Blackfeather Woods when churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
All Welcome  August 25, 2019, 06:28 PM
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grime-seeped claws grasped at the earth at the drum of heavy footfalls; from a closing distance, a visibly exhausted frame prowled towards the borderline. having lost a significant amount of weight and vigour during his travels, the titan of a man who once stood above others and unearthed a trembling fear from those caught dead in his warpath -- was reduced to a nearly unrecognizable state. it would take dear time to return his physical appearance to what once was, if he could manage to do so at all. his ribs now showed through a formerly thick coat, battered and worn as evidence of months of rouge activity. returning to rusalka seemed like a distant thought, though it was the home he could not find elsewhere, it was the woman adorned with constellations who guided his every move. when he was not with her, he thought of her. when the nights became cold and the hunt ran scarce, he thought of the whelps nestled within her and if they had ever come to be. the children born from grezig likely did not need nor desire his presence, and so he (selfishly) did not carry any intent to seek them out.

calloused paws failed beneath him and he stumbled, resigning to the hard ground only meters away from where the faint scent of a past gone by lied like a silent grave. she was here, he knew, for his nose had never once betrayed him. but the elements had worn him to the bone and he could venture no further. there, on the outskirts of a temple he once forsook, he closed his eyes.
August 25, 2019, 07:47 PM

The woman of stars might not have been nearby, but Maegi was. The brute's twisted sister slipped through the trees, ears pinning warily back against her skull as the pale coat came into view? Kalganov again? Kove? Or perhaps just Tundra, though she should know her co-leader even from a distance. But, no —

Vaati, she said coolly, coming to a halt a few paces from the man. Her nostrils flared. No discernible trace of Damien on his pelt, nor Nyx. He looked like shit. What brings you here?

He'd left the woods once upon a time and had not returned. Abandoned Maegi when she needed him most. Not to mention how he had treated Mou and Cass, two of her dearest beloveds. Now, he was back. . .and was she supposed to just be okay with this new development?

Fuck that.
August 25, 2019, 08:34 PM
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through gunked up eyes does he regain consciousness long enough to see a blurry figure steadily approach, before shutting in defeat once more. vaati had no energy left to care who exactly it was, nor if they intended to finish the job nature began. it had felt like he lived an entire lifetime already, and submitting to the quiet void of existence after death was not something he would protest to. as she spoke, he felt the warmth of reunification within him, leading his mind to believe that this feminine presence was indeed the mother of his children; any holes of doubt was promptly filled with exhausted delusion. "cass" his tongue let slip, hushed and feeble in comparison to the confident baritone his vocal chambers once bellowed. "i told you... never apart, not for long." had he not recited that very sentiment atop the storming cliffs so long ago? all his memories, they all seemed so strange to recall -- like they belonged in someone else's subconscious from generations past. rannoch, hydra, alya, redhawk, the screeching one; had it all even happened? had he truly done those things... become that man? he begins to feel the tide of slumber wash over him once more, and struggles against, for his sole question has not yet been answered.

"the pups... they live?" fragments of sentences is all he is able to manage as he drifts from memory to reality, struggling to find a foothold in either. he had never been sure that his seed had taken, for he had not seen the elusive woman since their union and had been left only to wonder of their existence. perhaps they had never come to be, and the purpose of his returning journey was now half-split of its cause. but if the ominous feeling shrouded over every step he took was to manifest in his path, the status of the potential offspring was enough to usher him calmly to his grave.
August 25, 2019, 10:00 PM

Maegi gaped at him as he spoke, utterly at a loss for words. Cass?! His eyes were closed, but surely he knew the difference between his lover and his sister. She and Cass were polar opposites in pelt; even the barest glance could have made that clear. 

It's Maegi, she responded, her voice growing colder still. Not an auspicious homecoming for the once Dark Master. The pups live, as does Cassiopeia.

