Ludus, or Philia?

In Lantern Waste
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Lantern Waste is a dense and varied woodland. It consists predominantly of oak and white pine trees, with a variety of other groves growing here and there. Down here the undergrowth is quite thick, making it rather hard to see any distinct paths leading in any particular direction. Above you, the blue sky and bright sunlight are barely visible through the thick canopy of leaves overhead.
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You see no obvious way out.
Contents: A wolf with a slight limp (Pheeobe) and A wolf with a white forepaw
(Crenna).

Pheeobe nods. “So you realized you had a gift…”

Crenna chuckles, “I don’t know about a gift but it did interested me. Then Drune got wounded badly by a buck and it kinda just clicked. After that moment, I requested to learn healing and I started taking lessons from Penelope.”

Caileana comes padding through the trees.

Pheeobe tilts her head. “Who is Penelope?”

Crenna answers, “She is my main teacher, a Faun in Bergdale.” She flicks her ears at some movement, turning to scent the air. “Hello there, Caileana.”

Pheeobe turns. “Hello!”

Caileana says, “And the sister to our own Panacea,” as she approaches. She grins. “Hello, Crenna, Scout.”

Pheeobe smiles at Caileana.

Crenna nods, “Indeed. Penelope sent me here to learn from her.”

Pheeobe looks back to Crenna. “Well…huh.”

Caileana sits down. “Have you had a chance to meet with her yet?”

Crenna shakes her head, “Not quite. I made my request and she told me she would be happy to meet soon.” She nods to the small hole by some plants, “I have been reenforcing my knowledge of some of the herbs here and picking some that I am not familiar with.”

Pheeobe shows Caileana the moonseed. “Look! Crenna was informing me on some of their uses.”

Caileana surveys Crenna thoughtfully. “You haven’t been, er, eating any of them, have you?” She smiles at Pheeobe. “What’s this, then?”

Crenna smiles at Pheeobe, flicking an ear, “Do you remember what Moonseed is for?”

Pheeobe nods and sits up straighter. “Moonseed is for nausea. You can use the juices to help with an upset stomach.”

Crenna wags her tail, smiling big, “Very good.”

Caileana studies the moonseed thoughtfully. “Huh,” she says. “Interesting. Does it work for pregnancy nausea? I know Peridot was eating something to help with that when she was with foal.”

Pheeobe eyes grow wide at the question for a moment before relaxing.

Crenna hmms, “I am unsure if it would treat that well. Wood Sorrel is generally better for pregnancy nausea.”

Caileana’s ears perk. “Wood sorrel, that sounds familiar. That was probably what it was.”

Pheeobe nods.

Crenna nods, “It works very well for regular nausea.”

Caileana nods as well, making a soft ‘hm’ noise under her breath.

Pheeobe smiles. “I am glad you have found something you like.”

Crenna tips her head at Caileana, “How are you today?”

Caileana smiles faintly, her tail curling about her. “I’m well. And you? Settling in here okay?”

Crenna nods, “Yes, Thank you. The Waste has always been very open and hospitable for me. From the first time I was new to Narnia.”

Pheeobe smiles. “Good…I love seeing you here again.”

Caileana tilts her head. “It is good to hear you say that,” she says. “That hasn’t always been the case in the past, and it’s nice to think the pack is moving in a good direction.”

Crenna nods, “Yes, I am glad that both packs can be friends. It would be a shame for us to be at odds. Harmony and peace is what makes us strong and protectors of those who need it.”

Pheeobe nods. “Yes. I totally agree.”

You say, “We are better, certainly, when we are not at odds.”

Crenna asks, “So, Pheeobe, how long have you been a scout?”

Pheeobe shrugs. “Just a few days! Not too long at all.”

Crenna perks her ears, “Oh, wow. That /is/ exciting. I remember when I was promoted. I think I walked around in a daze for a week.”

Pheeobe laughs. “It is! I haven’t been walking in a daze…just a little straighter.”

Caileana grins. “Well, you certainly deserve to.”

Crenna nods, “I completely agree.”

Pheeobe smiles, tail wagging. “I can’t wait to take down my first deer…have my first Scout spar….all those things.”

You ask, “And your first patrol as a Scout? How did that go?”

Crenna tips her head, waiting for the answer.

