[P] [LCSS] These words I'll never say.
for Losse!
#1
The crowd was even more agitated than it had been after Hokori and Cerberus's matchup, she thought, hearing the excited chatter of other spectators. She had taken her leave of Liam rather quickly after the fight ended, because she fully intended to spend the night with Losse on the haunted island. Not because she had intentions or thought that he needed her, but because he was her friend. And she knew she wouldn't want to do it alone. Maybe he already had someone else and other plans. It didn't hurt to ask, though. At the very least he would know that she cared.

Bat didn't run over to grab him, not knowing what sorts of things he might need to sort out as far as his yield and who might need to talk to him. The Commoner lingered near to the place they had fought, waiting until Losse was free from whoever needed to talk to him after the match real quick. Hopefully they were mostly congratulations that he received for making the best choice that resulted in the least harm. The match had seemed like it could've struck up a fire between the two males if it hadn't ended when it did. He had made the best, most honorable choice.

Her heart skipped a little beat when he looked her way and she waved with a faint smile to catch his attention. She walked over to him and moved to give him a quick hug if he allowed it. Being this close to him, smelling the heated scent of him post-fight was... more pleasant than she would've anticipated and her face became as heated as his body probably was. Gods above, couldn't she just talk to him without feeling her whole body heat with interest? Maybe this wasn't a good idea... oh well, too late now.

"Hey. That was a good fight. You did the right thing." she said softly.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
#2
[562 +5]

The fight had ended, in a way he was sure nobody present -- himself included -- had anticipated. Lossë knew that it was an unpopular choice that he had made, but it was one he had to. He'd watched silently as Mesquite snarled at him and stalked off, and simply stood in silence in the center of the ring, trying to ignore the jeering in response to his yield. He'd lost, yes, but it wasn't a loss in a way that really mattered, at least to him. He wasn't excited about spending the night on the spooky island, but that was the price of defeat. Even a willing defeat.

He sighed deeply as the crowd began to disperse, trying not to notice the dirty looks thrown his way for ending the fun so abruptly. None that were outside the ring would have been able to understand why he did what he did, and he held no grudge against them for that lack of understanding. He knew he would get flack from Hoko, maybe even Tora if the giantess told her father about the events, but he couldn't bring himself to care. He wasn't returning home for another week past the end of the Stockshow anyway, and tempers would have plenty of time to cool by then. He gazed off in the direction Mesquite had walked. At least some tempers, anyway. 

A familiar face, one with concern in those bright blue eyes, approached. Bat opened her arms for a hug, almost hesitantly, and Lossë responded by wrapping an arm around her shoulders and dragging her in close to him. He closed his eyes and breathed in the pleasant scent of her, of New Caledonia, of calm, of friendship. He felt too hot -- almost feverish -- and hoped she didn't mind the heat radiating off of him after the fight. He nodded at her words and felt a wave of exhaustion roll over him, a creeping tide that sapped the last of his strength from his bones. His arm reflexively tightened around her and he opened his eyes again, blinking slowly. He forced himself to relax his grip. "Sorry," he said softly. "I just got really tired all of a sudden. Do you mind sitting with me for a little bit before you have to leave?" 

He tried not to lean too heavily against her, but the way his legs felt as though they were made of the jellyfish he'd seen wash up on shore once made it difficult. Lossë opened his mouth, trying to bring forth the words to ask her to stay with him over the night, but couldn't bring himself to do speak. It wasn't fair of him to ask her to stay -- she'd won her fight and he'd lost his, how could he ask her to stay and take the loser's prize? He shook his head, trying to clear his mind, but found it feeling stuffed full of cotton. He wasn't sure he'd ever felt this bone-deep tired.

Still holding her close, he rested his chin on her head between her ears and sighed again. "I think you might be the only person who thinks I did the right thing," he whispered, uncertainty coloring the words. "At least I've got you in my corner. Thank you."
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#3
He gripped her tighter than she would've expected and her ears flicked back. Her heart was beating fast; was this what a rabbit felt like clutched in the jaws of a wolf? Though she wasn't frightened for her life, merely excited was probably the right word. It was electric on her end to feel his close proximity that way and the way that he tightened his arm around her... gods above, seriously, what was wrong with her? She was trying to be a good friend not whatever her body was trying to do to her.

When he apologized for gripping too tight, she shook her head. "I can only imagine." the exertion of the fight itself on a physical level and then the emotional toll of making a decision to stop. It fought against some part of his nature, she was sure, as it would've against even hers. As a rule, she was a fairly meek wolf, but in the heat of a fight? She'd seen how it could get. Freddy wasn't meek but he wasn't violent and she had seen the violence rise anyway. Although she didn't know him that well. Perhaps she had somehow lucked into meeting him on an exceptionally good day. She doubted it. After their fight, he'd seemed basically like the Freddy she'd met out in the wilds.

Her head had gotten lost in her thoughts and she'd missed what he had said after he apologized for leaning on her too hard. Then he was... resting his head between her ears and they were so close together, she could smell mostly him and almost nothing else. The air was filled with Losse and it made her dizzy. She closed her eyes, soaking up that feeling of safety. Hopefully no one else was around because she was pretty sure her expression was not appropriate for someone just comforting a friend after they lost their fight. Well, technically yielded their fight. Still. It would be marked as a loss.

"I've never been given a reason not to be in your corner, and I doubt I ever will. Sometimes retreat is the more valorous choice, if not the most glamorous. I doubt I'm the only one who thinks so." she nudged her head up slightly to bump against his chin in a gently playful way. "Also, I think you said something about before I have to leave, but I'm not planning to leave 'til you do. Unless you'd rather be alone... or... someone else is staying with you." Bat actually didn't know if Losse had some other girl (or boy, she shouldn't assume) that would come racing over to him soon. No one had so presumably if he did have a lover, they weren't here. Who wouldn't be there to watch their love fight, though? And probably she would've heard about if Losse had a mate, right? He'd surely have at least mentioned them once or twice...

