Neverwinter Forest on a black throne reigns upright
All Welcome  February 10, 2017, 05:34 AM
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Paging @Rian ♥ Sorry! This kind of got away from me.

        Cypress realized, a little fearfully, that he was going to visit Alya again.

        It had all come about quite innocuously — he’d been patrolling just south of Thornwall, but instead of sweeping northeast to make his usual circuit, his paws had continued moving south. He’d gotten about halfway through Firefly Glen before noticing how far off course he was; his errant musculature had picked up momentum at an alarming rate, as if it was his body’s goal to outrun his better judgment.

        It’d nearly worked, too.

        Grumbling to himself, he’d stomped back through the glen and back into the territory — and here he sat, irresolute and unhappy, in front of the bog that dotted the eastern edge of Neverwinter. The leftmost corner of his mouth was quirked downward into its usual grimace, but this time the right side matched it; his lantern-yellow eyes flickered moodily over the rime-slick murk. Why shouldn’t he visit Alya? As long as he didn’t love her, she wouldn’t end up cursed, and he didn’t love her. He just liked her. A little. Kind of.

        Getting to all fours, “Don’t try that again,” he muttered beneath his breath at his wayward feet. He began to wander the morass with practiced nonchalance, wondering whether the same thing would happen if he tried to go back on autopilot — “Did that really happen by accident, or did I know I was going to do that? Was I actually in control the whole time?” — but he knew these kinds of experiments never worked.

        Nowadays it felt increasingly like his corporeal self was at war with his mind. The moment he dropped like a stone at the end of the day, bone-weary and exhausted, his limbs aching and his steps shambling, his mind began whipping wildly through a kaleidoscopic slide show: the dead, staring eyes of his parents; the blood congealed upon their noses; the blueness of their gums; the fleeing form of Rannoch; the tangle of blood-dappled black and white fur that was all he had left of Allure. “Stay awake!” his subconscious screamed, leaving him little choice in the matter. Then there was the matter of his body: when his mind was calm and quiet, a rush of hellfire blossomed in his chest and spread outward through his bloodstream into the tips of his toes. It made him suddenly, violently angry — the kind of fury that was purely physical, a jolt of adrenaline with no discernible source or cure. He couldn’t remember what peace felt like anymore.

        He thought maybe Alya knew.


        Beneath his forepaw the thin layer of ice cracked and puddled into slush. Absurdly, the orphaned raven attempted to fill it in with more snow to cover up his error — but then he paused, eyes narrowing speculatively. Cypress cautiously settled his weight on his hindquarters and reared back, freezing in place for a moment and looking furtively over his shoulder as if he feared rebuke. Deliberately this time, he crunched both forepaws through the icy surface. The resulting crunch and ensuing squelch were far more amusing than he’d expected, so he threw his efforts into destroying Skaði’s work. He was in no danger of drowning, as the quagmire was mostly mud on a good day. When the ice sliced a thin furrow upon one foreleg, he licked at it distractedly, but went almost immediately back to his task: smashing all the ice he could, gripping the skeletal remains of foliage between his molars, and trying to rip them clear out of their earthen home.

        Noch would have loved this, Cy thought, and a pesky sob clawed its way up through his throat as he continued his methodical path of destruction. I don’t even deserve to miss him.
February 19, 2017, 02:32 AM
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As the days wore ever onward toward spring, Rian was spending more time away from the central hub of the pack to avoid the oppressive fog that blinded him and stole the air from his lungs. Ondine's rise had lashed new wounds into the boy when he could hardly bear the weight of the previous hurts. She wanted him to be subserviant, and somewhere in the vast darkness he'd acknowledged her attempts at making amends. Also present in that pit was the idea that he loved his mother, and his siblings, who were now only represented as vague shadows materializing in and out on the fringes of his consciousness. A tendril of thought often supplied the memory of their blood connection—they loved him! However there was no distinction between them and the strange ghosts that haunted the world behind closed eyes. 

He moved mechanically through the mire of the eastern borders, moving just for the sake of movement, with no real direction or purpose and entirely engrossed in the complexities of his depression. Same as always. Occasionally there was a pull strong enough to draw his consciousness to the outside world again, but the incidents were growing increasingly scarce—entangled and twisted in the labyrinth of his mind, Rian lacked the energy for the world that only brought him hurt and heartache. So he patrolled if only to calm the faint, nagging tick of instinct that told him he should contribute to cement his station and ensure his survival.