Pheeobe smiles. “Very well! Nothing to report.”

Caileana chuckles. “That never gets old, hearing that.”

Crenna murmurs, “It is quite the best kind of report.”

Pheeobe nods. “I think so.”

You say, “You know, you really don’t have to wait for someone to ask you for your first spar. Basically anyone in the Waste would be happy to oblige.”

Pheeobe nods. “Yes…I just wanted to be sure I didn’t look too spar-happy.”

Crenna laughs, “You do know you are a Wolf, right? It is more strange that you aren’t spar-happy.”

Caileana laughs. “Yeah, exactly. I mean, compared to the rest of us, especially Glyn and I, you’ll have to work hard to actually appear too spar-happy.”

Pheeobe laughs nervously. “Yeah…right.”

Crenna looks at Pheeobe thoughtfully.

Pheeobe looks to Crenna and then around.

Caileana itches at an ear with a back leg. “Well, in any case, your training is a bit more go at your own pace now. Just, so long as you do keep challenging yourself.”

Pheeobe nods. “Of course.”

Crenna nods, “Though it is important to know your limits as well and not push yourself too hard into serious injury.”

Pheeobe nods. “I know…I don’t want to hurt myself again.”

Crenna’s ears perk forward, “Again?”

Pheeobe nods, ears turning pink. “Yep…I broke my leg…fell out of a tree playing with a squirrel…”

Caileana nudges Pheeobe with one shoulder. “You’re quite good at knowing yourself and your limits, Pheeobe. Except when it comes to trees, maybe.” She grins. “But you’re all healed up, now, so there’s no reason to fear it. You did just fine with me.” She looks up at the sky, letting Pheeobe explain to Crenna, and then gets a small frown. “Oh. I need to be off on patrol, you two.”

Crenna’s eyes widen, “Broken?” She turns to Caileana, “Of course, it was good speaking with Caileana.”

Pheeobe looks to Caileana and frowns. “If you say so…Have a good patrol.

Pheeobe nods again to Crenna. “Yeah…pretty badly. Panacea actually helped me.”

Caileana nods. “Take care you two,” she says, padding off through the trees.

At the Base of the Watchtower
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The Northern Wood is a dense and varied woodland. It consists primarily of oak and white pine trees, with a variety of other groves growing here and there. Some of the thicker trunks bear black, ribbed scars from some ancient fire, which might help to explain the large natural clearing that has formed here. The trees thin out to buckthorn and gorse bush about a large tower built of rough-hewn stone. The tower is in good repair, and stretches high enough to clear the tree canopy, presumably affording a good view from all approaches.
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You can go: Enter the Watchtower <S>
Contents: A wolf with grizzled coat and emerald eyes (Glyn) and Torgin.

Glyn sits at the foot of the tower, deeply engaged in conference with Torgin.

Caileana jogs through the Waste on light paws, apparently just coming from patrol.

Torgin is the first to notice the she-wolf’s arrival. With a mute gesture he draws Glyn’s attention, who turns around and quickly grins at her. “Oh, hello, Scout! I didn’t expect to see you out this way…”

Caileana grins back, taking in a deep breath. “I had a patrol through the body of the woods just to see if everything was well,” she says, by way of explanation.

Glyn nods and turns back to the dwarf to ask, “I think we had just concluded business for now?” Torgin nods and confirms with a hint of irony, “Aye, Subcommander. We can manage without you for a while.” Glyn rolls his eyes. “Excellent. What would we do without you?” Tactically, he moves off before the dwarf can manage a reply. When he joins Caileana, he is all smiles again.

Caileana smirks a little at the Glyn’s carefully abrupt departure from Torgin, her golden eyes amused.

Glyn remains standing as he reaches the she-wolf. “How is your evening?”

You say, “Good. I ran into Pheeobe and Crenna earlier. Things seem well there.”

Glyn’s smile brightens a hair. “From what I hear, Pheeobe has good reason to be in good spirits. Is she enjoying her new position and responsibilities?”

Caileana nods, giving a faint smile. “I think so. She seems very proud, as she should be. Though perhaps a bit wary of some of the things she’s now allowed to do, like sparring with anyone. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. There was that leg of hers a few months ago, and she’s never been quite as avid about combat as the rest of us.”

