Featuring Masae and Lithili
Autumn, Year 763 of the New Age
Gumtree Hollow, WindbourneLithili
The scorching grasp of summer was quickly losing it’s grip on Windbourne, with temperatures falling into tolerable ranges for the Allied herd once more. Now that they no longer risked heat exhaustion sparring, young stags and some intrepid young does were happily testing out their newly grown antlers, some still holding a few strips of velvet as their impatient owners fell to the call of their hormones and began the rut for a new year.
While most fawnlings greeted the growth of their antlers or tusks with joy, others were not as pleased by the changes; one such filly was especially put out by the whole state of affairs. Said filly was currently fighting back tears (and doing a rather poor job of it) as she galloped away from one of the many loose gatherings of young weanlings that tended to loudly move around the herd as they tussled and played under the watchful eyes of their mothers, and more than a few guards.
The tiny grey filly sniffled, moving to rub damp face on her flank and instead jabbing herself with the very source of her despair; a pair of sturdy, thick tusks. The sting was enough to shock her into crying again, barely holding back from bursting into loud, woe-is-me bawling. Galloping off once more, the tiny Lithili ran to the blurry white figure she could just about make out through her tears. The sight of her mother was enough to cause the little fawn to loose any self-control she may have had, howling and crying as if she had lost a limb, rather than given herself a bit of a poke.
Barreling head-on into Masae’s flank, Lili attempted to tuck her face into her mother's forelegs, while also trying to rub her weepy face on Masae’s flank, managing to achieve neither and instead ineffectual headbutting Masae in the shoulder.
“Maaaaaaa!” The grulla doa bleated loudly, her voice wobbly with tears. “Th’ oth’r fawths are laffin at my teefth! They keep sayin’ I thound thtupid when I talk!” Dissolving into incoherent babbling- the kind a child makes when they are Very Upset and trying to explain something Very Important through a waterfall of tears- Lili rubbed her face against Masase’s side again before burying her face in her mothers side, muffling her voice slightly as she continued on. “Why did ya’ haffta give me tuthkth, Ma? Can’t you take them back and give me hornth inthtead? I like your’th, can’t I have your’th? I’ll take good care of ‘em…” Lili whined, un-burying her face to hit her mother with the best set of puppy eyes she could muster.
It would probably be more effective if her face wasn’t a complete mess of tears and ruffled fur, and if she didn’t currently have a nose that was attempting to produce as much liquid as her eyes were.Maesa
The grey doe was enjoying some alone time, nibbling at some tall grasses and thinking to herself peacefully. Lyre and Cruor weren't with her at the moment. Lyre was likely with her friends’ parents and Cruor...well she thought that Cruor was with her sister but that was debatable. Lilithi was spending time with the other fawns in a nearby clearing. For the moment Maesa had some rare alone time, but that didn't last very long. The graceless pounding of hooves filled her ears, followed by a loud squall of “maaaaa!!” Maternal instincts kicking in, the grey doe’s head shot up, brown eyes wildly searching her daughter.
Lilithi was running towards her and even from here Maesa could see the tears that streamed down her cheeks. The filly rammed into her, seeking comfort. Maesa let out a soft “oof”. Lilithi was getting big- close to her first rut. The youngster began to babble now, but Maesa was able to understand her daughter perfectly, despite the lisp. Lilithi was obviously going to have tusks whenever she was of age- her teeth already poked out of her mouth like little tusks. From what her daughter was saying, they were causing her much grief.
Lilithi asked why Maesa had to give her tusks, asking if she could have her horn instead and looking at her mother pleadingly. “Awww, I'm sorry darling.” The grey doe crooned, pulling her daughter closer in a cuddle. “I'm afraid that I did not choose to give you tusks and I cannot give you my horn either.” She ducked her head, kissing the filly upon her forehead. “Don't listen to those meanies, they don't know what they're talking about! Everybody is different and I'm certain that you'll get used to talking with your growing tusks.”Lilithi:
Sniffling softly, Lithili smiled slightly at the kiss her mother dropped on her forehead, beginning to cheer up from the affection and words of encouragement. Huffing out a sigh, the grulla doe rubbed at her face to try and get rid of the tear tracks in her fur. She stayed close to Masae’s side, enjoying the cuddle; the grulla was pretty clingy at times and would never turn down love and attention from her mother.