She also knew that her crush was just that, a crush. It had the beginnings of an interest, but she wasn't in love with Lossë Fir-Chlis. Being in love took time. It took patience. It took learning a person. There was still a lot she didn't know about the world, but she knew that much.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
#4
[363 +3]

She understood. She didn't just support what he'd done, she understood why he did it. Nobody but Lossë and Mesquite would know the real truth of the fight -- the coyote was sure to not believe it if he'd said it, but the merle had no intention of revealing his secret to anyone. It would be a deep betrayal between two packs that had a nascent trust between them, and general poor sportsmanship to expose a weakness learned during what was meant to be a game. And it was a weakness -- an easily exploitable one, at that. But despite not knowing the secret that was uncovered during the fight, Battalion understood why he needed to yield.

It was odd, but he felt a stirring in his chest that spoke of a deepening bond -- in that moment, she had become a much closer and trusted friend to him. The light of the Moon-Owl was shining upon them and gave him the gift of that insight, and he silently sent up a thankful prayer for that gift.

When she gently bumped his chin, his jaw throbbed where he was hit and he remembered his tooth -- but that was a subject for later, forgotten again when she continued speaking. She planned to stay with him, spoke with some uncertainty at the thought of a nebulous someone else staying with him, but he shook his head firmly. "I was going to ask if you would," he said, lifting his chin from her head and looking down at her. "But I wasn't sure if it was fair, since you won your fight." A deep well of relief opened within him, and the thought of the island overnight seemed far less daunting. There was no risk of enemies, but the idea of ghosts concerned him somewhat. The specters would be easy to face with her by his side.

He relinquished his hold on her -- with some strange reluctance he chose not to examine at that moment -- and rubbed his jaw. "Weird question," he started, "but do you happen to know where my tooth went? I wasn't really paying attention to where I threw it."
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#5
He had been planning to ask her? Her heart fluttered appreciatively, a smile curling her lips. That he had thought of asking her to stay with him was... interesting. They were friends, of course, but she was probably his most recent friend. Maybe he didn't have a lot of other close friends. That made her heart ache a bit sadly. If she had lost her fight, she was pretty sure she'd have had a whole lineup of potential companions to stay with her: Marten, Odie, maybe even Losse himself, or very possibly Liam. The last one being the least likely since he had a cub to consider and, really, she was closer to Odie than any of them. "Then it seems that we're of the same mind tonight, and will brave the spirits together."' she said encouragingly.

This actually felt more like a prize won than winning her Fight Night had been. It was an opportunity to bond closer with Losse. Regardless of the heat that sped through her body when she saw him, she did want to get to know him better. As friends, if nothing else; she really thought he was someone she could trust. The kind of friend she'd like to cultivate for a lifetime. Wolves like him were the kind she had sought to meet when she left her trading group.

As he pulled away and rubbed at his jaw, she realized had forgotten about his tooth; even that gentle nudge had probably been too much. What kind of a friend was she being, bumping him like that? "Sorry, didn't think." she said as he rubbed at his jaw. Presumably it hurt more from the socking it had taken rather than just her gentle nudge, but the fact that she had contributed still had the long-earred wolf feeling contrite. She'd need to remember that when they were in the haunted house, too. Not that she planned to be nudging up against him or anything, but still, one could never be too sure. Especially in a spooky place.

She sighed at his question about where the tooth might've gone. Taleon really wished she'd gotten it, because she'd have given it back to him. At least it was someone they knew, not some Salsolan witch. Although as far as she knew there were technically none of that pack present at the event. Apparently the bad blood for wolves was extra deep between Del Cenere and Salsola. "Unfortunately, I did see who grabbed it. Hokori." she shook her head. "Good luck getting it back from her. If she hasn't already hawked it by the time you see her next, she'll probably make you brawl her for it." and Bat doubted she'd accept a yield the way Mesquite had been forced to.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
#6
[382 +3]

He smiled brilliantly when she said they'd brave the spirits together. "I won't lie," he whispered, "I was a little worried about them. But now I'll be fine." He spoke with easy confidence, though his weariness was still obvious. He looked around for a spot to sit, found a mostly dry log, and patted the spot next to him. As the weight was taken off his legs and feet, they began to feel heavier than the moose bones he'd once tried to carry. Lossë wasn't entirely sure he would be able to get up again any time soon.

At her apology and obvious contrition, he waved a hand and shook his head. "Don't worry about it, you didn't make it feel any worse. And I've been hurt way worse anyway." That previous hurt was obvious -- the scars on his chest and back were large, gnarled, and raised to the touch, the product of his absent-mindedly reopening them before they could heal and a subsequent infection. Despite the size and breadth of his injury and to grotesque bloodiness of it at the time, it was still nothing compared to the injuries others had had -- loss of eyes, of mental acuity, of life.

When she said who had grabbed his tooth, he scowled slightly, then shrugged. "She's gonna harass me about yielding, but it's not gonna stop her from keeping my tooth forever. I won't be surprised if it becomes jewelry or something." He sighed, then smiled slightly. "Well, it's not like I could put it back, and at least a packmate has it. I guess it's the best case scenario."

He looked out across the ring, the mass of Luperci slowly dwindling down as they boarded the small boats to return them to shore. Soon, they would be alone with nothing but the ghosts to keep them company. The moon shone down upon them and he lifted his face to it, closing his eyes and basking in that cool light. A breeze swept past them, bringing the chill of the impending autumn. "It's gonna get cold soon," he said, opening his eyes again. "Do you wanna start heading to the house? Some walls would be nice, I think."
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#7
"Falling asleep from exhaustion is a surefire way to avoid spirits." she said thoughtfully, sitting down next to her friend. As it usually did, that first heat of attraction she felt when entering his presence was dulled a bit by time. She appreciated that. At least she didn't feel awkward in her body the whole time that she was with him. It wasn't completely gone, though, she could feel the edges of it in sparks and snippets when her heart decided to skip a beat in response to something he did.

The blue-eyed Commoner looked at his scars, tempted to touch one and ask gently about its source. It didn't seem like a good time, though. There was probably never a good time to ask about someone's trauma, anyway; better to let him volunteer the information if he ever felt like it. She gave him an empathetic look. Her own scars were more mental than physical. All of them carried their baggage, though, whether it was visible or not.

"She would make jewelry out of it." Tali said, wrinkling her nose and curling her upper lip in a bit of disgust at the thought of carrying someone else's bone around like that. Especially when it wasn't like it was a trophy she had won. If anything, Mesquite had a right to make a trophy of it. She doubted very much that the scarred coyote adolescent felt like he had really won today, though. He probably was the most pissed at Losse for his yield.

