[P]  Oh where Oh where have you gone?

Dhara

7 y/o xlarge Male
Rhea, Female Gray fox
" it was always me and you; "
Dhara sighed as he carefully picked his way through the icy waters, it mildly concerned him that the cold was almost welcomed to his skin. He would need to get back to the den by sundown to take care of Isara... It seemed that each passing day he dreaded going back to the den, it didn't feel like home anymore. What if Elle had gotten lost? It wasn't quite likely seeing as she's been on the lands her whole life but she had always had Dhara by her side, he had always had her at his. He had started to become accustomed to the sound of his own paw steps, or rather Isara's much smaller ones against his. The weight of her resting on his back was far lighter than when he had given Elle rides. It had been a near month, he felt as if he slipped out of the world for a moment, while the time was spent teaching Isara to speak outside of her native tongue. 

He paused in the center of the river and stared at the black rose in front of him, it taunted him, blooming so beautifully in a place of cold. Guiding him on a path to safety he wondered what would happen if he stepped outside of its path. He slowly pressed one paw into the sloping stones to the side of the flower, feeling the icy liquid lap at his forelimb. He snatched it back quickly, mesmerized by the separation between the darkness the water has caused on his leg. He clenched his jaw as ill-favored thoughts floated through his skull. He wedged his hind paws into the stones on the path and pressed both forepaws into the slanting edge. Shuddering as the cold floating along his legs and kissed his chest. He lowered his head gingerly and dipped his nose under the surface of the water, pulling back quickly as the cold seized his maw. His teeth chattered for a moment as he pulled himself back to lay on the path, his stomach pressing into the ink causing him to release a sigh. His tail slipped in an out of the current, the chestnut mixing with the luminescent waves. 
"Elle speaking" | "Atarah speaking"

"Dhara speaking" | "Rhea speaking"

Table by Centience. Art by starry--knight @ DA
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Eileithyia

5 y/o medium Female
Atarah, Female Hummingbird
" it was always me and you; "


She had grown so homesick. 

She'd been away far longer than she had even intended, it was meant to be a day, maybe two, but this was what it had turned into. Somehow she'd found herself all the way to the willow grove in the south, and it had taken longer to get back than she'd anticipated. Of course she hadn't even been out on her own like that in....who knew how long. She'd never gone that far without him she realized. And so she'd found herself on a long, and in her eyes — perilous journey through Nidria's core. It came to be a harsh reminder of just how far each territory within their home stretched, the miles of forests trees that almost looked identical aside from the redwood, but once you got into the middle of the red forest....it too became a maze of color. But finally, she'd found the river, and after meeting with San was able to continue her journey up river back toward the giants forest, using the water as her guide. Even following the water took longer than she'd anticipated, and if she didn't have Atarah to prod her to keep moving her feet, she very well could have given up, even as close as she was to home. She was tired, her muscles sore from all the walking, her hair no longer in a braid but a tangled mass that drug at her feet, the woven pattern of her fur undone, only the knot at the base held it together. And among the mass of brown fur; a cluster of debris, dirt, grass and even brambles all caught in the mass. 

The woman was about done, done with all the walking and the longing just to be there already, but as she rounded the corner, it was as if Brahma himself was smiling down upon her...for once in these past few weeks. Her gaze fell upon not the bear, but Dhara and she froze. Halting in place as if her paws had suddenly become cemented to the earth her stomach lurched, twisting and churning into a mess of knots and pain. 

What could she say to him?  

She felt sick, she didn't feel the relief she expected to flood her system, she felt only regret and pain. Her disappearance couldn't of been taken lightly by him, there was no way he would let her off the hook just like that. In her chest, her heart pounded, maw parting though she couldn't make her lips form words, she just stood a ways behind him like a deer in headlights. She couldn't move. Couldn't breath. 

Atarah stirred, the small bird quickly rising from atop Elle's antlers, and while the girls body lurched to stop her familiar, she couldn't. All she could do was watch as Atarah zipped over to Dhara pulling at the fur atop his right ear in order to get his attention while Elle tried to swallow the knot in her throat. 


