Lonán and Nuala featuring Flynn and Glynn
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HonorboundNote: The initial POV is not Lonán's, but from that of Flynn and Glynn.
Flynn and Glynn hated autumn. It was even worse than winter, because although winter was cold and they spent much of it marching in circles, at least it wasn’t humiliating like autumn was. The russet hued twins were ten now, reaching their prime and yet they were still stuck doing a younger stag’s job and minding the herd during rut. They hadn’t enjoyed it when they were younger, but now it was just insulting.
Needless to say, the pair paid very little attention to their official duties these days; what was the point when it was clear you weren’t going to get a promotion until the old captain popped off and stopped holding a grudge against them. Though Flynn thought sourly, his upstart of a son was just as likely to be made the youngest captain in a century and then they’d never hear the end of it. Flynn and Glynn were wandering aimlessly through the wood, banking on the
Uncoloured as of yet, my hand hurts. Over the coming days there will be an influx of Lo and Nu art as we get them up to speed with the current time line. Also, diabeetus warning.
Role play with *TigressDesign
, READ NUALA'S POINT OF VIEW HERE:
The Danger of Hodgehegs
Ow. If her mother were there, the young doe might have cried for sympathy but since she was alone, she just scowled at the spiky little animal that had hurt her nose when she touched it. It responded by curling into a ball. She tried prodding it again, but it simply served to make her nose sting again. It did roll a little way across the grass, and Nuala flicked her ears forward in interest. Rolling? How did he do that! She couldn’t roll.
She watched the prickly creature for a few minutes until it finally uncurled and set off on it’s merry way. Nuala trotted after it, ignoring the baleful look the animal gave her. She was having fun! She didn’t usually get to roam about the herd much during the day, but her father and mother were being very strange and hardly seemed to notice her. Even her young sister seemed far too interested in sleeping than to come and play, so Nuala was left to her own devices.
The sun was climbing higher, and it was a lovely day. The leaves were
Autumn, Year 751 of the New Age
Glenmore, The Glenwood
It was only a few weeks earlier that the first chill had drifted down into the valleys of Glenwood, and now the echoing cracks of fighting stags were bouncing around the forest left and right. Rut was upon them, and all the Fawnlings seemed to go a little mad with it. Lonán watched on lazily from the shade of a golden leaved oak, flanked by the russet twins Flynn and Glynn. Normally on such a day the young members of the guard would be training and sparring, or running errands, however during the rut when many of the older stags were focused on winning a harem it was the younger guards duty to keep their heads and break up any fights that looked too serious.
As per usual, Flynn and Glynn were chatting amicably and pulling jokes, for although they were a year older than Lonán many young stags couldn’t hope to win does until they were approaching their prime and fully grown. Lonán himself might have won himself a few on looks alone, however he was not interested - he was enchanted by the idea of the relationship his parents had, though his mother belonged to the King when he did not want her she would always return to his father, and his father doted on her always. They were in love, and fighting without passion for another seemed shallow to the roan stag.
An all too familiar high pitched voice carried to him, and he watched, heart sinking as the creamy yearling trotted up to him on spindly legs. Lonán watched Nuala warily, having long since realised the young princess's obsession with tormenting him and teasing him. He had hoped she might grow out of it by now, and even though it was often amusing as it was irritating, he cast a sideways glance at the twins, who gave the young doe a surprised look.
She butted his leg and stood back tail wagging happily. Normally he would have bowed to her however with the twins watching on he thought better of it. “Whatcha doin’?”
“Princess,” he nodded, as close to a bow as he dared. Maybe reminding Flynn and Glynn of her title would lessen the extent of their jokes later. He doubted it. “We are on official guard duty for the rut.” As if this implied she shouldn't bother him. He also doubted she would pick up on such subtleties, she rarely listened to his very direct requests that she leave him in peace.