When he mentioned going to the house, she stood up, stretching her muscles slowly. She hadn't sat long, but it had been a long week and she had been walking a lot of it. "I might join you in just passing out to avoid dealing with any ghosts." she said with a shake of her head. Taleon watched to make sure he could stand on his own, ready to offer a hand if he needed assistance. Surely his muscles were aching and tense. If he needed some help to rise, she'd be there to support him.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
#8
[532 +5]

He was sure that if he were alone, he wouldn't be able to sleep over the night. But with someone close, someone trusted, Lossë knew he would be able to relax enough to let the exhaustion take him over into the sweet oblivion of sleep. Battalion might not have been the best fighter -- she was of a more mercantile bent -- and may have won her fight mostly on luck, but she was someone he trusted at his back, if for no reason other than she would be able to wake him before harm could befall them. There were other reasons he liked the idea of having her close while he slept, but he wasn't sure how to put them into words and chose to disregard them.

He braced his hands against his thighs and slowly heaved himself up, feeling his muscles groan in protest. The physical effort and emotional turmoil of the fight had hit him far more than he anticipated, which was something he would remember. It was good to note deficiencies or weaknesses that may arise from a battle -- even one done for sport. As he rose, Lossë saw Bat looking at his scars, and smiled. "There was a war in New Caledonia over the winter," he said. "I was injured in the first attack, didn't know how to protect myself yet. They look like that because I didn't let them heal right." He almost spoke again, to offer her to touch if she wished to feel them, but wasn't sure if it would be appropriate. The way they stretched across his back, chest, and stomach, even a casual, friendly touch could become something... More.

"If she does," he mused, "I hope she makes it into a fun little earring. I think that would be a good use of my tooth." He would've rather had his tooth back, but Battalion was right -- there was no way he was getting it back from Hokori. Maybe if he hadn't yielded, but she definitely wouldn't give it back to him after he gave up. That was the way she would look at it, giving up for no reason. But he didn't need Hoko to understand it, or even accept it. He knew it was right, and he trusted in himself and his decisions.

He stretched his back and arms, feeling the ache in his muscles contort and relief flood in to fill the gaps. Sleep would be divine, and sleeping with Pack would make it all the more healing. "It's been a very long week," he said, nodding as she stated her desire to sleep as well. "A mostly fun one, but long." They walked in silence for a few moments and his stomach grumbled loudly, making him scowl. "I wish I brought my bag," he muttered. "I've got a bunch of smoked fish in it that we could eat right now." He hadn't anticipated having to stay on the island overnight, was certain he'd be able to return and get a warm meal from the Ugly Coyote. He had been overconfident in that assumption, and now he was starving.
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#9
A war? She hadn't even heard whispers of it yet in her time at New Caledonia. "No one told me about a war." she said with a frown. Were they purposefully keeping it from her? Did they just choose to forget? What other scars did wolves bear that came from that war? Perhaps the ones that Liam had were also from it. Perhaps war would come again. Perhaps Councilor Hanaka wanting her to learn to defend herself and her pack was because of more than just a general sense of preparedness.

Her fingers longed to touch the scars, to feel their paths and find their edges. It wasn't appropriate to ask or to just touch without asking. Taleon kept her hands still, her fingers curled so that they weren't reaching toward him from the temptation. "I don't really know how to fight all that well, either. I feel a bit silly that I won my Fight Night, to be honest. It was all luck. Freddy should've won." everyone probably already knew that. It had all been just some silly game of the gods, to give her luck in a matchup she should've won and to make her fail in the Clay Pigeons where she should've done better. The Stockshow was a strange and interesting event.

An earring? She laughed. "Knowing Hoko, she could get another tooth from someone else for the other side. Probably a mouthful of them. Might have a new trade opportunity there." she said, shivering slightly at the thought of Hokori gleefully carrying home bags full of teeth to make into jewelry. They'd probably sell, to the right clientele. Though she actually thought most would want the tooth unfettered so that they could use them in rituals. Most wolves that wanted the teeth of others probably wanted them for murky purposes. She shivered again and rubbed her arms where the fur seemed to rise in response to an unseen cold; perhaps it was best that Hokori had it after all. At least some secret Salsolan witch hadn't gotten it for a spell.

"It has been a long week. Did I tell you I bought a goat?" she said with a laugh. "I wanted the doe, but Hokori outbid me on it, and there was another little fella that no one seemed to want. I threw a quick offer at them and no one else offered better, so I got him. What am I going to do with a goat?" Tali shook her head. She actually wasn't sure what had overtaken her except the excitement of the Show to buy a goat. Luckily there was a place to house him in New Caledonia and maybe later she'd trade him off to Portland or something if he didn't end up being useful to her personally.

When he mentioned not bringing food, she flicked her ears. It wasn't something she had considered when heading over to watch the fight. "Didn't think about food either, myself. Maybe there's something to catch in the house." although she wasn't sure what the rules of haunted houses were. Were prey animals spooked by them too?

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
#10
[755 +7]

He shrugged. "I'm not surprised. It was something that I think we all want to forget." He could go into more detail about the events, if she wished, explain things to the best of his understanding, but he had been little more than a child still and not aware of the political undercurrents that had bonded three different groups and united them under a single banner: the downfall of New Caledonia. Lossë knew, from the execution, that something Rand had done had sparked a seething hatred, but nobody had explained what it was to him when he had asked. He'd been told he was too young, maybe when he was older.

That never sat right with him. He'd nearly lost his life because of those events, felt he deserved to know why. He'd regarded Rand with a wary suspicion ever since. He knew he wasn't alone in that.

He looked at her as she spoke again, searchingly, and tilted his head. "If it makes you feel better, the first fight I ever won was pure luck," he said. He wouldn't give more details -- she didn't need to know that he'd never fought outside of his accidental murder or that evening, only an hour or so prior. She didn't need to know that his lucky win was nothing more than an accidental fatal blow against a male seeking his life for no reason other than it could be taken. "After that fight, and the war, I started learning. Tora taught me, but he's... He can be hard to be around sometimes. If you want, I can show you some basic stuff to be able to take care of yourself, if you're out of the packlands and by yourself." Unspoken was an offer to go out of the pack with her, act as a protector. The taste of those words felt strange in his mouth -- a curious sensation he didn't quite understand.

