Typically, the grafting of a new Scion into the family is a bit of an ado for the Children of the Tree. People turn out, return from travel, or send cards and videos wishing the inductee well, or sharing their reservations. The usual crowd is present, of course. Balm and her familiar, Baldur and their taciturn manner, and Weaver and their alien otherness. Charleville is here, as it happens, though given that he's set up an ersatz DJ booth and speakers, he's probably just here to provide the music for the afterparty. Still, he carries on with the Children as though he's one of them. A family friend at the very least.
A ring of cushions and chairs are set up in the center of the lodge hall, with tables set against the walls with refreshments, blank nametags to make keeping track of who's who easier, and so on. If it weren't for the mix of peoples, faiths, and languages present it might have the feeling of a church basement function.
Come as you are means, for Fox, to come as, you know, something other than a human being. In this case, it means coming as a fox. Well, sort of. She escorts Mei in, naked as the day she was born, save for the tattoos. There's an old coin tattooed over her heart -- she hasn't had that reworked yet, that old Russian coin -- and a massive Tree of Life tattooed from her shoulders down to her ass. "This won't be unfamiliar," Naika reassures her erstwhile apprentice. "Treat it like a beit din, and you'll be all right." She leans up onto her tip-toes, kisses Mei on the cheek, and then her body sort of... sighs downward, into the shape of a red fox, padding away from Mei to leave her on her own.
Also to go twine around Weaver's ankles like a kitty. Notice me, Sempai.
Mei has on a fairly well-worn t-shirt that says UNITY across the front in rainbow letters, a pair of black jeans, and her boots. She comes in with Fox looking surprisingly calm, probably helped by the fact that she took time to meditate before making the trip over. She comes in, looks around to see who is there already among the people she knows and who isn't, and then turns to listen to Fox. "I'm sure it will be fine," she says confidently as she accepts the kiss. Then she heads over to the table with nametags to fill one out and slap it on, as if she's just another among the crowd of Scions and not the reason this whole thing is happening.
Maddy is already there, and always, she brought food. All the dishes she brought are carefully labeled, including all their ingredients and what categories they fit. Kosher? Vegetarian? Vegan? Halal? Nightshare free, gluten free, dairy free, all those things are listed out on the various things she brought and laid out for people to enjoy. That's where she is now, fussing over the labels and making sure everything is in the right place.
Given that she lives just outside Philadelphia proper, Rīpeka is only slightly behind Mei and Fox in arriving. Though unlike her sibling, she's not going skyclad. The Obrimos follows Mei over to the table of nametags, retrieving one and attaching it to her light blue tanktop before heading in Maddy's direction, greeting her with a smile. "Hey, Amity. Anything you especially recommend?"
Weaver's extraneous eyes track Fox while their primary set watch the various conversations going on with interest. They bend down from their seat and lift the fox from the ground and place it into their lap, mindful of the bristles and spines on their hands in the doing of it. Belly scritching ensues. Only another Orphan would know the sweet spots, right?
Balm, frail old biddy that she is, struggles up and out of her walker's 'rest seat' and begins shuffling her way towards the ring of seats. Charleville spots this, takes off his Beats, and comes jogging her way like the very good boy that he is. He doesn't have to do more than stand there and crack jokes with her while she moves, but it ensures she doesn't trip or stumble without someone there to catch her. It's hard to make out, but he may have just offered to put rims and spinners on her walker. An offer that seems to amuse Balm very much.
Baldur, among all the VIPs, remains the aloof one. Stoic and stone faced, seated in the chair ring already, as though eager to be about the business of the evening. Which is probably why Balm is relocating in the first place.
There's something else going on, surely, but Weaver picked up Fox and is giving her belly scritches and so the fox is distracted for the time being. Fox gekkers quietly, rolling onto her back in the other Orphan's lap, trying to still pay attention, honestly, but actually making that little fox face. You know the one. The one that looks like ^___^
Once Mei's properly labeled, including her pronouns on the name tag, she takes a cue from the other relocations going on and heads to the circle of seats, where she takes a seat on the floor until someone tells her to do otherwise. She's not entirely sure what she's supposed to do, but she looks pretty seriously at ease about the whole thing. Not cocky about it, just not worried. Anyone she sees looking her way she smiles at, but for now she waits.
