Year 760 of the New Age, Winter
Featuring Aarushi and Melark
The doe lifted her nose sleepily, startled by the feeling of warmth alongside her back. Ears pinning, blue eyes flashing to look over her shoulder, almost startled to see Melark alongside her. Blinking, before suddenly recalling the night’s events, Aarushi winced inwardly. His scent clung to hers, and she shifted uncertainly. Well this would be an interesting morning, she was sure. Turning away from him, tail wrapping tightly around her tucked legs, the healer glanced out across the pristine snow. With a little sigh, the smoky cream hauled herself to her hooves, retrieving her packs and going to gather herbs. Sniffing the air, and then spotting the bright red berries, the doe headed for the holly bush and began to pack away some of the plant into her bags. It only showed in the winter really. Glancing over her shoulder, eyeing the golden guard’s sleeping form, Sunny truly was at a loss as to how to handle the whole.. situation.
Ognach had asked her to attempt to conceive a fawn. And it had been an uncomfortable task. Stags rarely touched her, nor did she ever seek out their attentions. This whole thing made the doe want to crawl into a hole somewhere and hide. What did she do now? Thank him for his time and send him on his merry way? Snorting to herself grumpily, the doe’s tail lashed as the thoughts irritated her. No.. Melark seemed the moral type. She expected he’d want a part in any fawn they had created’s life. The whole issue of spawning the thing still existed as well.. Perhaps bringing these things up would be a good idea.. But then again, it was a pain in the rear to have to acknowledge doing the deed. But the smoky healer had done it for the god she loved so dearly. And if he wanted a fawn, he could have it. Sighing to herself and resigning to the whole situation, deciding might as well not to pretend to be something she wasn’t and handle it how she handled everything- to the point. It was gonna be what it was gonna be.
Turning, the doe headed over to the edge of the glade to look about it. Spotting some Elderberry, and ambling over to gather the fruits and flowers, careful to avoid all else of the plant. She didn’t need to deal with any of that accidental ingestion. Perhaps if she were lucky she could find some Salamander’s Tongue. Aarushi imagined she’d need it. Maybe a colt would please Ognach, and gods knew that she was better built for bearing sons anyways.. Wrapped in her own thoughts, going about filling the rest of the room in her packs to the brim with any herbs she could get to, almost forgetting the stag was there, though his scent clung to her, tickling under her nose as a reminder she tried to ignore.
You could easily say he had been drifted away by the previous night. This far away from the herd, he didn’t had to focus on different things, no, there was only one thing: Protecting the doe he was going with as guard.
Yet then you had something as the rut to just change it all.
It was the sound of moving branches and things pulled from it that woke him up. He blinked against a few strong rays of sun before he saw the pale body of the doe going from bush to bush to pick her herbs. It was then he fully remembered what had happened. Spoken about an awkward moment.
No, this was not his first doe he had mated with, yet the main situation was different. Most of the rest had either asked him for his favor … in one way or another. This situation … was maybe more delicate.
The golden stag sighed deeply before he unfolded his legs, shake of that leave that was hanging in his rack before he left the covering of the tree they had been sleeping under. The first snow was here and there melting under the light of the sun, opening a few patches of leftover grass.
For the first time, he didn’t really knew what to say first. Just a goodmorning, pretending there was nothing? Or talk about it … He could remember her shaky body which had made him clear this was her first time. It could be scary, but he was a careful father. Nobody would touch his fawns. But that didn’t mean he already knew what to say to the blue eyes herbalist before him.
He scraped his throat and started to move eventually. He could hear the small layer of snow cracking under his hooves when he walked up to her.
“Sunny?” came out of his mouth, he didn’t know what else to say.
Glancing over her shoulder, ears pricking at the sound of snow crunching under hoof, she looked at the golden stag as he approached her. Melark seemed to be being quite careful. He called her by Sunny still.. He would be the father of her first fawn.. Maybe he ought to know her real name. Maybe. It played across her mind, blue eyes focused on him as she watched him approach. The way he said her name was more of a question.