Looking at Masae, Lili wistfully looked at her mother's horn. “I wi’th you could give me your horn mama...It’th better than tutkth any day. I ju’th bite my lip’th with these thingth!” She groused. She smiled at her mothers advice regarding her bullies. Truth be told, it was only a handful out of the group that had been laughing at her lisp, but to a young fawn a handful of naysayers could turn into a herd. And it was true- none of those laughing at her had tusks of their own, so what did they know? In Lithili’s mind, there wasn’t a doubt that her mother knew more than the other young foals, in the way that parents always seemed to know everything there was to know.
Smiling hopefully at Masae, Lili began to talk again, her tail wagging in joy.
“Do you really think I’ll get uthed to thethe thing’th, Ma? I keep poking mythelf and biting my tounge, and they make grooming thuper hard!” She said. It was true that her grooming skills had been a little lackluster of late, with the grulla filly looking rather disheveled, though whether that was due to struggling with her tusks or just being a generally scruffy child, only Molach knew.
Her smile fading slightly, Lili tucked her head into her mother's side again, not confident enough to look her mother in the eye as she asked another question.
“Hey mum….Do you really think the other’th will get uthed to my teefth? Or will they keep laughin’ at me? I bet no-one laughed at Cruor when she grew her tuthk’th…”Maesa:
The grey doe let out a soft sigh of relief as she noticed the little smile tugging at the corner of her daughter's mouth. It seemed that Lilithi was beginning to cheer up a little bit- Maesa was her mother and was adept at cheering up her little ones. Well, all except for Cruor. Whenever Cruor got upset she usually went on a warpath, scaring even Maesa herself… she adored her daughter, but Cruor was very….odd. Lilithi's words drew Maesa’s thoughts away from her elder daughter and back to her youngest. The filly wished that she could give her her horn, stating that she didn't like these tusks. “If I could give you my horn I would, but sadly that isn't the way that works. Besides that would hurt a lot, you don't want Mommy to hurt do you?”
Lilithi asked her if she really thought she'd get used to the tusks and if she really thought that the other fawns would stop making fun of her. “Yes, I do. Some youngsters have a harder time with growing tusks than others and you just got unlucky! But, you'll get used to them. You'll get used to talking with them and using them- the other fawns won't have anything to make fun of before too long. You'll be talking just like a pro again.” She smiled at her daughter warmly. “Come on, let's go find something to eat, shall we? I bet we can find some nice berries that will be easy for you to eat.”Lilithi:
At the thought of hurting her mother- even if by accident- Lithili gasped, instantly shaking her head in dismay at such a thought. No way she could hurt her mother! Even if Lili would have loved to have had a horn like Masae, Lili would get used to her tusks if the alternative meant hurting her mother.
“No mom! I don’t want you to hurt! I’ll get uthed to my tutk’th, I thwear!” As if to prove how little Lithilli would hurt her mother, the little doe rubbed her head against her mother's side affectionately. Nothing was worth her mom getting hurt, not even if it meant Lithili could get a sweet horn out of the deal.
Tilting her head up to listen to her mother, Lithili smiled widely at the knowledge that she wasn’t the only fawnling to every struggle with tusks. (Common sense would have told her that it was pretty unlikely that she would be the only fawnling ever to struggle to adapt to her tusks, but common sense is not all that common in such young fawns, sadly). Putting on a determined face, Lili nodded in agreement with Masae’s encouragement. Of course Lili would get used to these tusks- if Masae said she could, then she WOULD. In matters like this, her mother was never wrong. Grinning, Lili couldn’t help but agree with Masae.
