[P] Blessings Passed to Others
For Amora/Artoia.

Outside the arctic gusts blew a powdery snow off of the rooftops around Wolfville into swirls that trailed along the pathways, and clouds threatened to bring more crystals down from the heavens.  Winter had taken claim to the lands of Casa di Cavalieri with all of her fury.  But the Wolfe-Denahlii herbalist sat alone in her shop, taking inventory of remedies she had left, and went over what she wanted to plant and when. Each seed was different and required its own unique and vital elements to thrive.

Though if the sable woman was honest with herself, her mind was not on the task at hand but on a certain silvery man that had recently stolen her heart and the conversation they had the other night in front of the dancing flames that warmed their fur.  Kai hummed contently, with an occasional wag of her tail as she day dreamed out of the open window and played with the quill in her hand.  Finally with a content sigh, she brought her thoughts back to reality and looked around.  Maybe since her mind was too distracted with the current task she could work on making totems and charms for protection, love and luck. 

Taking a bin out from under that table that held different pieces of wood and bone, along with some carving knives she looked around for the best place to carve.  Sitting down in a chair, the woman placed a piece of old leather over her lap to catch the trimmings and hummed another little tune as she grabbed a piece of driftwood and began carving a charm for luck. Little by little she worked at the wood, cutting it down to the perfect size and then began on the shape.  Occasionally mismatched orbs would wander up to look around, a little disappointed that it wasn't quite time for Cedric to stop by, but she knew that he was a busy man being the Lune and was grateful for anytime that she got to spend with him. 

The whittler was almost done with her first charm when her ears flicked to the sound of the door opening causing her to look up to see who had come by.  Black lips turned up in the corners as a friendly smile graced her muzzle,

"Good afternoon Miss Artoia, what brings you around Wolfville today?  On a mission for Eros, just exploring or did you need something?  I hope you or your family are not feeling under the weather?"

Kai waved the girl over and patted on the seat next to her, inviting her to sit if she wanted to visit for a bit.

  [444] // Ooc Here//

Morning, a few hours after dawn; Wake up, stretch, border patrol.

Mid-morning; Take her sharp dagger or two wooden practice daggers into a ring and practice forms and speed against one or more dummies.

Noon; Visit the Wolfe Denahlii camp to check in on all her family that stayed there, help with some chores. Do the same at the carpentry shop to see if her Mahn or Ghura were in. If they were not around to spend time with too, then she would hit the library and practice her letters and her reading, as well as practicing for her project.

Early afternoon, Fort Chore time; Check around the rest of the Fort for any various chores that needed to be done.

That was generally her schedule, unless Eros threw it askew with one of his sessions, which frankly could be at any time, for however long he took her for. But outside of his influence, that is the pattern she kept to. It helped keep her busy and keep her developing skills sharp.

Today's session had been earlier, just after her morning border patrol, so now she took that impromptu visit to Wolfville. Today wore on Artoia, for some reason. Though the waves of her arctic fury had since cooled after the chaos of the Feast, she could still feel it lapping at the edges of her subconscious, seeding in her a frustration that no progress in finding the culprit, any culprit, had been made.

She wasn't positive it was the three entertainers. Not without more irrefutable proof, and they were really, really good actors. So that meant it was actually them, or the perpetrator behind that horrible night was still free, whether that be in a fellow veiled Cavalier, or a loner that might have up and gone far from here, never to be caught. Both ideas set her teeth on edge, images of Caspian grasping Cedric's hand and never flagging for a moment in his grip, Aldora crossing in front of everyone, carrying the love of her life in her arms.

Her need for justice for those that had been harmed in the poisoning had been strong before, only having her parents, grandparents, brothers, and cousins to worry about in her direct family.

But then,

Then, she'd learned of Mahn's pregnancy.

Artoia was to be an older sister.

It'd felt odd for the first while, digesting the information that she would be having siblings soon. And then they'd come, and she'd met them, seen their tiny squirming faces, and...hadn't been overly impressed.