Glyn’s ear folds uncertainly. “Not with anyone? Hmm. Well, it’s only been a few days so far, so that might be part of the explanation.” He glances back to verify Torgin’s supreme disinterest before asking Caileana in a lower voice, “You don’t mean she’s shirking duties, right? That’s not like her.”

You say, “No, no. She just seems a little bit hesitant to spar, though she says in some ways the promotion won’t feel quite real until she does. It’s not that worrying to me, but considering you and I both jumped on sparring pretty much the day after our promotion, it is…different.”

Glyn’s lip tugs into a half grin. “You would not be the first to observe that Pheeobe is different. Perhaps she is being very much like her.”

Caileana chuckles. “And here you beat me to that observation.”

Glyn observes with dry humour, “I’m no trainer, but I do have eyes.” He winks and then adds, after a pause, “You have a right to be proud too. Not even a Hunter, and already trained up your first Scout.”

Caileana grins in genuine pleasure, the tips of her ears going pink. “I know. I never expected /that/ to happen, that’s for sure.”

Glyn shrugs, “Sometimes opportunity scurries across your path, and you have to give chase. I had a feeling you’d do well at it. I’m glad to be proven right.”

Caileana directs her smile at him. “Thanks, Glyn.”

Glyn returns the smile, warmly. “You’re welcome.” After a pause, “So… what’s next for you, then?”

Caileana tilts her head. “Tonight, or more generally?” She attempts to subdue a smirk.

Glyn’s ear pricks with amusement. “Either.”

Caileana says, “Tonight…I’m free. That’s been happening a lot in the last few days.” She laughs lightly. “As far as beyond that…maybe I can convince the Alphas to promote me now? Maybe?”

Glyn grins and shakes his head. “Maybe. Virika might have better advice on that score, although I think you’ve got a good case.”

Caileana rolls her shoulders in a shrug. “Guess we’ll just have to see, huh.”

Glyn stretches his forelegs a bit before sitting down. “The Alphas could sure use the help. I mean, not that there is a lot of trouble brewing these days, but in the spirit of being prepared. Ulfden only has three hunters.”

Caileana flops down next to him and rolls over onto her side. “Yeah, but my mom is like, a hunter in all but name.”

Glyn’s eye twinkles. “Like mother, soon to be like daughter?”

Caileana pushes at him with a paw and makes a ‘pshaww’ noise, but she grins lazily, looking flattered.

Glyn grins down at her, unmoving. “It’s good to see you again. I mean talk like this again.”

Caileana rolls over so she can put her head on her paws and look up at him a little more comfortably. “Yeah. We don’t do this often enough anymore. Though I don’t know why not, with how quiet and peaceful things have been lately.”

Glyn takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. “In winter, we scrounge to stay alive. In summer, we build up our stores. We’re always busy, whether there be war or peace.” He shrugs. “Not an excuse, of course. We should make more time. *I* should make time.”

Caileana squints at him. “First of all, our existence isn’t as dire as all that. And secondly, you have a lot more responsibilities than I do. It’s not all on you.”

Glyn barks out a laugh. “You’re right, sorry. I didn’t mean it to sound dire. Just, you know, there’s always work to be done. For both of us.”

Caileana smiles. “Well, yeah.”

Glyn reassures his packmate, “I promise not to become pompous just because of the job. And if I do, you can thump me.” He smirks.

Caileana snorts. “I’m fairly certain I’m the one who promised to do that first. There’s no escaping the thumping if you get a big head. I’ll just drag you off to Virika when I’m done with you.”

Glyn chuckles. “Well, at least do me the courtesy of a *warning* first.”

You say, “Oh no. Nope. Sneak attacks are much more entertaining.”

Glyn exclaims, “Ah, the coward’s way. I should have known!”

Caileana sits up. “Hey! Watch it, Scout!” She glares at him, though her eyes are sparkling. “I prefer to think of it as strategic,” she sniffs.

Glyn’s grin is positively impish. “Glad to see I’ve not lost my edge.”

Caileana grumbles unintelligible sounds under her breath.

Glyn winks. “Point to me, I think. I think it’s only fair that you set the terms of our next contest.”

Caileana gives him a measuring look. “The terms, huh.”

Glyn lowers his head with mock gravity. “It’s only fair.”