Lossë laughed and nudged her shoulder as they walked, picturing the mental image of Hoko bedecked in teeth. "I bet she's got enough for a whole set, that's probably why she wanted mine. One from every pack, enough for a necklace, some earrings. I bet she's just glad she didn't have to take a tooth from another Caledonian and got one for free instead!" He made a note to not tell the giantess in question about that conversation or mental image, not wanting to give her the idea if she hadn't already thought of it herself. It would probably be best to not encourage a tooth collection. He'd heard about the witches in other packs and they secretly gave him the heebie-jeebies. The merle wouldn't put it past Hoko to get into witchery if she already had a tooth collection -- he did not need Hoko the Witch scaring the light of the Double-bird out of him.

When she said she'd acquired a goat, he looked at her incredulously. "A goat?" He repeated, confused. "My da's a shepherd and I don't even really know what I would do with a goat. Probably give it to him, actually. You know they're naughty, right? The goats escape from the pens all the time." Then he paused and considered what else Battalion had said. "Wait, she beat you out of a goat and my tooth? That's just rude." He chuckled and tucked a stray lock of hair back from his face. His braid had become incredibly disheveled during the fight and barely resembled the neat rope that it was before -- he'd have to fix it before he went to sleep so it didn't tangle into a rat's nest.

"I wonder if there is be prey in a haunted mansion," he mused. "D'you think if there are ghosts they would scare off the rabbits?" He looked around as they walked and tilted his head again. "Is this island even big enough for rabbits? We might have to settle for songbirds. Or maybe just try to catch fish with our hands or maybe jaws." He didn't relish the idea of catching fish with his hands again, had embarrassed himself in front of Aenan the last time he tried. The idea of embarrassing himself in front of Battalion left a foul taste in his mouth, something else that he didn't really understand and didn't want explore at that time.
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#11
It was natural, she thought, to want to forget something that scarred you like that. Often the mental scars were in the forgetting. She would've still liked to know but it wasn't her place to suggest they better inform their newcomers about their past. The history of New Caledonia would unfold itself as it came. There was presumably no active threat, about that she would've been warned and told to prepare directly.

When he said that he had won his first fight through pure luck, she was surprised. "Really?" she said. He had seemed so confident today, self-assured and prepared... could she really be that way someday? Maybe. If she tried. If she wanted. Truly, though, she didn't want to be a fighter ever. Capable of defending herself, yes. Not a liability, yes. An actual trained fighter who was prepared to fight regularly? No. She doubted she'd do the Fight Night next year or ever again; it had been interesting as an experience, but she hadn't exactly enjoyed it. Though neither had Losse, she'd bet.

He had trained with Tora, too... so perhaps, yes, she'd gain this kind of confidence if she trained with him. And with Hoko. That was the wolf she really didn't want to train with at all. The burly she-wolf seemed to think they were friends somehow; she disagreed. "Councilor Tanaka told me I needed to train with him and his daughter who I didn't realize was Hokori when I joined. She robbed me, before I became a member, so I'm hoping I can avoid training with her ever." she said with a sigh. It was something she'd agreed to do upon joining, though, so maybe she'd have to do it.

"I'd like that, practicing self-defense with you." for more reasons than just learning self-defense; it was an excuse to be close to him, both physically and possibly emotionally. Definitely the first one, though. "I need to try sparring with different partners, I think? Different methods, maybe. I'm not really a fighter. I doubt I'll ever be really good. My heart just isn't in it." not the way that it was interested in other things and people.

When he suggested the kind of necklace Hoko could wear, she grimaced. It was an amusing but also kind of horrifying thought. "And if anyone asks her about it, she can just tell them how she got each one. Probably embellish them up a bit, though." Hokori seemed the type to expand upon her exploits so that they sounded more interesting than they had been. "I am glad I didn't have to sacrifice any teeth to her." she rather liked her teeth where they were.

She laughed when he gave her a look she probably would've given herself if she'd heard similar news. It had been a really weird choice. "I figure he's got to be worth something to someone. Worst comes to worst, we eat him. Goat tastes good." she shrugged. "Have I met your dad yet? Maybe I need to get some tips and tricks from him on how to deal with an ornery goat." she'd need to know how to care for poor Skunk who had been acquired by such an inadequate mistress.

"Rabbits seem to make it everywhere. They might even prefer a small island like this, less competition for their young. Until they overrun themselves, anyway." they bred rather prolifically. It was why she ate so much rabbit and used so many of their skins; she could find several in a day if she really worked at it. They were also stupid and fell into traps. Her stomach grumbled at this rather inopportune moment and she snorted. "Apparently thinking about food is making me hungry. I'm absolutely terrible at fishing, other than what I've learned from Clyde, but that involves nets and I know we don't have those."

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
#12
[872 +8]

The walk with her was enjoyable. Even though the breeze off the water was getting colder, he was still heated from the fight and couldn't really bring himself to mind the cold while she walked next to him. He wondered, if she got cold, if she would ask him to stand closer to share in his warmth. Lossë almost hoped that the night would get colder so she would. 

He nodded in response to her question. There wasn't need to talk about such dark or terrible things anymore, if she were curious about it another time he would explain. In the grand scheme of things, not much time had passed, and he was not much older, but the merle had aged and grown much from when the fight had occurred. Even though he'd been told by many packmates, including his king, that he had done nothing wrong in defending himself, that they'd all rather he have killed his attacker than been killed himself, he still carried guilt. The male had told him his name. Lossë had ended the life of Samson, and he had conflicting feelings about it.

"Since he trained me, I don't think he would mind if I helped you learn," he said, and clenched his throbbing jaw when she mentioned Hoko had robbed him. "I didn't know she did that. Did she give you back what she stole when you joined the pack?" He cut a glance to the chocolate-furred female next to him and lifted an eyebrow. "It doesn't make it right, but it's the least she could do." There wasn't much he could do about the situation for her -- Hoko outranked him and barely listened to anyone but Iomair anyway. But she seemed to have a bizarre attachment to his mother -- Lossë could maybe ask Saga to intercede on his behalf, and something might change.