Rian came to a halt and his ears cupped towards the sound—snap-crunch! He started, and swiveled his head towards the noise. His eyes stared blankly as they slowly refocused, and his mind emerged from the depths to take control of his body. With a quick shake of his pelt, followed by a deep inhale of the drifting winds, Rian returned to the world. His entire demeanor transformed—his movements were fluid now instead of measured and his long strides devoured the yards between him and the source of the noise.

A strangled noise cut between the crunch of ice as he rounded a thicket of gnarled trees and came upon Cypress. The younger boy was unmistakable even now that he was well on his way to adulthood. A dusken, midnight shade cloaked his form, with lighter sweeps of charcoal brushed across his upper half. He cut an impressive figure—sharp, angular, and tall. Taller now than Rian who swallowed reflexively against his suddenly parched throat. A tremor raced down from the base of his skull only once as he fought the anxiety that threatened to consume him. Cypress had once represented a happier time but he knew, logically, the corvid boy had suffered the most of all from the misfortune plaguing their pack and that was likely no longer the case.

"... Cypress?" He called out softly while his ears slicked back uncontrollably, putting his uncertainty on full display.
February 26, 2017, 02:03 AM
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        “Noch? Noch, I’m sorry — please don’t leave me this time — I do love you, Noch, I do — ”

        The haggard raven whirled, an eager whine stirring in his throat, and for a moment his sinister mien was lit from within with a desperate, clawing sort of hope. His lantern yellow eyes glittered feverishly, and there was something boyish and eager in the way his limbs went fawn-fragile and his tail whirred like a broken helicopter rotor. There was anticipatory joy in the softening angles of his lean musculature, but it was blotted out and distorted by anxiousness, breeding incongruence in the marrow of his bones.

        “Rian?” he croaked hoarsely, his visage seeming to crumple with disappointment. It hurt — he’d wanted so badly to see grayscale fur and turquoise eyes — and he didn’t have the wherewithal to stow it. “I’m sorry,” he gasped out. “I — when you called me, I thought maybe — I thought Rannoch — ”

        Abruptly the last remaining Frostfur realized that he owed Rian — and the rest of his cousins, and his aunt — an even greater apology for avoiding them so ardently. Cypress hadn’t fled the Teekons as Rannoch had, but in a way, what he was doing was even worse. Miserably, “Mama’d be so disappointed in me,” he muttered to himself, lifting his voice to speak more clearly to the boy he would forever revere as a hunter of unparalleled skill: “I’m sorry to you and Aunt Kaskara, and Szabala, Eimear, and Dublin.”

        Swallowing hard, “I’m sorry for staying away,” Cypress murmured tightly, and realized it was true.
March 02, 2017, 12:35 AM
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The disappearance of Rannoch, coupled with the death of his parents, and the disappearance of Allure all had an effect on the pack, but no one more than Cypress. Rian had spent many hours ruminating on his hurts, and stacking them against the raven wildling's own, finding that he should, by rights, lack any sort of sympathy for himself. The O'Malley boy, the once reverent hunter of many rabbits to his younger cousin, could acknowledge that he was in a great deal of pain but his was trickling down into a black hole that was slowly consuming him. It didn't inflame old wounds, or inflict fresh hurts upon him. 

In an instant, the unbridled hope that burst to life in the depths of Cypress' lantern yellow eyes as he whirled to face him snuffed out, withered into ash, and faded into obscurity. A whine was strangled out from his throat as a cruel fist gripped it tight. Rian desired to be that important to someone—anyone. At least he was able to remember his name, though the stammering boy ecked out a short explaination for his confusion, and his heart lurched to dodge the blow. Rannoch. 

Rian's mouth twisted into a bitter grimace as he flattened his ears against the unruly winter mane he'd sprouted as his body approached maturity. Cypress seemed to struggle with himself for a moment before lobbing an apology over the distance. It echoed in his mind, hammering in his skull, and served only to remind him how much he loathed himself. The lean, raven-cloaked boy had sense enough, even through his crushing grief, to apologize for his actions. Rian was supposed to be older—wiser. An example to his younger cousin. But instead he was a broken, ugly thing that would do Cypress no good. A needy, selfish fool.

