From one ocean to another [Acceptance]
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Shai He/Him
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#1

OOC: Shai is back. @Shangra'la @Ronno
feel free to post whenever you can.


They had returned from the sea to find a barren land. The Stoneclaw of his childhood days no longer existed. No matter how long or how much they searched, they could find no trace of the members of the pride. In a way, it was a relief. So long as they were missing, they could still be alive. 

His first thought was for his mate. Coatl's name was the one Shai roared as he, Shangra and Ronno searched the pridelands for a sign or anything that could tell them where the others had gone. There was nothing but silence, and Shai spent some time comforting the two wolf siblings as they tried to cope with their mother's disappearance along with the clan that had looked out for them. 

He told them it would be alright, that no matter what, they had each other and that he wouldn't abandon them. He meant every word. 

The following days were spent travelling, asking any passerby if they knew what had become of the pride. So many big cats couldn't all just disappear at once. It was by speaking to the birds that Shai learned of the fire and the humans, and how the sabres of Stoneclaw had gone their seperate ways. The former monarch grieved at this news, wondering if things would have been different had he not been away. He hoped those he loved were safe, and that he would see them again somehow.

He spent some time in the neutral areas with the wolf siblings. Twice he had nearly been attacked by a lone wolf thinking he was a threat to Shangra and her brother. Twice he had to explain they were family in a sense and that he would never harm them. 

Then one day, there came a murmur; a rumor of sabres gathering again in a land far north. The details were vague, Shai would not learn from anyone who had heard these rumors who was the leader. Was is Mayan? Or perhaps Kobolt? Maybe the news of the clan being dispersed had been a misunderstanding. Maybe Nexys had simply moved the clan to another location. 

Whatever the case, the trio decided to make the journey and see this new Stoneclaw. They hoped that perhaps they would meet there the missing ones they had been searching for. 

Shai realized then how old he had become. The journey took longer than he had expected, for the pauses were many along the way. By the time they reached the lush forest at the edge of the northern prairies, there was an ache in his bones that simply wouldn't go away. Roderik was here, this much he would tell, for he recognized some of the claw marks on the trees for being his. Was he a guard or a scout of this new pack then, he wondered. Whatever the case, he would be glad to see him and Taverin again.

At the edge of the forest, the prairie seemed to go on forever. The line where the grass met the sky seemed so far away that the old sabre groaned at the thought of walking so far. 

"Perhaps we should have someone meet us here... I don't know how much further I can go without rest, and I wouldn't want to leave you two to go ahead without me. It would be too dangerous."

They might have been born and raised in Stoneclaw, but Shai wanted Shangra'la and Ronno to be aware of the realities of exchanges between wolves and Sabres. He never missed an opportunity to remind them to be careful when meeting a stranger. Shai felt like he needed to protect these two... After all, he owed the life of his daughter and his mate to the care of their mother. He still felt some guilt to having kidnapped her from her pack without ever having a chance to make it up to her. By watching over the two siblings, in a sense, Shai felt as though he was repaying a debt.

"Watch you ears now"

Air was sharply pulled in his lungs with a quiet snarl before being pushed out in a mighty roar that echoed in the vast emptiness of the prairie. Shai might have been an elder, but once he had been a king. 

He was still capable and strong.
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#2

       Twin Star of Stoneclaw      [Image: star_shoot_emoji_by_catstam-d9qkds2.png]
  [Image: 8895011bfb288ddd0ebe4c2adf40cfed-d6jytjl.gif]  [Image: 8895011bfb288ddd0ebe4c2adf40cfed-d6jytjl.gif]  [Image: 8895011bfb288ddd0ebe4c2adf40cfed-d6jytjl.gif]  [Image: 8895011bfb288ddd0ebe4c2adf40cfed-d6jytjl.gif]  [Image: 8895011bfb288ddd0ebe4c2adf40cfed-d6jytjl.gif]  [Image: 8895011bfb288ddd0ebe4c2adf40cfed-d6jytjl.gif]  [Image: 8895011bfb288ddd0ebe4c2adf40cfed-d6jytjl.gif]  [Image: 8895011bfb288ddd0ebe4c2adf40cfed-d6jytjl.gif]