"I'm staying longer here in Del Cenere to learn more about horse riding and how to take care of Belaith, but when I get back we can start on self defense. It's different from learning to fight a war, so you don't have to worry about anything too intense. It'll be good for you to know when you go on trading trips. I know that Liam sometimes goes on them, and he's a good fighter, but you never know. I don't think there are ever guards that go with the merchants." He wasn't very aware of the trade caravans, or how they worked. Lossë had never had much of a mind for trade, preferred to stick with more solitary pursuits. "We can get back to practicing reading and writing then, too." The fact that she seemed willing to have him teach her these things, preferred him to, even, made him feel... Something. He wasn't sure what it was, exactly, but it had to be a good thing she enjoyed spending time with him, didn't it?

"There's nothing wrong with not wanting to be a fighter," he said, shrugging easily. "Not everyone is like Hoko in that. I don't even really want to be a fighter, I just want to be able to defend myself and my loved ones if anything ever happens again. It was... Really awful, knowing that while I was stuck in the Fort, my packmates were out there, risking their lives. I just want to be able to help." He fell into a silence for a moment, laughed at her comment about Hoko. Now that he knew what the giantess had done, he didn't particularly desire to talk about her anymore, and he had a feeling Battalion felt the same way.

A little thrill raced through his chest when she said 'we' about consuming the goat, before he reminded himself that she meant the pack, not the two of them. "You might've, but I don't know. His name is Arran, he's usually near the Rhovanion. My brother Gwaun is away right now at the Citadel, but he writes me. I think you'd like him. You'd like my da, too, he's really great. Sometimes I feel like he thinks I love my mama more than I do him, but she's just lonelier than he is. He would definitely help you take care of your goat, though." He didn't feel a need to restrain himself from how much he talked when he was conversing with her -- the words flowed in a way they hadn't for a while. It was nice, Lossë thought, to be able to talk so easily with someone.

He tilted his head in thought. "Rabbits can make it anywhere, but can they swim? I don't know how else they would get here. Unless someone in Del Cenere brought some?" He looked around, trying to see if he could spot any sign of the prey animals. Rabbit would be excellent, right then. His stomach grumbled, and he looked out to the water. "I can fish with a hook and line, Aenan taught me, but I know from experience that I can't catch fish with my hands."
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#13
Battalion actually liked feeling cold, sometimes; her dark fur meant that it was heat which plagued her most of the time. By the sea, she noticed, it was a bit colder than more inland. Whether it was because of the water or just incidental, she didn't know. The Commoner was far from an expert about heat and cold beyond "sun causes heat, season changes mean warmer or colder weather."

As they walked, she felt invigorated by the cold. Awake more than she had been before they had started walking. Maybe she wouldn't fall asleep as quickly as she had thought. It probably depended how spooky the spooky house actually was. Something told her that Losse being there would automatically make it feel less spooky... especially since she could just lean into him and she was sure he'd make her feel more comfortable by holding her or comforting her with words. It was a nice thought, that she could trust he'd take care of her whatever might come at them.

"I bet you're right." maybe she'd not even ask, just do it. It wasn't like she had come across Tora all that much since she had become a member of New Caledonia. Actually, she had seen him far less than she had expected. He was a Councilor, though, he was probably very busy. And she hadn't exactly sought him out to train yet.

He didn't seem surprised - who would be? - that Hokori had stolen from her, though he did ask if she had given the things back. "She did. And now I think she thinks everything is fine, amends made, all is well and we're going to be friends. I just... can't really hit that mark, though, not with her." she frowned. "She's higher ranked than me and there isn't much I can do about it, but it seems bad that New Caledonia is housing someone who just robs indiscriminately like that." it wasn't like she had been a great target, anyway; she'd just been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"They'll let you stay here?" she looked at her friend, who appeared more wolf than anything to her. Though she thought maybe there was dog there, he certainly didn't look like Del Cenere Gang's type. "I'm glad you can learn more about riding. They seem quite proficient at it here." though she'd miss having him around the pack's land for that week. It wasn't like they spent all their time together; she'd be busy and he'd be busy, and when he got home they'd get together for some self defense training and reading practice. Maybe she'd be even better at reading by then and she could share what she'd learned with him.

Her ears twitched. "It's a plan, then. When you get home, self-defense and reading. And I can tell you how my goat adventures have gone." with her luck, Skunk was going to have eaten Iomair's favorite shirt or something. Though really, if he let his shirt anywhere near the goat, he was the real fool in that situation.

When he said he didn't really want to be a fighter, either, she smiled big. "Same here. I want to just ... not be a liability, the wolf that needs to be saved. I haven't experienced what you have, of course, but it's... I don't want to be someone that can't take care of themselves in a fight." that was how she'd gotten robbed by Hokori in the first place, really. She hadn't been paying attention and she hadn't known what to do when she was accosted.

"I don't think I've met him, but I bet I will now since I have a goat and all. I'm thinking maybe I should get a doe, too, and breed him. That'd make him useful for a season, at least. Maybe I can see about trading for one up in Portland... Once I'm not a Commoner anymore, I'm going to be officially part of Kalypso's Trade Company, so I'm sure I'll need to go up there sometime as the closest big city to get some of the things we can't really get here." probably before the winter struck and they'd be stuck here. First, she probably needed to get better at being around horses.

The matter of rabbits was an interesting one. "They can swim, but probably not from mainland to here. Depends I guess on  what kind of travels happened between that shore and this one over time. I doubt Del Cenere brought rabbits here to breed. Although honestly... it wouldn't be a bad idea. The rabbits would breed on their own and the coyotes could just cull them occasionally, ready made meat source." not that it was hard to find rabbit on the mainland, either. "Otherwise we might just have to try to get fish. No one here to see us but the moon anyway, if we make fools of ourselves." technically he'd see her and she'd see him, but she didn't feel like she minded if she looked silly with Losse. If she couldn't be silly around him, were they even really friends?

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
#14
[831 +8]

The mansion, decrepit and definitely looking haunted, was coming into view as they walked. He looked at it and his lips pulled back in a grimace at the atmosphere. It was definitely more than spooky enough to warrant the reputation it had, especially at night and with the fog rolling in thick waves. Luckily he had Battalion there to take away from the unease of the island. "If he has an issue, I'm sure I can talk him into not having one," he said. Lossë was sure he could spin it into a scenario where him teaching Bat was just Tora teaching her by proxy -- the Councilor had trained the merle, so it stood to reason that the merle could train someone else in the basics, which were all that was needed.

