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founding thread i. takes place shortly after the meteor hits/landslide occurs on moonspear.

wintersbane is on the outskirts of moonspear when it happens; idly tracking a herd moving thru the grassy flatlands of the altar of twilight. between one breath and the next the world 'round wintersbane is cast in a bright fiery glow; temporarily blinding him. it happens so fast. the bright light, the heat and then wintersbane couldn't say which occurred next. the quaking of the earth upon impact or the horrendous sound of rock smashing into rock followed by the threatening rumble of a resulting landslide. adrenaline pushes through his veins following the rain of flaming meteorite embers. a quick glimpse at the landslide's direction and he knows he's safe from it ( would he not have been he'd have been caught up in it before he even knew what was happening ) but the instinct to preserve his own life chases him into the shallows of bramblepoint.

it is only when he's in safety does the shock and adrenaline begin to ebb that the tundrian realizes he's shaking and there's a sharp, searing pain trailing along the flesh path of his left hind leg. he peers back as best he can to assess the damage: a jagged path splices his flesh from hip to knee joint. he shifts his weight to favor his right side, shifting in the snows and tips his head back and lets out a howl for the survivors. if any came he would lead them elsewhere, to safety. he doesn't hold much hope. he was lucky; he knows even if with the throb of spliced flesh and the devastation seething in the aftermath he feels anything but lucky.
With the coming of night, Tzila had stole away, deeper inland, away from the isle. Recently, it was beginning to feel much to crowded for her there. New wolves filtered in, faces she did not know. She missed the former, small tight knit community they had in their early days. But now as her psychological stability wavered, so too did her roots to Yuelong.

Of them all, she was perhaps closest to Hua, who had been busy in her own affairs as of late. For what she had offered her in her time at the island, she could never thank her enough. Even if the Shadow Queen did decide to leave one day, it would not be without a goodbye. She would ensure her connections to the Yuelong wolves remained solid and strong. She had accepted the realization that with Astaroth and Sotiris gone, there was truly nothing of significance there for her anymore.

Heading south, she flowed through the darkness, welcoming the familiar embrace of the forest around her. It would have been a charming place any other time of year, bearing fruits for snacking. Winter had picked many of the bushes bare, leaving her to instead focus on what game trails she could find. Having slipped close to the outskirts of the forest, Tzila was blinded by a streaking flash of light.

Beneath her paws it rolled and groaned, throwing her off balance, stumbling. Terrible growls seemed to echo everywhere around her, stirring forth a sense of unease and confusion. Silver eyes scrunched shut, ears plastered back, she instinctively huddled down low, widening her stance to more evenly distribute her weight to all four paws. She waited for the tremors to stop, for the black spots behind her eyes to fade. Echoing in her ears was the sound of the impact, over and over again. Though the ground still shivered slightly, sensing the worst of it was over, she tentatively stood upright again.

And then, turning her eye skyward, a sight she thought she'd never see. Plumes of smoke, curling in angry tendrils coming from the spires of Moonspear. Her gaze went wide, slowly. NO. The strongest pack to lay claim in these wilds. Their Queen, Hydra, who was among the select few to have her humble respect. NO! They couldn't be taken from her too! How many must she lose, after having lost so much?! Deaf to the lone howl, Tzila opened her mouth and shattered the heavens in an anguished scream.
would wintersbane've been human he would've been covered in a sheen of cold sweat. as it was, his ears have splayed flat against his skull and he stares at the plume of smoke that rises thru the chilled night air, choking each breath that wintersbane draws in and wisps across the star smattered sky. devastation brews within his breast; an ache that grows larger and larger as no one appears. no other moonspearian, no one from the glen.

the silence that follows after is almost as deafening as the crack of collision, as the thunderous roar of the landslide. the ringing is an awful hum but he hears the cry over it. his stride is hurried and lopsided, trying his best to ignore the stabbing pain in his leg. with no way of knowing otherwise, wintersbane rushes towards her assuming her to be one of the glen ( he only paid one brief visit there, after all and with the smoke smell stuck in his noise any hint of hua or her yuelong wasn't detectable to him ).

you heard my call? wintersbane asks, without really waiting for an answer. you are a survivor too?
Her voice died, as did with it any remaining hope of looking upon the Queen of Moonspear again and her followers. Scrunching her eyelids shut tightly, a pained grimace seemed to be etched permanently on her face as she bowed her head in defeat. Even here, inland, it seemed that all she even remotely knew, was being taken from her. She hardly believed it was worth going back to Yuelong at this point. 

The approach of paw steps drew her out of her moment of loss. Enough to consider her pack and Hua. Of where she had came from. Surely the Empress would need to know of this. She was a close ally to Moonspear, having worked with Hydra many times in the past. The question was if she even wanted to be the bearer of such news. What she did know at least, was that she could not simply leave her seaside home without a word. 