"Elle speaking" | "Atarah speaking"

Table by Centience. Art by starry--knight @ DA

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Dhara

7 y/o xlarge Male
Rhea, Female Gray fox
" it was always me and you; "
Dhara's steps faltered as he sunk into the river further, his front paws struggling to keep stand on the rocks. It was when his left paw slipped and his face made contact under the water that he was brought back to reality. Yanking himself from the river he eased back onto more solid ground. Icy droplets dribbling down his chin and shimmering amongst his antlers. It was then that a familiar buzz entered his ears, the scent of sweetened earth that he had almost forgotten floated amongst it and it nearly drew tears from the man's eyes. No, it was nothing but a trick of the wind, if she hadn't come back now how would she ever... 

 "Atarah?" He asked, turning his head in the direction of the pulling. His voice was rough and raw, deeper with the weeks of unuse. Emerald gaze met the hummingbird first in shock, his maw parted slightly as his eyes traveled to meet the seafoam orbs he loved. His jaw visibly trembled before violently snapping shut in a heavy clench that hurt his teeth. The muscles in his jaw spazzed as he thought of what to say, what to do. He took in her appearance, her braid was undone, hair unkempt. Her fur tattered in leaves and underbrush that he would daily brush away and groom. Similar to the decaying vines and foliage that was once a vibrant green along his spine and antlers. Now lay weakly in yellowing crumbling leaves. He slowly took a step forward, though once one came so did another, and another until he was marching across the water in the direction of Eile. The water flew upwards in glorious motion along with his gate until his frame thundered upon the shore. Staring to the eyes of his love with a mixture of emotion, the anger, the pain, betrayal. It was starting to slip away the more he looked at her, though it seemed she was becoming blurry. He inhaled sharply through his nose as he closed his eyes, stopping the droplets in their place as he thought of what to say. Though he could only think of one word. 

"Why?"  He rasped, barely opening his eyes to narrow slits, emeralds sparkling in the presence of unshed tears. 
"Elle speaking" | "Atarah speaking"

"Dhara speaking" | "Rhea speaking"

Table by Centience. Art by starry--knight @ DA
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Eileithyia

5 y/o medium Female
Atarah, Female Hummingbird
" it was always me and you; "

It wasn't long before Atarah had managed to pull his attention from the water onto her, and he was on his way to her. Still she didn't know what to do, she stood rigid, fear gripping every fiber of her being. What did he think of her now? Would things still be the same between them? She had so many questions and so many doubts. He tore across the river to reach her, it was all she could really see, all she could process watching him as he approached heart hammering within her chest, she tried to swallow but there was nothing there. Her mouth dry with anxiety, fear, regret — all of it. He reached her in a matter of moments, but instead of embracing her, he stopped, eyes boring into her own. They cut into her like daggers, she could see it, and she knew. Both ears drew back her eyes dropping as her chest burned and ached. It was like fire that seared the walls of her lungs, and she was doing everything she could to hold herself together, gaze hesitantly flickering back up to his pools of rich emerald that threatened to crumble under the weight of his pain. 

...What had she done? 

"Why?"  that single word that he managed to rasp out tore through her, and she sunk, her head dropping with the shame that lived inside her bones. "I'm...s..sorry" her voice cracked, strained as she broke, and she couldn't help it as she choked out a sob, tears running down her cheeks, her breathing growing labored and shaky with every inhale it grew worse through her crying. The apology was all she could manage, what else could she say right now? She didn't feel like any reason or excuse she had was good enough now, as valid as it had seemed at the time. She couldn't stop the tears as they ran down her cheeks, her whole body trembling at this point and she didn't have the strength to look up at him again. She just stood there, rigid and defeated. 


"Elle speaking" | "Atarah speaking"

Table by Centience. Art by starry--knight @ DA

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Dhara

7 y/o xlarge Male
Rhea, Female Gray fox
" it was always me and you; "

Dhara watched as the woman before him started to crumble from the inside, he watched as the one he loved broke down into tears over his single word. Over him. 

"I'm...s..sorry"

Dhara clenched his jaw harder, shutting his eyes once he heard her voice. It had been so long since he had heard and yet the first thing he hears is not just her apology. But her please in desperation as she sobbed before him. He stood there like a statue as she cried, his heart hammering in his ribs with mixed emotions, how was he supposed to feel? What was he supposed to say to something like this? He shook his head violently and stepped back a few paces as tears slipped down his cheeks. It all came crashing down so fast that he had only one thought and it was the one thing he did, he lurched forward to hold her. Yanking her into his chest with his foreleg he buried his nose into her hair and wept. Rhea, curious of his absence came trotting along the trail, she had been watching Isa till she fell asleep for a nap but she missed Dhara. It pained her to be away from his side for even an hour, though she was surprised to hear the sounds of sobbing before she saw him. And oh what a sight it was, she ran as fast as her tiny paws could take her until she crashed right into Elle, scrambling up the girls body to climb on her and Dhara's antlers trying to swipe Atarah out of the air to hug the bird if she could. 

