Dragoncrest Cliffs Where we break when our hearts are strong enough
All Welcome  January 06, 2019, 12:40 PM
Ephraim
Approved Members

The morning after the great storm, Ephraim sat at the highest point of the territory, staring out at the tempestuous sea with his tail flicking nervously behind him. The clouds were still dark and heavy, though the worst of the gale had passed. The cliffs were slick and dotted with new puddles; it had proven a precarious climb even for the surefooted Skayona. His hackles were still ruffled with energy from the evening before and anyone who knew him would notice he was jumpier than usual, as if poised on the edge of falling into a panic attack.

But he was as composed as he possibly could be, given the circumstances, and his eyes were darting across the sky and choppy horizon purposefully. The wind was bearing south-west now at a swift clip, carrying the storm away along the coast. It rifled through his fur and bit at the healing laceration on his nape, reminding him that there were other storms sure to come in the form of fangs and fur. If not the sky's snarling clangor, then the clash of teeth. Drageda would come out as they always did, Ephraim felt certain of that, but his nerves were frayed with worry. Nightmares still plagued him and his eyes were sunken with lost sleep. He found they were less now, maybe every other night instead of every night; in time they would be gone, he hoped.

And Drageda would still be standing, as it always had.
January 15, 2019, 12:26 AM
Easy
Lone Wolves

What had happened at the battle - Easy didn't hold it against the boy. The wounds given to her by the seal-pointed woman were more severe and rankled her far worse. Yet, in any fight, Easy found herself unable to fully hate her enemy. They were all just teeth and fur, bones and meat. What one wolf did to another - Easy didn't know whether or not their sins would all equal out in the end, but it was comforting to think that they were all just doing what they thought they needed to. And Easy didn't concern herself with them; they would live their lives, and she would live hers in kind. And it was not the way of her father, but Easy was comfortable disregarding their lives in order to live her own.

But those wolves were not her own. Ephraim was, and she wondered if the altercation hadn't affected him rather more. Seeing him there on the precipice, she thought she'd found her answer. "Ephraim?" she called out in as even a tone as she could manage, not wanting to startle him.

ooh-oo child, things are gonna get easier
January 15, 2019, 05:46 PM
Ephraim
Approved Members

And though she spoke in a clear and quiet tone, Ephraim spooked so badly that he slipped and tumbled off the cliff, smashing his head on the rocks below.

Ha, ha, no he didn't. He almost did, though, with one forepaw slipping into thin air and causing him to lurch frighteningly. With his heart hammering wildly, he backpedaled away from the edge and sunk down, weighed by how close he'd come to facing his own mortality. More than once recently. He could have died in the fighting, too, with how he'd lost his head. Somehow it hadn't occurred to him before now that he wasn't invincible. Drageda was invincible, having never lost a fight with anything less than Mother Nature herself, but her warriors were not.

Easy was one of the last wolves he wanted to come face-to-face with, but he forced himself to meet her eyes, and his buckled with shame. How had he mistaken her for some idiot that had plunged into the fray outnumbered three to one? She looked nothing like that. Her silver coat was brushed thickly with dark shades of grey all over; she wasn't solid silver like his attempted assailant. There was no resemblance at all.

I... he said, with his tongue rough as sandpaper in his mouth, I'm sorry, I... Everyone's faces just kind of... melted off... and I couldn't recognize anyone anymore. I thought you were one of them. I swear I'm not a traitor. It all came out in a tumble. He didn't know that their enemies had claimed he was their kin—he'd been long gone by that point and had heard nothing of it, though his subconscious had certainly registered it—but this conclusion of his seemed obvious even without that knowledge. He'd attacked one of his own. That made him a traitor, didn't it? Surely his pack mates thought so, but as he hung his head, his champagne eyes were desperately lit with the hope that maybe she wouldn't hate him, and hadn't come to tell him he was to leave.
January 16, 2019, 12:13 AM
Easy
Lone Wolves

Thank you for the heart-attack this morning. Let me repay you with a shitty mix post.
Easy nearly had a heart-attack, too. When she saw Ephraim slip, she surged forward a step or two, concern and horror writ briefly across her youthful features. But the boy quickly righted himself, so she was able to breathe a sigh of relief and compose herself once more.