He shrugged as the mansion began growing in their view. "I get that. I don't know if you knew this, but there is a guild of mercenaries within New Caledonia that's headed up by I think either Tora or Hoko. I think the idea is that sometimes someone has to do some dirty work, and ill-gotten gains still increase our wealth as a pack. She's definitely an outlier, though." During his lessons, Tora had many times, with very little subtlety, brought up the idea of Lossë joining the Reavers, but his heart wasn't in it. He didn't feel like it was the best place for him -- his relationship with honor was a steadfast and sturdy one, not fluid or malleable like the two Tanakas.

Lossë smiled down at her warmly. "They are! Don't tell anyone, but I think their leader was gonna say no until I said that I just wanted to be able to take care of Belaith the best way possible. They really like horses here." He was sure he had seen something stony soften in Nazario's face when he'd said that, thought he might've inadvertently hit a soft spot the leader kept secret. His smile widened into a delighted grin when she said she'd let him know how the goat adventures -- or misadventures -- had gone while he was still away. "Maybe you can practice writing while I'm gone by writing down something silly he does? I can give you some of my paper before you leave tomorrow morning." He'd somehow built up an absurd supply of papers and parchment -- he wouldn't admit that most of it had been foisted from the Fort during the siege, taken in a desperate desire to have something to distract and occupy his time.

He nodded as she spoke again. "Honestly, the biggest thing about self-defense is giving yourself enough space to run away safely. There's no need to exhaust yourself fighting against someone who might be stronger or better trained than you, it's better to just distract them with a couple well-placed blows so you can get away. There are some who might disagree with me, but I think it's better to run away to fight another day, or to go get help. Staying alive in a desperate situation comes before honor, I think. But we can talk about that more when I get back." War and survival were two very different beasts, and while Lossë knew that they were sometimes intimately intertwined, they very often were not. A random attack on neutral territory was far more likely than another war -- Bat herself been victim to a random attack, even if she'd received her belongings again.

"If he's polite, he can probably make great breeding stock. I know Del Cenere trades to ensure a profit, but I don't think that they would trade animals that would make them look bad. My da can definitely help you with figuring that out." Lossë wasn't typically in the business of promising other canine's skills or assistance to someone without speaking to them first, but he knew Arran wouldn't mind -- would probably be overjoyed someone was showing interest in the livestock. "And you should be ranking up soon, I'm sure. You've been working a lot around the pack!" That wasn't him being reassuring, though he desired to, it was based fully in truth. Even in the short time between her joining the pack and finding him for writing lessons, he'd heard she was building a solid reputation.

They'd finally reached the manor house and he hummed in thought. "I don't mind looking a little silly, but my concern is getting wet will make the cold feel worse. But we can definitely look around for prey, and it's already pretty late. I think they said a boat would come back for me at dawn, so even if we don't eat, we don't have too long to wait, I don't think. Night is getting shorter this time of year anyway."
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#15
Battalion was impressed by his confidence that he could convince Tora to chill out if he had an issue with her chosen training partner. She was happy to let that be his concern, though. Better to ask for forgiveness than permission was sometimes a good policy. Besides, she wasn't sure how enforceable his condition was about her joining in the first place. Now that she was establishing herself as a member - hell, she had even won a Fight Night - it wasn't like Hokori had the authority to just toss her out. And she didn't think Iomair would let him. Though she could be wrong.

It didn't surprise her, but did disappoint her that there was an entire Guild surrounding thievery for the sake of the pack. "It doesn't sit right with me, taking from others like that... I wouldn't want to be the cause of someone else's misery, even if it did advance the pack. Unless they gave me reason to harm them." it could also come back to haunt them if the Reavers guild stole from the wrong wolf. Slowly, it could creep back that New Caledonia was actively stealing from others. It wasn't like Hokori or Torabera were easy to miss in a crowd. One was missing an eye (although so was the Rey Salvaje here) and the other was as big as a house, so.

She felt a wave of happiness for his friend at his clear exuberance over Beliath and getting to train in Del Cenere. Her tail wagged slightly. This was one of the things she loved liked about him, his enthusiasm for the things he enjoyed. It had also been pretty bold of him to ask the wolf hating gang to let him stay. Although she was finding that their distaste for wolves wasn't as aggressive as some had led her to believe. As for writing about Skunk's misbehavior while Losse was gone... "That would be great! Maybe you'll be able to read what I've written by then." her penmanship needed a lot of work. It was tedious work, but she was willing to put in the effort.

"Sometimes retreat is the better part of valor." she had heard that from someone who had probably read it somewhere; it had stuck with her because it made sense. Sometimes, saying I'm done as Losse had or running away from a fight was better than fighting it out until you died a glorious bloody death to your enemy. Although Hokori probably disagreed. That was alright. She wasn't all that interested in agreeing with Hokori Tanaka. "I'd rather be alive than dead but proud, definitely." when he got home, they'd have to train together. Work on escaping as well as fighting back.

It would be nice to meet Losse's dad. Although it made her feel a bit nervous to think about it. Meeting him mattered more than meeting other canines had since she had joined New Caledonia. No matter his rank or expertise, he was Losse's dad which meant that she wanted to impress him. Wanted him to mention what a nice young lady she was or something to his son. "I'll seek him out when I get home, then. And if he says better to just eat him, we'll do that instead." she said with a laugh at poor Skunk's expense. She had never promised to keep him alive, though; now that he was hers, she doubted the Gang cared if she ate him, bred him, set him free, or kept him as a pet. Maybe they'd care if she casually abused him, but that had never been an option for her.

"Fair point." although if they were cold, they'd need to get close to conserve heat. That part made her feel warm and a quick spike of excitement ran through her muscles. Ah, no, that was probably a really bad idea actually. Because as excited as it made her body, it made her head feel wobbly and she was concerned that she'd make a bad choice if she was wet and warm against him...

She tried to ignore that entirely. "Well, good that we won't starve to death either way. I do actually have some alcohol I acquired for tonight whether you won or lost." she had kind of forgotten in all the mayhem of what they were doing, but remembered now that they were at the mansion. She tapped her finger thoughtfully against the satchel set against her hip where the liquor rested. "Um, if you want, of course. It's some apple stuff that Willow Martel makes. He learned how to make it from Liam, so I'm guessing it's pretty good." though she was far from an alcohol expert.

Was alcohol also a bad idea? Probably. A lot of things felt like they could go very badly tonight. Or they could go very well...

