Year 762 of the New Age, Autumn
Featuring Rhinestone and Felina
The red stag moved quietly down the trail, ears pitched forwards with alertness, nostrils flared, and brown eyes flicking about. He was on a patrol of his little patch of territory in the Silverwood. Ever since Felina's home had been burned down last fall the red stag had become extremely protective over the family... His family. He expected foul play, he wasn't taking any chances. Especially now that they had a new addition to the family, a lovely young colt. Rhine was certain that the youngster was his, but Felina was unsure.. Apparently she had spent time some with Ruibh as well. Rhine hadn't been pleased to say the least, but at the time it hadn't been his business.. But, it certainly was now.
Rhine let out a low breath through his nostrils, turning his head and glancing about. There was nothing going on and nothing out of place, everything was as it should be. Nothing had changed. Everything was alright. The stag let out a soft sigh of relief now. He still didn't know why someone would burn Felina's thicket down... It had him on edge. He was never going to let anyone hurt his family again. Especially not himself. Fel's beautiful face flashed across his mind once more and he closed his eyes, a soft smile playing upon his lips. His life, at the moment, could hardly get any better.
The red stag’s head turned, ears swiveling outwards. Now that he’d finished his little patrol he could get back to his family. Kindle, a childhood friend of the both of them, had agreed to come and watch the babies just for a little while- long enough for Rhine and Felina to take a little stroll and relieve poor Felina of her duties. It wouldn’t be long and they’d be back at it soon enough, but it’d be a nice little break for now.
Oh the way the things had continued to change. Felina had had a third fawn, a beautiful colt. He might have been muddy in color- but he was so kind. Herne they had decided to call him. Already a large boy, Fel had high hopes for him and his endless appetite. However.. Fel didn’t mind the chance for a little break from the fawns to spend proper time with the blood bay stag who had begun to set her heart aflutter more and more.. Blinking sheepishly as she hauled herself to her hooves away from the nest that had once belonged to Rhinestone- well still did. It warmed the tips of the perolino’s ears to think of sleeping alongside him. The way he laughed and played with her youngsters as though they were his own, and spoke so fondly of his own fawns- Fel couldn’t imagine a better father or friend. Shaking off her coat, noticing the way her curls were fussily messy, the doe began to try and groom them into a somewhat presentable tangle. Why did she care about how her mane looked? It was Rhinestone- she had practically had to beat him off with a stick when she had gone into labor with the muddy dappled colt.
Taking a deep breath before taking a few strides out of the safety of Rhine’s well established home, breathing in all the warm scents that came with summer. Lingering scents of her fawns filtered into her nose, but the approaching scent of the stag who seemed to run across her thoughts relentlessly. Lifting her head, ears perking as she tucked her nose respectfully, a smile playing across her muzzle as she wandered towards the scent happily. Kindle had agreed to take the 2 youngsters, while Raoh had shrugged and agreed to tag along to help the poor soldier doe- particularly with the dramatics of the speckled filly, Eleanor. Each day she seemed to grow like a weed, longer legs, her mane had begun to curl into an unruly mohawk, and her voice was no longer the squeak of a yearling. While she had grown, so had her eldest brother. The halfblood had filled out, his chest and neck beginning to grow the beginnings of the curls of an adult stag, while a bumpy knob on his forehead had begun to appear in promise that for his 5th year he would bear a horn. It was so odd to believe her son had grown so fast. Now with Herne to tag along with the older fawns, Felina found herself chasing 3 different directions at any given time. Ellie’s independent streak often lead to Rhinestone having to go hunt her down, while Raoh’s growing age meant he was beginning to seek a safe haven for himself, and while Herne was just a wee thing- he was rather disaster prone if his milk ventured too far away. Throwing fits until he could have his meal, the perolino was grateful for the chance to relax and be an adult, even if just for a short time.
Smiling brightly, hoping that they could spend a quiet day being themselves, the tired mother found herself smiling hopefully, eyes, blue eyes, scanning the trees ahead in hopes of the red stag’s appearance.
The red stag approached their little den now, long tail swishing, red rubies attached to it glinting and glistening in Grian's light. Rhine had filled out more since last year- he had lost his scrawniness and insead gained back the muscle that he had lost before he had become ill and stressed beyond belief. He could finally relax now and his health was reflecting it greatly, improving every day that passed them by.
