Acceptance thread  the sky wasn't big enough for them all
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Halla she/her
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#1

She wasn't afraid, but she was frozen to the bone. Halla was the only girl in her village who couldn't stand the winters. They were as brutal as her people. Or was it the other way around? She'd never know why it had to be that way, but that's just how it was. You either got with the program or you get a black eye, a whip to your back, one less tooth in your mouth. It didn't matter. She didn't matter. Not to them, at least. She thought to herself that maybe if her mother had cared then she would have protected her, but she wasn't old enough to understand that it wasn't in their control. She'd still resent her for it. She'd hold it to her chest like the furs she wrapped herself in, shielding herself from this heartless weather.

The bundled up girl sat on a hill dappled with snow, a bitter gust of wind blowing her fiery hair in her face. Halla wasn't feeling well. It had been maybe a day since she last ate, her water supply had gone dry and she had to resort to munching on snow to keep hydrated. Her anger was gone and replaced by a deep fear that she would keep lying to herself about. She'd come this far, but where was there to go now? She wasn't thinking straight when she declared that she'd live on her own from now on. Now weeks have passed, and she could scarcely find things to eat and keep her warm. And she wasn't a bad hunter, either. Something was definitely wrong around these lands and she didn't understand what it was. Where had all the animals gone? Why did this place make her heart throb in her throat? For whatever reason, she needed to know. She'd keep going. No point in turning back now.

Halla gathered herself up, her furs wrapped over her head and shoulders, and continued on. Her feet dragged in the frozen grass. She felt herself become heavy and swaying, swaying. She looked up, peering through her hair, the fur, the snow that battered her eye and face. Nothing but pure white was ahead of her. Until she caught a glimpse of something tall, dark, solid...

She stopped, falling to her knees, panting and wheezing. She wanted to throw off her coat and scream at the sky. But she couldn't. Maybe she'd just sit here awhile and cry. But she couldn't. One thing that she wouldn't do is die. Looking back up, she could see that the tall silhouette in the distance was, in fact, a wall. Her blue eye widened and her breathing became uneven as her anxiety grew. No, not more people! She turned, slipping and sliding to pick herself up again and start running the other way, but her foot skidded on ice and she crashed with a big OOF!! She writhed in pain for a moment, holding her shin, and glanced back towards the towering stone wall. She would never trust whoever lived here. They'd surely steal her and force her into a life she didn't want, again. Well, she wouldn't go down easy. Her quivering hand reached for her sheathed blade...
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Gaven He/Him
in your heart shall burn an unquenchable flame
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#2

The Starreaver spotted the small footprints the the snow first. Long and narrow, booted little stamps that trailed through the snow, the wind quickly filling them in behind the one who had left them. He thought he might lose them before he found their end. They were not marks from other elves or humans who had passed here before. He knew they were different. He was not surprised when he saw a crumpled form of unfamiliar furs near the wall but he reacted when he saw trembling fingers reach for a partially concealed weapon.

Why are these outsiders always jumping for opportunities to use their weapons?

The form on the ground must not have heard him over the wind, and he took advantage of the din to rush them; he closed what few yards lay between them in seconds, much like he had with Raistlin, and swooped down as a hawk might. He closed his palm around their hand, pressing the delicate digits in his fist so they would not be able to grasp anything, and his other arm hooked under their armpit and wrenched their shoulder back. He knew he was being too rough and this would not earn him any love but he could not risk anything they were about to attempt that involved a knife.

"Sorry," he murmured, not knowing if they understood his language. He pulled the form to their feet, noting how light they were in his grasp. They were shaking so violently it was a struggle to grip them. "Knife needs to stay where it is for now....or better yet..."