"P-please... don't ever..... again.."  Dhara whimpered, his voice muffled into Elle's fur as he inhaled her scent. Trying to remain as close as he could in fear this was a dream and he would wake up to his lonesome again. 
"Elle speaking" | "Atarah speaking"

"Dhara speaking" | "Rhea speaking"

Table by Centience. Art by starry--knight @ DA
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Eileithyia

5 y/o medium Female
Atarah, Female Hummingbird
" it was always me and you; "


He just stood there, he stood there while she crumbled before him, broken open; raw and vulnerable. She didn't see how his jaw clenched, how he battled with himself, she just sobbed, and registered perhaps only the bad things, the way he stepped back, the way he remained silent. And she couldn't help the worst fears from creeping to the forefront of her mind. He hated her. He was going to leave. It tore her apart from the inside out alongside her regret and her pain. It ate at her biggest fears, burying into her with the thought that she had messed up so badly that he was going to go away and never come back. But still remained the parts that fought for her, for him. The parts that screamed he'd never do that, they could get through this, they could get through anything. He'd never leave her. The two opposites were at war with one another. 

And then he pulled her into him. 

The force of his leg wrapping around her was a shock, her whole body jolting slightly as he drew her close, but she didn't pull back to look at him in question, instead she fell into him. Burying her face into the warmth of his dark earthen fur so she could hide from everything, the outside world no longer existed as she hid there within the comfort of his hold. And continued to cry, she shook and sobbed, her breath struggling to keep up even as Rhea came bounding toward them Elle did not move. Though Atarah did, fluttering away from the foxes grip, the bird zipped around the small kits head a few times, staying just out of reach, but close enough so that she might take in the face of her friend. 

"P-please... don't ever..... again.."  Elle paused at his broken muffled voice, her lyrics coming out in only a broken whimper. "I won't...I promise" she murmured, pressing her head closer to him as she buried her nose into his chest, refusing to break their contact. 


"Elle speaking" | "Atarah speaking"

Table by Centience. Art by starry--knight @ DA

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Dhara

7 y/o xlarge Male
Rhea, Female Gray fox
" it was always me and you; "

"I won't...I promise"

He held her tightly, tried to bury himself into her scent, into her fur. Hell if he could somehow manage to fuse into her in that moment he would. He sniffled and slowly lowered himself to sit down, his head pressed against her side. Between his neck, chest and foreleg Rhea was surprised he hadn't hurt Elle with the hug. Though after a few minutes his grip began to loosen some and he brushed his paw along her back in a comforting manner, leaning his head up to rest in atop of her between her antlers. Using her tines to scratch under his chin with a sigh. It had been quite a while since he had the opportunity to scratch in just that spot. His claws did a poor job in comparison to being held between Elle's antlers. He closed his eyes and stilled for a moment before pulling his head away to look at her, to really look at her. Meeting her eyes not with hurt this time, but a completely different emotion, behind the tears it made him smile, relief flooding over his system as he brushed away her tears with his nose, linger at her cheek to brush it with his in an act of intimacy, something he always seemed to fall short on with her in fear of scaring her away. Though he knew now that she wouldn't leave, and if she did, she would always come back. He decided to try and lighten the mood a little, he hated to see her cry, especially if it was because of him. 

"And I promise." He paused to clear his throat, his voice was still considerably wobbly but he tried to smile through it. "To tell you everything immediately, even if you're asleep. It just depends if I tell you before or after I wake you up." He chuckled, one of the unshed tears slipping down his cheek as his laughter subsided at his bad joke, though it was partially serious. He wouldn't hold back to tell her anything, even if it was that he had a tick in his fur he couldn't get. He would talk to her about Isa, and how much the little girl had grown on him. How much he wanted Elle in both of their lives, maybe they wouldn't be parents, but at least guardians, a watchful eye. He leaned down and pressed a kiss to her forehead, a simple but meaningful gesture. He kept her nose perched against the soft fur of her forehead as he mumbled against it. 