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
#16
[496 +4]

Lossë grimaced. "I don't like it much either, but I'm pretty sure every pack has an organization like that. Maybe the Cavaliers don't, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did." Every pack held a seedy underbelly, whether they wanted to admit it or not. Salsola's underbelly was more on its chest, but they were unique in their moral ambiguity. He knew, from last year, that Salsolans still managed to get into the Stockshow through various disguises -- though the only one he knew for sure was Azalea's appearance last year -- despite being explicitly not invited. He didn't fully understand why the leaders in Del Cenere didn't do anything about it, but assumed it was because the coyotes tended to keep things close to the vest.

He wondered, sometimes, if it bothered them that it was something they shared in common with Salsola. 

Lossë's expression shifted to a smile and he nudged her with his shoulder again. "I'm sure I'll be able to read it, but if you're worried, just take your time. It's much easier to write clearly if you go slow." He had faith in her and her abilities and her capacity to learn -- she was focused and diligent and, most importantly, wanted to learn. It was a far cry from when he was first taking lessons with Fennore and was too young and wriggly to have any desire to focus. He was enjoying teaching Bat, though, so perhaps it was a good thing that he had been taking lessons with the former Isíltari for so long -- someone had to teach the children literacy, and if there was no one else willing, he supposed he could do it.

As she continued speaking, he nodded sagely, trying to look wise -- even as his stomach grumbled loudly. He had been too tense to eat before the fight and he was paying for it now. "If you do decide to eat the goat, would you mind waiting until I get back? I'm too hungry right now to think about eating goat and not being invited." He laughed as he said this, hoping that she would understand he wouldn't be upset if she didn't wait -- but he would appreciate it if she did. 

When she mentioned the alcohol she had brought, Lossë glanced at Battalion, a little surprised. He hadn't taken her for a drinker, but he did suppose that drinking was a normal way to celebrate a victory or commiserate a loss. "Apple sounds good, and if he learned from Liam I expect it actually tastes good too. If you wanna share it with me to help the night go by a little faster, I would not be opposed to it." He smiled and wrapped an arm around her shoulder again as they entered the mansion. "Worst case scenario, we'll be too tipsy to be scared of any ghosties!"
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#17
She sighed. "I suppose. I just think we can be better, we can give more than we take, we can improve the lives of those around us instead of hurting them. I'll just have to do my best to counteract whatever darkness Hokori brings to the world." she said with a shake of her head. For a moment, she considered mentioning that she had thought about leaving New Caledonia over it. Bat didn't want to seem disloyal, though, so for now she held that information back. Maybe no one except her ever really needed to know about that.

Their shoulders touched and it was like a sizzle of electricity straight through her body, though it fizzled out quickly her heart took a moment to resume its normal beats. "I envy the scribes I see who can just write really quickly. Someday, maybe, I can be like that. Really the reading feels more important than the writing. I met this one wolf named Sparrow who couldn't talk while we were here, and I felt really bad it took me a while to read what he wrote to me." plus, for keeping ledgers and minding the inventory. She lacked important skills for Kalypso's Guild.

"I promise, I'll wait until you're back before making any decisions about eating the goat." she said with a laugh. Though she really hoped they'd be able to keep him alive for a while. It seemed a shame to eat him like some random wild goat when he was useful for other things.

When his arm looped around her shoulder, the easygoing feeling that had settled in her while they walked disappeared in favor of that overheated response that he seemed to elicit from her so easily. She leaned a bit into the embrace, though not so much it would seem weird. The last thing she wanted was to seem clingy or needy or ... something. Rude? Inappropriate, that was the word her mind was seeking. She didn't want to accidentally make it clear she was interested. Especially when she wasn't sure how he was feeling. Maybe someday... but today was not that day.

"I got it specifically for us to share so yes, of course I want you to drink it with me. I guess it could be dangerous, if spirits are real here, and malevolent. I haven't heard of any of the other losing competitors getting attacked, though." she said with a shrug. She doubted that one masked guy had followed through with staying here, but presumably everyone else had done what they'd agreed to do. The masked slurred voice male just didn't seem like the kind of wolf to care.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
#18
[523 +5]

He nodded as she spoke and squeezed her shoulder reassuringly. "I think that you counteract it well. I know you don't like her, and it's probably rough that she's around so much, but I'm glad you decided to stay anyway. I was raised in New Caledonia, so I can't really imagine what it would be like to be robbed before joining a pack and finding out your attacker is a well-known member. But I think I might've gone somewhere else." Lossë himself wasn't particularly fond of Hokori for the most part, but he understood that she provided a need within the pack. She also near-blatantly assaulted and robbed canines outside of the pack, but it wasn't up to him to tell her to stop.

He hummed in thought as Battalion explained the situation with the unspeaking canine called Sparrow. For a moment he wondered how she knew his name, if he couldn't speak, then remembered they were discussing reading and writing -- maybe he didn't even need the alcohol to feel pleasantly fuzzy in his brain. "Well, practicing reading isn't so bad. When I get back, we can go to the Messenger Tree as part of your learning. I don't know if you've seen it yet, but you'll like it, I think." He himself had left a little message for her in the large, sweeping branches of the damaged tree, in anticipation of her learning to read. He was excited for her to see it.

"I'll hold you to that," he said, in a jokingly warning tone. He laughed as he said it, so it was clear there was no threat involved. She may have liked to spend time with him, but he still was in a higher ranked position than her and therefore able, technically, to tell her what she could or could not do. Lossë had a feeling that Bat's former pack, wherever it was, held a much stricter hierarchy than they did in New Caledonia, and he didn't want to make her think that he was going to abuse his rank over her.

For the first time since they'd entered, he looked around the manor house. It was decrepit and decidedly creepy, with a part of the ceiling missing in one corner, sagging in another. Any windows that once may have held glass were now empty holes through which the wind whistled. The floor was somewhat bare, but there was a circle of ash and burnt wood where a fire once stood. He glanced around and saw dry wood nearby and grinned. "We'll be able to build a fire! We can be nice and warm while we share our drink." He let go of her and started working on building a small fire, but paused when she mentioned the ghosts and any potential malevolent intent. "I heard there are coyotes that practice a kind of witchcraft called voodoo here," Lossë said, hopefully reassuringly. "I think that if there were any bad ghosts here, they would've gotten rid of them."
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#19
Battalion felt warmed at the fact that he was glad she had stayed. They had only met up a few times, but he seemed to like her too. Maybe not the way she was beginning to like him, but... it was still really nice. To know that she was wanted there. It had truly been her greatest wish in the world to be wanted somewhere. Not driven away when she had done something "wrong", like in Silver Falls. Not tolerated as long as she performed adequately, like in the trade group. So far she hadn't done anything wrong in New Caledonia but actually having Hokori there told her that she could be wrong and still stay. Certainly she'd never be as much of a mess as the Reaver. "I'm glad I stayed too." she said with a soft smile. That much was certainly true.