"It's fine, Cy." He ecked out through clenched teeth. "It's not your fault. It never has been." Rian intoned, fighting the urge to turn his teeth on his own foul skin. "Everyone always just leaves, right, because we're not good enough." He warbled brokenly to the only one who could understand the depth of his hurts.
March 02, 2017, 08:55 AM
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        Cypress’ sole memory of Rian was glossed over and gilded with the glowing gold of idolization and affection — Rian had been kind to him; Rian had caught three rabbits in one go — and despite the crushing disappointment he visibly wavered under, the raven was oddly relieved to see his jade-eyed cousin. “It’s fine, Cy,” gritted the O’Malley boy, and a tidal wave equally forged of pleasure and pain stole Cypress’ breath away. How long had it been since anyone had called him that? He’d been stupid, he realized, to stay away — but the damage had been done. He wouldn’t willingly seek out his remaining cousins or his aunt, especially given the general feeling of unwelcome that pushed him to the furthest reaches of the territory and the pack.

        Automatic denial had his head shaking and his brow beetling before Rian could even finish lying to him — “It’s not your fault. It never has been,” — but before he could fashion an appropriate response, genuine confusion muddied his expression. Sulphureous eyes widened briefly at the bitter defeat in Rian’s accented timbre, and before Cypress had time to weigh his words, “But you’re more’n good enough, Rian,” he blurted out, completely baffled at his cousin’s low self esteem. It was impossible for him to see his earthen-furred cousin — a wolf who looked more like Scimitar than Cypress did, much to the raven’s shame — as anything but good in the truest sense of the word, and he said as much: “It wasn’t your fault either.”
March 08, 2017, 06:40 PM
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Rian pls
A strangled breath was sucked greedily up between clenched teeth, and whistled down into the emptiness that hollowed out the inside of the boy that once claimed three rabbits. Even that had been a lie, and he knew if he ever admitted the truth of it to Cypress, that the raven boy would never look upon him the same. It was such a small thing in comparison to the overwhelming burdens crushing down on them both, but he didn't think himself strong enough to withstand even the tiniest pebble added to the mountain guilt he felt towards their unfortunate circumstances. 

The arguement that sprang forth from Cypress' lips crashed against Rian and he pinned his ears as flat as they could go against the bulk of his neck and shook his head firmly, refusing the contrarian ideals. As tempting as it was, he couldn't absolve himself of any of this. Still, through the fog, cut through the sudden understanding that it was not just Rian who felt like this, but Cypress. The tiny, awestruck boy with his head in the clouds was now a scapegoat unto himself. It was a foulness that did not settle right, and clung like tar to the walls of his mind. His heart lurched, urging him forward a few more hesitant steps.

"Cypress," He murmured, the boyish lilt of his voice darkening with each passing month. Soon he would boast the rich, tonal brogue of his father. A sudden thought came to him and the words tumbled carelessly from his mouth, "we should leave."
March 11, 2017, 01:08 AM
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        The relentless weight of Rian’s self-inflicted guilt was a hard thing for Cypress to combat — after all, he was busy keeping his own demons at bay. He figured it would be better to just drop the subject, move on to a topic that didn’t involve lost wolves and hurt feelings, but aside from Alya — a subject that was particularly off limits — lost wolves and hurt feelings were pretty much the only things Cypress could truly focus on.

        Sharp ears fanned attentively forward as Rian drew nearer, and although the raven stiffened almost imperceptibly at first, he held his ground and accepted the older male’s camaraderie. Mirroring the O’Malley boy’s actions, he ghosted forward a step, his taller frame finding a position of easy neutrality that instinctively put his narrow skull some degrees lower than his cousin’s. “Leave?” he repeated, his sulphureous eyes quizzical. As awful as it felt to admit it, the idea was tempting. Still, the last Frostfur’s response was automatic as he replied woodenly, with a distinct lack of conviction, “I can’t. My paw — ”

        Oh, no. We’ve been through this; you don’t do this. Get it together.

        Sucking in a swift, painful breath, “My mama and paw made this place,” the crumbling effigy confessed tightly, “and I’m scared that if I leave it, I’ll — I’ll only remember them that way.” A shudder ran its way from the tip of Cypress’ nose down to the end of his tail, and his attempt to suppress it whittled his angular shoulders into jagged peaks rife with the stygian thorns of his hackles. “It gets hard to remember things they did or things they told me or the way they laughed,” he choked out. “I just remember them on the ground — all cold and bloody — and their eyes were open.” That last part was something that Cypress could never seem to get over. He looked wretchedly up at Rian, his lantern eyes unusually bright. “I think,” he said in a low, quiet voice, “maybe I should’ve been the one to — ” His breath hitched unevenly on the word he couldn’t say, the little gasp tacking itself on the end of the “to”, prematurely fracturing the long vowel sound like a glitched sound byte. For a long moment he was silent.

