Broken Boulder no, i never sold my soul
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#1
All Welcome 
as the days tick on with limited feedings, warmth, and comfort from their mother, sleep takes place of most of her activities. instead of bouts of hyperactivity, brilliance is quiet and tired and hungry. she eats until her belly can’t handle anymore only to spit out more than half of it later, pushing herself to the back of the den and curl up alone. a tremble takes over after a while and she tiredly lifts her head, yawning, exposing cool, pale gums. the only familiar shapes she sees are solomon and mali from the faint light filtering in the den. whether queenie is just outside the den or on the borders, she can’t tell.
 
brilliance struggles to cross the short distance to meet them, to bury between their warmth.
i just want to find a god
and i hope she loves me too
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Ooc — remus
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#2
ooc: phone pooost, lmk if this isnt ok? haha


largely delight entrusts the babes care to queenie -- he does not pay close attention to her methods nor does he question, assuming a general competency (a mistake on his part, but one he will be unaware of for time to come). the pair haven't actually discussed much in the way of childrearing at all. it is, as you say, a bad bake.

he knows queenie's taken up patrolling again -- he watches after the babies most of the time. they still seem so young and vulnerable -- he thinks about maybe asking eris for some guidance but holds off, knowing she must be dealing with alarian still. (this is his second mistake.)

brilliance's struggles do not go unnoticed -- he watched her with some concern as he climbs into the den, nosing her. she looks... unhealthy somehow, something he can't quite explain but just knows. unlike queenie delight is in a perpetual state of anxiety about their health -- he goes to call for her and stops himself, worried she'll just scold him. alarian is still recovering -- he can't pull eris or zamael from their side -- so he does what every panicked parent does and scoops the little one up into his mouth, making a beeline to the den where @Alarian heals, specifically looking for @Zamael to anxiously badger for medical advice.
but we were worried that you'd fallen in the river, or worse
but then you sent us back a letter, it said in capital letters
"THE UNIVERSE IS GOING TO CATCH YOU"
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#3
post 666
Somehow, he had adjusted in the slightest of ways to the constant ringing in his ears; enough to hear Delight's frantic approach, at least. He rose shakily to his paws, realizing Zamael had left some time ago. He didn't know how long. For a moment he was still, quiet, blinking as he wondered how he had let that slip by him. Ah— Delight. Remembering his purpose for standing, he crept from the den slowly.
Oh. It was— oh. His focus centered on the pup and he swallowed hard, chest aching. It had been so long since he'd— oh, were they always so small and helpless? And so— no, no, they did not always look so lethargic, not at this age. That's not right, He blurted in a voice slightly raspy from disuse, frowning, and a moment later remembered Delight existed. His gaze flicked to his friend, guilt flashing across his expression, but his attention was drawn back to the pup.

This reminded him of something— something important, something he kept tucked away in a box somewhere in the back of his mind, and just now he regretted the fuck out of that decision. Again, he remembered Delight, and his gaze turned sharp and questioning— this was his child! Unfortunately, the words didn't come out quite the way he wanted them to. What'd you do to her?
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Ooc — remus
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#4
skipping brillo w permission<3

he can't find zamael -- oh today would be the one day neither of alarian's siblings are posted conveniently where he needs them. instead it's alarian himself, wobbling and looking like he's about to pass out. that's not right, he says, and the anxiety in delight's chest bursts into fullblown panic.

coincidentally, it's very hard to hyperventillate around a mouthful of puppy. as gently as one can in the midst of a panic attack the chancellor lays brilliance down, licking the top of her head anxiously as -- oh godalarian, you are not helping. "i don't know," his voice comes out in a funny-pitched whine, tears in his eyes, "she was just -- like this when i came to watch them today, and i've been so scared about them getting sick or dying on my watch i don't think queenie would believe me, but i don't know what to do, ali, please help."
but we were worried that you'd fallen in the river, or worse
but then you sent us back a letter, it said in capital letters
"THE UNIVERSE IS GOING TO CATCH YOU"
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#5
makes a lot of assumptions in this post
lmk if it needs changinggg
His friend's panic immediately drew his attention away from the pup, who he could tell was not actively dying at least. He moved closer to press his muzzle to the top of Delight's head if allowed, drawing it down briefly to gently lick the base of his ear. Calm down, He murmured, moving back and glancing over the pup. I'm going to look at her, alright?
Assuming he got permission, he immediately began his inspection, doing his best to focus. Lethargic, as he'd first noticed, and not nearly as responsive as she ought to be. He sniffed and nosed over her, checking but finding few clues. No wounds, no fever, no coughs or discharge from any orifices (ew lol)— then he nosed at her lips, gently tucking one side back. Pale. The pieces clicked, then, but for several moments he doubted— they had a mother to feed them, albeit a restless one he'd scented fresh on the borders as of late. Could it be so simple and horrible as that, or was it a mystery illness he didn't know of?
But he'd seen something like this before. He moved back, swallowing hard; something icy had formed behind his gaze. His next words were sharper than the question he'd pressed on Delight, cold in a way. It could be some sickness I've never seen, but— Delight, I don't think she's eating enough. How often does Queenie feed the pups between patrols?
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#6
continue to skip me, i will post sporadically and/or when needed!

