Didn't They Tell Us Don't Rush into Things

POSTED: Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:57 pm

(280)

Dated to early February. For Falcon <3

Bronspath and Hawkesond.

The words didn't have much meaning when put by themselves—they didn't really sound like English, or Inuktitut, or any other language Cottongrass was familiar with and he was pretty sure they just might have been made up—but they had weight. They had status and prestige and all those other fancy words that more or less he meant something. Except not really, because he was barely ranked above newcomers and had little to no real authority in the pack, but, still.

Having a rank—any rank—was exciting.

He had been born and raised in a pack where he was decidedly ranked rock bottom when the only other members were his parents and ataatatsiaq. And after that he was a lone wolf, which probably gave him less status than any pack wolf no matter if they were ranked high or low. There was also a pesky matter of being four legged and a wolf which seemed to make some people kick up a fuss, but, whatever.

He was in Mistfell Vale. He was in house Hawkesond and he was ranked Bronspath.

His best friend was Elkenfrey and Ironpath—Ironpath! A whole rank above him! Which made sense, really. His friend was smart. And pretty. But that wasn't the point.

Was there even really a point he was supposed to be making? He didn't know. He couldn't remember. Which probably meant it didn't matter.

And without a moment of hesitation, Cottongrass entered his friend's home.

"Hey, hey, hey!" He barked, stance wide with his tail wagging and jaws parted in eager smile. It was only then did he notice his friend was in the middle of something.

Mistfell Vale
Hawkesond
User avatar
Emmett
Spotlight Soul Non-Luperci

POSTED: Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:37 am

WC: 320

The last sorting ceremony had been... Interesting. Falcon didn’t share Cottongrass’ enthusiasm for ranks, though it felt good to be an Elkenfrey. It meant he was a part of something, worthy of something, more than just being a Mistwalker. He shared his house with the patient Posey, brilliant Baelish, and shy Sineria, all of which exemplified Elkenfrey in their own, unique way. Thus, wherever Falcon sat on the pack’s ever-changing hierarchy was fine by him—as long as he had his house, he was happy.

That sense of belonging was what inspired Falcon’s first, true masterpiece. Or at least, he hoped it would be a masterpiece. The Elkenfrey’s big show was months in the making; a collection of poems, songs, and stories that he’d learned on his travels, told around a roaring campfire. Falcon wasn’t used to one-luperci-shows, preferring to squeeze his talents between others’ tales, but necessity was the mother of invention. Only a few of his packmates—Cotton being one of them—knew he was planning a show at all.

And plan Falcon did, though most of his effort was still devoted to practicing.

”In each of us, we hold two halves,
Hungry, yearning, for different paths.
One seeks light, heralding good deeds,
The other, darkness, plants evil seeds.
Which half will win is no surprise,
For both halves must eat, or else they’ll die.
Be mindful of which half succeeds,
The half that wins is the half you—Cotton!”


Falcon nearly jumped out of his skin at the pale man’s arrival. He stared at Cottongrass, sketchbook still cradled in his hands, and took a deep breath. ”You scared me,” he said, laughing at his own nerves. It was just Cotton; no reason to be so jumpy. The green-eyed hybrid smiled and closed his book with a snap. ”To what do I owe the pleasure, handsome?”
Mistfell Vale
Elkenfrey
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Alexander

POSTED: Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:31 pm

(330)

'You scared me,'

"Sorry." It wasn't on purpose. Although, truthfully, what had he been expecting when he came into the room stomping and barking like some kind of overgrown puppy? The world would just never know. And—in a clumsy attempt to make up for it, or to at least cop a feel, not that he would ever dream of admitting that last part out loud—Cottongrass prowled deeper into the room, pressing close and all but draping himself over the coyote hybrid's angular body. It seemed like the least he could do, really, after startling the poor man. His tail wagged away and he settled against his haunches beside his friend, resting his chin on their shoulder.

It was then he noticed that there was a book in Falcon's lap. He couldn't read—he wouldn't even know where to start learning how to do that—but he tried to get a glimpse into the book all the same. His attempts were thwarted, however, when Falcon snapped the book shut before he could really see anything.

'To what do I owe the pleasure, handsome?'

