.

There was no time to stand around chatting though, Mithra popped up from his kneel and gathered up the dropped logs rapidly, before turning to Nyx,

"I'll get the t-tables outside, Boss!"

Setting the logs instead of inside like he was going to be, he put them out by the fire that was sure to be stoked good and high to ward off the chill, then turned for the Rest Stop, and the large figure blocking the doorway.

"Scuse me, 'scuse me." Mithra said in a tone of pardon, and squeezed himself by the Sefier, a hard feat considering the large sizes of both men.

Uriah was already busy cooking away, along with whatever it was that Manitou had set on to go too, the scent of apples prominent in the air, and his stomach gave an eager grumble. Grabbing one of the circular tables in the middle, it was first to be given the heave-ho by the excited Bosseopalós

"Watch out! Coming t-through!" He said loudly, for once raising his voice to be heard over the clamor surely happening behind him, and giving the Bajan ample time to remove himself from the way of the door before exiting.



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