before she gets to her destination, she’s lifted off the ground. her mouth opens and where she might have squeaked, she gives only breathless protest. her head spins a little too fast from the movement and the bouncing makes everything worse. slowly, she closes her eyes and tries to keep herself grounded to fight the now added motion sickness.
 
the moment her feet touch the ground, she clings to the soil. the lick from delight is soothing, a little, but she’s much more thankful that she’s not moving. a tremble takes over, though and she tries to stagger back toward the closest wolf to offer warmth.
i just want to find a god
and i hope she loves me too
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Ooc — remus
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#7
making some assumptions about what delight does/doesn't knowww sorry he is a Fool

it's all going a little fast for delight to really process between the too-loud thudding of his heart and the shrill voice in his brain warning death death death follows him at every corner. belatedly he notices the state of alarian's head wound and has to bite back before he can comment on it, opting to give silent permission to let his daughter be examined. he doesn't know what his friend is looking for (stupidly he thinks blood?? although obviously that isn't it; even he would have noticed bleeding) -- and his words only confuse him, struggling to make sense of the (not exactly) implications. "definitely she feeds them," he says, grimancing, "um -- mornings, definitely, night time, definitely -- i.. don't know about during the day, but is that.. is that not enough?" that seems to be what the governor is getting at, anyway -- but delight doesn't really know, has never been concerned about queenie's child-rearing abilities (and feels a lingering defensiveness underneath his heart blaring sirens). "i-i usually watch them during the day," he adds, suddenly nervous, "and i hadn't noticed anything - off until today." though how long ago did queenie resume patrolling? he can't remember in the middle of his panic, surely it hasn't been long, but oh maybe how quickly things happen -- curse him!
but we were worried that you'd fallen in the river, or worse
but then you sent us back a letter, it said in capital letters
"THE UNIVERSE IS GOING TO CATCH YOU"
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#8
Delight, what the fuck? He snapped, agitated by his friend's general uselessness; 'he can just sit around and look pretty' came flashing back to him, and he thought irritably that he hadn't realized that was quite literally Delight's plan. Least of all with raising his children. Fucking hell. He couldn't keep the harshness from his words, now. That's not nearly enough— all they do is eat when they're this young! Like, all day!
Alarian tipped his head back and called for @Queenie, not bothering to hide the ire from his call. He knew that, realistically, Queenie could kick his ass even on a good day; he hadn't had any good days since the whole Runion thing. Was that going to stop him from letting her know exactly what he thought, though?
Haha.
A thought struck him, then. Tell me you didn't leave the other ones alone.
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#9
It had been a relatively slow day. Bored and unbothered, Queenie wandered aimlessly around the territory looking for something of interest, all to no avail. She was about to settle at the border for a nap before Alarian’s call reached her ears. Immediately, she stood with a snap of her jaws and began to rush off, wondering what she was about to walk into. 

The call drew her right to Alarian’s den where stood both Delight and Alarian, each one clearly concerned. But there was a third wolf who Queenie was more concerned with than the others: Brilliance. 

Her baby. 

Maternal instincts began to kick in as she approached, moving to get a clearer view of the group. Why is she here? she questioned coldly, eyes thin as slits as she glared at the two males.
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Ooc — remus
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#10


a whine escapes him, pathetic and scared, ears laying flat as he accepts alarian's vitrol. it's earned. he doesn't try to defend himself, hunched over brilliance's weak form like a man at the gallows waiting for his end. alarian's call for queenie makes him wince -- she's going to be pissed at him, he knows, and the last thing he needs is more being yelled at -- but again he stays quiet until -- "i," he starts, horror dawning on his expression, but it's too late. he doesn't finish the thought before queenie arrives in all her furious (negligent?) maternal glory.

despite the fresh flood of anxiety her appearance brings he lowers his head over brilliance, guarding her protectively. before alarian can start his jumbled yelling (maybe) the androgyne says, "she's sick," his voice only trembling slightly, "she -- they all -- they aren't being fed enough, queenie."