There it was again, that nickname. Handsome. It was the one Falcon had called him the night before he joined Mistfell Vale. The one Falcon had called him during the middle of the Sorting Ceremony. Heat blossomed along his features and his ears rolled back against his head in a blatant display of embarrassment. He just—

He just didn't know where his friend got these things from, sometimes.

Yet he answered the question all the same.

"I just—I just felt like seeing you, I guess." It wasn't the whole truth. There had been an idea in his mind when he had first entered the room. But now that he was actually facing the man? His brain was coming up empty, believe it or not. And—eager to not be the centre of attention, for once—Cottongrass tried to change the subject.

"What're, what're you doing?"

Mistfell Vale
Hawkesond
User avatar
Emmett
Spotlight Soul Non-Luperci

POSTED: Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:55 am

OOC :: Words→ 369

Falcon smiled at Cottongrass’ apology. ”Thank you,” he said, enjoying the sudden closeness between them. He pressed his cheek against Cotton’s handsome face and sighed. How did he get so lucky? Falcon struggled to label their relationship, but it was something special—wasn’t that the important part?

The Elkenfrey snorted at Cotton’s embarrassment. He was such a sweet, silly man, and it made Falcon’s heart skip a beat. ”Well, I hope you like what you see,” he teased, abandoning his book to scratch Cotton behind the ears. Falcon resisted the urge to kiss him, if only long enough to answer his question. ”I was practicing for my show, but now I’m talking to you.” He pressed a chaste kiss to Cotton’s cheek and grinned. What a stunning man.

”I don’t think you’ve heard this one yet,” Falcon said, opening his book again. His handwriting was messy, but legible, and he pointed to his latest poem. ”It’s a story I heard a long time ago, about everyone having a good side and a bad side. I wasn’t sure how to perform it at first, but I finally found the words.” They were good words, too, if he said so himself.

Then, remembering Cotton couldn’t read, Falcon said, ”It’s a poem. I can read it for you, if you’d like.” While waiting for an answer, he uncrossed his legs and stretched them—he didn’t need them falling asleep again.

Falcon was pleased, but unsurprised, by Cottongrass’ answer. The green-eyed hybrid straightened his back, took a deep breath, and began to recite the poem aloud. Practice made perfect, and Falcon didn’t need to read it to know the words. Instead, he stared at Cotton as he spoke, his voice soft and smooth.

“...Be mindful of which half succeeds,
The half that wins is the half you feed.”


Falcon’s poem came to a dramatic close, and before Cotton could react, he kissed him on the lips. It was quick and featherlight, but it still made the Elkenfrey blush. "What do you think? Did you like it?" Falcon asked, as much about the poem as the kiss.

Mistfell Vale
Elkenfrey
User avatar
Alexander

POSTED: Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:10 am

(256)

'The half that wins is the half you feed.'

"Wow." Cottongrass breathed, his usually loud and boisterous voice now soft and stuttering, his tail thumping slowly away on the ground behind him. Was it at the poem, and its dramatic close? Or was it at the kiss, quick and fleeting? He didn't know. He was pretty sure it was just another one of those otherworldly mysteries he would never solve, would never know the answer to.

A shudder ran down his spine, lightning quick, and he made himself pull away. Just a little bit, however. Just enough room so he could breathe.

"That was—it was, good." Came his choked response, his words and tongue still failing him. Not like either of those things were particularly new, not when he usually made his way through sentences like a drunk man trying to walk a straight line, but still. The poem and the little kiss? Both were good. Really good. He just wished he was a little more eloquent when it came to explaining those things, like Falcon was.

But no such luck existed. Not when he was Cottongrass, the wolf cursed with a permanent case of bad luck. Because what came out of his mouth next honestly wasn't that much better.

"You should, you should do those, those kinds of things, more, uh, more often." And, upon realizing at what it might sound like, how it might seem he was talking about the kiss—blurted out, "The poem, I mean! The, the poetry, thing."

Nailed it.

Mistfell Vale
Hawkesond
User avatar
Emmett
Spotlight Soul Non-Luperci

POSTED: Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:02 am

OOC :: Words→ 323

Falcon was falling in love again, and it terrified him. Cottongrass’ “wow” struck him to the core—it was achingly familiar, yet wholly unique. Everything about it was so honest, adoring, and uniquely Cotton. Falcon smiled despite himself; he’d always liked the pale ones, hadn’t he?