"Hi Kotahitanga," says Maddy with a warm smile and an offered hug. "The scramble, there," she says with a pointed finger. "But I think we're actually getting started. Let's go sit down!" And she reaches for Ripeka's hand to pull her along to the ring of seats, where she takes a seat across from Mei on the ground. Once settled she situates the skirt of her dress and waits for things to kick off.
Rīpeka accepts the hug, before she lets herself be pulled along in Maddy's wake, taking a seat next to the Acanthus, crossing one leg over the other at the knee. Mei gets a nod and a slight smile.
Kay makes her appearances: She's wearing a black hoodie, her hair tied back into a bun, even as they're all in tiny little braids and she's wearing a pair of jeans and some little white shoes. She walks slowly and her eyes are wide opened, examining her surrounding with care like it's the first time she's doing any of this. She greets Maddy and Rīpeka with a friendly wave and then waves toward Baldur as well, sitting near the councilor, if not right next given the seat are likely already taken. She watches Mei curiously, studying her with a keen eyes and a bright smile. (active magic)
Once Charleville has assisted Balm to the ring of chairs and offered his arm to help her into her seat, she pats his hand in gratitude and he leans down to press a kiss to her cheek. Someone loves nans, that much is clear. He collapses her walker and leans it against a nearby chair and makes sure she knows where it's at before heading back to the DJ booth to pop on the mic and call out across the room, "Hey, y'all! It's C.Evil. We're gon' start this thing, here. So if you could all find a seat in the circle, that'd be cool. Aight. Cool. Ayyy, I see you checkin' me out, Weaver. It's the new kicks, isn't it?" He shows them off one at a time. "Anyway. Sitcho butts down and I'll be back for the rug cuttin'." The mic kicks back out and he sets it down, hopping up onto his stool to check his phone while the event proceeds.
Balm meanwhile leans forward and speaks down towards Mei, "When we begin, you'll need to stand in the circle. Or sit, I suppose. If you like. You make take a cushion."
Peacekeeper is a bit late to arrive, but doesn't miss the general aim of the group and finds herself a seat in the circle as well. Waves are offered to Kay from Baldur and Peacekeeper both, a smile sent Ripeka's way from Peacekeeper in particular, and then more or less everyone has found a seat.
Weaver even sets Little Fox down on her own chair beside them. They still pets her, but now it's respectful petting.(edited)
Having made ^W^ face because Sempai was petting her, Fox is set down next to Weaver, and sits up all precise and neat. She even curls her tail around herself. So very prim and proper. This is her Apprentice, after all. One must be a very proper Fox. Her wide green-gold eyes blink slowly, once. Twice.
Myra arrives fifteen minutes a lil bit late with homebrew coffee and silently moves into a seat with a deep sigh. She glances around to make sure she hasn't missed too much of the event, setting her thermos down on the floor between her legs.
Mei leans slightly to listen to Balm and then gives her a smile and respectful nod. "Thank you, I'll do that. It seems like we're aiming to get started, so I might as well go now." She gets up, grabs the cushion as she rises, and then moves to the center of the circle, where she puts the cushion back down and sits on it, legs crossed. Being in the middle of a circle where everyone is looking for you can be a little weird, but she just answers gazes with smiles and tries not to be awkward. It's hard not to be awkward in this situation.
Maddy waves with waggling fingers at Kay and then Myra as she scoots in at the last minute. When she gets a smile from Mei, inevitably, since she's going to look that direction at some point, she flashes a smile of her own in encouragement. Aside from that she waits for things to kick off properly.
Rīpeka returns Kay's wave and Peacekeeper's smile before glancing at Fox, grinning slightly at her curling her tail around herself. Mei moving into the center of the circle gets the grin to fade as she regards the other Obrimos thoughtfully, waiting for Balm to start things off.
Kay catches sight of Fox and wiggle her fingers toward the green eyed Fox and Weaver too in greetings. Myra gets a smile and a wave too, then her attention goes, momentarily toward Balm making a heart gesture with her hands in her direction. Peacekeeper's presence and greeting makes her smile brighter too.
The little fox raises her paw to sort of wave at Kay and then tips her head to the side toward Rīpeka, but his attention is mostly on Mei in the center of the circle now.(edited)
The discomfort is probably the point. Or, at the very least, the being outside of one's comfort zone. For the most part, nobody is offering Mei anything but smiles. At least among the bigwigs. Baldur always has that expression, so don't worry too much about all that. See? Baldur just returned the heart hands gesture to Kay with that same somber expression. It's fiiiine.