“Who is this, Lonán?” asked Flynn with a grin. Glynn finished his sentence. “Did you already nab yourself a doe that you didn't tell us about?”
Before he could introduce either party, Nuala ‘s expression changed and she cut in. “I am Princess Nuala. Who are you? And what does ‘nab’ mean?” The twins snickered, Lonán sighed.
“This is Flynn and Glynn,” he didn’t bother to point out which was which, it made little difference in the personality department at least. “Nab here I think you’ll find should be woo, and I didn’t woo anyone.” He shot a meaningful glare at the twins - she was just a kid, and a princess to boot. No need to be filling her head with such language, what would her mother say?
“What does woo mean?!” The twins chuckled again. Lonán would never live this down. He gestured behind her with a shake of his head, where a pair of stags could be seen fighting just in front of the treeline. A trio of does watched on curiously. “There. It means to impress a doe.” He prayed such an explanation would satisfy her. It was certainly innocent enough.
Judging by her still confused expression, Lonán’s carefully worded explanation meant nothing to her. What was her dam teaching her? “How are they impressing the does? They’re just headbutting! I can headbutt you, is that impressive to does?” She took another flying leap at his leg, and this time Flynn and Glynn didn’t restrain themselves to chuckling, throwing their antlers back and laughing long and loud.
“Hey! Stags impress does by ‘headbutting’ one another to prove who is the strongest. Does like strong stags,” he replied, managing to keep his tone calm and soothing. Of course, he’d had plenty of practice by now. He breathed a sigh of relief when she let the topic go, hoping she would choose an irritating if relevant one like she often did, full of whimsy and less pointed questions that could get him in trouble with her mother.
“Do the does woo you?” she asked, peering up at him with her enormous baby blue eyes. On another day he indeed would have praised her for picking up a term so quickly, however he was far more concerned with how he might answer. Glynn got there before he did. “They try.” Flynn grinned wickedly.
“Sometimes does woo stags, yes,” he elaborated, ignoring Glynn’s comment.
Nuala fixed the laughing brothers with a wicked glare. “With alltherespects, Flynnandglynn, I didn’t ask you.” That promptly shut them up, and this time Lonán smirked. “Mother says when stags fight it’s called rut, and that’s when does choose their mate. Do they always choose the strongest? That’s why the stags headbutt! So they can be friends with the does.”
Lonán paused, choosing not to correct her about the friends comment. “They don’t always choose the strongest, some does choose stags because they love them.” This incited another chorus of giggles and splutters from the twins. They were not a pair of stags who believed in love.
The little doe continued. “Mother says one day I have to choose a Prince for my mate. If I don’t love them, do I have to pick the strongest?” Lonán looked away uncomfortably, unsure of how to tell those enormous innocent eyes the reality of her fate and the term ‘Princess’. He certainly didn’t approve of the practice, though he knew it was for the good of the herd.
“As a Princess, you don’t exactly get to choose. The King chooses for you, its a great honor.” The words tasted bad on his lips, he felt like he was parroting the royal decree itself. “If it makes you feel better, the Prince doesn’t get to choose which Princess he gets either.” Just every other doe who would also be his ‘friend’, often if she wanted to or not.
He watched with sad eyes as she nodded sagely, wondering whether she would accept such a rule so easily when confronted with it in later life. It would matter little - as he’d stated, she indeed had no choice.
She swiftly dove in another direction with the conversation, and fighting not to be overwhelmed with the sheer pace of her questioning. “Why aren’t you headbutting?”
“Because its our job to make sure that the other stags don’t hurt each other,” he answered with a nod. “Someone has to protect the herd.” In truth, after every young stag begins to grow his antlers he was affected by the rut. Even as they spoke, Lonán could feel it’s pull to fight and win and fight again, however as guards they had been trained to harness such feelings for the good of others. That wasn’t to say the entire regimen wasn’t on edge during that time, surrounded by so many other bucks of equal strength. They longed to test their strength against one another, to impress does, however they held back.
