"There is still something of himself - something of the Wolfbane who would always love her - that rallies against the slime. It says, 'lie in the bed you’ve made'. So he gathers the covers and tucks himself in." -- Wolfbane, written by Calcifer
The hound was not one who can easily be chased out, though out of respect she removed herself from the Isle for over half a year. But she missed her home, and she had a proposition for Jesper, and so she finds herself trekking through the familiar territory.
Crevan had been long gone, but he had left behind a child, one that grows in her belly. She would be giving birth in the coming months, which aided in her easily being able to remain away from the Isle. But no more, she needed a home to raise her child, and the Isle was as much her home as it was Jesper's.
She doesn't sit and wait outside the border of the Isle like some may, this was her home after all. She stops close to the heart of the kingdom, the icy kingdom was in full blown winter. Being a hellhound she was much larger than your average wolf, and therefor the snow only towered up to her elbow, but it was certainly covering the kingdom. She glances around, the kingdom was still quiet, as she expected, and with it she expects the king to quickly hear her call. She raises her head allowing a howl to escape her maw, her call echoing throughout the kingdom and her yellow eyes patiently scan the horizon looking for the ebony stag.
The black stallion smells her perfume long before her call echoes across the barren tundra. If he stood in canine form, his hackles would stand on end. His sharp teeth would be bared and visible behind snarled lips. As it is, Jesper stands in his equine form today. He stands guard outside the den his beloved mint mare rests in. Her bulging belly is evidence that his seed took root and grows stronger each day. Sabrina's arrival is a threat to all that he has worked towards. With a snort, the black lunges forward into a bounding canter. His stride carries him over the thick blanket of snow with ease.
Jesper charges at the mutant wolf. As he closes in on her, he considers not stopping. She made the ultimate act of betrayal. How could he ever trust her? Then again, who wouldn't have leaped at the opportunity he left. He decides he would at least hear her out. The terms of their challenge were her doing, after all. He did not banish her from the Isle or, from ever returning. He slides to a stop and sends a wave of snow to shower her paws. Jesper does not offer a welcoming smile or, a nod of his head. Poll remains high, on alert, with both ears facing rearward. His bronze-tipped lobes are not pinned but, nor are they friendly.
His aquamarine gaze notes the swelling in her barrel before they level with hers. He does manage to keep his tone cool as his voice slices through the hollow air. "Are your hormones to blame for coming back here or, are you just that brazen?" His icy gaze studies her carefully. He would be hard pressed to allow her to take advantage of him again.
Her call did not disappoint, it seemed in a matter of meer moments the ebony stag had appeared before her. He charges at her, with no intentions of letting up, though she stands her ground. On the battle field she would have calculated a counter attack, but she was not here as a threat.
In fact, the only thing she could notice was the use of all his legs! She knew she left him with a broken leg, and to be honest she hadn't planned on breaking it. In the moment with all the adrenaline coursing through her veins, her grip tightened until it snapped.
Just as she had hoped the stag halts before her, he sends snow flying and it topples onto her legs. She glances at him for a moment before shifting into her equine form, her conversation was one that didn't need her canine.
He looks at her, and though he doesn't say it, she can see the dislike in his eyes. And when he does speak, he says it in a kinder way. A smile tugs at her lips, Jesper, I'm glad to see your leg is healed. Her tone carried no sarcasm, she hadn't meant to leave the ruler for dead after there battle.
I have come with a proposition Jesper, I challenged you when you had abandoned the Isle. I at least deserve your decency to hear my proposition that can benefit us both, and ultimately, the Isle. Her gaze settles on his, she awaits a response before further diving into her proposition.
Bronze-tipped ears twitch as Sabrina's voice cuts through the icy air. Her tone is smooth and, holds no sarcasm. It is neither cold nor, angry. Her slight smile disarms his initially cold demeanor and, he lowers his poll. He sighs and makes a conscious effort to breathe at a calm and regular rate. In response to her observation, Jesper offers a genuine, "Thank you".
The black falls silent and, hones in on Sabrina's next words. For the first time since her arrival, both ears prick forward to listen to every word. His head tilts, ever-so-slightly, in curiosity as she mentions a proposal. He does not particularly like that her words blame him but, he has to admit, his curiosity is piqued. "Very well. You have my full attention. What do you have in mind?" Jesper shifts his weight from one hip to the other. He rests his left hind and moves his gaze from her yellow eyes back to her bulging barrel. Did her proposition have anything to do with the life inside of her? Or, was it just because of the life she carries? His bronze-streaked tail swishes from side-to-side out of restlessness (certainly not because of bugs biting) as he waits for her to continue.
The bay mare glances at the ebony stag, his approach to the conversation shifts, and perhaps it is because she meant no harm. They had battled once, but Sabrina did not do it out of anger, only for the territory she grew to love.
It is interesting that there first true conversation is being held now, years after she settled into the Isle. She remembers when Crevan had brought her here, how he had told her about Jesper. The ebony stag welcomed the hounds when so many would not.
He agrees to hear her out, and though her words would be bold they couldn't deny the lack of life in the ice covered territory.
She takes a deep breath, her hazel eyes finding his icy blue ones. You have ruled her Jesper, so naturally you have followers. But while you were gone I have made my own ties, and I have built my own loyalties. Her mind flicks to a long list of canines who she has met since Jesper had left. She also thinks of Pteron, the boy in her neighboring land, the one who has ties with Loess.