Once Mei is situated, Balm claps her hands three times and lifts them into the air. Though her hands are shaking with subtle tremors all the while. "Brothers, sisters, siblings! My treasured family. We have before us Parhelion, daughter of Revontulet. She awakened to the sky nation, in thunder and in light. She wishes to join her life with ours, to share our food and our lodge. To kindle our fire brighter and to carry its light into this world. I call upon the Emissariate of the People to listen to her. Ask her your questions. If you do not know her yet, you will before the night is through. See to her heart. Tell me if it is not like your own."
Seeing as nobody else is asking anything, Rīpeka leans in, focusing her attention on Mei. "What do you know of the Children?"
Kay watches, specifically toward Maddy and Rīpeka this time, as they're the other Emissaries among their people, she silently offer them the chance to speak first should they want it. She then turn to Mei curious as to her answer there, leaning forward, she seems ready however to ask her own questions once the time comes.
"I know that the Children of the Tree formed from the peoples of the Americas when they came together in the wake of the Unnamed War and Gaveston's Great Hubris," Mei begins answering. "That there were hundreds of different peoples in this land before the people of Europe turned their eyes to it, with hundreds of languages and hundreds of sets of customs. That the Children of the Tree began as a council of emissaries from among those divergent peoples, and served as a way to provide representation to so many perspectives in the face of a force that saw them all as the same. A nuisance to be wiped out." She smiles, a little lopsided. "I can recite facts all night, but to me one of the important facts of the Children of the Tree is that it's a place where differing perspectives are embraced for the wisdom that can come from their combining."
The fox puffs up a little bit when 'child of Revontulet' is said; yes, of course she's proud of her baby. And she doesn't say anything at first, apparently waiting for literally anyone else to start the questioning. What does 'Nurture The Soul In All Things' mean to you? How does it overlap with the People who you took as your own in the living waters? And then after a pause, she adds, Don't translate for her if she can't understand me on her own. That's part of the point. If one can't already Speak with Beasts, it just sounds like sharp little bursts of sound and warbling calls.
Madeleine probably has things to say, questions to ask, but if all of the questions come at once with no time for answers it's not going to serve to make answers come coherently. She holds for now, waiting for answers to come before more questions.
For anyone using Mage Sight there's a flare of light around Mei, who is sitting far enough away from everyone that they might not be hit with the momentary flare of a nimbus. Hers comes in the flash of a halo of light, lined along its top and bottom by additional arcs that make it appear like a supernal eye, and then vanish. "I'm sorry, Revontulet," she says in an apologetic tone. "I should have thought to be ready to understand you earlier. Call it nerves. Could you repeat your question? I only caught the end of you asking people not to translate for me."
The little red fox makes that ^W^ face again and repeats herself, precisely, with her tail wrapped neatly around her little black feets.
Mei says, "thank you," with a gentle smile. "For those who can't understand my Master, they asked me 'What does 'Nurture The Soul In All Things' mean to you? How does it overlap with the People who you took as your own in the living waters?'"
She pauses to make it clear the next words are her own, and not the translation. In the pauses she pulls her Star of David out from under her shirt. "For anyone who didn't know already, I'm Jewish. One of the things that drew me to Judaism was the idea of 'tikkun olam', repairing the world. The Cortical Precept to Nurture the Soul in All Things sounds very familiar, just with an acknowledgement of some of the deeper specifics about what that might mean. The Fallen World is in need of healing, and through the care that we give to each other, the things in the world, the other realms that border ours, to all of reality, we can work toward that end. It's a task that none of us might individually complete, but I also don't feel like we're free to abandon it just because we can't finish it. Nurture the Soul in All Things means, to me, that we should strive to improve every aspect of the fallen world, and treat each component of it as sacred."
Baldur speaks up now, "Settler culture prizes individuality and the will to power. It has no patience for deliberation or consensus. I recognize you are not not like the settlers, and that you come from a place with its own history of colonial brutality. But you remain a citizen of this country, and you grew up steeped in this culture as many of us did. How do you plan to deal with your feelings of personal rejection and shame when your idea is brought to the emissariate, considered, and discarded? How will you dedicate yourself body and soul to the will of the nation? How will you make that will your will? What do you feel you must unlearn? And where would you have our lessons begin?"
Having asked his question, Fox replies, Thank you, Parhelion, and curls up on the chair next to Weaver, scooting over closer to him in order to prompt more pets, now neatly balled up with her tail over her nose, so that her bright green-gold eyes can watch things play out. It leaves her ears for petting. Respectful petting.