Maybe this time, he wouldn’t regret it.

The Elkenfrey’s tail swayed behind him, slow and content, as Cotton complimented the poem. Or was it the kiss? Falcon supposed it didn’t matter. His handsome friend was tongue-tied enough as it was; asking would only make it worse. ”Thank you,” he purred, clasping his hands over his lap. Falcon was always eager to please—maybe too eager, sometimes.

Falcon’s tail wagged faster, brushing across the old, wooden floor. Oh, this was going to be fun. He stretched leisurely, smirking at Cotton’s quick correction. ”Mhmm, I’m sure,” he teased, draping his arms over the pale man’s back, ”and I’m the Ravenking.” Falcon stuck his tongue out for a second, before leaning in to kiss Cotton’s nose.

”I’ll read you another,” he said, turning the book’s stained pages. Hmmm… Which one to pick? Falcon had a few old ones he was reworking, a few half-finished new ones, even a completed piece or two. Ooh, that one would be good.

”Tie a knot around your finger,
Tie a knot around his heart,
Cut the string so that he’ll linger,
Treat it like a work of art,

It will lead him to your homeland,
Far away as he may be,
When he sees your youthful beauty,
He will fall for you, you’ll see.”


Falcon lets the words sink in for a moment, before explaining, ”It’s about a love spell. I learned it from a merchant, who said she learned it from a witch.” He doubted her story's veracity, but it was a good one.

Mistfell Vale
Elkenfrey
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Alexander

POSTED: Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:39 pm

(355)

Teasing words and stolen kisses. Poems read aloud from an old and well worn—no, a well loved—book that Cottongrass couldn't read, and likely never would, not when he was the way he was. He was loud and boisterous and obnoxious. He was bad at staying still and even worse at being serious.

And yet, when Falcon started reading another poem, this one about knots and strings and distant homelands, his voice and words well practiced and familiar?

Cottongrass settled.

Not fully, of course. His tail still dragged lazily against the reclaimed flooring behind him and his ears twitched from where they were angled forward atop his head and his body rocked slowly back and forth as he leaned some more of his weight against the man at his side, but his brain and thoughts were quiet. He kept his chin perched delicately upon the coyote hybrid's thin and clothed shoulder as he pretended to follow along, yellow eyes pointed downwards at the book in his friend's lap.

And when the poem was done?

Cottongrass pulled back.

He let the words and brief silence that followed settle over him. He marinated in them. Let the knowledge and interpretation wash and lap over like him a river to pebbles and stones. And—briefly, briefly—he thought about them. About the two of them together. About how they must have looked, pressed together the were they so often were nowadays. They were from two different words, the two of them. And yet they still managed to fit together so perfectly.

He reached out to drag the blunt end of his muzzle along the soft white fur of Falcon's features, along his muzzle and cheeks and chin and jaw, a thoughtful hum buzzing in his throat as he did. And he itched to kiss, to press soft and adoring licks wherever Falcon would be so kind to let him, but he held himself back.

(He didn't know if he was allowed. If he was welcome to.)

"A love spell?" He repeated, finally pulling back, placing the weight of his chin upon the hybrid's thin and clothed shoulder.

Mistfell Vale
Hawkesond
User avatar
Emmett
Spotlight Soul Non-Luperci

POSTED: Sun Mar 17, 2019 5:29 pm

OOC :: Words→ 340

Cottongrass settled at the hybrid’s side and listened intently to the old poem. His pale head on Falcon’s dark shoulder, their bodies pressed together… It was like something out of a fairytale, and Cotton was his prince charming. Falcon finished the poem and closed his eyes, basking in the warmth of his friend’s presence. He’d missed this.

Naya had found him, touch-starved and lonely, and reminded him what love felt like. Cotton had found him, heartbroken and regretful, and reminded him that life went on.

Falcon opened one eye to stare at Cottongrass, a small smirk on his lips. What was he up to now? He dragged his muzzle along the Elkenfrey’s features, slow and thoughtful, and Falcon waited for a kiss that never came. Instead, Cotton asked a question.