Giving him a skeptical look the doe nodded, “Yes?” She replied carefully, head held high. Perhaps feeling so vulnerable had made her edgey.. or the whole situation. Nonetheless, the doe would not fall in a puddle at any stag’s hooves. Aarushi was not one for fancy words, and expected no love from any stag. The healer had never expected to bear a fawn in truth. “If you’d like to say something, I’d say it before I go back to gathering my herbs.” Grumbling the words defensively, ears flicking back as the smoky colored female glanced back towards her mostly filled packs on her hips. Snorting to herself as the scent once more hit her so abruptly. Damned musk of stags. Clung to everything. All the doe wanted was her normality. But even such a blunt doe as herself, one seemingly uncivilized could sense the delicacy of the situation as it began to unfold. Her intelligence was often underrated, but.. This whole thing made her uncomfortable. It was new. There would be responsibilities, perhaps even expectations of her that Aarushi would have happily fled to escape, just to retreat to her gods.
Then again, the doe was anything but a coward. Returning his gaze boldly, the heavy female’s mane had started to become unbraided, and finding the excuse to look away once more, she set about finishing unbraiding it. It hung in heavy, wild waves and tendrils down her neck. Tail lashing, the scarred female watched him warily, like a deer watching a pack of wolves, ready to react. Clearly tense, but bold and brave as always, refusing to flinch away from the stag or his words as he approached her. A heart was a heavy burden, and Sunny kept hers carefully hidden away. The whole emotion thing had never been her preference in handling matters when logic was so much easier. Assuming they had conceived a fawn, being a mother and father would be quite the responsibility and they at least ought to be able to communicate. Particularly with regards to the help she would need learning how to do the whole.. “Mothering” thing.
She looked at him, her face pretty … harsh, if he could place a name on it. There was no trace anymore of the shaky doe he had seen the previous night, nothing of the sacred and sky look on her face. Her blue eyes were looking straight at him, while they had been avoiding him this night.
He swallowed when seeing her look and he suddenly fell so small as a young fawn. Was she blaming him? Was she angry at him? he had never seen a doe look at him like that after … well, you know, right?
“Yes?” She replied carefully, her head held high. Much higher than it had been during the darkness.
“If you’d like to say something, I’d say it before I go back to gathering my herbs.”
The words came out with a sudden feeling of defense and Melark took a step back. Backed down by a doe. He never wanted to hurt one … angry, yes, he could, he knew he could, but hurt one? never … There would always be discussions, struggles, nothing would go so smoothly as dripping honey.
Maybe she didn’t wanted him by her side. Maybe she didn’t wanted him at all and was it just … a fling? A one night fling, one to forget.
But what if she was in fawn? Would he see his child? Would he even know it from nearby or a distance. The skin on his shoulder shivered … maybe this was not the time.
He raised his head, but kept his easy face … almost relaxed.
Maybe this wasn’t the time to talk about it ... yet?
“Are there other places you want to visit?” He asked then with a more or less firm voice. Damn, he hated this so much. What if she hated him because he didn’t asked anything about their … meeting? What if, what if … He snorted and flicked with his tail.
He looked at her, those blue eyes … they were beautiful.
The doe watched as the stag took a step away from her. “Aye. I have somewhere along the way home I need to stop.. Herbs for spring and fawns.” She muttered, tail lashing. Perhaps she was being too harsh, too defensive.. But how did one start this conversation? Clearly the golden stag was playing it safe. Giving a defeated little sigh to herself, glancing at the sky above, before glancing to the stag. “Are we going to talk about last night or no?” The doe glanced away quickly, uncomfortable with the topic, before plowing into it with all of the grace of a tree fall. Not very.
“Look, if you don’t wanna be around if there’s gonna be a fawn, don’t expect me to be okay with that. I don’t know how to be a parent. And I don’t want for a fawn not to know it own’s father from a tree stump.” The doe grumbled, for once expressing some sort of emotion. Kindof. Close enough. Not really, but it was an attempt right? It was more than she normally said. Aarushi refused to meet his eyes, staring hard at the ground, ears pinned at her neck. “I get it if you want nothing to do with me, I’m not exactly the perfect doe for Glenmore- but the fawn, you really don’t have an option on.” She said with a sudden firmness, looking up at him stubbornly.
Perhaps the smoky silver doe wasn’t the ideal doe to have a fawn by. But the healer didn’t expect anyone to find anything about her enjoyable, didn’t expect to be loved or wanted. So help her, to any who stood in her way, if they tried that nonsense with any fawn by her... Maybe the guard just wanted a fling, to move on, find better does. It wasn’t her place to figure that out, it was her responsibility to care for any fawn that could result of their actions. Fidgeting uncomfortably, ears pinned defensively, she couldn’t decide whether to be bold and defensive or to make an attempt at being more delicate about the subject.
