[P] Falls from the sky like a star
P. Battalion | the Star Moors | midday
[Image: black.png]   Grand Quest - Prompt #5   [359/1000] Be an advocate for an insect or arachnid by explaining their value to someone who wants to kill it.

Location: the Star Moors (Salquenor) || NPCs: Luath (cat) || Form: Optime

As both a Healer and an Apothecary, Sólveig was never without things that needed doing. Besides that, even when she did have a rare moment of downtime, there were the hives to maintain and family to visit and gossip to catch up on. Indeed, the young Dawnrunner had grown into an industrious woman  — a busy bee, if you would — with a capacity for self-governance and staunch dedication that kept her firmly on track. Sure, there had been bumps along the way: young love, horrors of war, bitter heartbreak, but these life experiences only made the endurer stronger; wiser. More empathetic.

A better person.

Everything that Sóli did these days was with the betterment of not only New Caledonia, but herself as well, in mind. And there was always something to do. Today, the High Lady of Dawn had decided to visit Salquenor — a vast grassland to the west that she rarely ventured — to forage for more botanicals that she could harvest for the Circle of Athelas' stores. Bounding after her on light, quiet paws was the patched cat Luath. Although Sólveig had hoped that the cat would lose interest and wander back to the City Square, the cheeky little mischief-maker had remained obstinately at her heels.

The truth was that Sólveig didn't dislike the cat. In fact she thought the queen quite beautiful and had laughed more than a handful of times at her antics, but she was a bit of a troublemaker and Sóli had been hoping for nice, peaceful time in the Outlands.

And, for a time, it seemed as though she was going to be rewarded with such a time regardless of the cat's presence, prompting Sóli to scold herself silently for thinking such thoughts of Luath the longer the peace stretched on. But when the queen caught sight of a bee and proceeded to chase and bat at it, Sólveig found those regrets quickly receding.

"Lua! No!" she barked, rounding on the little calico who darted away after the bee without so much as an ear-flick back at her. "Let it be, Luath!"

[WC -- 359]
OOC: Lua is a little shit, so feel free to PP her doing something annoying to Bat if it helps at all with your reply. Lmk if anything needs changing or if you need more to work with! <3
Hope this works! ^_^

Battalion liked the smell of the apple trees as she walked underneath them. It wasn't quite harvesting season yet for apples, though it was very close. The scent of them on the air was nice. She wasn't sure she'd like the taste of them - apples were very hit or miss on their taste - but she did like their scent. A few had fallen early and those smelled of rot, which was a strangely sweet smell against the otherwise crisp scent of the orchard.

She was coming through the lines of apple trees into the grasslands when she heard a somewhat familiar voice. The High Lady that she had met not too long ago, Solveig. Her tail swayed back and forth in a pleasant way. It was so nice to have someone she knew, again, that she could see for a second time. It had been so long since she could build relationships in that way. Not really since she was a cub and had first come into the band of traders. Sometimes they had returned to the same places where they had traded before, but it wasn't the same. It wasn't like someone she had traded with a month ago cared much for building a strong relationship other than a trading one.

Here, though, the Caledonians wanted to know her. Maybe not as much as she wanted to know them - they were more established, already had relationships that mattered to them, didn't need friendship as much as she did - but still. They didn't want her to be a stranger. Her being a stranger in their pack would be odd and dangerous. They wanted to know her habits and personality and skills. It was something, at least, even if all relationships wouldn't build to friendship.

Along with the High Lady was a cat that seemed to be chasing a bee. Her ears perked and she listened as Solveig scolded the cat for its antics, telling her to leave it alone. Before Battalion could even say hello to her fellow canine, the cat was heading her direction. Actually basically chasing the bee into her face. She flattened her ears a bit and backed up, waving her hand at the bee as it flew close enough to be a threat. She hadn't been stung by a bee and she didn't intend to start now.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
[Image: black.png]   Grand Quest - Prompt #5   [666/1000] Be an advocate for an insect or arachnid by explaining their value to someone who wants to kill it.