        When he had regained control of his traitorous emotions, a telltale glitter in his sulphureous gaze, “I want to — I think,” he admitted reluctantly in a hoarse whisper. “You mean — together?”
March 16, 2017, 07:04 PM
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Rian understood the turmoil Cypress was battling with. The internal struggle between the consuming and the guilt was a familiar weight upon his shoulders—torn somewhere between wanting to make his family proud, and being too bitter to accept the changes in his life. While Kieran's disappearance was the catalyst, the events after was serving as the formative moments in his life so far, and he couldn't quite stomach that the dreams of his childhood were long dead.

Though the space between them was vast, he still felt an undeniable pull of camaraderie towards the eidolon. They were both battered and bruised by the same unfortunate circumstances that dashed their hopes to pieces, but there was still a chance; that wild errant thought that drifted through his mind in the darker hours of the night had taken root after Ondine had ascended. No longer was this Forest home. It was a shell—a ruined bastion of the former glory that he once hoped to participate in.

Now all he wanted was to leave.

Cypress hung on his word though a quivering uncertainty hung suspended in the air between them. It was a rash thing to suggest, but Rian felt himself suddenly protective of the idea. He wanted to nurture it further, allow it to bloom, and become something that could erase the sins of the past and present. The ideology was what drove him to steal yet another step towards Cypress; once more parroting the raven boy, and exposing the delicate patchwork heart to the only one he knew would understand. 

His ears flung forward and he listened while simultaneously drawing strength from the lingering desire to claim the boy's heart, and guide him to the truth he now knew. 

Rian gulped, feeling the sting of his unusually parched throat, and crept ever closer with a sensitive dip of his muzzle. "Yes." his lips formed the words around the exhale of breath, and he waved his tail. "We don't have t'remember them like that, Cy, we can make something better than this. Our parents just wanna have a reason t'be proud of us—" he opened his mouth and smiled, albeit wildly, "what better than following our hearts and finding where we really belong, rather than living for the sake of living?" Rian expressed passionately while his jade eyes danced across Cypress' own eerie yellow.
March 17, 2017, 06:26 AM
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        “Yes,” Rian said, filling the single syllable to the brim with conviction and passion and fire. Cypress stared at his cousin’s mouth, watching it form word after word, goblet after goblet of an elixir so rare and wild and golden he was afraid to listen too closely, drink too deeply, and hope too hard. He was every bit the child as his lips began to wobble and his sulphureous eyes broke with tears: “my parents don’t want anything,” he forced out wretchedly, feeling the last shreds of composure spill through his teeth like water. He tried to hang on and lifted his chin in a weak show of bravado, but in the end, emotion won out. He missed Rannoch so much and he was so grateful that Rian wasn’t angry with him and he wanted to leave so badly — piecemeal, he might have been able to bear it, but everything was being thrown at him so quickly he couldn’t figure out where to put it all — and when it all came crashing down, the first thing to break was his voice as he squeaked out fearfully, “What if they’re never proud? What if I never belong?” and burst outright into tears that coursed in dirty rivulets down his cheeks.
March 17, 2017, 03:57 PM
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A cascade of tears sprang forth from Cypress' eyes as the weight of everything they were faced with broke free of the binding ties and crushed down on his heart. Rian issued a pleading whine in the hopes of drawing the raven-cloaked boy back towards him and away from the all-consuming void of his emotional turmoil. The anxiety he was fighting to withhold was threatening to devour him whole, but he couldn't allow it—not this close to the precipice he was so desperate to leap from.

In two great sides he was suddenly beside Cypress; against Cypress, pressing every reachable inch of him into the boy's side to support him and convey, somehow, how much he truly loved his cousin. They hadn't gone through their hurts together, but the kindred spirit he saw locked away in the depths of his hurt was singing a siren's song to his wayward heart. He wanted anyone, anything, to cling to. And if Cypress was willing to entertain his rebellious thoughts, then he could find no reason not to latch himself onto the younger boy. 