Taking a deep breath, the doe nodded to herself. Glancing up, frowning slightly, her voice hesitant and highly uncertain, guard down for a fleeting moment. “I would really appreciate it if you would be around though.. I’m not asking you to be my mate or any of that.. I just could.. really use the help if I.. uh.. am..” She couldn’t finished with the words in fawn. His fawn. But nonetheless. Looking away, warmth flooding to the tips of her ears and all over her scarred face. Honestly, Aarushi didn’t expect the stag to have any romantic feelings towards her. A friend during the times approaching would be needed more than ever.. and as much as she hated to admit it, she did need such. Wishing that she could melt away like the snow was doing beneath the sun’s rays, the healer was fumbling for words and at a loss for understanding the situation. Truly, no clue what to do.
“Aye. I have somewhere along the way home I need to stop.. Herbs for spring and fawns.”
Great … he thought. He waited for a second … hoping she would actually start to say something. Yet just on the moment he thought she wouldn’t, the doe looked up to the sky and spoke again.
“Are we going to talk about last night or no?”
“Look, if you don’t wanna be around if there’s gonna be a fawn, don’t expect me to be okay with that. I don’t know how to be a parent. And I don’t want for a fawn not to know it own’s father from a tree stump.” She grumbled. Those words caught him by surprise. He looked at her a little bit shocked. Was she serious telling that? Yet he knew, that she didn’t knew him. She probably never heard about him. he was just … a guard, one of the many. Who would know the name of a guard with no real title, except for being the one that left his herd …
“I get it if you want nothing to do with me, I’m not exactly the perfect doe for Glenmore- but the fawn, you really don’t have an option on.”
Melark snorted. Her voice was so firm and strong, like she was obeying him to be there. He was a little bit surprised by the harshness of her words and he flicked with his tail.
“I would really appreciate it if you would be around though.. I’m not asking you to be my mate or any of that.. I just could.. really use the help if I.. uh.. am..”
He had enough, time to stop that babbling.
He took a few steps and jumped right before her, his head high up, legs straight, blocking her way.
“Stop it …” he said.
“I will be there …” He breathed out the air he had hold for so many minutes and relaxed his body a bit. “I am always there for my children. Yes, I am a guard … and I shall maybe not be there every day. I can even die each day, if Oganach wants me at his side, but …”
He lowered his head a little bit more, like he was defeated.
“I am always there and protect what is mine. You are maybe not my mate, but you carry something from me. And so, you earn my protection, for what’s it worth.”
He took a step back and looked over her. Yes, she has scars, yes, she was not such a fine build doe, but she wasn’t ugly with her blue eyes and pale coat.
“I am not such a stag that leaves his kids to be raised by their mother’s alone. Any doe having my child can ask my help, even if they already belong to someone else. they are of my blood and my responsibility as well.”
He sighed deeply. “Regardless if I would bind myself to one doe in the future, those doe’s are the mother’s of my sons and daughters … Something I treasure more than anything.”
The doe pinned her ears aggressively the moment the stag stood in her path, glowering up at him, thinking about giving him a good nip. Listening to his speech, the doe eyed him up and down, tail lashing. Snorting, icy blue eyes flashing as she lifted her head higher, defiant, before looking away for a moment. He spoke so fondly of does who carried his offspring, and it startled her more than anything. Regardless, the doe huffed, “Good, then we won’t have any issues with you being a father.” Stepping around him, tail lashing. Perhaps she was pricklier than usual due to the discomfort of the whole situation. The doe couldn’t deny the nerves already humming with her, the vulnerability of the situation made her want to hide. Feeling cornered and confused, the doe did the only thing she knew how to do- protect herself mentally. Head lowered uncomfortably, ears plastered to her neck, tail lashing the whole while, the grumpy female trudged back towards the way they had come.