Nuala’s eyes went even wider than usual. “Would they really hurt each other?! It’s just headbutting. Does it give them a headache? I know a plant that fixes headaches, mother showed me. Well, it’s a bark really. You chew it and the headache just goes away!”
Lonán smiled wryly. “I bet she uses that a lot. Stags have pointy antlers, sometimes headbutting can get dangerous if one of them gets poked.” It seemed wrong to label such a violent affair so innocently, stags could easily be injured or even killed by gouging if a fight got rough, especially between trained fighters who knew how to use them.
“Oh no! I sniffed a slow spiky rabbit earlier and it poked my nose.”
Lonán chuckled. “Then you shouldn’t stick your nose where it doesn’t belong. I hope the hedgehog taught you a lesson for bothering it.” He received one of her famous scowls for that, usually only awarded when he did something she particularly disapproved of but could do nothing about.
“I didn’t bother it! I was just sniffing it!” Lonán narrowed his eyes at her, guessing she’d been chasing it all over the countryside first. Poor hedgehog, he knew how it felt, only he certainly couldn’t deter the little princess so easily. “It was probably trying to eat its breakfast,” he replied. “Or it was busy. You were bothering it.”
“I saw it eat a slug. He must have been really hungry.” Lonán chuckled again and winked at the fawn, amused and pleased she had at least descended into the pointless conversation she seemed convinced was the most interesting in the world. At least it didn’t make for uncomfortable answers. “Maybe hedgehogs like slugs?”
“Iwwwww, Lonán! Nobody likes slugs. I licked one once, it wasn’t tasty,” exclaimed the princess, wrinkling her nose and sticking out her tongue.
Flynn and Glynn were apparently less pleased at the prospect of listening to fawn babble their entire shift. “Lonán are you actually going to guard on guard duty, or should we tell your father you’re busy wooing does instead?” interjected Flynn.
“Lonán, if you don’t headbutt, how will the does know how strong you are? What if they don’t choose you to be their friend?” demanded Nuala, and Lonán was amused she was so concerned for his ability to find a mate, even if she didn’t really understand the concept. Before he could answer though, the twins decided to make their own brand of fun again.
“Lonán doesn’t want doe friends, do you Lonán? Lonán likes to be on his own,” grinned Glynn, baiting the little doe into saying something she shouldn’t. Lonán knew there was a little sting in the comment too; he’d been approached by giggling does already in the rut, but the twins had not. Flynn joined in. “Lonán the loner.”
The plan worked. “Lonán does have friends! I’m his friend. And if you don’t stop being mean to him, I’ll tell all the does, and the princesses that they should never choose you because you’re really rude.”
The russet brothers grinned at each other then back at the creamy yearling. “Look Lonán, you do have doe friends! I never thought I’d see the day,” exclaimed Flynn in mock wonderment. Glynn laughed. “He’s only four years too early.” They didn’t care if the little fawn did go telling people things, chances were most were forgotten, and besides, this new game was far more entertaining than absently watching other bucks beat eachother up.
Lonán’s expression was thunderous. “I’ll get a message to the Captain and the King that you were being inappropriate in front of a Princess.” It was not an empty threat, and the two russet stags exchanged a look. As often as they’d teased the roan stag for being the Prince’s hand-maiden, the Captain of the Guard was his father, and he frequently spent his time in the company of the royal court. They’d never admit they were jealous, even if they thought he’d been born into the position of power, and they been handed the short straw.
“Watch out Flynn, the Princess and her little fawn friend are going to tattle on us,” sneered Glynn, choosing to ignore the black frosted stag’s words. Almond shaped ears flattened against Lonán’s neck as he saw red, and was about to throw caution to the wind and unleash his frustrated tensions and growing irritations of the day on the twins - who looked positively eager at the promise of action - when a dark shadow fell across the group.