“A love spell uses magic to make someone love you, sometimes against their will,” Falcon explained, drumming his fingers on his sketchbook. Some love spells were little more than curses, and the wood women practiced both. ”I used to know a witch,” Falcon said, ”and she taught me a real love spell.” He recalled her graying, red-brown fur and bright yellow eyes. The way she laughed at his mother’s dry humor, doubled over and wheezing, when she visited their cabin. ”Well, she tried to, anyway. My… My mother didn’t like that very much.” Falcon chuckled bitterly and rested his chin on Cotton’s neck.

Leaving the Old Wood had seemed like the best decision of his life, but Falcon had always been convinced he’d go back. Then… Then he’d shifted, and his father wanted him to join the trade, and his mother wanted to go home. The Elkenfrey’s chest ached for a moment—he’d chosen the trade, and he’d regretted it ever since. ”I’m sorry,” Falcon said, scrubbing at tearless eyes, ”I was in a good mood, and then I had to go and ruin it.” Cotton deserved him at his best, not his worst.

Mistfell Vale
Elkenfrey
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Alexander

POSTED: Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:36 pm

(384)

"That's okay."

He knew what bad memories were like. Knew what it was like for one to be triggered, and how it felt like the entire world had been swept out from underneath your feet. He used to be bad about that. Where a single phrase or look could throw him back in time, to a time where he was young and volatile and raw like an open wound. Sometimes it still happened. Sometimes his mood would storm and swell like an ugly thunder and there was nothing he could do but ride out of the worst of it.

Yvonne and Barton had been proof of that.

And he liked—

He liked to think he was doing better at that, now. No longer was he a runaway fresh from home who had just had his entire world turned upon its ugly head. He was Cottongrass. He was in house Hawkesond and he was ranked Bronspath, and he was going to keep rising through the ranks until the past didn't matter anymore.

Coming to Mistfell Vale had helped. Meeting Falcon had helped.

And, it was in that moment, Cottongrass made a decision.

"My, my ataatatsiaq was like that, too, once, once upon a time." His life before Mistfell Vale—his life before he was even a runaway—wasn't something he often spoke about or acknowledged, but it felt right, it seemed fitting, for him to bring it up now, of all the times. "He didn't, he didn't teach me love spells, or anything, anything, like that, but he, he told me about the qalupalik, and the spiritual world, and he taught me how to, how to speak Inuktitut." His ataatatsiaq had been the only kindness he had, growing up. But he couldn't remember much of the words and sounds, not anymore. There were only sentence fragments and single words echoing in his head.

"My mom didn't like that." Neither did his dad. He reached out and pressed the end of his muzzle into the short and soft fur of Falcon's neck, not quite a kiss but not quite a platonic touch, either. It was something in between. It was all he could bring himself to do, when the connections between them seemed so shaky and undefined. "So, so I know, I know how you feel."

Mistfell Vale
Hawkesond
User avatar
Emmett
Spotlight Soul Non-Luperci

POSTED: Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:37 am

OOC :: Words→ 253

”That’s okay.”

Falcon’s ears perked at Cottongrass’ reassurance. He smiled weakly and resisted the urge to argue with his pale friend; if Cotton said it was okay, it was okay. ”Thank you,” Falcon murmured, running his hands through the man’s thick, white fur. How did he get so lucky?

A brief silence fell over the pair, and as much as he wanted to end it, he wasn’t sure how. Every time Falcon thought he had the words, they ran through his fingers like grains of sands. It was frustrating—he was a luperci of many words, but feeling vulnerable left him speechless.

Cotton broke the silence, pulling Falcon out of his thoughts. He spoke of a teacher—a family member, maybe?—in foreign, but familiar words. The man had taught Cotton about their culture and its language, but his mother had disapproved, too. Falcon sighed and pulled the pale man into a hug. ”I… I grew up in a place called the Old Wood. Things are… Different there, but at least my mom taught me about it.” He kissed Cotton's neck and hummed thoughtfully.

Falcon remembered wandering the old, dirt paths around their cabin and hearing stories of what lurked between the trees. Everything he'd needed to know, every ounce of wisdom his mother had, she’d told him without hesitation. For all of her secrets, all of her mysteries, Falcon… Falcon couldn’t have asked for a better mom.

If only she had a better son.

Mistfell Vale
Elkenfrey
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Alexander

Mistfell Vale