Cracking her silver eyes open, Tzila had the look of someone worn and battered from the inside out. She looked at him dully, without her usual intensity. Although seeing Wintersbane did strike something familiar in her. Once, long ago on the coast, they had briefly crossed paths. How things had changed since then. If he remembered her or not, she didn't care. "No. I was just in the area." She had survived much in her life and had long adopted the lifestyle of looking out for herself. Pack life had changed that, but tragedy was tempting her back to her old ways.
she draws no recognition from wintersbane; at least not here. not now. his mind is in a thousand different directions; split between trying to grasp what is now his reality and the pain shooting through his leg. up until now, he hadn't really felt it but he knew from prior injuries that was largely the handiwork of adrenaline. 

her admittance draws with it a deep stab of disappointment that he cannot help but display as his ears flutter back against his skull. she isn't a survivor and he looks to the destruction once more, heart aching in time with his leg. surely, he thinks; he cannot be the only survivor. i don't know if anyone else survived. he admits after a moment; the smoky rasp of his voice burning his throat; whether it was the words or the residue from the flaming meteor that had hit the spear ...wintersbane cannot say.
Instead of looking to the dark man beside her, Tzila had her eyes trained on the distant peaks of Moonspear. The crumble of leftover loose, small rock fragments made her heart flinch. She had not been in a close relationship with any of them. Nor did she know anyone there terribly well. But her strongest connection had been with the Queen herself. Even since the very beginning, during the days she ran with the Nightwalkers. Later she had come to forge an even deeper, more personal acquaintance with her, even if it was from a distance.

"To think that she is gone..." Tzila need not voice the name of the one she referred to. With such reverence in her broken voice, there could be only one. Her ears flattened back further, her muzzle wrinkling painfully. "After losing so much..." She nearly choked on her words, yet refused to make this about herself. Not with a stranger. "This land will never be the same again."
callous as it might seem — which is why wintersbane kept it to himself — the tundrian has come to expect these losses. the world has never been fair to him and hydra's loss is just another cut to his heart; battered and horrendously scarred as it already was. still, he feels the loss keenly all the same. the wilds will feel her absence keenly. wintersbane remarks in a low murmur. it will not, but it will always prevail. though he doesn't say this out loud, either.

he lets out a sharp hiss of pain as his weight accidentally shifts to his injured leg and he rolls it back to the right side where he tries to keep it. he glimpses as best he can at it but cannot make much sense of it in the darkness. allow the woman her moments to grieve, he licks at the bloodied wound as best he can though he is not flexible and cannot reach but a small section of it.

it is not safe here. though wintersbane desires nothing but to stop, to rest, to make sense of his feelings he holds within him the suspicion that the danger might not have entirely passed. the land might still be unstable.
"I would have liked to consider her almost like an older sister to me..." She said distantly, more to herself than to him. With those simple words, she expressed the connection she had felt with Hydra, despite their handful of meetings. Composing herself into something more closed off and even indifferent, so as not to appear weak in the face of loss, she turned away from the mountain. His hiss of pain grabbed her. The smell of blood told her that he had somehow been injured. Unable to see the extent of the damage, Tzila would have been of little assistance.

She was not a medic or a healer. But as someone used to looking after herself, she did know the bare basics and was equipped with strong common sense. "We need to move on then. If we can make it to a source of clean water, soaking your wound will keep it clean and prevent infection." She began to move, picking her way slowly through the outer rim of the forest. She went slowly at first, to see how well he'd be able to keep up. "I am a warrior, not a medic. I cannot offer any more advice then that, I'm afraid."
to put any sort of definition to the relationship he'd had with hydra would have been difficult, wintersbane thinks as the woman mentions that hydra had been a sort of big sister to her. she'd been something like that to wintersbane too; a big sister, a mentor, a crush, a friend. an ally. trying to fit it into a box was hard and wintersbane turns thoughts elsewhere. at deflecting his internal pain, wintersbane has became something of a master. it should've bothered him, how easy he could compartmentalize the grief that grips him and turns into determination to move on.

these sort of tragedies weren't anything new to him.

a small grunt of affirmation is given to her advice and a wisp of a smile tugs temporarily upon his scarred lips, but does not linger as he limps on; assuming she will follow along. alas, wintersbane drawls. i am a warrior as well. and too, no good at medicinal knowledge beyond the simple fixes. i was thinking packing it with snow might help.
"Applying snow on it is just as good. And it is easily accessible, of course." It was all around them this time of year, but it had to be fresh. Clean. "A fellow warrior huh? I'm a natural survivalist, so I also know that you should keep an eye on the edges of the wound. You don't want any dead flesh." She advised, thus concluding her sharing of medical tips and tricks. In step beside him, their dark forms easily melded with the night. Ahead, the trees began to open, giving way flatter ground. Behind them, the forever scarred range of Moonspear.

"Since you were from Moonspear, of what I can gather, what shall you do now?" She kept the going slow but steady, side glancing at him out of the corner of her eye. Slowly, bit by bit, the more she was in his presence and got more of a look at him, the distant memory came creeping back. "Oh. I am afraid I overlooked introducing myself. I am Tzila, from Yuelong." Dark brows pinched together while she was still processing the events. "Our Empress, Hua, will know of Moonspear's fate. She was a strong ally."
going to go ahead and wrap this up with my post. <3

i'll keep that in mind, wintersbane says, through teeth gritted with pain as it resounds thru him like waves lapping at the shore. he appreciates the advice, truly, but struggles to show it in the correct way. not with every fibre of his being on edge and the strong desire to get as far away from moonspear as he can.

first, get as far as i fucking can from this place, he would walk until his leg told him he could not walk anymore. i don't know. maybe try to find survivors and make something new. it feels a bit insensitive to say when the echoes of the collision and rumble are still far too fresh in his mind; replaying like a record stuck on repeat.

maybe duskfire glacier. he murmurs out loud, though mostly contemplating to himself. i must keep moving, he offers as a way to excuse himself, itching to put as much distance between great bear wilderness and himself as he realistically could with an injured leg.

with that said, he excuses himself, limping away, hoping along the journey that he might stumble upon more survivors.