take it away, guv'nor.
but we were worried that you'd fallen in the river, or worse
but then you sent us back a letter, it said in capital letters
"THE UNIVERSE IS GOING TO CATCH YOU"
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#11
she doesn’t like the commotion going on above her. don’t they see something is wrong? she can’t comprehend the words thrown around but they aren’t enough. she trembles, giving up on finding warmth. she’ll have to provide for herself. ugh. she’s tired as it is, now she’s gotta do all the work. 

but delight hovers over her and she leans into the touch, feeling his warm fur encompass her cool form. her mouth opens but no sound comes out. a strong whiff of milk touches her nose and she squeaks, all she can offer as she weakly tries to move in the direction of food. brilliance doesn’t get too far, unable to cross over the mountain that is delight’s extended forelimb.
i just want to find a god
and i hope she loves me too
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#12
You're fucking stupid, that's why, The snarl came right over the sound of Delight's voice, his words not even registering as Alarian zeroed in on Queenie. Right as he started speaking again, @Eris appeared at his side, silent and tense; he hardly noticed her presence, or Brilliance's movement. You think they only need to eat twice a day? You're starving them, you— you selfish bitch!

He took a breath, realizing his emotions were getting the best of him and pressing against his sister. No doubt he'd regret those words later, but for now he couldn't bring himself to feel bad. Nonetheless— he knew he'd crossed a line, even if it was justified, even if he'd always think so. You need to take her back and feed all of them— and keep feeding them, after every fucking patrol, or I'll have Eris do it. I'll tolerate a lot of shit, but I won't watch you starve your own damn kids.
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#13
Maybe it was a defense mechanism, Queenie's immediate disassociation. Alarian's words, sharp as they were, sailed gently across the top of her head as she wondered just who it was who he thought he was talking to. She watched him through blank eyes, only looking away for a second as Eris made her appearance. There were a number of ways that she could have reacted in the moment, but because Brilliance was there and Queenie was outnumbered by one, she decided that she ought to take it slow.

And so she did.

Allowing a moment to pass after Alarian finished speaking, Queenie thought about what she would say. She thought about what she would do, and more importantly, what she could do. She thought about how this pack placed more weight onto group therapy sessions than proper defense training, and how easy it would be to make her escape. Queenie thought about a lot of things, but putting Alarian back into his place was the only one that stuck.

Are you done? she asked calmly, not wasting time on waiting for his reply. You're right. I am selfish. I am so selfish that I sacrificed my life, my comfort, and my health to bring them into this world, and now I'm sacrificing one or two feedings a day to keep them safe. Have you thought about that, Ali? Queenie asked, taking one slow step closer as her hackles began to raise, Have you thought about the fact that your pack is so defenseless and weak that if I wanted to overthrow you right now I could and there would be no one here to stop me? Has that thought crossed your mind?

Because it's crossed mine, she snapped, taking another step, It's all that I can fucking think about. You think that I do this because I'm a shitty mom, or because I care more about my recreation time than keeping my kids alive? I do this because no one else is, and I'll be damned if some cocky son of a bitch wanders by and puts my family at risk because you and your people are too scared to tend to the borders yourselves. That response alone took most of Queenie's patience (and breath) away, but even then, there was more to be said.

Looking to Delight and both admiring and despising how he had positioned himself over Brilliance, Queenie snorted and continued on. And I'll tell you what. I hope that you send her to come and touch my children. Seriously, Alarian, I dare you to be that bold. Give me a reason to hurt someone, because Lord knows I've waited long enough.
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unshakeable, unbreakable, unkillable
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#14

the nerve of this miserable wretch!  her chocolate-dappled hackles raised to full height and she forced herself between queenie and her brother as she began her tirade.  queenie's temper had been allowed to remain unchecked for far too long and no longer would eris stand around while she disrespected her brother, her children, the very ground she stood on.  

you want to mistake our kindness for weakness?  their borders were patrolled and they were patrolled well; how else would anyone know the sanctuary lay within?  it is no sacrifice.  it is your job.  you knew that when you made the decision to get pregnant.  you were offered a way out, through my body, before they were here.  and now that they're born, they're here, you're going to?  what?  let them starve because it's easier for you to kill them slowly by neglecting them than by the much less likely jaws of a stranger?

she snarled savagely, chin tucked low.  try to fight him, i dare you, for he is not alone here.  he has me.  he has zamael.  and even if you won?  who would submit to you?  their faces flashed through her mind — zamael, ulf, lily.  even if the pack was not loyal to alarian... she was sure they would rather follow what queenie thought was a coward than someone who would willfully starve her children.

— he hit me and it felt like a kiss
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you're an angry blade & you're brave but you're all alone
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#15
There was an undeniable tension in the air. Everything felt stiff and rigid. His body seemed to stiffen like a board as he arrived. He drew close to @Alarian's side although he did not speak, did not dare to soothe the situation.