Before they could involve their loose elbow in any shenanigans he spun them by the shoulder to face him, releasing their trapped fist and grabbing their knife in one fluid moment. His eyes widened briefly, betraying his shock; they were just a kid. His grip on them softened instantly, almost gently nudging them away with an apologetic look in his face. He kept the knife though; they must have been only Yara's age, but even his youngest sister knew how to use a weapon. He would return it when he was certain they weren't about to repay him for his kind greeting, which he thought he deserved on many levels after that. He awkwardly cleared his throat.

"Well, that's not normally how I greet people, but I can name a number of individuals here who would argue otherwise," Gaven said sheepishly. "I just didn't want you to...get hurt."
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Halla she/her
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#3

Halla's knife was a pretty one, and something she rarely used. Sometimes she'd just stare at it and almost feel guilty for stealing it from the blacksmith back home. Its opalescence was too beautiful to be in her possession, but in times like these she knew she'd need it for something. It would have been useful, especially now. However, she had little to no time at all to react when she felt someone grab her hand and swing her up by her arm. She let out a startled yelp and went stiff, her legs flailing as she was lifted upwards and trying to gain her footing. Her eye shut closed, and a small whimper escaped her lips. Looking upon her aggressor was too scary. She always preferred seeing darkness rather than whoever was preparing to hurt her. Keeping her eyes and muscles clenched tight would never failed to ready herself for pain.

Yet the pain, aside from being snatched up so suddenly and so violently, never came. She could hear them mutter something, but the shock from being jumped made her breathe heavily not pay attention as much. She stood as still as possible, besides the inevitable jittering from fear, until the assailant twisted her around to face them. Her eye stayed closed shut, her throat tightening as she resisted a sob, and failed miserably. She allowed them to take her blade, not wanting to cause any more trouble for herself. But for some reason, she felt the grasp on her loosen, and eventually release. Halla's hands immediately clasped over her face and she stumbled backwards a bit. Her fur coat had slipped off and plopped onto the snow at her feet, and she stood shivering in front of them now. It was a bit of a pathetic sight, and she knew that, but she could not help shaking and hiding her eyes. She wasn't expecting to be found so quickly. It seemed as though her adventure was over just before it had even begun. A tear threatened to drip down her cheek as she thought of being dragged off and beaten for fleeing her village. Or worse, made a slave for a different one. In one way or another, it would be the same. She might as well look upon her new captor and get used to seeing them.

"Well, that's not normally how I greet people, but I can name a number of individuals here who would argue otherwise," the man expressed, almost sounding regretful.

She dared to peek at him through her fingers. He wasn't at all what she envisioned. The cowering girl regarded his pointed ears, the arboreal marking that trailed from his forehead down his nose bridge, and the glint in his eyes that struck Halla as something rather unearthly. This couldn't have been a man from her village or she would have recognized him. He wore nothing that resembled any alliance with a man village. On a similar note, he appeared much warmer than she and a jab of envy made her shiver once more and clasp her arms about her torso in an attempt to rub and generate some heat from her bare hands.

"I just didn't want you to...get hurt."

Halla snuffled, unsure if it was safe to make a move for her fur. If he didn't wish to harm her, then why did he? Her eye, wet from sobbing, instinctively glanced at her blade that he took and then back up at him. It was unnerving to be staring up at a man like him, mainly because she was under the impression he was going to tie her up and abuse her. But his hesitation must have meant that he didn't mean to. Her gaze drifted downward and her mouth faltered to speak at first, but soon after stammering a bit she found her voice and tried to speak.

"P-please d... please d-don't... I don't like that," was all she could manage. The frightened girl lifted an arm and made a grabbing gesture on herself, repeating it over and over and shaking her head at him. "No."

Was she scolding him? She guessed she was. Halla rarely ever spoke unless spoken to, or if she was talking to herself, so finding words in this sort of situation was definitely difficult for her. Though, she hoped she got the message across. No touchie.