"The only paradise is paradise lost."
- Marcel Proust

                 [Image: f2u_space_sparkles_divider_by_fishystamps-dbqy312.png]
       


They had gone to the sea to escape their troubles, to be given a reprieve, a vacation.  They had come back to charred ruins.  They had called and called, but there had been no answer.  Not even bones to give them closure.  The Twin's world was shattered, their entire lives gone in a single instant.  As children, there had been no other wolves to comfort them when they cried.  They had run to the cats when their mother wasn't there.  Now the pair clung to Shai, their former king and the only link to the single life they had known.  Easily as old as their grandsire would have been, Shai, while still strong, would not be able to care for them forever. But they weren't children anymore.  It was time for them to become a force unto themselves.

Where Shai had always taught them to be wary of strange sabers, they were now learning to be wary of strange wolves.  There was much resentment between their species, and while sabers may have been willing to attack them, wolves were now willing to attack because of them.  Shangra'la was quick to defend against these "helpers", desperate to keep the only tie she and Ronno had besides one another.  She became wary and aggressive towards her own species, and each encounter with a stranger triggered her anxiety.  On and on they walked.  Asking, searching, driven forward by the merest crumb of maybe.

Lala tried her best to keep an eye on Ronno.  Despite his larger size and strength, he was a gentle soul.  The loss of their mother was a blow to them both, but she felt it was Ronno who would bear the deeper scar.  It was for him that she had so readily agreed to chasing the shadows of the pride across the land.  Had they found even a remnance of their mother's body, they could have made a clean break.  But though they had looked, and though they had found remnants of her, Arina was lost.  The rational portion of her brain told Shangra'la that her mother would not have survived the fire.  But hope ached in the starchild's chest.

Arina had been in poor health when Shai had offered them a trip to the beach.  She had declined, stating that she would like to stay to rest.  If Lala had known what was to happen, she never would have let herself be talked into the trip.  They had left Arina asleep in the sun outside their den, thinking that a little peace would help her ills.  The guilt was eating at Lala, and while she didn't speak it out loud, she thought that Ronno must be feeling it too.  Arina had given Ronno her herb satchel to take to the beach, packed with some rations so they could picnic. She adorned Lala with her earring, mostly to soothe her daughter's worried heart by telling her that at least something of her would be with each of them.  She'd be going after all, just in her dreams.  Now it was the only place Lala could see her.

"Perhaps we should have someone meet us here... I don't know how much further I can go without rest, and I wouldn't want to leave you two to go ahead without me. It would be too dangerous. Watch you ears now."

Roderick's clawmarks were a welcome sign. The sliver of hope in her chest grew warmer, the pain a little less.  Someone familiar, anyone familiar, was enough at this point.  The Twins ducked their heads as Shai roared, accustomed to the noise enough not to have it scare them, but still ill-equipped to keep it from rattling their bones.  Instead of adding their voices, Lala and Ronno knew to keep silent. They could howl, a strange, guttural sound that was somewhere in between a normal wolf howl and the grunting boofs that the cats made.  While easily recognized at home, it was not an accent that was usually greeted well.  Lala tensed, ready to fight or run as need be.  Shai was right, this was dangerous.



[Image: pawprints_on_the_sand_deco_divider_by_ma...avvcvw.png]


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Ronno he/ him
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#3


[Image: tumblr_ph89x2LW141vtjcxso1_250.png]




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He didn't want to go to the beach.

He'd pleaded to his mother, to his sister- to anyone that they remain with her in her ailing health. He could help her- he knew given enough time that he'd be able to help her. But she persisted, she demanded, she begged for him to stop a moment and take a breath of reprieve from his duties and for once simply be a child. Her child.