The nicest thing Father had ever done was warn him of the sharp ways of the ferals. Ulf knew better than to try and stop them when he didn't have even half of what they had.

But he was here and so he'd aim to lean a shoulder into the lean side of the gold-kissed governor. A silent show of support.

hurt hurt hurt me more
and i'll eat eat eat you whole
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#16

alarian snaps over him, immediately escalating the situation and delight's pulse. his own guilt and shame rest like a weighted blanket over his shoulders, keeping him rooted as his two -- his two best friends fall into conflict, his eyes shooting desperately to eris as she arrives. what does he do? he wants to defend queenie -- of everyone here she's known him the longest. she's the last link he has to tindómë, to, in a twisted way, mato, and she's the mother of his children. but -- alarian is the one who took them in when he was too broken to push forward anymore -- he's delight's leader. and if we're being perfectly honest, delight has always been a little weak for leadership, hasn't he?

but in the end, it is neither that win him over but his daugher, her dappled form shivering underneath him. he takes a deep breath, rising to his full height, the fur along his spine spiked, gaze turning sharp. he has never pulled rank on queenie before -- wouldn't dream of it! -- but protective instinct turns into action at last. 

"stand down, queenie." his voice  is frosted-cold, hollow points, turning his glare on ulf, eris, and alarian as they group together. "if you want to fight, take it outside," he snaps, nudging brilliance back under his belly, "but for gods sake don't have a screaming match in front of my sick kid." the more he speaks the more his voice begins to give out, the panic-turned-adrenaline rushing too quick in his blood to actually be of much use. breathing hard he gathers brilliance back into his mouth, his expression still drawn tight. "queenie, eris, i don't care, figure it out and come back to the den with me. please."

and with that, exit delight singing-sunlight. 
but we were worried that you'd fallen in the river, or worse
but then you sent us back a letter, it said in capital letters
"THE UNIVERSE IS GOING TO CATCH YOU"
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#17
From there, things happened rather quickly— Queenie began her rant, and he went glassy-eyed somewhere in the middle of it. It was all a bunch of bullshit, of course; blah blah sacrifice, let me kill my kids in peace. But— the bit about overthrowing him, yes, that caught his attention. Before he could say a word, Eris was between them, speaking her own mind— then Ulf had arrived.
And then Delight snapped. He couldn't help the rush of satisfaction as his first words were to Queenie, even when the glare turned on him, but he kept his expression neutral. The anger abated somewhat in the wake of his words; his friend was right, after all. But his— whatever she was to him, she needed to be dealt with.
He waited until Delight had departed to speak, and nudged Eris gently to signal her to move aside and let him face Queenie. Look, princess, it's obvious you've never had to sacrifice a damn thing before in your life, His voice was calm, icy, and he kept his eyes fixed on her. Frankly, you sound like a spoiled brat, and Eris is right— no one would follow you. No one here even likes you— and yeah, we're a real fuckin' friendly bunch, as you've pointed out several times. But if you paid any attention to anything other than yourself, you'd know we do watch our borders, and we're a hell of a lot more proud of our home than you. I'd list everyone I know for a fact patrols frequently, but you probably wouldn't know half of them.
He laughed. Honestly, challenge me. If you took leadership from me, it'd be over my dead body— and I actually wish I could see that happen, just to laugh at how hard it would bite you in the ass. Alarian nudged his sister again, then Ulf, and turned to take his own leave— but not without some parting words, one last warning because he knew the guilt would gnaw at him anyway, knowing these children were suffering.
Do what you want; go put minimal effort in, fuck your kids up, and cry about how much you sacrifice. But if any of them die? The last word was almost a snarl. You'll regret it. Whether Eris and Ulf followed or not, Alarian disappeared past his den and towards the borders, knowing nothing good could come from staying longer.
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#18
The truth, which Queenie assumed that Alarian was just too sheltered and inexperienced to understand, was that if any of the pups died, she'd be unremarkably indifferent. It was too harsh to say out loud, especially with Delight so near, but Queenie wouldn't have cared. She didn't have the capacity to care, but Alarian (who always had to see the good in everyone around him) would have thought that she was bluffing, because it was a sentiment so dark and twisted that even Queenie had trouble comprehending.

She wanted desperately to take both Eris and Alarian head on. She wanted to prove that she could win, and that when she did, she could force all of her packmates into submission. She wanted to show them how strong, how potent she really was, but it was too risky. Delight was right, anyway; Queenie's place was at the den tending to her children, despite everyone being so strung up on how poorly she seemed to be doing.

Queenie watched as he disappeared, spitting at his pawprints as he wandered off. It was then that she turned and started back, angrily approaching the whelping den.
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