"As you said, Baldur, I did have the advantage of growing up in a household that wasn't run under the premises of Western individualism." Mei's responses are patient and calm. "My parents are both from Hong Kong, and I even lived there for a few years while I was growing up. I grew up in a community surrounded by other people who thought like them. It wasn't until I started going to school that I really got exposed extensively to those attitudes, but they certainly have had some influence on me."
She stops to consider her answer further before she continues on. "I generally don't have a lot of experience with struggling with shame and rejection in those situations," she admits. "I guess the best answer I have is that I plan to just get over myself, or figure out how I can better explain myself the next time a situation like it comes up."
She pauses again. "There are a lot of questions in there. How will I dedicate myself body and soul to the will of the nation?" There's a soft laugh from her. "I tend to get a little obsessive sometimes, to be perfectly honest. I'm not very good at not doing things wholeheartedly. I'll do what I can to learn about all my brothers and sisters, so that their needs are personal to me, not just to them. I feel like I need to unlearn some of that obsessive tendency, and that the best place for my lessons to begin is by listening to the other Scions about what's most important, and allow that collective wisdom to guide me. Every person's perspective is going to be different, and everyone is going to see things about me that I don't, and others don't."
Diamond smiles at the questions being asked of Mei, especially when the Fox gekkers she gasps and for a moment fiddles with her Star of David diamond necklace with her fingers and grins. To those without it, she starts doing a human version of gekkering. Now I won't miss anything Once Mei answers the Fox's question, Kay is about to bring up her own when Baldur speak up, so she waits until that answer is given "Speaking of Judaism I've heard of the special bond you share with Yisra'el, that your awakening was linked with his. What does that bond mean to you? What does it feel like?"(edited)
Mei has to stop to think about that for a few seconds, but she obviously is thinking. "This isn't something that Yisra'el and I have really found an opportunity to sit down and talk about. We've been busy with our apprenticeships, and with our legal cases. I know that we both experienced the same Awakening, which is a rare situation. I know that it was related to the fruits that grew on the Martyr's Tree that day. I know that the person that reality thinks I am now isn't exactly the same as it was before I Awakened, and that out of all the people I've met since then, the only person who remembers me as I was is Yisra'el." She shakes her head. "I can be more specific if you need me to be, but the details of that are rather personal."
"Since you're here, you obviously feel like the Children of the Tree is where you belong." Madeleine speaks up from where she's sitting. "Why us? What about the Children of the Tree fits for you better than any of the other orders, among either the Diamond or the Assembly? You've mentioned one of our Cortical Precepts, but surely its similarity to a part of Judaism that's important to you isn't all of your reason for joining us."
Mei continues to answer questions, and the one she gets from Maddy takes less of a moment to consider her thoughts before she provides a response. "There are a lot of little answers to that question," she says with a smile. "I like the focus on consensus and community. The idea of found family is important to me. I do my best to treat everyone like they're as important to me as family, because everyone is family to somebody. Everybody is important to somebody. It's so easy for people to forget that every person is a whole person, with all of the complexity that entails. That everyone has their own thoughts, and their own hopes, and their own fears, and their own dreams. That every person's inner world is vibrant and important and unique. Any perspective that's discarded is something of value lost."
For whatever reason, that causes Fox to curl up a little bit smaller, and flop her tail over her nose all the more. Tiny little puffball, he fluffs out his fur. Fluff fluff.
"She already answered the only question I had. And that was some time ago," Weaver rasps out in their rather thick arachnid accent. (It's a bit like speaking with two tongues.) They turn their many-eyed head and watch the room's many faces more or less all at once. Because they can. All the eyes blink at once, though. "Are there more questions, or are we ready to deliberate and decide?"
Rīpeka considers for a moment, then shakes her head. "I don't have any questions for Parhelion at this point, no."
I have asked what I needed to ask, Fox replies to Weaver, her voice muffled slightly by the tail over her muzzle.
Diamond seems rather happy to let the woman have the personal aspect of that knowledge be hers and moves on to watch everyone else's reaction to the questions. She watches the people around her and waits for another chance to ask a question, seeming content to observe and listen. "I do have a lot more questions for Parhelion, but only one i'd like to ask once we're done with the deliberations."
"No more questions," Maddy says cheerfully. "Well, no more questions that I need to ask to be able to deliberate and decide. There are always more questions. Always."
