[OOC: This is open to all Ute members, prospective Ute members, and others who might have been invited. If you're not sure if you should be here, just ask.
Pose order is likely to be approximate, but do try to wait for others. Let's get things started!]
The afternoon is pleasantly warm, the leaves bright green overhead as spring shades into early summer. The snow is long since melted, but the sun has not yet begun to scorch the forest into dried brown. All in all, a nice day.
The sun sinks slowly toward the horizon, and the moon that rises tonight will be a full one. The first full moon of summer. This year, that means something. Ikuna, the Alpha of Ute, has said so. It means there will be a gathering of the pack.
He's done his best to spread the word far and wide, among all who might call themselves Ute - or wish to call themselves Ute. Now, he sits alone in the clearing and waits to see who will arrive. He's in a relaxed position, though his ears are perked to listen.
The warmth of summer- still a likable season, if only because the ground doesn't scorch her paws yet -has become a time of lounging with family and friend. Such an occasion however, has also lead to the one thing Althaea had been anticipating, a pack meeting.
As she had told her uncle, 'Thaea spoke to Brutal about coming to the meeting. She hoped that he'd come, but whether he did or not, her presence would be made. Stepping back into the clearing, it's Ikuna who she sees first, sitting there alone in the fading sunlight. Glancing side to side for anyone else, it seems she is the first to arrive. Approaching her uncle, she wuffs, offering a nuzzle when close enough. Taking a seat a few steps away, she makes sure to face the way she came to keep eye on her companion should he arrive.
// Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light somewhere nearby. \\
Kurux is nearby...just lurking. He has been giving serious thought to what Ghast said. Ghast had said that the wolf must be made to suffer so that he could repent of his wrongs. To Kurux this sounds like a great deal of gobbledygook but the dog is a dog and so he will have to work on making that happen. He supposes that when Tala has her puppies will be the perfect time. He'll have to find a way to make Ahiga stuffer though without hurting Tala...she hasn't really been mean to him.
He is presently hiding in the underbrush keeping an eye on Ikuna and whoever else might be showing up to this little shindig.
Ahiga had been doing well. Extremely well, under the circumstances. With his and Tala's return to the pack and what one could assume was a reconciliation between himself and his lifelong friend and now Alpha, he was .. almost back to his old self. Almost.
He'd come to terms with what happened to Tala. Forgiven himself for it? Never. But life goes on despite the difficulties that come with it. And as for her pregnancy, he could only hope. Hope and ask the Spirits that seem to have forgotten to shed any sort of grace upon him to spare them any more grief. He hunted for the pack. He kept himself readily on the watch for Tala. He mended his friendship with Miakoda. Life was getting back to usual.
Then, suddenly, he became sparse and has been until today. If something has happened, he has not been around to speak of it. But whatever happened, if anything, it is not keeping him from this meeting. He is a part of this pack, even if he's yet to don the symbol of it, and he's made a promise to be here on pack meetings. And so he arrives alongside another face that's been a bit absent lately: Tala. They arrive without flourish. A quiet entrance into the clearing. Ahiga's eyes seem heavily burdened, but it's a look that half vanishes as he spies Ikuna and others ahead. He chuffs a greeting, eyes flitting to Althaea a moment, and not yet noticing the lurking Kurux. Very gently, he noses Tala's shoulder, guiding her to a spot near her brother.
Plenty has happened to the pack over the past moons, and even more to Tala it would seem, one bit of bad news turning into another and then another until finally it seemed everything managed to fall apart around her.
The summer weather does little to bring a smile to her face, many thoughts still linger on her mind as she slowly follows after Ahiga. There is a limp to her step that comes and goes but other than that the damage that Ghast did to her cannot be seen. Physical scars heal, mental ones take much longer, even more so when other problems rear there ugly head.
All in the pack knew what happened to Tala, they also knew she was expecting as winter turned into spring. The pups had been born one cold early spring night, four in total and not one of them lived. Little do wolves know that a first time mother can have problems, even if they did know this it would do little to change Tala’ mind over the thought. To her she failed them all, she was the reason they had not lived and it pains her deeply.