He was the picture of a healthy stag, tall and strong...despite the burn scars that littered his red pelt. He had gotten fire thrown at him several times for those scars... until he explain they had been made by boiling water, wielded by a cave rat. He'd won the fight but he hadn't gotten away unscathed... The wounds had become infected, causing an illness to rage throughout his body. If it wasn't for Felina it would have claimed his life. But, it didn't, and he recovered despite the burns. That wasn't the first time the creamy doe had saved his life... She had done it before in so many ways... She was doing it now
The tall stag slowed, the smile upon his scarred muzzle widening as he spotted his pale love up ahead. It wasn't often that he saw her without a fawn clinging tightly to her side... He looked forwards to the next while with her, time to be alone without the children. The last day they had truly been alone was the day Felina's thicket burned, nearly claiming the lives of her children as it did so. But, the children were safe with Kindle now. They had no worries
"Good morning, love!" The red stag called, speeding up again, too impatient to greet her to maintain his graceful trot. It wasn't until he was directly before her that he stopped, wrapping his thick neck around her slender withers in a tight hug. He drunk in her flowery scent and her comforting warmth... He couldn't believe she was his.
She had seen him coming- watched as his eyes light up, feeling a smile rush across her muzzle as the healthy, vibrant stag raced towards her eagerly. The next thing the doe knew a thick, strong neck had wrapped around her. Closing her eyes, ears swivelling, before burying her nose into the ruff of fur around his neck, wrapping her own neck close to his, ears flattening submissively against her head as Fel nestled close, breathing in his warm scent. How good it felt to have someone to hold.. What would the doe have ever done if she’d never known him? Blinking sheepishly, Felina withdrew from the embrace, pausing to gently brush her nose against his, blowing a breath of greeting before tucking her nose neatly towards her chest. “Hello.” Her voice was soft and sweet, looking him over. Giving a little laugh as she snaked her head up to tug on his mane playfully, dancing a few steps away, tail flagged out behind her, swishing. Mischief glinted faintly in bright blue eyes as the doe bounced back to him, playfully shaking out her mane, forgetting about all the fuss of how she looked once he had arrived. “What shall we do today?” Fel chimed in softly, perking her ears forward eagerly, wondering what they might do next.
With the little ones gone, the perolino had promised herself to dismiss her worries, anxieties and fears to spend a day just being- her, who she was. Focusing on herself, not the proper doe she had spent so long building. Instead Felina wanted to live with the freedom she had learned in Blackwood- the carefree, strong female who had given more than one Blackwood a piece of her mind, but more importantly- one who had learned more than she ever thought she would. Smiling, standing tall and proud as the wind ruffled her mane, seeming to have slipped out of the doe she fought so hard to be. Bumping her forehead up against his affectionately, “Yup. Still the same hard head as always.” Teasing lightly, looking around her with vitality and joy, ever graceful even when away from the prying eyes of those of Silverthorne. Even her own fawns knew little of this doe- the one who played hard and was proud, mischief and energy abundant. Aside from the games they played, her little ones thought their mother was as close to proper as any doe would ever become. Rhinestone was the one who brought out the best in her, and encouraged her so much to be who she was- as difficult as that was.
“Hmmm, I dunno.” the stag stated in a pondering way, head tilting to the side slightly. “We can’t really go too far.. I’m sure Kindle will be back with the kids this evening.” he cocked one hind leg in a relaxed manner, eyes half-lidding slightly. He was a bit groggy and just very, very at peace and relaxed… Everything was just so perfect. Life couldn’t be any better.. He was surrounded by family and friends.. He had the love of his life standing right here beside him and she was going nowhere.. He was going nowhere… He let out a soft sigh of contentment, rubbing his face against her soft, sweet-smelling mane. He couldn’t be more happy…
However, there was one little thing he’d yet to do.. It’d been something that had been niggling at the back of his mind for a long time, but he hadn’t had the guts to do it yet… But, perhaps, today was the day… The two weren’t official yet. They both knew that they loved each other, but they were not officially bond as mates.. They hadn’t completely pledged themselves to one another.. But, Rhine knew that she was the only one for him. He felt no attraction towards other does any more and thus, he wasn’t participating in rut.. If he was to have a fawn this rut Felina would be the mother and no other.