“Yeah! And then you’ll really be in trouble! The Captain is Lonán’s father, and he knows the King!” bleated the young princess, valiant in her reproach of the twins. The twins paled, and Nuala looked mighty pleased with herself.
“So I do,” rumbled a deep voice, filled with authority and power. “I wonder what he would make of his guard neglecting their duties and fighting with one another instead of protecting the herd.”
The two chestnuts looked as if they wished they were anywhere else, and Lonán flinched at the sound of his father’s voice. It was rare that Bróccán ever raised his voice, but this was almost as bad, disapproval dripping from his tone. Nuala squeaked as though someone had stepped on her tail and nearly lost her precarious balance, the comedy lost on the three now sheepish stags.
The Captain of the Guard looked between the trio of stags, waiting for explanation. Lonán bowed his head. “It is my fault, Sir.” Flynn and Glynn exchanged glances. They didn’t snicker. Bróccán fixed them with a hard look and opened his mouth to speak, however the indignant princess got there first.
“No it’s not!”
Bróccán looked down in surprise, as though he had not even noticed her there. Of course, he had, however he hadn’t factored her into saying anything much at all. He was very wrong. “No it’s not, Lonán was being my friend and FlynnandGlynn were laughing and it wasn’t fair! It wasn’t fair at all and they were being mean and it wasn’t Lonán’s fault.”
Lonán cringed again. Óganach’s antlers, as if this couldn’t get any worse. He’d never be able to show his face if word got around his father had to tell off a couple of other stags for teasing him. And that a yearling had to defend him. He’d never live it down.
Luckily Bróccán decided to study the determined looking yearling clinging about his son’s ankles for a moment more. “Were they now, little Princess? Flynn and Glynn should not have been laughing, they and Lonán were supposed to be watching the herd for danger,” replied Bróccán directly to the pale filly, his tone instantly softer. Even so, all three young stags cringed. Those words threatened punishment.
“Yes they were,” affirmed Nuala, and the Captain directed his attention her way again. He once again opened his mouth to explain about duty and honor, however again he found himself cut off. “It was my fault for distracting Lonán, I was telling him about the spiky rabbit that eats slugs and Lonán said that it liked slugs and so I said that he was silly because nobody likes slugs and I wanted to know why he wasn’t headbutting and Flynnandglynn were just laughing all the time and they weren’t being nice at all. So it’s not Lonán’s fault.”
The big roan stag chuckled. The three guards still held their breaths. Stretching his neck down so he was more eye to eye with the brave little creature still pressed against Lonán’s legs, the Captain of the Guard smiled kindly. “Is that so, Princess? Well, that is very brave of you to own up. Whether or not it was Lonán’s fault, he should have known better. So should have Flynn and Glynn. They got distracted and skirted their duties. What if the spiky rabbit had returned seeking revenge and they weren’t paying attention?”
The Captain kept his warm eyes level with Nuala’s earnest gaze. “Okay, well if you promise not to tell Lonán off, I’ll promise not to distract him when the Hodgehegs are out eating slugs. Slugs aren’t tasty, and they don’t do much, but I don’t think they should be eaten.” Bróccán chuckled again, the laughter rumbling around in his deep chest like distant thunder.
“I’m sure the slugs agree with you,” he replied, dodging her demands and straightening up. Lonán knew this wouldn’t be the end of it. “But their shift is almost over, perhaps Lonán should make up for getting distracted by escorting you back to your mother. The hedgehogs might still be out.” Flynnandglynn quickly exchanged panicked glances - they didn’t want to be left alone with the Captain, but his trap was neatly laid.
The Captain was surprised when the little yearling dashed over and enthusiastically butted her head into his head, doing a good impression of the stags over the meadow, and chuckled again. Lonán was less impressed. He’d planned on finding Dru that afternoon and going exploring. “Yay! Come on Lonán, I’ll show you were the Hodgeheg went. Maybe we can save some slugs!”
There went that idea.