@Corvo
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Gaven He/Him
in your heart shall burn an unquenchable flame
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#4

The girl looked impossibly frail trembling before him while the merciless winds whipped snow around her pale form. The elven man moved slowly, stooping to pick her crumpled coat and stood up to hand it to her. He could not tell her fluency by what few words fumbled out of her quivering lips, but she made her point. If she took the coat from him without issue, careful that she would never have to so much as touch his hand, he would offer the knife back to her hilt first. She needed any little thing to feel secure and if the knife helped she could have it. It wasn’t like he couldn’t defend himself if he had to.

I won’t grab you anymore,” Gaven promised, “but you look cold and hungry. Maybe you’d like to come back to my camp? It’s not far from here. It’s protected from the wind and I can make a fire to warm you.

She had to be alone. She could have been sent here as a clever trap and any moment humans would descend on him and he would be the ones tied in ropes and beaten, but he doubted such was true. She had only left a single set of tracks and Gaven’s own footsteps began to vanish in the white field as though they had never been; this was hardly hunting weather, even for wolves. If she had been sent out here as bait, she was intended to die, and the Starreaver wouldn’t allow such cruelty to go unpunished but he was not certain that was the case. She was alone and struggling and she needed his help, even if she might not want to take it. Surely she saw she had little choices.

There is nothing further but the sea,” He told her, in case she thought to continue onward. “You’re in the wolves’ land now. You’re in Gemini.
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Halla she/her
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#5

She jerked backwards for a split second, alarmed that he lowered himself, but soon relaxed when she realized it was just to pick up her fur. She let out a relieved sigh and carefully reached for it with both hands, then stepped forward to duck her head into it. It was bear, the warmest kind. Maybe not the warmest fur in the world, but Halla was small and very sensitive to extreme temperatures. She treasured this coat and the little paws that she could tie around her neck. She didn't like that an animal had to be hurt in the process, but she would feel grateful for its sacrifice whenever she wore it. Her brief reminiscence was interrupted as she remembered who she was standing in front of, and she threw the strange man a confused look. Why's he nice to me all of a sudden? After handing her the fur, he offered her blade. She felt safe enough to reach out and take it from him, even though her fingers fumbled and she nearly dropped it. Her gaze flicked from the blade, to the man, to the blade, to the man, then swiftly put it away. It was obvious at this point that having it out wasn't necessary. She pulled the fur taught around her and looked up at him, nervous still but curious.

Halla listened as he told her that he wouldn't hurt her again, and invited her to accompany him to his camp. At that, her expression turned anxious once more. Could she really trust him? It was true, she had no idea where she was and he seemed like he had a better idea than she. At the same time, what if he was going to trap her? No, no that wouldn't make sense... He would have done so already. She looked about, noticing that now the snow had obscured her path and she couldn't remember which path she had taken to get here. So she couldn't turn back, and even if she did, there would not be refuge for miles. She'd die in this cold. She looked at the wall as he explained that there was nowhere else to travel, the land lead down to the ocean from here. She had heard of it before, but never seen it. Only the strongest men went there, for reasons she did not know yet. She perked up at the world "wolves", glancing at him in wonder.

She couldn't tell if he meant the area was heavily populated by wolves or if it belonged to them. In any case, the idea scared her a little and confused her even more than she was already. Minutes passed as she circled, gazing in all directions, almost fearing that at any moment a wolf would leap out and go for her throat. It begged even more questions as she pondered. Could he command these wolves? Was he, like, King of the wolves? Or maybe he was the wolves' quirky henchman of some sort? Or was he a normal person just living in hiding from them? She turned back to him, knowing that if she thought of more questions to ask would get her nowhere. He needed an answer, and quick.

"Alone? You're alone?" she asked, pointing at the wall. Halla would not go if there were any other humans. She only felt slightly comfortable even talking to this person because he didn't seem all the way human. Her goal was to escape, and the only way she'd be protected was if she took shelter somewhere where no other human could see or recognize her. Maybe this man could keep her out of harm's way, but her trust had to be earned not given blindly. I'd be sad if I were here all by myself, she thought to herself as she looked into his eyes. She almost wanted to ask if he ever got lonely.