Tala continues slowly towards the ground, a ear twitching to the touch from Ahiga and her steely blue gaze lifts to look out over the ones here. A slight chuff is sent back towards them as she follows along until Ahiga stops, she’ll be sitting rather close o him it seems.
Nonkene trots her way into the clearing with her tail slowly wagging. The young wolfdog is still on the small side, unlike her brother lurking in the bushes.
Also unlike her brother, she makes her presence known with a smile and a quickening of her tail's wag. She wuffs to Althaea, tilts her head to Tala and Ahiga with a soft, friendly whine, then crouches for a moment in a sort of wagging playbow to Ikuna before flopping herself to the ground with her ears perked to listen.
Initially, Brutal had every intention of leaving the Ute territory for a time, to whisper away like the hurried snow flakes upon the winter wind. His reasons for this planned departure were many and often never the same, but as time carried on and the snow melted, it became easier and easier for the dark wolf to find excuses to stay. But in the end, the truth was simply that Brutal did not truly wish to go. Atleast not without closure. Not without knowing that whatever grievous wounds were suffered, would in time, heal. That friendships would be reforged and bonds made new.
Therefore, where others have given and contributed to Ute's recovery through hunts, family support, and leadership, it has been time, that Brutal has given to the Ute. And in this time, the burly male has made little appearance, but unlike before, there is a distinct consideration behind his absence and a even greater purpose. Simply put, it is a gesture of respect. He's been staying out of their business.
This is not to say that the massive male is completely out of the circle, for his exclusive fraternization with Althaea is enough to keep the wolf in the know. Though it is also no great secret that Brutal keeps tabs on the Ute in this manner, as told by the simple act of his arrival now. Certainly too timely and precise to be coincidence, thus rendering even the most unwitting of minds capable of drawing the connection.
Of course, Brutal isn't here just because a little bird told him to come. For there have been many times before when the massive male could have taken up the offer of welcome that still stands, as extended by Ikuna himself. Or so rumor has it. No, Brutal's been waiting a long time for this day and he's not going to start it out by playing coy. Like all the others who call or might wish themselves to be called Ute, the hulking shadow of a wolf is here for a reason. A pack meeting.
This means there is no secrecy to Brutal's encroachment upon the woodland clearing, no great effort made to silent his steps. Guilelessly, the big wolf just emerges from the evening shadows, ever the brutish sight he's always been, but there is a affable warmth behind his gleaming yellow eyes that was never there before. Still yet, a quick search of the proximity is given, which brings his curiously calculating gaze to catch upon the red coated figure of Kurux, but only because the wolf-dog impresses upon Brutal's mind the very imagery of Kurux's intent- which is that of a creature lurking. And while Brutal does not seek to engage the half-bred, he is not heedless of the young male's demeanor even as he turns his focus to the others. Slowing his stride to a saunter, he voices a slow spoken and baritone address to Ikuna, accompanied by the respectful dip of his large head, "Ikuna of the Ute."
To the others, Brutal meets their gazes each in turn, while the other end of the massive wolf provides a unspoken gesture of peace by way of a uncharacteristic tail wag, relaxed and swaying gently behind his rump. Of course, Brutal's final destination is next to Althaea, whom promptly receives all his attention, with the massive male cracking a good humored smile at her watchful anticipation of him. "You weren't worried I wouldn't show, were you?" he questions into her ear in a low voice, mirth caught in the corners of his eyes as he sidles in beside her, tantalizingly close, yet still without touching.
As the pack begins to gather, Ikuna rises from his seat to make a round of greetings.
Althaea is the first to arrive, and he greets her with a light nuzzle in return. Ahiga and Tala are next, and as they settle into place, he bumps at Ahiga's shoulder and gives Tala a soft nuzzle that lingers for a moment with his head near hers and a sympathetic look. Nonkene, when she arrives, gets a lick between the ears. Brutal gets only a nod of acknowledgment, and Kurux not even that, for the wolfdog has not chosen to show himself.
Ikuna returns to his spot, but he does not sit again. He chooses instead to remain standing, his amber gaze surveying the wolves around him. Is this enough of the pack to begin? It's another moment before he speaks, and when he does, his voice is pitched so even the one hiding in the bushes should have no trouble hearing.