"You belong," He replied as he bowed his head to press the slope of his muzzle into the shadow's shoulder. Rian felt, for the first time in many months, the acute ache that permiated the structure of his body, and just how tired, physically and mentally, he really was of all of this. "with me. With whoever else comes with us." He breathed, the words spilling forth from his mouth in an uncontrollable torrent, "Your paw wouldn't want you trying to rebuild his dreams; he would want you to be your own man. My da, too, and now's a good a time as any, aye?" 
March 17, 2017, 05:13 PM
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        Cypress dimly registered Rian’s pleading whine and heightened nearness, but it wasn’t until the O’Malley boy started speaking that the raven began settling down. Despite the embarrassment he felt at losing control of himself, there was something cathartic about his tears — even more cathartic than his therapeutic destruction of the Eastmire. His breathing hitched unevenly as the last sobs wracked his body, but he said nothing for a long while as he turned his head and buried his tearstained face against the sloping side of his cousin’s neck. He didn’t know how much time had passed when he finally cleared his throat — it took a few tries — and mumbled, “You belong with me, too.” If Cypress needed to hear it, Rian probably did, too. He was quiet for a moment longer before he drew a breath deeper and wider than seemed physically possible for his trim rib cage. “Yeah,” he said quietly, trying on the idea for himself. “Yeah, we can make something better.” He waited for something awful to happen — for Rian to be stolen away from him, or for Ondine to hear of their plan and condemn them both — and when nothing did, the somewhat superstitious young wolf looked into his cousin’s compassionate jade eyes and lifted a muddy, bloodied foreleg to wipe away the last of his tears. “What about Dublin, Eimear, and Szabala?” he wanted to know. “Are they coming, too?”
March 20, 2017, 01:04 AM
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Rian, somehow, didn't feel any twinge of discomfort at the sight of Cypress' emotional breakdown. In fact, he welcomed it—relishing in the chance to witness just how normal wolves react to heartache. Somehow, he hadn't quite reached the peak of his distress and had instead learned to bury it for a later time—repeat ad infinitum until the hurt ceased to be so raw. In this moment he was almost living vicariously through his cousin, though he was entirely unaware of it. The only thing he understood was the hurt (a demon he was incredibly familiar with) and the need to be a pillar for Cypress as a result. A boy who'd lost not just his father, but everyone.

The wild idea that had sprang forth like a wild creature was now taking root in their hearts, and Rian was aching to see it bloom. He didn't react when his cousin drew away, and sat patiently unmoving as his haunting yellow eyes searched the plains of his face before settling on his own sunken gaze. A moment passed quickly through his mind as instinct rallied, and tried to wrest control of the situation, but Rian remained staunchly supportive and allowed the eidolon to observe freely. 

A question fell from Cypress' lips that Rian had, frankly, not considered. His siblings. What was to become of them if he left? Would they support him? Or would they call upon their mother and, together, lash chains to his ankles and trap him forever in the sinking ship that was his former home. The O'Malley boy sat, dumbstruck, until his mouth twisted into a grimace and the skin around his eyes tightened. "I... don't know. You're the first one I've told about this. They might think I'm crazy." He admitted softly.
March 21, 2017, 06:56 PM
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This post is clunky. ><;

Also, Cypress is being a big baby.

        “You’re the first one I’ve told about this.”

        Secrets. Cypress had a few of his own and knew well the importance of keeping them. Normally he didn’t find it difficult — his thoughts flashed guiltily to his last conversation with Rannoch, then jackrabbited to the mountain princess — for although he had inherited his mother’s loquaciousness, he was composed in equal measure of his father’s calm stoicism. “I won’t say anything,” he reassured the dumbstruck O’Malley boy, butting the bridge of his muzzle against the underside of Rian’s lower jaw out of a desire to bolster and encourage more than an inclination to submit. “You’re not crazy, Rian.”

        Rian wasn’t — but maybe Cypress was.

        His focus turned inward as he considered what he perceived to be his options. Leaving with Rian wasn’t something he’d planned on; he wasn’t even sure whether he truly wanted to, or whether the temptation to escape was just too good to pass up. It was a body versus mind thing all over again. When he thought about leaving, the excitement he felt was tempered by a feeling of insurmountable heaviness that turned his paws and legs to stone; and when the desire to wander began to itch at him, manifesting as a physical need that spurred him into wandering, his mind stubbornly forced upon him the notion that leaving Neverwinter Forest meant abandoning his family. “Kjalarr — he was my paw’s adopted son,” he mentioned, seemingly out of the blue. “When he became a leader with your mama, I felt like that was okay.” His lantern yellow eyes settled self-consciously on the tips of his muddy toes. Like most teenagers, he didn’t want his opinion to differ from his peers — especially one he respected and liked — so he voiced it with hesitation, his tail taking up an anxious whisking as his tall ears flattened. To defend his point — even though Rian hadn’t give him any guff for it in the first place — the raven added, “It was better’n Shrike.”