"Ephraim, please calm down. I forgive you," she said firmly, mostly because she could tell that the boy wanted to be forgiven. And she was a bit miffed at having been caught up in the friendly fire, but she hardly thought it was his fault that a boy his age had been welcomed into a fight that way. It was to be expected, wasn't it? "Things got scary. I was scared, and I've seen some pretty wild things." Well, not really. She'd been in a few scuffles, but nothing serious. Nothing like that. But she still believed that an older wolf was - generally - better equipped to handle such a thing than a wolf Ephraim's age. He hadn't even seen a full year, and they expected him to go to war?

And yet, Easy knew (or thought she knew) that none of them had expected war.

ooh-oo child, things are gonna get easier
January 20, 2019, 03:05 PM
Ephraim
Approved Members

Funny, how I forgive you slid down into his breast and warmed him with the efficacy of a long quaff of piping hot tea. Easy told him she was scared too, and that helped a bit. If an adult like her was frightened of war then he could hardly be held accountable for being so scared for his pack and himself that he'd lost his head completely. And yet... no one else had lost it the way he had, had they? He supposed he didn't really know. He'd been too busy locked inside his own head.

Was I... the only one...? He gulped and didn't finish the sentence, instead casting his morose face out toward the sea. Heda's gonna kick my ass, he sighed quietly. What a joke of a warrior I am. She must be so mad. He had managed to hit Eurycrates before Mallaidh ended him, and he did take a chunk out of Svalinn. He'd escaped Illidan's attack unscathed, though that was pure dumb luck. None of these things felt like victories to him, though. To Ephraim, they were all overshadowed by the traitorous act of turning on one of his own comrades, even if it was an accident.

What if they come back? he asked in a very small voice, though he refused to turn his head toward the little beach nestled in the great shadow of Drageda's claim. He wasn't frightened of them. Not really. They'd lost, after all, and gained nothing but pain. But he was frightened of having to fight another battle like that, and of maybe losing control of himself again. If he had to be in that situation, he would prefer it be for a cause greater than this.
January 20, 2019, 11:08 PM
Easy
Lone Wolves

Easy rather thought that Heda had bigger problems than Ephraim, but it seemed rude to say so - even if she thought it might help for him to put it into that perspective. It seemed equally rude to tell him the truth of the matter: that he was young, that he should never have been put into that position, that it was no surprise the pressure had gotten to him.

"You just need practice," she said, trying to help him think pragmatically about this. "Have you been in a fight like that before? Because you were at least as much help as I was, up until..." Well, no need to get into that. Instead, she shut her mouth and ruminated on his question, taking it to mean that he was frightened - but more of doing the same thing again than of the wolves they'd fended off. If they did come back, Easy hoped Ephraim would have the good sense to keep his distance, but since she doubted that would happen, she once more insisted, "Practice makes perfect. Do you know what exactly triggered all that? Was it a certain sound or smell, or was it just the chaos or the fear...?"

ooh-oo child, things are gonna get easier
January 21, 2019, 12:50 PM
Ephraim
Approved Members

Easy was so... well, easy to talk to. She was levelheaded in all the ways that Ephraim wasn't, and it helped to air his concerns with her, even though he was nervous and embarrassed to be sitting here speaking with the wolf he stupidly attacked. Not like that, he answered with a shake of his head. I wasn't allowed to fight in Trigeda. It was a good thing, too. If a fight with a rival pack at this age was enough to send Ephraim spiraling into a panic attack, then a large scale war at that young age would have surely broken his psyche.

I don't know, he said unhelpfully, wilting back his ears and frowning as he tried to remember what all had happened. So much of it was a blur now. I bit that guy and then Mallaidh killed him and got his blood all over us, and then I ran to answer Heda's summons and there were just so many wolves and so much blood-smell and I was so afraid they would get through and hurt someone, and I guess I just... totally panicked. He felt ashamed saying it like that. He was supposed to be Drakru, one of Drageda's strong and capable warriors. He didn't like feeling like some dumb kid who couldn't handle it. Everyone else could handle it.

And then I just couldn't recognize anyone and everything was buzzing in my ears. It was like I was floating above and watching... I had no control.