Location: the Star Moors (Salquenor) || NPCs: Luath (cat) || Form: Optime

As though it had been her plan all along (and, honestly, Sólveig wouldn't have put it past her; the pretty queen was a conniving little thing, after all), Luath's continuous harassment of the bee drove it straight into the friendly face of Sóli's newest acquaintance. Once it seemed clear that no further guidance was needed, the cat stopped her chase and, perfectly unconcerned, sat down to lick delicately at one of her forepaws while Sóli and Battalion dealt with the fallout of her infernal actions.

"Lua— Augh!" Sóli growled, glowering down at the little calico as she passed her. For her part, Luath merely looked up at the wolf with big, innocent eyes and gave the end of her tail a lazy twitch before carrying on cleaning her toes.

Sólveig slowed her jogging pace as she approached Battalion, holding her hands out and up in a silent plea to take it easy.

"Wait! Battalion, it's okay, just... just..." She released a long exhale. "Be calm. It'll die if it stings, so I'm sure it won't want to if it doesn't have to. I'm sure it's- it's probably just looking for somewhere safe."

She turned her head then to glower at Luath again. The cat returned her look with a trilled little chirp.

"I'm so sorry about Luath. She's, well..." When she couldn't come up with anything decent to say, she waved the though away with terse shake of her head. "Anyway, that poor bee is only trying to live and help out its colony. They're kind of like wolves in packs that way." She smiled at Battalion. "And it might belong to one of our hives. It would be sad to see it die before its time."

[WC -- 307]
OOC: Yes! This works perfectly!
Bat's ears flicked and she was about to swat at the bee again when Solveig's words stilled her hand. She tried to stay very still instead, though she did lower her hand so it wasn't an easy target for the stinger. Although apparently using their stinger killed them - what a terrible design! - that didn't mean the little things wouldn't do it if they were particularly irritated. Which this bee seemed to be, since it had already been antagonized by a cat and now swatted at by a wolf. Tali was relieved when it flew away, just as Solveig seemed to have predicted.

"Thanks for that. I didn't know they died when they stung. That seems terrible. Your one big defense and it's a one shot..." she said with a sad shake of her head. "Do we ... uh... need all the bees alive? They don't, um, harm anything or need to have their numbers managed?" Tali asked, trying to be delicate about the question, since it wasn't one she had considered before. She knew of honey, which bees created, but did they need all of them for that? Surely if she killed one here or there it wasn't a big deal? Sort of like culling a herd of deer. Some had to die so that the group could thrive. Perhaps bees weren't like that, though...

She looked at the preening cat with a slight tip of her head. Tali had never understood cats. They were very odd. Intelligent, probably capable of organizing as much as wolves did but just... not all that interested? She knew they couldn't shift, so that was a downside, but there were plenty of upsides to being a cat. Great night vision. Super athletic. Some sort of weird obsession for chasing things for sport. She wiggled her fingers at the queen as an offer to pet Luath if she wanted; she had no ill will toward the cat for just following its nature.

For the same reason, she didn't have any real ill will toward the bee for following its nature. It was probably better to leave it alive, even if it wasn't a honey producing insect, because she didn't gain much from its death. Except, possibly avoiding a sting. She wasn't even entirely sure that would've been true, though. Maybe it would've stung her and died and she would've still been in pain, even if she had managed to swat it. It really had ended as well as it could've. Bee alive, Bat unstung. Win/win.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
[Image: black.png]   Grand Quest - Prompt #5   [1234/1000] Be an advocate for an insect or arachnid by explaining their value to someone who wants to kill it.

Location: the Star Moors (Salquenor) || NPCs: Luath (cat) || Form: Optime

One of Sólveig's favorite pastimes was watching the activity of bees. Mundane as it might seem to most of her Caledonian compatriots (bewildering, even, to some), she found great meaning and tranquility in studying their busy little lives. To the Honeycomber, there were few things more adorable than a fat little bee, dusted with golden pollen, snuggling into and throughout the soft, bristle-like stamens of flowers. It was endlessly fascinating to her and, though not especially rare or remarkable, the sight always brought a smile to her face.