"I love you." 
"Elle speaking" | "Atarah speaking"

"Dhara speaking" | "Rhea speaking"

Table by Centience. Art by starry--knight @ DA
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Eileithyia

5 y/o medium Female
Atarah, Female Hummingbird
" it was always me and you; "

The emotional tension broiled between the two of them, as they bore open their hearts to the one before them. They were, equally the single most important individual in each others lives, in fact they were really all they had left after the war. Minutes, they felt like an eternity as Elle buried her nose deeper into the rich earth of Dhara's chest, even as he sat she didn't move, taking any opportunity to draw herself closer. Despite how long it felt that they had been huddled here together, she still didn't want to break from the contact. 

And when Dhara pulled away her teal eyes would flicker up, half way pouting that he'd drawn from her her green audits dropping slightly as the man brushed the tear from her cheek. When he gaze lifted to meet his orbs of emerald, she felt her heart flutter, he didn't look as though he hated her for abandoning him, it wasn't pain and anguish and resentment that filled his eyes, but...something else. And Elle found herself caught, unable to look away as she gazed into his deep green eyes. 

"And I promise." he broke the silence, hesitating to clear his throat. Elle for once...she didn't miss a beat. "To tell you everything immediately, even if you're asleep. It just depends if I tell you before or after I wake you up."  a smile broke over her green maw. A soft laugh falling from her lips through her cracking, unstable voice. Then he moved, a gentle touch — a kiss upon her forehead, Elle's heart was hammering in her chest now, though the gesture was small, she felt an array of butterflies in her stomach. 

And then. 

"I love you."

The girls jaw fell slightly, eyes shifting up to him, like a deer in headlights she just stared. Heart fluttering within her ribs, sure she always knew that she had feelings for Dhara, and maybe, maybe he hadn't even meant it in that way at all. Maybe it was more like a family kind of love, but, maybe it wasn't. "I...love you too" it was just a whisper, all she could seem to manage upon shaky vocals. 



"Elle speaking" | "Atarah speaking"

Table by Centience. Art by starry--knight @ DA

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Dhara

7 y/o xlarge Male
Rhea, Female Gray fox
" it was always me and you; "

Dhara felt himself shake more in soft crackly laughter along with her own, sniffling as he buried himself into her further. Just enjoying the sense of being with his beloved on good terms and united once more. Then it was his turn to feel his stomach screech in his body, watching her shocked expression carefully as her lips moved, her little voice just above whispering. 

"I...love you too"

He couldn't help the goofy smile that spread across cocoa lips, the last of the tears still left in his eyes slipped down his cheeks as he closed them to throw his head around her neck once more and bring her back into his hold, sitting down this time for a change and wrapping both his forelegs around the younger woman's body to crush her into his. His tail swayed back and forth on the grass behind him, unknowingly creating a tall tangle of flowers and vines. After a few more moments of squeezing her, he slowly leaned back and pressed his forehead against hers. His antlers encasing them in a little private box all to themselves. A hum began to rise from his chest, legs slipping down to touch the grass that bloomed a lushes green under his spell, a gentle thrum left his lips in a deep baritone, lifting the dirt from her braid as it laced itself back into place using the specks of dirt to blossom into the growth of flowers and manipulated the stems to weave further into the now tightening braid. The twigs and grass caught in her pelt swam upwards to tangle themselves into her jewelry, blooming in sweet-smelling cherry blossoms. As his song slowed and faded he slowly opened his eyes to reveal the goddess before him, gently brushing his tongue across her cheeks to clean her tears he let his gentle kisses linger a moment before leaning his head back, looking down at her with a different look of adoration. 

"Let's go home." He whispered, his wilting flora on his back made itself known by offering a crunching noise when he stood, a few broken leaves fluttering around them, one of those broken leaves flew down and gently landed on Elle's paw, and almost at an instant, revived itself to the usual fluorescent green it used to be. Joyess at the return Elle brought to Dhara's life again, to their families life, even if it was small. 

"There's someone I want you to meet...officaily." He cooed, smile warming the earthen sculpt of his cheeks. 
"Elle speaking" | "Atarah speaking"

"Dhara speaking" | "Rhea speaking"

Table by Centience. Art by starry--knight @ DA
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