'Go. Enjoy yourself. I will still be here when you return- I promise. As a sign of that promise, here is my herb satchel. Take it with you and bring back your findings from the beach.' she had told him when he'd protested too much. He'd taken it with a hesitation, but it was a promise that reassured him slightly.

In the end, Ronno could barely remember the ache he felt as he, his sister, and the King departed for the beach and a vacation.

The feeling of their return, however, still burned hot in his heart like the fire that swept through their home.

Much of that day was a blur to him- he could vividly remember the way the earth looked; a charred history simply wiped away and erased from the face of the planet. He could remember their grief as they searched; the futile hope that they held when bodies of their loved ones weren't found, thinking that maybe they were still alive somewhere in hiding. It was a hope that carried the trio through the lands as they desperately searched.

Ronno had done his best to keep the optimism high in the beginning. He begged and pleaded they continue their search and look for their mother. She was smart. She had taught them how to be smart; it was only logical that some piece of her remained, was it not?

With each step they took from that moment on, Ronno could only find the logical truth of the matter; a truth no one had spoken of: everyone had died.

To be fair, he wasn't sure why he'd kept the facade up throughout the entire journey. He knew his sister, Shangra'la, was coping far better than him but he knew that she too was suffering silently. When he looked to his King- the only adult of the bunch who had taken care of him for so long, there too did he notice the pained look in his face when he thought they weren't looking. They were lost, far from home and didn't know where their feet were leading them.

It would be Ronno who spoke out first though during their trip; finding ways to snap and argue at each passerby as well as their King. It was never done out of stubbornness to continue, but a shear resentment of his own inability to have stood up to them and stayed behind. Had he not gone on that vacation with his sister- had they stayed home with their mother; Ronno was certain they would all still have been alive to this day.

Yet one day as they continued on, beaten and drained; a hushed whisper came through the wood of a pride re-grouping somewhere near where they had found themselves. The whispers were nothing but rumor, but they were enough of a promise that Ronno had noticed a spring in Shai's steps as he turned towards the birds and began to follow them to this mystical promise land.

'We don't even know if it's them!' he'd protested out loud that day; the only one in the group unwilling to move on from their astray course. 'What if it's a different pride, and they kill us! Mother isn't with them- I don't think we should go in to this so blindly. What if these rumors are false?! We're already lost; we'd only become MORE lost in this awful place.'

In the end, it was an argument he didn't win. Once more he found himself reluctantly following orders and walking to a place that was not home.

They walked on and on for what felt like forever. The forest thickened in some areas and filtered out in others. Yet something curious found the trio as they made their way to a clearing- a wide sprawling prairie for miles. The star child couldn't help but feel the tiniest pang in his chest as he looked out to the sea of grass, turning to his sister with a look of defeat but also trust. If Shangra'la thought this was their best course of action, then so did he.

"Perhaps we should have someone meet us here... I don't know how much further I can go without rest, and I wouldn't want to leave you two to go ahead without me. It would be too dangerous."

Ronno's ears perked and his head swung to look beside him at the old, tired King that stood looking out to the prairie. The boy gave a chortle. He'd walked this far but was too tired now? With an eye roll he turned back to his sister, eyes passing over hers to see a set of claw marks dug in to the tree. They were familiar, and even if they were Roderik's, the boy wasn't about to place all of his eggs in to one basket.

Ronno opened his mouth to speak, only deafened by the loud roar of their once lively King. His head turned back to him, offering another soft snort and reclining to his rump.

"Sure hope the welcoming committee is happy to see us. I don't know if I can fight rogue cats long enough to save your ass, old man."






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Roderik He/Him
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#4

He heard it from the sea. Standing near the waves on the beach, it came to him even from the other side of the prairies. He recognized it right away and something in his chest swelled, or tightened, he couldn't tell. He immediately took off, climbing the narrow path to the top of the cliffs and running across the prairie with haste. A nearby herd of yak raised their heads as they saw him pass by but remained where they were as it was obvious that the sabre's interests was not on them. His father was here! The news had made it all the way past the old lands and to the edge of the sea that faced west where they'd been with Ronno and Shangra'la and....