The stag let out a little chuckle as the beautiful doe bumped her horned head against his racked one with affection, stating that he still had the same hard head. “I’m surprised it hasn’t gone soft yet, as much as I’ve hit it.” He swallowed back the small lump in his throat that had formed as he prepared himself for the words he was going to force himself to say. “So, Felina…” he trailed off, suddenly losing every word that he wanted to say. Instead his brown eyes just gazed into her blue ones blankly.
Nuzzling at the sides of his throat near his jaw, nipping and gently grooming against it. “I’m sure it wasn’t how hard your head is that was affected, maybe what’s inside?” She teased gently, tail swishing as she worked on studiously grooming the scruffy stag. Though his coat had improved along with his weight- Fel made sure he got groomed properly. “Hm?” The doe asked, completely focused as she nibbled along his neck and mane, before pulling away, blue eyes bright with affection and mischief. “You never say my full name- what are you up to?” She frowned at him, taking a few steps away, ears flicking back uncertainly.
“Rhinestone. What did you do?” Suddenly firm, the doe stamped a delicate forehoof, sending sparks in the air as the feisty female watched her friend, lover, confusing named den sharer. Surely kindle wasn’t going to spring some surprise on them? Or what if he had other does? Or what if he was leaving? Fear surged through the female.
The doe nuzzled at his jawline, sending a pleasant ripple down his spine. Her touch was intoxicating even in the spring and summer....but now it was autumn. It was rut. Her scent alone was enough to drive him insane. He fought the urge to move closer to her, instead letting her come to him. He need not let his hormones and even more, his emotions, get the better of him... He needed to see what needed to be said... He forced the cloud of rut away from his mind, focusing upon Felina.
He let out a little chuckle at the doe's words. "Hey now, don't be mean." He teased back before straightening up again, focusing upon her... She could see worry and fear in her eyes. She immediately asked what he had done. He let out a soft laugh. "I didn't do anything yet, darling." With those words he slid down, onto his knees, looking up at her. He was so tall that he wasn't far from her face, even in this position. "I have found that there is no other doe for me.. I have no need to take anyone else... I do not want to... You are the only one for me, Felina.. Will you be my mate? My one and only?" It felt so much like de javu... Around this time, all those years ago, he had been in this same position... He hoped her answer would be the same.
Felina stared at the stag, blinking at him in confusion. Was he.. well yes he was asking what she thought he was asking. Feelings raced through her. Hope, love, warmth, fear, nerves. He wanted only her? So many years ago.. things had unravelled much the same.. Staring at him with baby blue eyes, watching the large stag bowing to her. “I-I.. Don’t know what to say. O-of course!” the doe stammered, looking at him with round eyes. The perolino didn’t know what to do or what to say as she gazed at the blood bay stag. “please don’t bow to me, Rhi..” she murmured softly, tugging his mane gently. “You are not lower than me.” So many thoughts raced through her mind. Somehow, they always seemed to return to one another. No matter how hard it was- they always came back. Gently touching her muzzle to his, closing her eyes in the finality of the decision.
A piece of her rejoiced as the stag stood in knowing the solidness of their union- of how they were to be one another’s. It was as it had once been- minus the fawns of course. Things were complicated no matter how one looked at them, but gratitude surged through her as she whispered her thanks to the gods.
The tall red stag felt his ears grow red and he dipped his head, tucking against his chest in a sheepish way as he looked up at her, smiling cheekily. For a moment he became nervous as the beautiful doe stated that she didn’t know what to say. She… didn’t know what to say? She needed to say something! Anything! Even if she just turned him down, telling him that she wasn’t ready for a commitment when he had failed her in the past or told him she’d never want him again.. He just.. needed her to say.. SOMETHING. But, then she put all of his worries and his fears to rest as she said ‘of course’, as if she never would’ve said no.. as if she had no doubts… He felt her gentle tugging as his creamy mane and the smile upon his face grew even wider at that. He lifted himself to his feet, looming above the dainty perlino again. She was his… His now and forever… No stag would ever come near her, he wouldn’t tolerate it… He was hers.. There would be no more does for him.. no more fawnmaking with anyone, but her.. they could have two more children… Two more beautiful children. The red stag had already provided the herd of Silverthorne with many strong sons and daughters.. There would be no more, but with Felina. “I promise I will never leave you again… I will always be with you.” he stepped forwards to embrace the doe, wrapping about her, and revelling in the embrace she returned.
“I’ll always be here.”