She'd been distant for a short time after their birth, unsure about the idea of not being the only child anymore. It took perhaps a week, and Artoia had ended up babysitting the twins for a night, curled around their bedding in front of the fireplace downstairs. Something about being guarded around them, listening to their little puppy sounds, and knowing they were hers, her brothers. Like gravity, she had steadily shifted closer and closer to them on the furs, and they too had burrowed into the warmth of her fur.

She was their protector, in that moment, and had anything come upon them, her retaliation would have been swift, and lethal. More than the way she wanted to protect her parents, the rest of her family, or all of the pack, something about the twins called to every feral protective instinct she had.

And it scared the crap out of her.

And the bigger they got, the worse her fear got.

Because soon, her brothers wouldn't want her protection, nay, they would balk under it.

Her thoughts had just reached this point as she entered Wolfville, her steps mostly wandering until she took absent note of what part she'd drifted into. Artoia realized she'd been gradually drawn closer and closer to Kai's herbal shop, and with a shrug she decided to visit. Kai was her cousin, but in the grand scheme, she knew very little about this relative except for the bolder past details and her overall gentle kindness, which wouldn't do.

Upon coming inside, Kai's warm voice greeted her readily, prompting a smile to shift across Art's muzzle. "Eros probably wouldn't mind anything I could manage to bring back, but I was actually just kind of wandering? I found myself over here near your place, and decided to stop by," she took a spare second to briefly shake herself from ears to tail, dislodging the thicker snowflakes that had clung to her pelt on the walk over here.

Mostly snow-free, she came closer to take the offered seat Kai had patted, arctic green orbs taking in the supplies and tools laid out before turning up to find Kai's candlelit silver and gold. "We're all doing good too. Nanouk and Tristan are growing so fast, it almost hurts to watch," she flicked an ear at the admission, it had kind of slipped out, but she didn't acknowledge it as unintentional.

"What about you? How are you faring over here in Wolfville? I see you're working on something. Sorry if I'm intruding," Art smiled sheepishly, feeling a touch guilty over barging in on her relative so suddenly. She wouldn't have been surprised or offended if Kai had asked her to leave, though she hadn't just yet.

Artoia Denahlii
[Image: 8MqUpqs.png]


Mismatched orbs watched as the young girl shook the snow from her wine and cream coat, the clumps of snow landing and instantly melting from the warmth of her home. Kai smiled as the girl came closer.  It was hard to believe that she was almost done with her apprenticeship and soon she would be joining the adult ranks, the sable woman had no doubt that she would be awarded with the first cadent rank as much as Artoia trained and studied.  While they weren't close, they were still family and the Wolfe-Denahlii counselor had paid attention to how she was doing.  Kai smiled and nodded, giving the young woman time to talk.

"Well you are always welcome to stop by any time, my home is always open to you and your family.  I am glad that everyone is doing well."

She chuckled to herself noticing how much Artoia had taken to the big sister role and it warmed her heart. There was always an interesting dynamic that came into play when younger siblings were born, but it seemed Artoia took to it with ease.

"You make sure to enjoy those moments with your brothers, even the annoying parts, you'll come to miss it eventually."

Kai was the only daughter of her mother, she never got a chance to have siblings or anything remotely close to it, but since coming here to live as part of the pack, she had watched many a pup grow up and family always talked about how young pup days flew by in a blink of an eyes.  Even Artoia had seen that with her baby brothers.  She let out a content sigh and smiled at her visitor,

"I am well, thank you, very happy here.  It's a bit far from the Fort, but it's not too bad by horse or in lupus form."

The woman scoffed at the thought of the young woman being an intrusion,

"You are never intruding, like I said you are always welcome any time you wish to come by to visit, I would love the company.  But I am working on something, did Terokla Jace ever talk to you about blessing charms or totems in the last light before winter for love, luck or protection?"

The dark furred woman gave Artoia the time to answer before continuing on.

"Every year I make carvings out of bone or wood throughout the moons for those I hold close to my heart or who I think may need a little extra blessing.  The carvings are just things that make me think of them, then I travel to a sacred place and hold them into the dying light of fall to bless them and give them to those people they were intended for, whether still among the living or in the Silent Meadow and beyond."