"Thank you for coming," he says, his head held high and his tail level. "I know some of you have had disagreements in the past." His gaze goes between Brutal and Ahiga. "For this meeting, I ask you leave them behind." He pauses a moment, ready to meet any challenging looks, then smiles. The golden mark of Tobba, the sun, is visible on his shoulder as the last of the sunlight catches it and makes it glow. "I've been alpha half a year now. I know it's been different. Things have changed." One side of his muzzle quirks up slightly, a trace of humor as he adds, "They may change even more."
Waiting has never been a true aspect in Althaea's life, or least it never use to be. Sitting in what remains of the suns light with her uncle was an oddity in its self, but the waning sun wasn't something to frown on it was something to cherish. A reminder that only the day as ended not the bonds that we share.
As the sun sets and the moon slowly shines through, her watchful gaze into the forest, now burdened by the shadows, turns to the side where Kurux holds himself up. His physical presence an invisible one, but his scent unmistakable. With no outward inclination of knowing where he is, an ear turns to the approach of several others. Shifting her attention to them next, the young shewolf nods to Ahiga and Tala both. It was good to see them, what with all that's happened. A long over due greeting stands between them and her, stalling as the call from Nonkene draws her attention. She smiles giving her cousin the same nod she's given everyone else. The returned nuzzle from her uncle draws her gaze back to him, however it is short lived when Brutal's shadowed figure breaks through. Ikuna's departure to greet the others shifts Althaea's seated stance to the burly wolf whose smile is met with one to match. "I had my doubts, but I'm glad your here." Words a whisper, she leans into the wolf with a manner of affection, rubbing her head against his neck hair then looking to her uncle as he speaks.
There's no forgetting the disagreements that have been had; the fights that started because of them. Yet in spite of them all everyone still stands together. This makes her smile, glancing to the gleaming mark of the sun. Though odd, it was exactly the symbol everyone needed to see.
// Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light somewhere nearby. \\
Kurux is certainly aware that he has been noticed by at least some of the members of the pack, and that's just fine with him. Just because he is noticed doesn't mean he is feeling overly social at the moment. He watches as the various members of the pack arrive. Particular attention is paid to Brutal. He's seen him around here and there over the course of his life, and has never really had what he would call a conversation. There might be hope for that, there might not. He'll have to give it a shot sometime.
There is his nemesis....
He isn't going to do anything at the gathering obviously...that would just be too obvious and rather stupid. You have to be subtle in this life if you want to get away with the type of things that he has going on in his mind. Besides Tala is there and he has no interest in causing her anymore discomfort presently. He hasn't really heard about the pups dying but surely that will come out. News travels quick in a pack.
His ears perk a bit as Ikuna begins to speak. It all sounds more than a little pretentious to him. Ikuna (despite the fact that he is alpha) is still Ikuna.
Ahiga's eyes linger on Tala once they're settled, and his ears flick back a bit as he leans towards her, touching his nose to her shoulder comfortingly. He closes his eyes as he leans gently against her, supportingly. His tongue grazes her fur before he gently pulls back, ears perking as Ikuna rises and begins his rounds of greeting. He bumps his head against his shoulder in passing, offering a smile. Weak, but a smile.
The others around them. Some are acknowledged. Eyes meet Althaea's briefly. Skip Brutal altogether. Nonkene... His ears lift a little as he eyes the wolfdog youth. So happy and wiggly. Would his have been like that too? A pang of something clutches at his chest a moment, forcing him to look away, though not before a light smile and flip of his tail is given in reply to her whine. He can't help it. He kind of likes her. And maybe it's those wannabe fatherly hormones left with no pups to dote over that has him chuffing to her after a moment. Come on over. Sit by him....if you want.
Ikuna's words refocuses his attention on him. No worries about leaving disagreements behind. Easily done when one wholly disregards the existence of the other. But the talk of possible changes? Coyly at that. He quirks a brow. "Are we movin'?"