If Melark wanted her affections, or for her to even understand or accept any, he’d have to help her along the way. Sunny reflected on the whole concepts of affection. She’d never had a stag cuddle up alongside her at night, nuzzle her or share mutual grooming, touch her in any way of affection. Emotions had never been the doe’s strong suit, and the whole situation made her want to shy away, but she was too stubborn for that. Feelings the doe had never known throbbed in the back of her mind, and soon the smoky cream found her whole body tensed like a spring. Taking a deep breath, shaking her head stubbornly, the muscular female didn’t know what she even wanted right now. Perhaps the issue laid in the fact that she didn’t know anything about motherhood. Sure, delivering a fawn was easy, but having one? It was all new, and frankly terrifying to her. Aarushi couldn’t admit it- but she was truly terrified.
Giving a frustrated sigh, the doe stomped her forehooves, into the ground, giving a little rear, long mane trailing against her neck. Refusing to look back, if the stag wanted to come he would. She wouldn’t blame him if he didn’t, if he simply gave up on her. Most did. Aarushi was in a fooler mood than usual, prickly and defensive- it didn’t take a genius to see just how scared she really was, that the doe was avoiding being scared by being defensive instead. It was easier, and something she understood. Pausing to begin collecting some scotch pine needles and cones, ears pinned, refusing to look away from the task at hand.
He looked at her, seeing her troubles face. Expression from fear to anger moved from one side to another, something that even scared him a little bit. He knew shy does, he knew strong does, but he never meet a doe that was troubled with herself. Trying to be strong a tree, while inside, she was as soft as the grass.
“Good, then we won’t have any issues with you being a father.”
She passed him in a flash, her tail lashing. She acted nervous, prickled, … like she was still deciding to accept him or decline him. He sighed softly. He had no clue what to do. He even fell a little bit desperate by himself now. It had always been so easy and smooth going that he thought it was always like that.
Maybe the sight of her struggling with the idea or feelings made him feel a little bit better. She had a hard time to … not only him. Yet still, he couldn’t suppress that feeling of guilt. He had placed her in that position, if he had been stronger to his mind … But that was all too late now.
So when she moved, he followed her, from a few meters distance. he didn’t wanted to place himself too close to her, he didn’t wanted her to feel more uncomfortable.
He saw her collecting stuff and he snorted softly. He had no idea what to do …
She could hear the stag following her, but he did not speak. Maybe she was being too harsh. It wasn’t his fault she didn’t understand any of this, and that it had her so ramped up. Glancing up, a pale, greyish stem coloration caught her eye. It couldn’t be? A snowlily? Trotting over to it, examining it carefully, the doe found herself delighted by the rare flower’s appearance on such a confusing day. It was an addictive plant, but a very rare one as well.. In very small doses it was more readily used, giving its users great strength. Though it did make them a touch.. insane. It did work with charm making she’d heard. And the healer was loathe to leave any rare specimen such as this unharvested. She needed the stamen of the plant, however. It was such an odd thing, really, as it only flowered in winter- though this one had yet to come into bloom.
Glancing behind her to see the golden guard following, the doe’s ears flattened guiltily. Aarushi knew she had been too harsh, too abrupt with the poor stag. It was her fault for having tempted him, or tried. Blue eyes returning to the snowlily, a certain softness falling over her. “It’s snowlily.. It’s quite rare, a very powerful little flower..” she murmured softly, off handedly. Should she coax life into it’s bloom? It was a rare chance to collect anything from the winter blooming plant, and it preferred to live high up in the mountains.. Perhaps another healer had retrieved it and planted it? She knew many grew addicted, blind by the stamen and power it provided. It was also poisonous. Tail flicking, the doe’s bad mood seemed to disappear, too interested in the flower to pay any heed to last night, or it’s consequences.
A slight, rare smile played across her maw as she gazed at the flower, enjoying it’s beauty. Sending the tiniest bit of magic, hoping to coax it into a bloom. The doe found herself completely enthralled with the little thing, barely aware the guard was even alongside her as she lowered her muzzle alongside the greyish plant.
It was her sudden movement that dragged him out of his ‘dark grey’ state. He pricked his ears and raised his head. His tail flicking from side to side. Had she heard something? Was there somebody around. He listened for sounds and tried to smell something, but there was nothing.
When he looked back at Sunny, he saw her staring at … something. Curious as he was, he snuck by, hearing her mumble things.
“It’s snowlily.. It’s quite rare, a very powerful little flower..”
He mainly her rare and little flower. But when he looked at the greyish plant, he didn’t saw any flowers. There were buds on it, just a few.