You ask, “So if I were abruptly to pounce on you, you wouldn’t object?”

Glyn grunts, “Would objecting help?”

Caileana says, “I would take it under consideration.”

Glyn eyes her narrowly. “I suppose your plan has the advantage that I’ll always be forced to watch my back!”

Caileana beams delightedly like this is an entirely agreeable outcome. “Admittedly, you’re likely to be safer that way,” she says, her voice dipping dangerously close to serious for a moment there.

Glyn rolls his eyes. “Just so long as you don’t creating some kind of ‘incident’ that demands our superiors’ involvement.”

Caileana tilts her head so far it nearly angles upside down and gives him an overly innocent look. “Who, me?”

Glyn opens his mouth, and then closes it. “No, it would be too easy.” He smirks.

Caileana squints at him and then she does finally pounce on him. Mostly his head.

Glyn’s laugh comes out as howl as he bowls over backward, not even putting up token resistance to this well-deserved rebuttal.

Caileana apparently was expecting more resistance, because she pauses briefly when she’s knocked him over and then settles for draping herself melodramatically over him, long legs sprawling in all directions.

Glyn whuffs at the sudden weight. “I yield, I yield! Or, wait, I demand a rematch!”

Caileana yawns. “Well, which one is it?” she asks, not moving.

Glyn insists, “Rematch!” Then, with a grin, “It’s more fun that way.”

Torgin just looks on, saying absolutely nothing.

Caileana reluctantly moves, rolling off him. “Smooth,” she says.

Glyn pulls himself gracelessly to all fours, shaking off the embarrassment. “Well, part of my job is diplomacy,” he quips.

Caileana laughs, scrambling to right herself as well.

Glyn grins and finishes shaking out his coat. “Well, I should go and check on the lookouts.”

Caileana nods once. “Right.”

Glyn asks, “I have a free evening after afternoon muster tomorrow… I was thinking of catching up with Pheeobe. Do you think she’ll have time, with her promotion and all?”

Caileana nods. “I think so. She’s got more duties now, but not more regular training to attend to, so I’m sure she’ll have as much if not more free time than she did before.”

Caileana sits down again, her tail wrapping around her.

Glyn nods, smiling. “That’s good. I’ve yet to give her congratulations myself.”

Caileana smiles faintly at him. “I’m sure she’ll be glad to hear it. Maybe you can convince her to finally spar, even. I think you two owe each other one. Or so.”

Glyn’s expression clouds, but he nods after a moment. “Perhaps. I suppose we’ll see. Thanks for stopping by, Cail. It was good to talk. I hope we do so more.”

Caileana blinks. “Of course. And me too.” She stands again, notwithstanding the fact that she just sat down. “I’ll let you get back to it.”

Glyn dips his head. “And I’ll let you finish your patrol. Take care, Cail.”

Caileana smiles at him. “You too.” She wheels around and pads westward through the trees, her tail giving one sweep and then going still.

Glyn watches after her for a minute before smiling and trotting back into the tower.

In the Northern Woods
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The dense and varied woodland of the Northern Wood has been broken up a little here, and a real glimpse of the sky is finally visible. The oak and white pine trees still dominate the area, but a small plot of land has been cleared for a sort of garden-meadow. A goat stands in a pen near the edge of the clearing, and a deep well has been dug there as well, walled up so that no one will stumble in. Set back into the trees and brush, where it would be almost hidden if it did not have the goat pen to mark it, is a small cottage-like house. Because of the thick undergrowth, it’s rather hard to see any distinct paths leading out of the clearing.
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You can go: Into the Cottage <S>
Contents: A daughter of eve with a scar under her eye (Adara).

Adara sits on the fence penning in her family’s goat, one leg propped up and the other dangling. She has a cup neatly balanced on her knee and a bottle stands in the grass outside the fence. In her lap, she appears to be darning a child’s socks.

Caileana pads through the undergrowth slowly, much less alert and certainly less stealthy than she usually is. She appears to be studying the ground intently.

Adara calls lazily, “Myrd likes to use trespassers to practice his throwing daggers on.”

Caileana’s ears swivel up quickly. She snorts. “He doesn’t own the woods, does he?” She pads closer, possibly in defiance of the statement.

Adara says, “Ain’t guess it matters.”

Caileana tips her head. “Suppose,” she agrees.

