Broken Boulder if not for my shoulders
Private  May 27, 2018, 07:22 PM
Alarian
Lone Wolves

@Lily dated for tomorrow morning
The Governor was still avoiding most everyone. He tried to put the night before out of his mind, tried to forget what he had done— it had been necessary, he told himself, but it still felt wrong. Now it would be in her head, too— but he couldn't let himself think about that, now.
A sudden burst of restless, guilty energy had fuelled his morning. Alarian had been hunting since first light, filling the caches— he stalked a rabbit now, set to be his fourth catch of the morning. His stomach protested the unfair treatment, but eating was out of the question. Nausea still plagued him. It seemed a permanent fixture in his life, lately.
One misstep, and the rabbit was off with the crackling of a twig beneath him. He cursed, turned away. To hell with it, then.

but if i'm never your hero, i can never let you down
May 28, 2018, 06:22 PM
Lily
Bracken Sanctuary
Satori
With Alarian back, and the promotion of Delight, Lily sank back into a slightly more lackadaisical state. Unlike the Governor, she slept in for the first time in what seemed like ages--once her favorite pastime, and awoke mid-morning, yawning as she slipped from her den. The ebony-furred girl padded out of the boulders and into the sunlight, basking in the warm glow for a cozy minute before carrying on.

Though she did harbor some resentment toward the newcomers, she knew that the anger could not last forever. She was Consultant--she must learn to at least like her new packmates, and perhaps even love them in time. So today, she sought out at least one of them, hoping to strike up a conversation. Maybe they had more in common than she knew.

Instead, she found Alarian--or heard him, rather. . .a sour curse and the sound of his footfalls. She saw the gray blur of a rabbit streak by and grimaced, fiery eyes searching for her friend. She finally found him, looking quite cross. Bloody fantastic.

"Can't really blame it for not wanting to be someone's lunch," Lily remarked, keeping a tone of gentle humor. She walked up to Ali, not greeting him with a touch but instead her gaze, raking over the healing wounds that marred his body. "Going to tell me what happened out there?" she asked without preamble, her voice growing serious.

she's a killer queen
gunpowder, gelatine
dynamite with a laser beam
guaranteed to blow your mind
anytime
May 28, 2018, 07:38 PM
Alarian
Lone Wolves

He swallowed hard when he heard Lily's approach, gathering what little energy he had as he faced her. Her distance did not go unnoticed, but the hurt he felt was muted; dull in comparison to what it should have been. It was lost among so many other reasons to hurt. Alarian forced himself to smile in response to her comment.
It died with her question. Yeah, The answer came automatically; he had never intended to hide what happened from her, exactly. I ran into someone from my past. He's— after me... and Lanawyn. He realized it hurt to admit the latter— to know that he had let him get away after seeing the look in his eyes when he heard Lanawyn was here. Alarian shifted, suddenly wondering what Lanawyn had told her about why he left— if anything.

but if i'm never your hero, i can never let you down
May 29, 2018, 09:51 PM
Lily
Bracken Sanctuary
Satori
Her eyes widened slightly at his statement, but she said nothing else for a long moment, chewing over the words in her head. If someone was after Alarian and Lanawyn, that meant they posed a danger to the rest of the wolves at Broken Boulder, too. This was a threat too big and too consequential to be ignored. And Alarian had supposedly run into him here--in these lands. Too close for comfort, as well.

"He hurt you?" Lily asked rhetorically, dipping her muzzle at the fresh scars. She frowned. "Is he alone, or does he have friends?" One wolf, they could handle; she felt worse about their chances against a band of fighters with chips on their shoulders. She herself was no warrior--she thought of her conversation with Vilkas. The Sanctuary was ill-equipped for any kind of combat, in her view.

she's a killer queen
gunpowder, gelatine
dynamite with a laser beam
guaranteed to blow your mind
anytime
May 29, 2018, 10:05 PM
Alarian
Lone Wolves

Alarian braced himself for her reaction, and it came as he expected it; baggage was never fun. There was a reason he rarely spoke about his past. He shifted uncomfortably as Lily finally spoke, prodding for more information. She had a right to know, but— that didn't mean he wanted to answer.
I think he's alone, He said quietly, tone devoid of emotion, after a few beats; he hadn't smelled any others on Runion. Nothing but the wilds. He was on the other side of the mountain range— I don't think he'll find us. Not for awhile.
His skin prickled uncomfortably. This was dangerously close to talking about his childhood territory. Lily couldn't know that, of course, but that fact only put him slightly more at ease. One wrong— or right, depending on which side of things you were on— question could send the conversation spiraling out of his control.

but if i'm never your hero, i can never let you down
May 29, 2018, 10:21 PM
Lily
Bracken Sanctuary
Satori
"That's good, then," Lily responded quietly, gaze straying to the southwest, where the mountains were. They were formidable, but not impassable; not a great enough border to alleviate her concerns entirely. She looked back at Alarian. "We can keep a lookout. Just let me know what he looks like. . .when you're comfortable."