She sat back and looked out into the snowy day once more and smiled before looking back over to the girls green hues,

"It's not a Wolfe-Denahlii tradition per se, but it's something that Jace does and that was passed down to me and who I will pass on to anyone that wants to learn about it."

Pausing, she thought for a moment,

"Would you like to join me?  I'm sure there is someone you would like to make a charm or totem for?"

Kai had a feeling that she would need a basket to tote all the charms to the last light before winter this year, she had so much to the thankful for and so many blessings she wanted to pass on to loved ones and pack mates.

  [611] // Ooc Here//

After Artoia's greeting statement, Kai briefly mentioned that her home was open anytime to her or anyone in their family, bringing a smile to her maw and she let herself relax a bit more, content that she was welcome here. It made her upcoming laugh all the better in response to Kai's advice with the boys, and she nodded with a wider grin.

"Oh of course. The stories I'll have for later to use against them are already countless," she admitted, another quiet chortle exiting her nares. Kai then took to responding to her own queries after her cousin's wellbeing, and again dismissed her worries about being a nuisance with another scoff and giving her reassurances.

But furthermore, Kai was working on totems, and arctic hues again swept across the staged surfaces to take them in. Having seen both Jace and Guin doing something very similar, she gave a nod of her head and a quick audible hum in the affirmative to the question asked. "I have yes, by Mahnama Jace and Mahn, though I don't think Mahn does the sacred place or the dying light thing," she shared the little information she had, for she had watched Mahnama plenty of times. Guin was more secretive about it, only collecting the wooden blanks at the shop but doing the carving and whittling elsewhere.

Kai ventured on to explain them further, and Art of course listened intently. Jace had said much the same too, but it never hurt to hear it again. Her cousin was quiet for a moment, and then sun and moon orbs settled onto her with a suggestion. Artoia's tail began to wag eagerly, and she gave some eager nods of her head.

"I'd love to give it a try," she told the older female, glacial green orbs practically glowing. She already had the beginnings of an idea crafting into shape in her head, but getting it from thought to wood had a challenging twist to it that she actually appreciated. "I need a blank, right? To start out with and whittle down to the right size?"

Artoia Denahlii
[Image: 8MqUpqs.png]


Kai was having a good time spending time with Artoia, she seemed the perfect mix of Honrin and Guin, maybe with a little bit of Jace mixed in there too, it was apparent that the blood of two strong families ran through her veins. She couldn't help but chuckle when the young girl mentioned the stories she would hold over her brother's heads in the future, she was a good big sister. For just a moment the sable woman wondered what it might have been like to grow up with a few sibling of her own. But then again the lifestyle she had as a pup wasn't very conducive to her mother having more than one pup, she was sure it was hard enough for her mother with just her.

As the Wolfe-Denahlii officer nodded and smiled as talk turned towards the task at which she was working, glad to hear that the wine and cream girl was familiar with totems and charms.  What pleased her even more the youth's excitement in wanting to try it herself.  Leaning over she grabbed a spare carving knife from the bin and handed it to Artoia, handle first.

"Be careful, the knife is sharp, I don't want to have to explain to your parents why their beautiful daughter has one less finger."

Kai chuckled softly with a smile across her muzzle,

"So tell me, what is it that you would like to carve?"

If she knew what the girl wanted to work on she'd be able to point her in the right direction as far as what material should be used, bone or wood.  A smile grew on her black lips and she nodded as the young woman told her what she had desired to make,

"That is such a wonderful idea, and I know that whoever you give it to, will treasure it always."

Mismatched orbs roamed to look at her basket of various chunks of wood and bone, she reached down a grabbed a decent size shoulder bone of a deer and handed to Artoia,

"Here try this, it may be a little more challenging to carve, but I think it will work better for your project."

Smiling Kai took her own charm into her hand, did a few finishing touches to it and placed it to the side, before grabbing her own piece of bone.  The candid's project idea had given her an idea for her own special project. Carefully she placed the sharp blade against the bone and started shaving away layers of bone to form a more circular shape that would eventually turn into a sun, or at least she hoped she was talented enough to do so.