Balm assumes control of the room once everyone indicates they have no further questions. She leans forward onto her knees and takes in a breath so that she can raise her frail voice enough to be heard. "Let us first establish that deliberations are necessary. Are there any present who have reservations about grafting Mei to us as a Scion and a Sister?" Many heads glance about, some with more eyes than others. And while Baldur looks as unamused as ever, they shake their head in the negative. "Anyone?"
I brought her here. And then because that might not make it obvious, Fox appends, So I think it's a good idea. Still, her voice is all muffled by her tail over her nose. Puff puff, he fluffs up his fur a little bit. There.
Weaver scritches Fox's head at that, "You also believe there are no bad ideas, just ones you won't be repeating." They are teasing, of course.
When someone is bright red already, they can't be seen to blush. This is a benefit of being a red fox in this present situation. Fox makes a small incoherent warbly sound. Well. Called OUT by SEMPAI.
Rīpeka chuckles quietly at Fox's reaction. "I have no reservations about adopting Parhelion into the Family."
"Did Little Fox just say 'definite no' in fox? Is he hiding their face out of embarrassment?" Maddy is an Acanthus, and she holds true to some of the stereotypes. Like occasional irreverence. "I have no objections myself."
Diamond shakes her head. "No reservation." she then proceeds to snicker a little bit at the interaction between Fox and Weaver "If anyone needs the translation, Fox brought her here and think adopting her is a good idea."
"Thank you, Diamond," Mei says with a soft laugh. "I felt like it would be a little weird for me to play translator for that particular statement."
"She said," begins Weaver, only to waggle their pedipalps and gesticulate with their hands while making loud clicking noises that sound a bit like a two stroke motor to a chainsaw. Apparently Weaver's got jokes tonight.
Balm just shakes her hoary old head and lets out a sigh, "If that is the case, then I will ask Peacekeeper to please join our minds. Clear your thoughts, please, it will make the matter a touch simpler to manage. If you do not consent to the joining, please indicate so now."
There's a subtle little gekkering from Fox when Weaver makes an Orphans of Proteus joke. Now would be a bad time to laugh so hard that she falls off of her chair.
Diamond is very eager to feel the magic happens and gives rather enthusiastic consent to the spell.
The long silent Peacekeeper finally involves herself in the matter directly. She never asked a question, perhaps having arrived with her mind made up already. There's a brief bit of gesturing as she forms the mudras for Weaving and Mind, singing quietly to herself as she does so. In short order a sensation comes to those who consented to be included, that of a dozen other minds suddenly being aware of their own. The wash of shared affection, solidarity, and familial devotion begin to cascade across the link in short order.
Balm is proud of her people, and comforted in knowing that as her life is drawing to a close the future of her family is in able hands. She's happy she got to see Mei's grafting in this life, feeling it a fitting conclusion to her life's work.
Baldur, though their face would never admit it, is proud of Mei and sees in her a kindred spirit. They are looking forward to telling the rest of the council about tonight, particularly Yaroslav. The other aloof and seemingly disinterested Councilor.
Weaver just feels seen. They are so very relieved to have another who looks at them and sees something other than a freak. They are proud of Little Fox for having taught her, and proud of her for having agreed to study under an Orphan. They see Mei as a friend, and someone they can just talk to without their appearance getting in the way.
Peacekeeper is relieved that another has joined the family and interested in being her successor. Balm won't survive forever, after all, and then it will be her turn to wear the mantle of Elder. There is much work to be done between that day and now, and she is eager to undertake it with Mei.
People call their children their 'pride and joy,' and that's what sings through Fox's entire presence right now: pride in Mei, in how she held up under being the focus of scrutiny, watched by so many Awakened eyes, and joy in watching her Apprentice take her first steps as an adult. It's a little like the excitement that happens at watching a just-born colt wobble out into the pasture and start running on her own. Layered over that is the true companionship of being among the Children, the distant relief of it all -- because Fox wasn't always a Child of the Tree, she was a Mystagogue once, and this sort of simple belonging is still a bit of a novelty -- and the resonant quality of being seen. Orphans are often curiosities, even among people who enjoy their presence, or tolerate their presence, and being around another Orphan soothes Fox's soul in a way that's literally impossible to put into words. It exists as a slow heartbeat and the sensation of a taproot digging its way down to water. Wings spreading to take in the sky.