She had learned plenty about bees and beekeeping, whether through her own observations and trials or through the notes that her ex-girlfrind, Azalea, had copied for her from the keepers of Casa, but there were still plenty of mysteries left to discover about them! Privately, she hoped that they kept some of their secrets safe so that she would always have a reason to observe them.

Watching the harassed little bee buzz away free from its antagonist, Sóli visibly relaxed and released a weighted sigh of relief. She watched it zip through the warm, open air until she lost sight of it to the surrounding trees, then she looked at Battalion again with a sad smile.

"It is," she agreed, nodding. "It's one thing if its done to defend the colony, that's more commonly when I've seen them sting. Bees..." Her face lit up with admiration. "They kind of have a code of honor. Er, well... that's how I like to think of them, anyway." Sóli giggled lightly. "Because if the hive is disturbed, they'll defend it with their lives to keep their queen and the baby bees safe. Its almost like they understand what it means to take action for the greater good."

At her feet, Luath took note of the waggling fingers of the darker woman and, after considerable contemplation, rose to her paws and padded toward the wolf. She stretched and flopped over onto her side just out of Battalion's reach. Sólveig met the Commoner's eyes again and shook her head with mild amusement, attempting to impart how unsurprised she was by the little cat's actions.

"Anyway, when an individual bee feels threatened enough to sting someone while not defending its colony... Well, that's just sad, isn't it? Its just seems so senseless. The colony probably wouldn't be any worse off from one lost member, but if they lose too many then the whole colony could collapse." She looked back down at the cat, her smile faded to a shadow of what it had been. "But there's maybe some... some mutual benefit, I guess, between the bees and the flowers. Or, at the very least, the plants don't seem harmed by the bees visiting them, so I don't think that having lots of bees is a bad thing."

When she looked at Battalion again, her smile had returned.

"It's definitely not bad for us! Their honey is useful for lots of things, but the Circle uses it to help heal wounds and soothe coughing. It sounds strange, but it's really very effective!" she explained brightly. "Besides, I think that the population of colonies is self-limiting," she assured her companion. "Have you ever seen a giant blob of bees covering a tree branch before?"

[WC -- 568]

She wasn't that great at animal tending or knowledge, unless it involved how to hunt them. Clearly, the Dawnrunner wolf had a far more extensive knowledge of these things. Bat was eager to learn more about it, too. Then she could make sure she wasn't doing any harm to the work of others. Clearly, the bees were important, and she would respect that. It was the why behind it that she was really curious to learn.

Tali listened as Solveig explained more about how bee colonies worked. This was all new information to her and she was going to do her best to remember it. Though she doubted she'd ever be as enthusiastic about the buzzy little insects as the High Lady was. There just wasn't that much interest in her. Knowing enough to be useful: yes. Knowing this much: no. She'd be more apt to learn things about trading, hunting, and tanning. It was very good that they had wolves with different interests in the pack, though. They all contributed together to the wellbeing of the pack.

The cat trotted over and then flopped down just out of reach. Bat shook her head slightly and took a step forward, crouching and reaching to scratch at the queen's chin and neck. Those were the areas that she remembered cats liking scratched when she'd met them in the past and interacted with them. Although from what she knew of that animal, they were a prickly and particular bunch. She could have it totally wrong for this specific cat. Only way to find out was to try, though, and risk a nip or swat if she got it wrong. It wouldn't be the first time she was chastised for incorrectly guessing how a cat wanted to be pet.