After a few moments of working in silence, hues of sun and moon looked over to Artoia to see how she was doing,

"So how are you fairing with your shields and training?  Your First Blood should be coming up soon, yes?  Within the next moon or so?"

No reason the two ladies couldn't chit chat while they worked and get to know each other a little better.

  [527] // Ooc Here//

Being around Kai was always a calming experience for the apprentice. Not that the rest of her family was chaotic, aside from the growing little goblins that she could now call brothers, but most of the Wolfe-Denahlii clan were calm, reserved, and wise in various different things. It was something in the way Kai spoke, or carried herself. The onyx she-wolf always had a smile on her muzzle, and Artoia had never heard a cross word from or about her cousin at all.

Even the way she warned Artoia about the sharpness of the knife as it was handed to her hilt first, it didn't chafe her fur as it might have  if coming from someone else. She was very familiar by now about how sharp a knife could be, her training with Eros assured of that, but Kai's concern came from a place of warmth and kindness. And the compliment hadn't hurt either.

She even found herself smiling slightly from it; she'd been called beautiful by her Mahn and Ghura before, but parents were supposed to say those things, right? They were biased. And she didn't really care how she looked to others, she wouldn't consider herself vain. Was it just about her looks, or did Kai mean it about something more? She accepted the flattery nonetheless, filing away the few questions it had raised to think about for later as she tested the edge of the knife against the pad of a finger, considering Kai's second query that she'd stated.

"I actually do, yeah," she admitted, looking up to her cousin's sun and moon hues with a slight smile. "I want to make the Denahlii crest. The one Ghura has on his chest. I want to make it for all of us, to make into the throat latch broach for our rank cloaks. I'll gift it to every family member, both blood and adopted. Mahnama Jace would want it that way, I think. Family is Family." she explained her idea briefly, and Kai was immediately receptive to it.

And onyx hand reached into the basket of supplies after a moment's consideration, pulling free a shoulder of deer bone to hand into Artoia's pale cream grasp, advising that it would better suit her intended project in mind than wood could. Artoia agreed with a nod and smoothed her fingers over the surface, inspecting the shoulder she'd been given to find the perfect spot to begin.

For a while then, they worked together in silence, each gradually shaving away at the bones in hand to begin their totems or project. Artoia had gotten a good spot and started shaving down the area to detach it from the bigger piece of shoulder, though by no means was she close just yet, the Office had been correct that it was harder to carve and keep a safe hold of, but the Candid was patient.

Artoia's ear flicked toward Kai at the question, and she paused to consider it. She didn't have her sash with her to showcase it, and her going had been slow. She'd told herself that she wanted all of the shields, and yet at this point, she didn't think she'd gotten any. "My shield's are suffering," she admitted, though her gaze shifted to meet Kai's quickly after, "Not due to any fault of Eros's, that is. He's a good mentor. Demanding, but good. I wanted to get all of my shield's at the same time, and I think I will here soon. I was admittedly...distracted, when Lucian and Caspian left. And the...Feast."

The girl's ears pinned backward at the thought of that horrific night, and a scowl colored her face that she quickly tried to mask by looking away from her cousin and focusing really hard on the project in her hands, the edge of the knife angrily shaving more bone away. "So. Yeah. I was really concentrated on just training for a while there, but I should still be getting them soon, at least," she finished off after a beat. "Training is...interesting, with Eros, too. He's thorough and doesn't take much bull. And yeah, my First Blood is coming up quick. I'm not that worried about it." all this she said with her face notably lowered to 'focus' on the bone and knife in her hand.

