again and again [acceptance]
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Raffaello He/Him
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#1


From the icy clutches of the north, to southern deserts, he had searched. Far from his element, he'd left behind the home in which they had begun, the one that followed in which they'd built together, only to watch it fall, eaten up by blizzards. A family they tried to patch together, gone. His most beloved partner, gone. He'd always been the move clever of the two, the survivor, so Raffaello never wavered in his belief that Sabal survived the ice and snow, left it behind even. He made it out, even when others had not- he had to. And so he had trekked, all across the Straits. He owed it to Sabal to try, and even when it took him from their most comfortable element, he'd carried on.

He'd met many along the way, wolves and cats alike, fools and wanderers, those with their own purpose. A would-be King who'd drug him up from the sweltering heat and scorching sands, saved him and whispered plots to him, only to fade away like some mirage. He'd heard plenty of misguided leaders before, and thought little of it. May you reign in your imaginary kingdom, he'd thought of the cat of oranges and reds, certain he'd find the same fate as so many. It hardly mattered, Raffaello's sights remained set on one thing only.

Months became seasons, and he had lost track of the time as it passed, intentionally perhaps. It would be hard to accept that he had been without his guiding light for just so long. He had, all at once, begun to feel lost. He had all along, really, as he always was when he did not have Sabal before him. He owed to his partner his very life, and had, even in his own strange ways, always dedicated himself as such. Was he gone now, could he really accept this as fact? Move on and live without? Stubborn as ever, Raf refused the notion. He would carry on, he would keep looking... Sabal had to be alive.

Because believing that he wasn't, was unbearable.

It only made sense for his journey to bring him to a place where others like them had gathered- others, not so equipped for northern territory as he, but powerful felines nonetheless. Whether upon a whisper, a whim, a scent on the wind or even simply intuition, he would arrive, on the far edges of the place he'd discover as Stoneclaw. Here, part of him accepted as the end of his search, in whatever way that meant. Help or home, he would figure it out in time.

Standing a little straighter, his regular proud posture having given way to slouching, just as some of his bulk had been lost in his travels. A cleared throat and dipped head were followed up by a sizable, rumbling roar. Notice me. Come find me.


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Shai He/Him
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#2

He may have felt his son wasn't ready for the leadership of a pride, and his list of complaints he had on the way Roderik chose to run the clan might have been long, but he couldn't find any fault to the location he had chosen for the new land of Stoneclaw. There were probably others who would disagree or find some fault to the cold and unfamiliar sights of the seaside cliffs, but Shai felt right at home among them. The sea had always held some strange spell over him. It soothed him in a way. Watching the waves and listening to them crash against the stones seemed to wash away all his worries and cares. He easily could have kept himself immobile all day simply listening to the sounds of the sea... But Shai didn't consider himself old enough to allow himself such privilege. So long as he was capable he would contribute to the well being of the clan, despite his reservations about the way it was being managed.

Handling guard duty and scouting the borders was not only an effective way to help out, but it was also a familiar activity that took him back to his younger years. Even as king of Stoneclaw, back in his youth, Shai had never kept himself from the smaller tasks to be accomplished. He thought the small things such as border duty were just as important as the bigger responsibilities such as the management of an alliance for example. The land might have been very different, but the tasks associated with border duty were the same.

Shai was surprised when he heard the call ahead. Being so far out from the regular paths that took all manners of creatures across the fringe, it seemed to him like the new Stoneclaw would be harder to find now than it had been back when the vast savannah nearly stood in the heart of the continent. But felines looking to become members of the clan seemed to appear rather regularly. Despite this, there was still no sign of his beloved...

He offered a roar in response. A bellowing call that echoed across the vast plains which caused all manner of smaller creatures to scurry, and birds to take flight. He sounded like a king... Perhaps even still looked like one, but this land wasn't his to command. This Stoneclaw, as much as it already felt like home, wasn't his to shape and mold as he saw fit. The old monarch found this a difficult feeling to cope with.

As he came to meet the owner of the call, he made no effort to hide his scrutinizing gaze. A thick coat, well equipped to deal with the harsher weather of the wind swept prairies and the undoubtedly cold winters this land would offer. The feline seemed promising as a member of the clan... If that indeed was even his intent.

"Well met, Stranger. My name is Shai. You've found yourself on the borders of the land now known as Stoneclaw. What is your purpose here?"

Short and to the point. The old sabre had no reservations about the cold winds that passed them by. His fur, which spotted much more white than it had in his younger days, had grown thick and warm from his time spent by the sea. But his joints were growing sore from all the walking he had done this day. He longed for some rest after this encounter was done.
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Raffaello He/Him
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#3


To Raf's surprise his call was met with another in a timely manner, thankfully since he was feeling a touch impatient, anxious even. Giving his thick coat a light shake go rid of any errant dirt, he stood steady, ready to put himself on display as the specimen he might claim himself to be. He was a little more lean than was typical, having perhaps unintentionally been shedding that extra weight which was plenty useful in the north. Lately he had been moving, almost ceaseless in his wandering, searching. It did however have plenty to do with his hunting partner no longer at his side.

Huffing a little, emerald eyes shifted toward the approaching saber with only mild curiosity. This was not who he wanted to see, as such the scrutiny was met with apparent indifference.

"Well met, Stranger. My name is Shai. You've found yourself on the borders of the land now known as Stoneclaw. What is your purpose here?"

He would nod his simple greeting. "Raffaello." Short and sweet. "I'm lookin' for someone." The words themselves seemed aloof, though his eyes cast quickly away so as not to break the illusion. "Figured this'd be a good place to check. Maybe stick around." Because it was the last stop, end of the line. If he wasn't here, then...

"Know how to make myself useful." He offered with a half shrug and another shake of his thick pelt.


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