Sure Jesper could go out and be a diplomat, attempt to create ties with the other lands. But Sabrina already had them, her canine friends would follow her but what reason would they have to follow Jesper? I want you to crown me your queen, the words flow from her mouth yet her gaze does not falter. It will just be political, I love the Isle just like you. Together with your followers and mine, we can begin to rebuild and strengthen the Isle. Because in all honesty, the Isle was not a land to be feared.
She remains a gentle gaze on him, he could come to his senses and agree for the better of the Isle. Or he could quickly reject her proposition, possibly because the challenge, possibly because a lover he holds.
Aquamarine gaze remains steady as Sabrina pitches her proposition. The black notes her decision to stand before him in her equine form. It is significant in that, just by appearance, Sabrina seems less threatening. Jesper rarely saw her bay cloak with cherry points but, he finds the contrast against the tundra to be magnificent. Her words bring him back from his observation. He had no doubt she had followers. He imagines that her lot are canines in some form or another. In fact, Jesper fantasizes about the Isle being home to an entire pack of dogs. However, he would rather gather the numbers on his own.
She can only have one agenda, he muses silently. As the next sentence, which confirms his suspicions, passes her lips, the black bobs his poll. Of course, she would add the line about the arrangement being strictly political and, that everything she proposes is for the good of the Isle. Jesper offers no change in expression to betray his subconscious. As he controls his external features, his thinker-box attempts to organize the jumble of thoughts. Her proposition certainly strikes a nerve with him and, he struggles to find words that are not tainted. Jesper feels grateful for choosing to meet her in his natural form as he has had much more practice concealing his emotions.
Finally, with a shift of his weight to stand evenly across all four limbs, the black finds his voice. "Sabrina, your proposition is not something to consider lightly." If his tone did not deliver that sincerely enough, he makes an effort to state the rest as sincere as he can. "My queen must be trusted, as well as, respected. She is not just a political statement. She must be loyal to me, her people and the Isle but, above all, she must be loyal to Nerine." He pauses here, hoping Sabrina is truly listening and, realizes that he not describing her. For clarity sake, he speaks up again though, this time, his tone is adamant and unwavering. "Perhaps you have forgotten but, Icicle Isle has a Queen. Her name is Heartfire. Beqanna Law does not permit territories to name a queen, or a king. As it stands, the post of my vixen belongs to someone who has served the Isle longer than you or, I." Jesper stops, certain that he has said enough. He could not nor, would he, accept her proposal.
She glancss to the black stag, listening to him speak. She came hoping for peace, together combining there powers to create an empire. But of course he couldn't, he was too caught up in the small details.
Queen versus ruler, all the same thing at the end of the day. She understands his lack of trust, they had nearly killed each other after all. But still, she had hoped he would come to his senses, for the girl who stepped up when he faltered, as his "vixen" had not.
That's a shame Jesper, we could have built the Isle together, she snorts. Her bay body shifts back to it's comfortable morph, her hellhound form.
I guess we will have to do this the hard way Jesper. The isle has been our home for too long to be removed so easily, and we can't trust a ruler who vanished without a trace. Her cold yellow eyes find his blue ones, with a grin tugging at her lips she gives a small dip of her head before heading away from the stag.
Aquamarine eyes steadily hold her yellow gaze. Jesper studies the twitches of her facial expression for any signs of an eruption. Regardless if her motivations for proposing this are mutual or, personal, he figures she will not like his answer. What is that saying about first impressions? They matter. His furry lobes catch her disappointed tone and her snort - one of defiance rather than defeat. Her shift back into her canine form sends a chill down Jesper's spine. His poll lifts his head and, every muscular fiber of his being coils in preparation for a quick call to duty. Her body language thus far only indicated a casual exchange; however, he closely watches her now that she faces him as a predator.
Sabrina opts not to attack him physically though, her words certainly intend to cut him. The arch above his eye lifts as she speaks of pursuing an alternative method. Her words justify his denial as, it remains clear to Jesper now that Sabrina only ever thinks of herself. He questions if she fully understands that Icicle Isle hardly offers her the power she seeks. At the end of the day, the Isle answers to Nerine. End of story.
The isle has been our home for too long, you suck, yadda yadda. Jesper hones in on the first half of her statement. What did she mean the Isle had been her home for too long? Any way you look at it, Jesper and Camomila had been here before Sabrina. Jesper arrived before leadership had been sorted out. To be honest, it had been quite a precarious situation with Set and Phaetra willing to fight it out. And, Camomila was already here when Jesper arrived. So, if Sabrina is using tenure to justify her actions, there is a serious fault in her reasoning.
Jesper also notes her use of our and we instead of "my" and "I". He wonders whom else she could mean. Certainly not Crevan? She spoke of followers, plural, earlier. To this, the black wonders if her mob will show up baring their fangs and, on the prowl to usurp him. As the hellhound turns and pads away, Jesper says nothing. He makes no effort to whisper comebacks under his breath or, shout after her. If she makes good on her threat, he will be ready. He had stood his ground once and, he would every time she challenged him. He certainly would not give her the advantage again. For now, the black stallion watches Sabrina move away. He vows not to turn his back on her so, why not enjoy her figure becoming smaller and smaller?
Sabrina, I had muse and I did not want to assume this thread is done. If it is finished, I look forward to future encounters =)
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