Her eyes grew suddenly soft, and she crooned low in her throat, her friendliness finally overcoming the serious facade she had adopted for this conversation thus far. "How are you, Ali?" she asked, tilting her head ever-so-slightly to one side as she stared. "Besides the wounds."

It was the first time they had properly talked since his return. Their time since had been occupied by other things, and the anger that Delight's promotion engendered in her had superseded any desire to have a civil chat with the Governor. But now they were face-to-face, and there was no running from it--and there was a look about him that prompted kindness and pity within her, rather than scorn or fury.

she's a killer queen
gunpowder, gelatine
dynamite with a laser beam
guaranteed to blow your mind
anytime
May 29, 2018, 10:49 PM
Alarian
Lone Wolves

He sensed she was not entirely placated by the answer, but he suspected nothing would accomplish that. Alarian watched as her demeanor shifted, dread and guilt filling the hollow space in his chest. Where it would have been appreciated before, Lily's sympathy only inspired anxiety. How are you?
Fine— I'm fine. The words came strained and abrupt; a poor lie. He shut down, gaze darkening, and started to move past her. I gotta go. The Governor muttered, trembling almost imperceptibly as he hurried in the direction of the Bracken Woods. He would only find solace there, he knew.

but if i'm never your hero, i can never let you down
May 29, 2018, 10:59 PM
Lily
Bracken Sanctuary
Satori
For a split-second, everything seemed okay. Then his expression changed, and he gave her a few hasty words before stalking away. "Wait, Ali--" she tried, but he was well past her already. Suddenly, the anger came back in spades, and she wheeled around, trotting after him with her eyes burning like hot torches. How dare he! This was how he repaid her kindness?

"Alarian, what the fuck?" Lily spat out a word she rarely used, drawing alongside him and moving past to stand before him. Any other male, she might have been eclipsed in size, but the Governor was small and trim, and she felt confident enough he couldn't just bowl her over, not without really meaning it.

"I've barely seen you in the last two moons. You've either been away--god knows where--or sulking. Now that we finally get a chance to catch up, and I'm trying to--damn it, Ali, I just want to help! But I can't help unless you talk to me!"

she's a killer queen
gunpowder, gelatine
dynamite with a laser beam
guaranteed to blow your mind
anytime
May 29, 2018, 11:47 PM
Alarian
Lone Wolves

He had thought— hoped she would allow his retreat. More than anything, he needed solitude; space to let his grief fall out around him. Alarian was ultimately denied that relief. Instead, Lily rounded on him with harsh words. Perhaps her anger was justified— no, it was. Everything she said was undeniably true.
Alarian closed his eyes as her last few words hit him, lowering his head. His throat felt tight, closed. He just wanted to get away, but he couldn't— he was trapped. After several beats, hazel eyes cracked open and he studied her dully. It was longer before he spoke.
You can't help, He said finally, tone weary and stiff and breathless all at once. My mother is dead— my brother is here to kill me— I'm losing it. His eyes closed again; suddenly he was tired, too tired.

but if i'm never your hero, i can never let you down
May 30, 2018, 10:45 PM
Lily
Bracken Sanctuary
Satori
He didn't yell. She thought he would yell. Instead, he fired back at her in a tired, empty voice, giving her information she knew--and information she did not. She had expected anger, and had gotten utter despair. She felt terrible, like she'd eaten something rotten. Her insides curdled as selfishness warred with her need to comfort, the latter eventually getting the upper hand.

"Yeah." Lana had told her about their mother; she felt it best not to pour more salt in that wound, at least not now. As for the other. . . "So your brother attacked you? He's looking for you and Lanawyn?"

She sighed, her eyes, too, fluttering shut. "Ali, why didn't you just tell me straight away?" she asked hoarsely. "That's the thing--you work yourself up over these things, and run away, and I'm left asking why. If you would just tell me--" She broke off, shaking her head. "This can't keep happening. I know I can't help. . .but I can listen. But I can't listen if you don't speak."

she's a killer queen
gunpowder, gelatine
dynamite with a laser beam
guaranteed to blow your mind
anytime
June 02, 2018, 12:54 AM
Alarian
Lone Wolves