Maddy is excited by the prospect of the circle of their local family growing. She's intrigued by the prospect of a new perspective being brought into the Children of the Tree, ideas and history and culture that wasn't there before, and will bring them strength and insight. There's an eagerness, from her, to learn what she can from Mei. She's one of the order's members who has had the most to unlearn, and the most to learn, and she's eager to continue that journey.
Diamond is relieved, soothed and underlying the cool balm of sensation around her feelings, is a vibrant, electric excitement about her new understanding of Life, about how she now can connect with Revontulet and Weaver a little better, and that excitement is also centered toward Mei and the connection that can now form between them. Baldur and Peacekeeper are held in particular esteem and with a particularly deep affection, as family. There is a profound respect toward Maddy, Ripeka and Balm as one would see an older, beloved member of their family, someone to learn from, who she's impressed by.
Rīpeka is glad to welcome another Obrimos to the Children, and looking forward to getting to know her new sister better, to sharing her culture with Mei and learning from the other woman in turn.
Mei isn't a stranger to linking minds with others. Not even to webs of connections. What's new to her is the way that things are filtered, the clarity and control of it.. More important, though, is the quantify of warmth and support that comes through the connection to her.
When the thoughts of the others all hit her she looks stunned, trying to sort all the details from one another. When the reality of all the support and the acceptance and the inclusion hits her she pulls in a breath, then lets it out again in a single sob. She's sitting cross legged, and her hands come up to cover her face as she leans forward, letting her elbows rest on her knees.
The emotions that come along with this are as profound as her reaction. It starts out with a deep sense of curiosity overlaying a calm placidity. Perhaps an astounding calm, for people who aren't used to being in the head of someone whose resolve is strong and who has made a regular practice of meditation, today and every day since she was young. And under that calm is uncertain that quickly dissolves in the face of the overwhelming support.
What comes washing in to fill that void is an eager warmth. A deep longing for the accepting family that she's suddenly finding around her. Her deep admiration for Fox, which gets echoed toward Weaver with an added sense of curiosity and a desire to know more. A profound respect for the hard earned wisdom that Balm no doubt has to share. Her strong desire to learn more from Peacekeeper. Her uncertain interest in knowing what makes Baldur tick. Her interest in learning more about Ripeka and her culture and the way it reflects in her perspective on being an Obrimos, compared to Mei's own. Her longing to speak more with Kay, and hope that they'll see more of each other in both the context of their Order and their tribe. Her esteem for everything that Maddy has accomplished with her waffle house, as a means of extending a sense of connection across the different supernatural communities in the area.(edited)
The thing about foxes (one of the things about foxes) is that they are very VERY very VERY good at pouncing. And when the link is complete and emotions roll through and around everyone like the ocean's wild tide crashing over the deep-rooted rocks of everyone's psyches, Fox uncoils from her spot on the chair next to Weaver and pounces toward Mei. The chair clatters over, and she shamelessly leaps onto Mei, apparently quite happy to bowl her over. Was the joy mentioned previously?
One by one individuals on the periphery of the ring begin to break off, step into the circle, and come to crouch down near Mei and wrap her up in a hug. It's Baldur that moved first, followed by Peacekeeper. Charleville is already jogging over to help Balm up from her seat, only to be told to go give Mei a hug for her. Charlie eases her back into her seat, then, and comes over to do so even though he's not in the link. "This is from grammy." And he wraps his own arms around the growing pile of bodies, beaming like a puppy. Weaver transforms before coming over, because hugging them is sometimes a painful affair. They hop, spring, jump, and skitter across the floor in a manner which is no doubt blazingly fast when scale is considered. It still takes them several seconds to cross the distance and spring up onto the hug huddle. Mostly they just hang out on Mei's shoulder and gesticulate.
Rīpeka's more than willing to join in the huggle. It's not every day you get to welcome a new member into your family of choice, after all.
Mei gets pounced by a fox, who she wraps into a hug as she continues to cry. The tears are only aided on by the fact that there's no negative response to the tears coming in the first place, just continued acceptance. As the rest of the Children of the Tree pile around her she finds a sudden release of months, or longer, of tension and exhaustion and fear and anxiety, which gets buried under the support and sense of family that comes from the collection of mages.
If Mei had any doubts even a few minutes ago, they're gone now.
Diamond rises from her seat and moves closer, her own eyes are shining with tears even if her expression is joy and excitement, she joins the hug huddle but seems to make a particular effort to not be squished too tightly between people right this instant. "Welcome, Sister."