Taverin.

Roderik slowed down to a stop, halfway through the prairie. His legs suddenly felt heavy, like he couldn't move anymore. He'd done his best to move on from what had happened. It wasn't his fault... neither of them could have known what would happen. They'd never met the two legged before, never even heard about them. The old stoneclaw forests were supposed to be safe. They'd been anything but safe. They'd taken Taverin away and there had been nothing he could do but watch him slip away. Roderik swallowed. He feared his father's judgment, he realized that now... but he couldn't let that get ahead of him. He couldn't let his fear or his insecurities get the best of him. No. He wasn't a child anymore, he was a king. Taking a deep breath, the sabre shook his pelt before setting off on his path once more. Always look ahead to the future, no matter what. When he finally reached the forest, he spotted them all waiting at the edge; his father and Arina's two children. They'd practically grown up together. He'd underestimated how good it would feel to see them again, familiar faces from before. He hoped more would come; he prayed more would come, and why wouldn't they? If his father was here, and even Dahx, there was no end to the possibilities.

"YA MADE IT!"

He'd aim for the nearest one, the unfortunate victim being Ronno and quite literally bowl them over as he pounced over him and knocked him down, proceeding to pretend like he was going to devour him but licking him all over instead. The wolf would probably get back up with his fur sticking oddly in the air all over the place, but such was the price to pay to be friends with a 700lbs cat. He'd laugh and move to Shangra, rubbing the top of his head against the side of her rib cage with a purr before looking at his father with a smile.

"I knew you'd come. I knew the news would spread. Is there anyone else with you?"


There didn't seem to be anyone else, but it didn't hurt to ask, did it? They'd probably found the old Stoneclaw on the way here. Roderik's ears lowered as he thought of the grief they must have felt, as he had, to see their home vanished just like that... and their mother. He looked back to them in question but the look on their faces said it all.

"I'm sorry to say, you're the first to arrive that was there before we left... I was hoping that... " He'd sigh before continuing. "I've not seen or heard anything from Mayan, or my mother either since... But i'm sure they would have heard the news just as you did and they'll come. We'll wait for them here and build them a home they can be glad to come back to."

It was all he could do.
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Shai He/Him
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#5

"Sure hope the welcoming committee is happy to see us. I don't know if I can fight rogue cats long enough to save your ass, old man."

Shai would glance over to the anxious young wolf and reach a paw over to ruffle the fur at the top of his head affectionately before responding.

"Hrmph... I may be old but I could still teach you a lesson or two about fighting."

He'd try to lighten the mood when he could, but he couldn't change what had happened. Part of him felt regret for having brought the twins to the beach with them. Because of this, they had been seperated from their mother... But then again, had they not been with him, would they even be alive now? Shai hoped they would both keep hope for a while yet... And perhaps remind themselves that they were not alone in these trying times. Many others must have been missing loved ones and worrying about them now.

"YA MADE IT!"

Roderik was making his way towards them from the prairie and proceeded to shower the twins with marks of affection before turning his attention back to him.

"I knew you'd come. I knew the news would spread. Is there anyone else with you?"

"It is good to see you, Roderik. No, we did not find anyone else... Neither there or on our way here. Is anyone here with you from the old lands? Your siblings? .... Coatl?"

His Coatl, strong but gentle heart, she had supported him always and he craved for her presence by his side. Every day that went by without her he prayed for her safety and that of all his children.

"I'm sorry to say, you're the first to arrive that was there before we left..." ... "We'll wait for them here and build them a home they can be glad to come back to."

The weight in his heart grew heavier... His beloved was not here. But Roderik was right, perhaps they would come in time.

"These lands are unfamiliar to me... But the plains of Stoneclaw will take time to recuperate from the devastation of the fire and we cannot go back now without risks. Who chose this new location? Who is the current leader of the pride?"

He wouldn't have guessed in a million years.
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