Adara says, “Talkin to Glyn, huh.”

Caileana wanders closer and sits next to the fence. “That obvious?”

Adara asks, “Why else would you be out this way? Trying to make off with my goat?”

Caileana eyes the scrawny thing with distaste. “I did have a patrol in this direciton, initially.”

Adara says, “Ah, patrolling our grounds again, got it.”

Adara says, “Got to make sure those humans ain’t up to nothing.”

Caileana rolls her eyes. “Just keeping the big bads away from your pup,” she says in a tone that’s obviously joking, rather than try to persuade Adara of her lack of trespassing again.

Adara makes an unimpressed noise.

You say, “We don’t patrol the woods themselves very often, but occasionally we make a point of wandering around to check that all’s well.”

Adara says, “Case the guard didn’t do their job.”

Caileana rolls her shoulders in a shrug. “Old habits die hard.”

Adara says, “How’s Glyn.”

You say, “Good. I think.”

Adara glances down at her.

You say, “I don’t know that I can read him as well I used to. Or, thought I could.”

Adara makes a vague sound somewhere between “I’m listening” and “you think I’m more invested in this than I am”.

Caileana narrows her eyes at Adara and then shrugs, going silent.

Adara finishes a set of stitches and drinks what’s left in her cup, dropping it to the ground, again outside the fence. When Caileana is still there, she looks at her and raises her brows.

Caileana has meantime started staring off at the tops of the trees distantly. When Adara drops her cup, the noise of it smacking against the fence brings her back. She gives herself a shake.

Adara frowns at the wolf a long moment and then returns her attention to her darning as she says, “Want some.”

Caileana blinks. “Want some what?”

Adara jabs her thumb at the bottle.

Caileana glances at the bottle. “Oh.” She looks thoughtful, then curious. “Well, why not.”

Adara looks unimpressed again, but she swings her legs off the fence and refills the shallow cup, placing it on the ground for her to try.

Caileana gives Adara a scrutinizing look and then laps at the alcohol tentatively, only getting a little bit in her mouth before she pulls back and licks her lips several times as if pondering the taste of it.

Adara returns to her stitching.

Caileana’s nose twitches, and after some hesitation, she goes back to cautious lapping, until the wine in the cup is all gone.

Adara leaves her to her peace.

Caileana licks it off her maws and sits down again, letting out a quiet sigh.

Adara stitches.

Caileana asks abruptly, “Did you ever love more than one person, Adara? I mean…not at the same time, but you know, at different points?”

Adara frowns, and the long pause before she answers is perhaps telling. “Who hasn’t.”

Caileana studies her paws. “A few months ago, I would have said I hadn’t, but.” She shrugs.

Adara says, “Sad.”

You say, “I can’t figure it out. It feels…different, between the two of them. What I feel. It’s…not the same. I don’t know what to think about it.”

Adara frowns down at her. “Why would it feel the same.”

Caileana lifts a paw off the ground. “Isn’t love supposed to be…” she waves the paw vaguely, “it’s own thing? I don’t know.” She sighs again.

Adara asks, “What, you feel the same way about each of your friends as the others, and your enemies, too?”

Caileana frowns. “I…well. No?”

Adara lifts her freer hand as if this should answer all.

Caileana grunts. “The fact it was for all intents impossible the first time, notwithstanding, I swear it was easier then.”

Adara says, “If it’s hard, don’t do it.”

Caileana frowns. “Isn’t that kind of…antithetical to the idea of love? Aren’t you supposed to work at it?”

Adara says, “So… you’re telling me you want something that makes you unhappy, so that you can have more of that unhappy thing.”

You say, “It…doesn’t make me unhappy. Just…being confused about it does.”

Adara raises her brow at her sock.

Caileana grumbles, “Emotions are weird. Who needs ’em.”

Adara says, “Now you’re talking sense.”

Caileana grins up at her for the first time this evening.

Adara says, “You want the truth, most women are better off without the men they end up with. Men are selfish: they want kids and a house that’s happy just to have them around and they want to be right, and they don’t want wives that are fools, but they don’t want their wives to show them up neither.”

You say, “I think in this instance, I’m the one that wants kids and things, though.”

Adara gives her a disdainful look.

You say, “What. They’re cute.”