"B-b-but you'll... make me leave tomorrow? C-can you... tell me where to go? Somewhere s-safe?"

She knew his sudden kindness had to be genuine, but the last thing she wanted was to overstay her welcome. Outsiders were almost never welcome inside the borders of her village unless those could prove they had relatives who lived there. It wasn't heavily guarded, but they did their best to keep watch over everyone. And of course, she had seen many thrown out for "disorderly" behavior, but she hadn't realized until later on that they were just unwanted people who were seen as an extra mouth to feed. Which made her wonder why she wasn't thrown out sooner for being the most useless person out of everyone. Surviving alone was nearly impossible to do, and these outcasts were over twice her age. So how was she supposed to do it? She didn't know how she'd make it, but she couldn't ask to stay here. These were... wolves' lands. It wasn't in her right. The vicious inner conflict was beginning to whirl inside her mind and make her tear up again, which eventually grew to more sobbing.

"I promise I won't bother you again. I'll be gone when the snow's done, just please don't tell anyone--"

She couldn't finish. She had already started breaking down, her voice rough and huffing through bouts of crying. Her face fell into her fur to muffle the noise, and hide herself. She was so embarrassed to have been caught here by chance. And now, a complete stranger had to see her like this. She wished she could just shrink into the snow and disappear. This was so hard. Why was this so hard when it could have been so easy?



ooc; sheesh i'm sorry i'm making these so long lel
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Gaven He/Him
in your heart shall burn an unquenchable flame
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#6

The girl took her cloak, the olive branch shared between them, and she only slightly relaxed. She abstained from stabbing him when he handed her knife back. Then she began to pace, shuffling around him, and his eyes tracked her movement to-and-fro with wide curiosity. Her pale eye kept looking to the wall. She knew what it was, of course, because she was human and humans were fond of their structures. Gaven’s gaze followed her forceful point towards it as she asked if he was along. Well, that depended on her definition of ‘alone’ didn’t it?

Er, I suppose I am,” Gaven answered. “Though a dog lives with me.

Then she seemed to fold into herself, haunted by some crushing force of her life’s experience. He thought that she must have been betrayed by many people, she must have been abused to have already written this elaborate story in her head about what was to come of her. She was crying before anything had even been said and in response the elven man’s lips turn down in the slightest of frowns.

You don’t have to leave, if you don’t want to. There is enough for you here,” he told her. “It isn’t a bother. Who are you afraid I’ll tell? Is someone following you?
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Halla she/her
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#7

"Dog is.... dog is okay," Halla muttered through her sobs, desperately attempting to dry her cheeks. But the heavy snowfall only made it sting and difficult to see. She wasn't so sure if she wanted to leave. By this time, she was just frozen in place and longing to lay somewhere soft and warm. If this bizarro man were truly this sincere, maybe it was for a reason.

The scar-eyed girl had no concept of charity, her life spent hiding most of her hardships under furs or scraped against stone or wood with paints. Her home's values leaned more towards self-interested, turning their cheeks on what seemed to them to be a child not complying with their way of life. Or perhaps, she was lost from the moment she took her first breath. Beliefs differed among them, women with other children especially. Would she ever see someone her age again? A numbing tenderness began to pulse through her as she mulled it over. In the wolves' lands, in Gemini's lands, she'd never see anyone from her village again. The tips of her fingers melded together as she considered, and looked up at him when she realized he had asked her something.

"I don't know... Then again, maybe no one would care enough to. I lived in a village about, maybe, uh 3 weeks on foot south of here? I just... kept going. But I, I stopped for a day or two once, so... I'm, I'm not a criminal, I swear!! I didn't do anything. That's not why I'm running." Well, she did hit her mother. And steal a knife. And release some of the cows from their pen. And she kicked that one guy in the groin before he could get a chance to grab her. Maybe she did screw up. Halla's feelings for her mother were nothing short of confusing. It would be sad to never see her again. But... she never saw her all that much anyway.