He carefully looked aside him, seeing how the harsh mood from the doe was melting like snow now she had seen something special and rare. He could imaging this was something special for her, by the look in her eyes and every herbalist probably wanted it.
He then fell something strange, like a tickling on his skin. It was like he could see the energy floating in the plant. He inhaled. She was using magic, trying to make it bloom. But he could feel that the flow of energy wasn’t strong enough. It wouldn’t make the flower bloom.
He bit on his teeth and flicked his ears a bit. Did he needed to help? She would probably be disappointed if she couldn’t take this one home. Maybe it came into bloom over a few days, but then another herbalist would maybe take it.
He lowered his head a bit and sniffed shortly.
“May … I assist?” He asked carefully. He didn’t wanted to make her angry or nervous again. Her face was now standing on curious and relaxed that he would like to keep it that way.
Hesitant to accept help, even from a close friend, the doe eyed him. “If you wish..” she murmured softly, as though afraid to disrupt the steady flow of careful magic she was working on weaving into the flower. An apology formed on her maw as she glanced at the beautiful little poison flower. How could any not adore such pristine power? Not yet in bloom, but rapidly growing into it. Little by little the bloom began to open, and her blue eyes lit up at the sight. She wondered if that was what a pregnancy was like vaguely, and then glanced at the stag trying so hard to do right by her. Melark wasn’t anyone worth being angry with. He had good intentions to have said the least. Ognach would have been pleased, would he not have been?
Sighing softly as she turned her attentions to the flower, a curious expression on her face as thoughts mixed and churned over in her mind, awaiting the stag’s reaction and actions in general, the healer looked almost peaceful as she did such.
“If you wish..” She murmured and he couldn’t suppress and small smile. He focussed on the flower, it strain of energy he fell flowing, supported by the magic of the pale doe next to him. The flower was almost there, just a little bit. The guard focussed and pushed his own energy in the same stream to give the flower it’s last push. The flower opened his leaves like it was hit by the first ray on spring sunlight.
Yet the golden stag couldn’t hold himself to see how far he could go and went on to the second flower and gave it it’s push. Two other flowers opened their leaves before his and the doe’s eyes and then he made it a rest before he would lose his energy.
He inhaled deeply and gave a flick with his tail when he looked at the open flowers.
“Gorgeous indeed.” he said on a soft tone and he looked aside him, with a big smile on his face to the pale doe, to await her reaction.
The doe couldn’t help but smile as the flowers blossomed slowly before their eyes, her blue eyes alight with warmth as she regarded the plant. Tenderly, she began to move the soil away from the roots slowly, with great care before picking up the stem and lifting it into her carrying pack with the same gentleness she might nurture a newborn fawn. Once contented with the position of the flower, Aarushi looked at Melark, looking sheepish. “T-thank you..” she mumbled, before adding, “I’m sorry for early.. for being so harsh and everything.. It’s not your fault..” She offered an uncertain grin, “I just.. haven’t.. really ever had to deal with a morning after talk or any of that..” Her cheeks were warm, and she hoped that the guard would forgive her behavior. It wasn’t his fault, and her own behavior was reflecting poorly of her, she knew. Not that she often cared, but the silver doe would need him, as much as she was loath to admit that.
He saw her smile on her face and melark feel a warm feeling inside. he had been able to make her smile!. Tender as she was, she moved the soil around the plant, picking up the stem to put it away. her actions were soft and sweet, like she was caring for a newborn fawn. She would do great …
“T-thank you..” she said with a sheepish face.
“I’m sorry for early.. for being so harsh and everything.. It’s not your fault..” She offered an uncertain grin, “I just.. haven’t.. really ever had to deal with a morning after talk or any of that..”
Melark could only chuckle and raise his head to have a soft and warm feeling in his eyes.
“Don’t worry about that.” he said. “I think I was foolish as well when I got my first fawn … even when it’s different.” He flicked with his ears a little bit, showing he remember some embarrassing things.
“But I mean what I said, I shall be there, like I was and still am for all my fawns.”
The pale smoky colored healer nodded, tail swishing faintly. “Thank you. Are you ready to head back? We can talk more later. We have plenty of time.” Aarushi murmured, looking away from the golden guard to gaze at the way home. She was ready for a long rest, for a nap and to curl up and think about herbs for a little while. Things were certainly changing. Ognach only knew what he had in store for her- but this guard was apart of it now, whether he was ready or not.