Artoia Denahlii
[Image: 8MqUpqs.png]


Doing other crafts or whittling had always been therapeutic to the Wolfe-Denahlii counselor, something that relaxed her and allowed her to let go of it all.  Especially when done alone or in silence besides her occasional hum.  But she also enjoyed spending time with others while doing it too, so she was happy to have her young cousin join her on such an occasion.  The two worked without talking for a little while before small talk began, Kai was generally curious about how Artoia was doing.  She placed the current project down in her lap and listened for a moment as the girl spoke of shields and training, Eros and the boys. Kai nodded,

"Yes, I think the events of last year had a way of sending us all for a loop, I know that I'm glad things have finally settled down at least a little.  I know you work hard, I always see you on the go, don't forget to enjoy being young too though Miss Artoia, it will be gone before you know it.  The training and shields will come, I have no doubt, but the innocence of youth will quickly fade, which you are well aware of by now."

Reaching over, dark furred hands patted the wine and cream girl with a smile.

"Lucian and Caspian, you know they wouldn't have left if it wasn't what they needed right?  Everyone has to handle things differently, I think it did them good to get away and grow up some, especially Lucian.  Caspian will in his own time.  And it doesn't mean they love you any less, either.  I know they are quite fond of their little sister and proud too."

Picking up the bone in her hand once more, mismatched orbs looked down at it, the shape was starting to look like some sort of shield, but she had a lot more work to do before it would be good enough to gift to her love. Looking back at the young woman beside her, she gave a warm smile,

"The Feast ended tragically, but we came out stronger on the other side.  I wish that there was some way to get those loved ones back, but we just have to cherish the times we did have with them and celebrate their lives."

Closing her eyes, images of the horrid night flashed back through her mind and she had to fight back the tears, it could have been so much worse.

"You are strong Artoia, you have the blood of your ancestors running through you.  I have no doubt that you will succeed at your First Blood, and many other challenges you will face through your life.  I see a lot of your mom and Gramma Jace in you, the fire burns bright within you."

The sable woman gave another encouraging smile, before turning back to the project at hand, taking the sharp carving knife to the bone and shaving away sliver by sliver she hummed quietly once more as thoughts turned to the man the cloak pin would be for and how she hoped he would like it.  Kai's smile grew at the thought of Cedric and how lucky she was to call him her own.

"I must thank you for such a lovely idea as the broach for the family,"

She held up her craft to show the girl, the shape of a shield was becoming more recognizable,

"I hope Cedric will like it."

She began carving on it again, eventually it would be a shield with the Casa di Cavalieri emblem on it, a perfect gift for the Lune and shield master.

  [613] // Ooc Here//

Kai's kind words in response to her unplanned vent about the last several months were unexpected. Then again, they shouldn't have been, Artoia was, after all, in the presence of the pack's counselor.

Her cousin full stopped what she'd been doing and had actually listened, her attention focused solely on the younger Denahlii girl, sun and moon hues intense on her face, and something about that made Art's chest tighten dangerously. She'd told no one except for Eros about how angry and frustrated she'd been, about everything.

Making up with her brother's hadn't counted, that was different and separate.

She didn't dare meet Kai's gaze right then. It felt too risky, too exposed.

Eros's lessons about walking in the dark, always separated from her own family, for their own safety and hers as well, came to laugh at her from the recesses of her memory. She snapped at it and squished it down to confront later, not giving even a hint in her expression at the brief turmoil Kai's words had brought to the fore.

When had she gotten so good at lying and deception?

"My innocence began to chip away the moment Mahnama Veri died," she murmured in response, still not looking up. "My first real brush with death, with another Luperci," her hands paused in their work as she took a breath and released it. "Nothing is certain. That's what that taught me." Artoia's hands resumed their repetitive movements with the knife and the bone.

Shick, shick, shick, metal against bone as it was steadily scraped away to reveal something new and different underneath.

Just like her childhood, and whatever she was becoming now.

Kai's touch was unseen, and made her twitch in reaction to the physical contact. It prompted her to look up into Kai's sun and moon hues, and there she was locked in place while her cousin spoke, reassuring her about her brother's and their intentions. Artoia knew all that, now. In the moment, though, it'd been excruciating, and she'd thought it was her fault, and Eros's fault.

After the elder counselor had dropped her gaze down to the project again, Artoia was released from the spell, and she drew in an unexpectedly shaky breath. Why?