Adara looks disgusted, dismissing this comment entirely by not addressing it. “Anybody wants marriage for the happy family it’s going to bring is fooling themselves. Spouses got too many feelings to live on making you happy, and kids got even more, not too mention usually less logic.”

Caileana frowns, her muzzle wrinkling. “Why take a mate at all, if not to be happy?”
You feel a little hungry.

Adara says, “‘S Teeth if I know. Need a partner, maybe. You’re hungry and he makes good coin.”

Caileana says mildly, “That seems sad.”

Adara says, “Learning lies was false usually does.”

You say, “I don’t think it always has to be like that, though.”

Adara says, “All right.”

Caileana looks down. “Though I suppose if I did, it would make things an awful lot simpler.”

Adara says, “Save you some heartache, anyhow.”

Caileana chuckles mirthlessly. “Yeah.”

Adara peers at her. “How old are you.”

You ask, “Um, six?”

Adara snorts, “Oh that’s right. Same as my kid.”

Caileana shakes her head, looking mildly amused. “It’s close to…what would it be, mid-thirties, in your human years. Your kid would be more like six months old or so if he was one of our pups.”

Adara waves a hand at her. “I know what it is. I asked cause I got thirty years on you — real years — and maybe it’s worth your time to trust I seen some things in those years, and I’ll tell you what I ain’t seen is a couple ain’t fighting more than their making up.”

Caileana thinks about this. “There aren’t a lot of wolves who are mated in Narnia,” she admits. “And maybe you’re right. Or maybe we don’t fight as much because we don’t live very long, in comparison. Humans…marry pretty regularly, don’t they? At least where you’re from?”

Adara says, “Most of them do, yeah.”

You say, “That’s not really true for us.”

Adara finishes the second sock and tucks it away somewhere in her skirts, seeming to find this more interesting than responding would be.

Caileana exhales. “Not that I claim to be anything remotely resembling an expert.”

Adara says, “So what you have seen among your kind is equal and happy spouses, then.”

You say, “Well, yes, essentially. In Ulfden there is Nevarre and Eirwyn. They were Alpha and Guardian before they were mates, practically equals, and they seem very happy. And good for each other. There were my parents, years ago, and…maybe that wasn’t as perfect a relationship as I remember it, but they were very happy. I mean, till we lost him. So maybe not the best example. In Winterden, there was Zayev and Blizzard. I don’t know much about how those two came to be, but…judging by Zayev’s distress when Blizzard fell ill, I think he cared for her very much.””

Adara snorts.

You say, “Like I said, there aren’t a lot of us.”

Adara says, “That is not what I’m laughing at.”

Caileana tilts her head. “What, then?”

Adara┬ásays, “Look, I won’t touch your alphas cause I know you got to respect them or what not, and I ain’t known your pa, though I know enough of your ma to poke some holes in painting that as healthy. And Zayev was at least Blizzard’s third by all accounts, not to mention he thieved around Sted Cair to ‘teach folk lessons’ while she was sitting behind letting her own daughter get kidnapped and generally teaching her things as have got her messed up to this day. Tempest weren’t even just kidnapped, she half wanted to go with Tainn, that’s how good a mother Blizzard was. I wouldn’t make her my goal.”

Caileana shrugs. “Well, we did think it was all rather odd, at the time. And I never met Blizzard, but I never did like her, for Tempest’s sake. Zayev, though – he’s all right.”

Adara says, “If you like people as think they’re better enough than everyone else to make object lessons out of petty thievery, yeah, he is.”

Caileana admits, “I never heard anything about that.”

Adara adds, “I got things to say about your alphas, too, but I won’t. Anyway, I can tell you this, Blizzard and Zayev weren’t happy and they ain’t made Blizzard’s kid happy. Your ma and pa sure ain’t made you happy whatever you want to argue they was like in their youth. You want to do what they done to you to some sweet pup?”

Caileana’s calm demeanor cracks, her hackles raising. “On this point, we’ll have to agree to disagree,” she says, the words coming out on a quiet growl.

Adara snorts.

Caileana sighs, looking up at the sky. She stands. “Thank you for the drink. I should be getting back to the den.”

Adara sniffs. “Ain’t let nothing fall on you on your way back.”

Caileana glances at her and gives a noncommital, “Sure,” before she pads off.