"H-halla. I-I'm Halla... I'm... tired. I'll go with you." She sniffed, pulling the fur over her head as a sharp gust whistled past them. She wanted nothing more but to sleep now. Her stomach ached with hunger, but it could wait. Her gaze feathered down to the snowy blanket that engulfed the lowlands."Has someone ever hurt you so bad that you just wanna disappear? Forever?"
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Gaven He/Him
in your heart shall burn an unquenchable flame
Gemini
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#8

The girl was quicker to accept the idea of living with a dog than whatever else she was mulling over. Gaven didn’t want to rush her, but he would have liked to get her out of the cold and snow. He feared if she was out here any longer, she would become ill or injured from it; she didn’t seem sufficiently dressed in his mind. He glanced up and in the direction of his camp, not being able to see it from his position, but the longing to move present in his face. Then her voice tore his attention back to her.

I don’t care why you’re running,” Gaven told her. He might care if she was a slaver, but he doubted that was the case. “As long as you aren’t looking to hurt anyone now. I only wanted to know if I should expect company, but while the weather is like this, I doubt anyone is coming. They would have to be extremely desperate and willing to risk their lives, which I hope isn’t the case, but the wolves would find them before we would so you are relatively safe here.

He promised he wouldn’t grab her, but he offered his hand and would not be offended if she didn’t take it.

Halla. I’m Gaven.

"Has someone ever hurt you so bad that you just wanna disappear? Forever?"

His laugh was knowing and bitter but the sound of it was almost lost to the wind, “Do I count myself? Depending on who you ask I have already disappeared, forever, or I wouldn’t be here. Things get better though and…there is nothing wrong with doing what you need to when it comes to protecting yourself.” It was easy to fall into despair when one was haunted with physical miseries, so he urged her along. “Let’s get to the tent. It will be easier to talk about once you are warm and have food and rest, yeah?
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Halla she/her
Almost Sparkles
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#9

Halla was embarrassed that she couldn't keep her tears down no matter how hard she tried, but Gaven's understanding and sympathy tugged at her heart in ways that she was so unfamiliar with that it was impossible not to start sniffling again. Why didn't she decide to run away sooner? Why was it so necessary to go through all that heart ache to get here? Growing up is the hardest thing she's ever come to terms with. She made so many excuses for herself, for her mother, for the people around her, to treat her as an object rather than a human being. Until she changed. Until she said "no more". It was then that her maturity was truly born. At least she knew she was no coward; she saw an opportunity to drastically change her life for the better, and she fucking took it, no questions asked.

The sadness that came with the absence of her people, her dogs, her old way of life, would fade. It wasn't meant to be forever. She realizes this as Gaven reached out a hand. She stared at it with calm eyes for what seemed like several minutes, then gently accepted it into her's and began walking with him (practically leading him along, even!). She was eager to get out of the cold, but she was more excited to see what Gemini had to offer. She heard enough to rest assured that this place was reasonably more safe than anywhere else she could wander to tonight. And if she was being honest, she really would rather not freeze to death trying to look for one. Food, rest, warmth.... dog. And weird elf man. Everything she needed to get back on her feet. That was perfectly okay.

The wolves, she wouldn't lie, did concern her. But they couldn't be much different from a dog... right? She supposed she would find out sooner rather than later with Gaven by her side. Her mind whirled with possibilities and ideas of her own home she could build and piece together over time. They could be neighbors! Maybe, just maybe... things do get better. She wouldn't cry now. Halla only looked up at Gaven as they walked and smiled weakly, then turned her head to follow his lead.

Her smile grew wider and wider with every step they took until she was a grinning little red-haired beast. Halla had just made her very first friend.


ooc; i think this is finished! ;U;
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