Alarian didn't miss the way she just said "yeah", first thinking it a cruel reaction— but he knew that was unlike Lily. He swallowed the information for now, sensing somehow that it would cause him more upset than he needed right now. More upset than they needed. Telling her at all had hurt; already he regretted it. Of course she would make him regret it.
Bitterness burned in his throat, but he tamed it as she prodded further. His only answer to her first two questions was a nod; her last, he could not answer for several beats, though it didn't matter because she kept talking. He wished she hadn't. Whether it was selfish or not, Alarian would not allow anyone entitlement to his most private information— the rawest of his wounds. He stiffened slightly, eyes cracking open.
Maybe I don't want to talk about it, Lily, The words were not harsh— not even angry, but tired. Alarian fell silent again; he was done explaining himself, done trying to convey his need to be alone with his grief. It had taken all the energy from him, and he knew he would sooner flee and face Lily's wrath later than try to convince her now.

but if i'm never your hero, i can never let you down
June 02, 2018, 01:49 PM
Lily
Bracken Sanctuary
Satori
Alarian's brother, on the rampage. Looking for the other Keil siblings that called this place home. She wondered if the family resemblance was as strong there as it was between Alarian and Lanawyn; she would keep an eye out for any wolves that bore that appearance--and her teeth sharp. Before she could formulate a plan, Ali had given her words she thought might be filled with venom. . .but fell from his tongue deflated, instead.

Maybe I don't want to talk about it, Lily. It was an alien concept to her. Her family, save for a select few members, had been chatterboxes; happy, sad, angry, frightened, they all gave voice to their emotions, and helped each other work out whatever needed to be said or done. Her ears flattened in indecision, confusion, and she struggled for what to say next. What to say that wouldn't irritate her friend?

"It might make you feel better," she tried weakly, shrugging. "My Mum always said that bad feelings are like vomit: you have to get it all up before you can start to feel better." She sighed, a small, wispy sound through her nostrils. "I just want to help, Ali. Sometimes I think--" You don't appreciate me. You don't care about me. You don't want me here. "Sometimes I think. . .I dunno, that you don't want help. At least not from me."

she's a killer queen
gunpowder, gelatine
dynamite with a laser beam
guaranteed to blow your mind
anytime
June 07, 2018, 02:42 PM
Alarian
Lone Wolves

As she spoke, Alarian thought maybe he was beginning to understand; maybe this wasn't about him at all. He had made clear what would help him— solitude, or at least a damn change of subject. But he was realizing this wasn't about what would help him.
He swallowed hard, knowing he could not offer his friend what she needed. The truth was, he didn't want help— not right now, not from anyone. A piece of his soul had been ripped from him, more cruelly than he had thought possible, and he did not want help. Alarian couldn't allow anyone near, not until he had staunched the grief bleeding from him. For his own sake, but for theirs too; he would not pretend himself unselfish, but he knew his selfishness well enough to know he could not shield his loved ones from the bite of his grief unless he removed himself entirely.
If Lily needed simple verbal affirmation, he could try; if she needed a project to feel reassured, he could not fill that role.
I don't, He admitted. But, Lily, it's not you— I just need time. Alarian paused— then, more softly: I know I don't handle these things well; I'm sorry. I can't be there for Lanawyn, either, and I— He swallowed hard. It's not that I don't care. I'm just broken. And not in a tragic, heart-wrenching way, he thought; in a way that was ugly, that hurt everyone he loved. In a way that made him hate himself above all else.

but if i'm never your hero, i can never let you down
June 09, 2018, 11:39 PM
Lily
Bracken Sanctuary
Satori
Her shoulders sank inch by inch as he spoke, deflating in understanding. She couldn't help; he was right. She could see it in his eyes. The kind of battle he was fighting within himself was one he would have to tackle alone. She could stand on the sidelines as a cheerleader, a shoulder to cry on, moral support--but his issues were solvable only by himself.

"I understand," Lily gave in, nodding slowly. She took a deep breath and let it out through her nostrils, holding his gaze unflinchingly. "If you decide you want to talk about it, I'm here. Otherwise. . .I'll leave you be."

With another stilted dip of her head, the Consultant turned and began to pad away, tail almost between her legs. She suddenly felt she had done her role at the Sanctuary a disservice; a better mediator would have been able to draw out the trauma from Alarian, work on healing it. Instead, she'd almost made things worse.

The dark-furred girl slipped into the shadows between Broken Boulder and curled up inside her den, feeling inexplicably exhausted.

she's a killer queen
gunpowder, gelatine
dynamite with a laser beam
guaranteed to blow your mind
anytime
June 13, 2018, 09:06 PM
Alarian
Lone Wolves

Watching her go hurt more than he thought it would, but he couldn't bring himself to say anything else. He was certain he'd only do more damage. Maybe— maybe in a different life, he could have been the kind of friend she wanted. Someone more open, trusting— hell, someone emotionally functional. Someone who could be there for her, too. Lily deserved a friend like that.
It just couldn't be him.
Alarian was rooted to the spot for awhile. He didn't know how long. When he finally turned to leave, it was to stumble numbly to his den— to be alone. Suddenly, he realized he didn't want to be alone at all.

but if i'm never your hero, i can never let you down