He mentioned a Messenger Tree and she shook her head. "I haven't seen it yet, we should definitely go look at it. What's it for, then? Just leaving messages to packmates?" that sounded neat and fun. She wondered why no one had told her ... then again, it wasn't as if there was a formal tour or anything. When she had joined, she had just been learning by meeting others who told her bits and pieces. There was a lot of the culture she was still missing, she was sure. Hopefully nothing quite as jarring as the fact that her tormentor was a member of the pack.

She twitched her ears playfully when he said he'd hold her to eating the goat with him if she ate it. "Well here's hoping neither of us needs to hold anyone to it, because I'm hoping he's good for more than just a meal." she said. Although she wouldn't mind sharing a meal with him after he got back. Maybe she'd acquire some more alcohol and cook up a rabbit or something when he got home. He'd probably be beat after a full week of training with Belaith anyway. He could probably use a nice restful, filling meal. Though presumably he'd be able to get good food at the Ugly Coyote.

A fire sounded good, she thought, shivering as she realized the house wasn't great at keeping any heat trapped from the day. Somehow being in the enclosed space made her feel less warm. Although perhaps that was just her general distaste for being indoors. Of course she had a house now, but she often snuck away to sleep beneath the stars instead of inside. It just didn't feel right. She might feel differently once it was cold. Then the benefit of four walls around her keeping her warm might outweigh her distaste for indoor living.

It didn't feel as bad to be inside with Losse, anyway. It would be nice and cozy and warm and they'd drink... hopefully drinking on a mostly empty stomach wasn't going to end badly for either of them. Either now or in the morning. "We should definitely start with the fire to make sure we stay warm. No ghosts yet..." she remarked, ears rotating as if to take in all of the sounds and make sure there weren't any spooky sounds. Really to her, it just seemed rundown, not haunted.

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
#20
[434 +4]

He settled down next to the small circle of stones he'd noticed on the floor, full of ash and burnt wood. It was clear that was what the other losers of the fight -- and maybe coyotes on a dare on previous nights -- had been using as a fire pit in the manor. Lossë busied his hands as he listened to Bat speak, trying to get a fire started as quickly as possible. His wolf heritage gave him some plush fur, but the overpowering nature of his doggish heritage made the most of his fur thinner and silky, and he felt the cold creeping in against him.

If he'd had a different winter, last year, maybe the cold wouldn't bother him so much. But as it stood, the cold in combination with the gnawing ache of hunger brought back too many memories, too much anxiety. He needed to get warm -- he needed to stave away the chill and the memories.

"Yeah, the Tree is for leaving secret notes and stuff like that. One time, Iomair left a love letter to his wife. But then she. Um. Well, she left him." He winced, his ears pressing against his head as he paused in his fire building. "Sorry, I shouldn't have mentioned that. Gossiping is rude and Iomair is a good King. He doesn't deserve that." Left unspoken were any opinions about the former Queen, or her new lover. He'd never really been fond of Rand, and the war had decreased his opinion. Vodeva had always scared him a little, when he was younger. She seemed... Cold. Her eyes were more ice chips than conveying any real emotion, at least from what he had seen. He'd avoided her as a pup and tried to continue that as an adult.


He smiled warmly at her as he worked to better arrange the sticks in the pit and stuffed dry leaves into the spaces for tinder. He shrugged and pulled at the fur on his leg, gathering fine shed hairs that he added for more tinder. "I'm sure you'll be able to handle him, and my da would be happy to help, I bet." Striking two stones against each other and successfully inciting a couple sparks, he gently blew into the tiny flames to give them more strength. "Come sit down," he said, patting the ground next to him. "We can get warm and share a drink and celebrate a good Stockshow."

Lossë hoped she didn't notice how close next to him he'd indicated for her to sit.
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#21
He was starting a fire and she moved to help where she could. Fire would keep away the draft and maybe even the ghosts. Even if things started to get spooky, though, she knew that she wouldn't be afraid with Lossë there. The long-earred wolf was certain that he would protect her from anything natural or supernatural. Because he was her friend, because he was her packmate, because... well, the rest of the because was just a soft hope in her chest. A desire for something else. For him to just want to protect her specifically, because she was Battalion. Because she was worth protecting.

Secret notes? They weren't very secret if everyone saw them... so presumably they were written in such a way that only their intended reader could understand them. It sounded... romantic. Although apparently thinking it was romantic had bitten Iomair in the ass. Then again, it probably wasn't the tree's fault. It wasn't like his note alone could've determined whether or not his mate kept by his side. "Poor Iomair. Losing someone you love is hard, especially when it's their choice." it made her heart ache as she thought of her mother who had driven her away. Of course the girl had loved her. Snowflake was her mother. That moment would be forever imprinted in her head and heart as one of the most devastating she had ever experienced.

"I don't think it was gossip, really, I bet everyone who was in the pack back then knew it had happened. It's not like you called him an idiot or something. Then maybe that would be gossip." she said with a slight shake of her head. She couldn't imagine someone calling their High King an idiot... at least not without good cause to support that statement. Although if Lossë had said Iomair was an idiot, she'd probably have believed him. She wanted to think Lossë had a good sense for the character of others.

Once the fire was lit, she sat where he had indicated. Bat was well aware of how close it was, though she wasn't complaining. The heat of the fire wasn't all that was warming her. And as she took the alcohol from her bag, she knew that she was adding just more heat to her body. Hopefully she didn't also find herself bursting into metaphorical flames. She took a swig of the alcohol, the apple taste a pleasantly tart one on her tongue before the burning sensation rolled down her throat into her stomach. "Ooh, that's good. Not sure if it beats out the berry wine I tried at the Ugly Coyote, but it's tasty." she offered the bottle to Lossë.

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


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