She continued to listen as Solveig explained that the bees traveled around plants but didn't seem to harm them, so as many as existed wouldn't be a problem. Especially since they made honey which apparently had a lot more uses than she had realized. That might be a valuable trade resource for the pack, even, if they had excess. "I never knew honey was that useful! Mostly I had heard of it used for flavoring. Seems we could do with as many bees as want to hang around here." she remarked. "I haven't seen a big group of bees on a tree branch before, no. They do that?" she was really curious as to hear more about why.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
[Image: black.png]   Grand Quest - Prompt #5   [1643/1000] Be an advocate for an insect or arachnid by explaining their value to someone who wants to kill it.

Location: the Star Moors (Salquenor) || NPCs: Luath (cat) || Form: Optime

Luckily for Battalion, those were the very spots that Luath liked scratched the best. While Sóli prattled on and on about the bees, the patched queen closed her eyes and appeared to revel in the ministrations of the wolf's fingers against her neck and chin. She was purring so loudly at this point that, somewhere in the middle of her lengthy educational talk, it even momentarily drew the Lady's attention away from her beloved bees to glance down at what her friend was doing to evoke such a response from the little cat.

"Oh, yes!" she agreed, nodding fervently. "Bees are wonderful little allies to have."

She thought to add that honey certainly had use as a flavoring additive — it was a wonderful addition to sweeten teas and tisanes and reduce some of the bitterness they often tasted of — but the subject of bee swarms was abundantly more fascinating to her.

"They do!" she chirped, passion in her bright eyes. "I'm not sure if they do it because the colony gets too crowded or because there's too much competition or what, but a whole bunch of them will swarm together until they find a suitable place for a new hive. I've only ever seen it later in the springtime, though..." She curled a fist thoughtfully against her lips and allowed herself to consider what this meant until she remembered her audience. "Oh! Sorry!" she laughed apologetically. "Anyway, swarms can be scooped up and used to colonize our Luperci-made hives. Since they don't have a hive to protect or provide for, they're pretty easy to collect and transport."

Satisfied with her well-deserved massage, Luath rose to her feet and gave her compact little body a healthy shake. Then she sat, her tail curled around her toes, and began to the tedious task of grooming her sleek patched pelt. Sólveig watched her a moment with an expression trapped somewhere between amusement and fondness and then looked at Battalion again.

"I think bees are a little easier to understand than cats are," she joked, giggling. "Thank you for helping that bee escape." Sóli canted her head a touch and closed her eyes, smiling sweetly. "And for listening to me ramble on, too."

Opening her eyes, Sólveig regarded Battalion with warm appreciation, thinking that she was so happy not only to know her, but to have her as a friend.

[WC -- 409]
OOC: wow sóli u nerd. :') Also, thank you so much for your patience! <3 I've met my WC requirement, so we can probably end with your next post since we have another thread still in the works! c:
Thanks for the thread!!

Bat was pleased that she had picked the right scratching spot, even if the purring did make it difficult to hear Solveig somewhat. It was alright, though, she had overly big ears and often joked it helped her hear better. Maybe not past the sound of a cat's purring, but it didn't hurt.

It was clear to her that Solveig had a great passion for bees. This was like when she got to talking about hunting or marksmanship, the buzz of happiness she felt made her words float into the air with great excitement attached. Battalion really enjoyed hearing someone else talk that way about something. It was always nice to hear someone else have passion for things. In the trading group where she was raised, there hadn't been much excitement at all. At least not around her. It was good to have that kind of connection growing where someone wanted to talk with her passionately.

The blue-eyed Commoner stopped petting Luath as soon as the queen indicated she was no longer interested. Tali was never interested in chasing something down to pet it. Honestly she wasn't even much for companion animals for herself, though she enjoyed giving them attention briefly while in the company of others. "I am happy to learn more about beekeeping, although I know I'll never be as familiar with all of it as you are. I'll make sure to keep in mind the importance of them, though, and not kill any if I can help it in the future." not that she had ever wanted to kill bees, but now she had a specific reason not to do it.

"I've got to check some traps I set, so I'll see you around?" she wagged her tail. "It was good to see you again."

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again

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