Tala lets her shoulder press back against Ahiga as she slowly settles to her haunches, there is a faint bit of pain seen in a slight wince but that is all while her head tilts to nuzzle against the wolf at her side. A soft breath escapes her before letting her attention turn to Ikuna. Her brother gets a soft smile, a pained one but it is there, there is a faint flicking wag of her tail and she soon noses him back. For a few moments her mind is not on sad thoughts it seems. With time hopefully that will at least change, everyone must move on after all.
Her gaze soon drifts over the others that are here, ears twitch forward and she soon catches sight of Nonkene and she watches her a few moments, perhaps wondering the same thing that Ahiga has before a soft chuff escapes her to confirm what Ahiga has offered. Kurux is unseen, though she gets the feeling that someone is there watching from the distance.
The rest are given a slight glance over but not a full acknowledgment before her attention is back to Ikuna. Her own shoulder bears the mark that Ikuna wished the pack to carry, the mark clearly needs to be redone as the color is a bit faded looking. At his words she looks a bit confused; a slight twitch of her maw is seen before she licks across her nose. “What sort of changes might these be?”
Nonkene wiggles up! She wiggles over to join Ahiga and Tala! She wiggles down next to Ahiga, with a wurf and a wigglewag of her tail.
Adolescent she may be, but in addition to being small, thus far she doesn't seem to have fallen prey to the mood swings so often associated with that time of life. Maybe they're yet to come. She's had her moments of solitude... much like her mother, who hasn't come to this meeting. Doubtless Nonkene or the lurking Kurux will be asked for a report, and so the adolescent female perks her ears to listen.
Expressions of mirth and affection remain a visible part of Brutal's demeanor while the large wolf settles in for the duration of this meeting, a warm smile lingering moments after he receives Althaea's confession. In turn, he rumbles a very soft chuckle, a private chortle to be shared between the two of them, "Well, at least you're honest." He smiles now, lowering his thick muzzle to snuffle at one of Althaea's ears, but then it is on to business, joining the she-wolf in her shift of attention towards Ikuna.
Only now, as the Ute alpha begins to speak, does something of Brutal's usual habit of guarded indifference slip in. The mention of past conflicts does prompt a glance toward Ahiga though, but only in the effort to measure the wolf's own reaction. Which as it turns out, isn't so much as a ear twitch. And while disappointment is Brutal's initial inclination at seeing not much has changed, he is quick to decide that if Ahiga -and very likely Tala too- have chosen to write him off, then that would be fair enough. Besides, after all that has happened, Brutal supposes he should be happy they tolerate his existence at all.
And so, seeking no reconciliation or forgiveness, Brutal simply lets it be. For his part though, he provides Ikuna's request with voiced reassurance, "All has been forgotten." After this, he would go on to invest his interest in others, looking over the amiable Nonkene, feeling the welcomed warmth from Althaea at his side, and listening to the voice of Ikuna, who's words spark a flicker of curiosity. As for Kurux, Brutal has not forgotten the young wolf dog he seen lurking in the shadows outside the clearing, but neither does he actively seek to study the youth in this moment, particularly because Kurux's desire to remain apart speaks for itself.
Ikuna nods acknowledgement to Brutal's reassurance, though he seems unsurprised to see that there's distance yet between some wolves and others. But then, he didn't ask for friendship. Merely for peace. Tolerance. If tolerance means opposite sides of a clearing, so be it.
At Ahiga's question he blinks, then shakes his head. "No. We're not moving." He sounds a little surprised - though perhaps he shouldn't be - and his answer is blunt and honest as a result.
Maybe that helps to remind him that he's still just Ikuna, alpha or no, or maybe it jars him enough out of his thoughts that he realizes he's been standing there. Either way, he lowers his hindquarters to the ground, sitting down but keeping his head high.
"I've been thinking." How many things have started that way? Tala and Ahiga know what happened when Ikuna the Pup started to think, so perhaps they won't be surprised by what he says next.
"I'm not the wolf my father was. I'm not the alpha he was." He glances to Althaea as he continues. "When Hahtalekin was in charge, there was one family in Ute. His family." His gaze wanders, taking in Brutal with Althaea, Tala and Ahiga together, Nonkene... oh. With the previous two. He pauses to smile at that before his gaze goes out to the forest. "Ute has more than one family now."