“I can’t wait until I can talk normallly again! I’m gonna beat theth’e tutkth even if I have to practith all the time!”
Bleating happily at the thought of finding some tasty berries, Lithili peeled away from her mothers side, bucking in joy. The little grulla seemed to forget all about her hassles with her tusks at the thought of treats, quite literally running circles around Masae in excitement.
“C’mon mom, let’th go! We can take thome back for everyone elth’e too if there’th enouf!”Masae:
To the grey doe’s relief, it seemed that she had succeeded in cheering the little filly up. She knew exactly what to do or say to cheer Lilithi up. The filly seemed utterly dismayed at the thought of Maesa being hurt. She exclaimed that she didn't want to hurt her and she swore she'd get used to her tusks. Maesa let out a soft giggle. “Alright, good! You're my brave girl, you can do it!” She reassured her youngest fawn, smiling widely at the youngster. When Lilithi rubbed her head against her side Maesa lowered her head, giving the youngster a loving lick on her inky black mane. “Just remember when those meanies start picking on you that I'm proud of you and you'll get used to those tusks. I think they're pretty cool-looking myself!”
Lilithi let out an excited bleat at the prospect of berries and Maesa couldn't help but giggle again as she followed her daughter in a lilting trot. “I'm not sure if there will be enough between the both of us to take back!” She laughed. “You know how much I like berries, you should consider yourself lucky that I'm gonna show you my secret go-to place for them!” She winked at her daughter, obviously kidding. “You gotta promise not to tell your sisters too! They'd be soooo mad that I showed you the berry thicket first!” Lyre and Cruor likely already knew of the berry thicket, but Maesa wanted to make Lilithi feel special and to ease the hurt of being bullied.Lilithi:
Grinning, Lithili’s spirits were buoyed by Masae’s confidence in her. Already the sting of the bullies words had faded under the force of her mother's affection- next time they picked on her, she knew she could hold her head high and remember her mother's words instead of crying. When Masae confided in her that her tusks were cool, Lili couldn’t help but prance around joyfully, holding her head up to show off her growing tusks for once instead of holding her head low to try and hide them. Her shyness about her tusks had not yet been fully defeated- it would take years before she felt truly comfortable with them- but for now, she began to feel like she could be proud of her tusks instead of ashamed.
Slowing her frantic pace to let her mother catch up, Lithili eagerly wagged her tail in anticipation; how lucky was she? Her mom was going to show her her secret hiding place for berries- wouldn’t her sisters be jealous to hear that Lili had gotten to see them first! (Lithili had already resolved to sneak out a few berries for them; it wouldn’t be fair to eat ALL the berries by herself, after all!)
As they approached the hidden berry thicket, Lili’s eyes went wide. There were so many berries! She hardly knew where to start; all the berries looked so appealing, Lili just wanted to dive in and gorge herself on the delicious fruit. She made to leap into the bushes, but halted abruptly. Turning to look at her mother, Lithili remembered some of her manners, politely asking, “Can I start eating some Mom?”.Masae:
After a few moments of travelling they finally reached the hidden berry bush. Lilithi was totally thrilled, as Maeda knew she would be. The hind leapt forwards, as if she was about to dive into the berries headfirst, but seemed to stop herself. Maesa was proud; Lilithi had learned what it meant to have manners! The youngster asked if she could start eating and Maesa smiled warmly at her daughter. “Not if I eat them all first!” She joked, now beginning to lip at the berries herself. “Yes you may, all kidding aside.”
As she munched on the berries, careful to avoid the thorns, Maesa couldn't help but feel her heart swell with pride as she watched her daughter. She was certain that Lilithi was grow into her tusks soon. It angered Maesa that she was being bullied, but there was nothing she could do. Lilithi needed to learn how to take care of and defend herself.
She would soon be her own doe.