"I know that, now," she admitted, returning her glacial green orbs to her own task as well and resuming the careful carving of her knife. "I reacted and coped in my own way too. But they both know I'm there for them, always, and that will just need to be enough,"

Art felt Kai's gaze on her again, and she mentioned the Feast. The apprentice's ears shifted backward once more and her gaze chilled considerably where she stared at the bone and knife in her hands, listening but not yet able to speak. Her fingers shook around the carving knife's hilt and she tightened her grip to hide it.

If looks could kill, the shoulder of bone would have been encased in ice solid all the way through and been shattered at the slightest touch.

A child of under a year should not have been capable of such a look yet.

Seconds later, it was gone, replaced with an intense, less concerningly angry frown.

"But we still don't know who did it," she seethed, the frigid ire of the Denahlii legacy practically audible in her voice. "I plan on doing something about that after my First Blood. I will pass." what that might be she didn't elaborate.

She shouldn't have said that at all.

It was a hint at her intentions in the future, that she planned on following Eros and Maisie into the dark, to end enemies before they could harm her home and family. Or throw the poor sods into the light to be consumed by the Knight's justice while she stood in the shadows and looked on.

No recognition, no reward.

Only results.

Artoia was startled a bit when Kai thanked her for the idea about the broach, and warmer arctic green hues swung up to look at her cousin's face, inspecting the piece when the counselor held it up for her inspection. Almost as an afterthought, Kai mentioned wondering if Cedric would like it, and that threw a new wrench into the apprentice's previous mindset.

She found herself grinning stupidly, pausing her own carving to lean closer to Kai, her gaze sparkling with mischief.

"Cedric, eh? So you're making something for the Lune," her grin got wider, and she scooted slightly closer, her whole demeanor now a gossiping teen.

"Is someone making a courtship totem for our King of the Moon?" she asked slyly, and her brows tried to do a little dance for extra emphasis, though she'd never done it before and it only made her look silly.

Artoia Denahlii
[Image: 8MqUpqs.png]


Life was hard enough, especially at Artoia's age, she was stuck somewhere between being a child and being an adult, though as she talked she could tell that her childhood had ended to abruptly when the girl was too young.  Yet as much as her cousin may not want to admit it, Kai still thought she needed her family.  And the sable woman would always be there for her, even if she felt no one else would.  Of course she never thought that would happen, Artoia had so many in her corner willing to fight for her.

This was one of those moments that the counselor just liked to be silent and listen, let other get everything off of their chest and usually say more than they realized they needed to in a way.  Kai simply smiled and nodded and gave the girl a reassuring pat on the back,

"Gramma Jace was right about you, you are a child of fire, one of your ancestors blood.  Be proud of who you are, Artoia, there aren't many left like you."

Kai wasn't like her cousin, she was named Ky'Ry for a reason, but she was okay with that, she was also happy and proud of who she was too.

There was no need to focus on the turmoil that the wine and cream was feeling unless the girl wanted to, then the Wolfe-Denahlii woman would of course listen, but she thought that a change in subject might be good for them. Her cousin's words about the Lune made her cheeks and ears go flush and warm, and it forced a giggle and caused her to cover her face as she laughed.  Uncovering her face, an inky hand waved at herself to cool off.

"Just a broach for now, something to wear on his cloak.  But who knows, maybe one day we will have a mateship ceremony, for now though, I'm just enjoying every moment I can with the Lune."

Placing her project in her lap, she smiled and sighed, and chuckle still escaping occasionally as she looked out the door.  It was getting dark, and speaking of Cedric, she was due at his place tonight. Standing up she put her project on the counter for finish later and she packed a to-go satchel for her cousin, with a spare blade and extra pieces of bone.

"Here, take this, that way you can work on your gifts whenever you have time.  And you are always welcome to come here and work on it together."

Kai gave her cousin a warm smile.

"Now it's getting dark, let me walk you home, we can talk more on the way."

She had no doubt that Artoia would ask more about her relationship with the Lune, but to be honest, it was still so new and exciting, Kai didn't mind talking about it, and it would make the trip back to the Fort that much more enjoyable.

  [501] // Ooc Here//

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