        He drew a slow breath, pulling the air between his clenched teeth. “It’s different with Ondine,” he said, his voice barely bigger than a whisper. “I can’t watch her stand where my mama used to be. I won’t come when she calls.” Willful insubordination wasn’t a vice Cypress was predisposed to possess, but he’d arrived at it organically enough. Quite the opposite, he’d always nurtured a natural proclivity for filial obedience that extended not only to his parents but to his aunt, uncle, cousins, and even wolves like Shrike and Kjalarr, who were close friends or relations of his immediate family. Ondine and Arrille, though, were relations of relations — their degree of separation from Cypress was greater and his bond with them was largely nonexistent — and while he was willing to work harmoniously with them as pack wolves, the idea of one of them leading him was just this side of intolerable. “Until we go,” he uttered staunchly, “I’m going to live here.” He motioned to the morass with a quirk of his muzzle. It wasn’t much to look at, especially given the trees he’d destroyed and the smooth surface of ice he’d demolished.

        “Watch, Rian,” he said suddenly, his deepening baritenor contrasting with the dying shadow of the little boy who still desperately wanted to impress his older cousin. Cypress veered away from the jade-eyed O’Malley boy and found a patch of ice that hadn’t been punched through yet. Rearing onto his hind legs, he stiffened his forelegs and punched through it with a satisfying crunch. “D’you wanna try?”
March 24, 2017, 02:06 AM
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Because Cypress graciously allowed Rian to share the burdens that had been dragging him down into the depths of his crushing depression, he decided to open his own ears and listen to what his younger cousin had brewing in his own clouded mind. Though his eerie yellow eyes passed from Rian's own murky jade, he did not retreat emotionally and instead laid a pathway for the O'Malley son to follow. And he did, down the winding staircase, to the troubles that clawed at the weathered cage containing them.

He stood patiently by and didn't even fidget when his swarthy companion continued on, following the thread of thought to the conclusion he shared now. A single ear twitched forward, and the other joined it after a few beats, when Ondine was mentioned. It was the same conclusion that Rian drew, though for slightly different reasons—Rian, wholeheartedly, believed that it was Cypress who deserved the Neverwinter crown and that Kjalarr and Ondine were merely safeguarding it until he was ready. But in their discussion the she-wolf had made it clear that she had no intention of relinquishing to the rightful heir, despite her promises to do well by the wolves who still remained.

"I understand." He said softly, remembering that the shadow had already made good on that promise when he hadn't showed himself during their failed hunt. Rian also remembered his anger that day, and the words he said now shamed him. He wilted and looked away when Cypress motioned to the earth, grateful for the distraction. A brow lifted as he observed the game, and he waved his tail in a short arc when Cypress extended the floor to him. "Sure." He murmured as he crept forward on uncertain feet. Rian stared down at the patch for a long time before rearing back and slamming his massive paws into the ice—it shattered beneath his pads with loud crack and splintered into tiny fragments. 

A wild, slightly manic, grin swept across his lips and he laughed. "Alright, that's pretty cool."
March 27, 2017, 07:27 AM
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Want to close this one up and have a new one? ♥

        Cypress’ mouth stretched itself into a grin that wavered unsteadily at the corners, but he egged his cousin on nonetheless. “Now this, Rian,” he said, long legs carrying him easily across the mess of crushed ice and muddy slush. He gripped one of the mire’s saplings and rocked his weight back, shaking his head wildly back and forth as if his intention was to wring the life out of it. When it splintered and cracked, leaving him with bitter bark between his teeth, he stepped back and spat it out. Cypress’ version of “play” was twisted and destructive, but it helped ease some of the brittle tension that seemed to have taken up permanent residence within his steely musculature. “Try, Rian,” he urged his cousin, his tail whipping against his hocks. Despite his greater height, his carriage naturally fell into a position below the O’Malley’s.
March 28, 2017, 05:17 PM
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He proceeded to smash yet another uncrushed bit of ice and mud until Cypress called his attention over, and the O'Malley boy watched as his cousin proceeded to thrash the sapling until it splintered. Rian stole a few curious steps towards another infant tree and nosed it—he sent a quick glance Cypress' way to confirm the intent, before closing his teeth around it and throwing his head around until the entire thing uprooted from it's tenuous tie to the earth. The force of momentum sent him reeling right onto his butt which now smarted painfully from the impact. He spat the fractured branch and the bits from his mouth and snorted. "I get it." He said as he found his footing and wandered over to a branch—the next unfortunate victim of his frustration. 

This continued on for a while until both boys tired and departed each other's company for some desired rest.