She fixed him with a stare that straddled suspicion and dislike, eyes narrowed. Are you here for them? Maegi asked. Did Damien send you? Anything less than a firm denial of connection with her uncle would be met with disdain, and likely a refusal of entry. 

But. . .perhaps he'd surprise her, yet.
August 25, 2019, 11:57 PM
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despite enjoying a less-than-lucid state, the news that both his children and their mother were alive managed to keep him grounded, pulling him closer to reality and farther from emerging psychosis. however, the revelation that he was not in fact, endured by the company of cassiopeia but a sister of his, caused a small furrow to develop on his brow. confusion laces his tone, "maegi? she lives by the sea." she couldn't be here. maegi hated him. he could do no right... though he had tried, he had continually made unforgivable mistakes which, strand-by-strand, severed the bond between them. perhaps he could attempt to blame the curse of ill-mannered youth on all he had lost, but truthfully, he had been someone that even he would wish death upon. much of what he did and said was inexcusable and he knew it. though, he would not grovel -- he was not there yet. prying his eyes open, vaati attempts to force himself to his feet, or at least to a mere sit, and comes face to face with the marred visage of someone he knows to be his younger sister.

"oh. maegi" he breathes out, but makes no move to greet her. 

"Did Damien send you?"

vaati growls lowly, recalling the arrogant taunts of the estranged uncle. how he had expected vaati to so willingly bow at his feet and lay fealty to cause purely out of shared blood reeked of an arrogance that put more than a sour taste in his mouth. at the time, he had seen it as a challenge, and there was nothing more the former titan detested than inferior men acting under the guise of superiority. "damien, lord of nothing." if he could spit, he would have. "i am no pawn of his." his eyes began to regain clear vision; the heat building in his veins as he continued to recall all that he despised brought forth a willpower he could not acquire in any other fashion. "i've come here for my children only." vaati says so with familiar confidence, unwavering in tone. damien, his bitch, and whatever similarly dimwitted offspring they produced were not his concern.
August 26, 2019, 02:48 AM
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Feel free to skip unless he's spoken to.   :D

These woods, they were special. While Venamis couldn't figure out the reason why, he knew that Blackfeather was important to him somehow. He felt it in the pads of his paws as he stepped through foliage that had swiftly become so familiar to him, all the way to the heart of him.

Even in the absence of all who knew him, all who raised him, he made a home in this dark forest. In fleeting moments, the child in him would long to hear his mother's voice before recalling how tough and brave he really was - he didn't need them. Ven was so sure that he never did.

He'd been simply passing through when a raven ear pricked to the sounds of nearby voices, and he went to them at once. Venamis recognised Maegi as soon as his cool stare found her pallid form, but his focus quickly turned to a wolf of a more masculine structure. Naturally bold and overly curious, the spiderling meandered closer to better investigate this brute at their borders and emitted a soft chuff to his leader upon his approach from behind her.

August 26, 2019, 04:11 AM
Saints Of The Dying Light
she doesn't know what to think of the newest fledgling, who seems a great deal larger than both herself and Moonshadow's brood. not entirely willing to confront him directly, she settles instead for trailing him on occasion. occasionally, the slight limp in her step becomes obvious as she follows him to the borders, but the injury is fast healing. 

when the boy greets Maegi and the figure of the stranger becomes obvious, she debates for only a moment before drawing up on Maegi's opposite side, not to be outdone by the boy. she's silent as she comes to a stop, brow furrowed as she examines the stranger critically. he looks kind of gross, is her conclusion, and her gaze flickers back to Maegi as she waits for the leader's cues.
August 26, 2019, 07:07 PM

She shook her head, having a hard time understanding what exactly was going on. How could he mistake her for Cassiopeia? Not anymore, Maegi responded. I live here, now. For good. Only death could permanently rip her from these woods. . .and perhaps not even then.

But it finally dawned on him, and she let her face melt into something almost a smile—which promptly became an actual smile, albeit a fierce one, as her brother went on to denounce Damien. Good, she responded, giving a curt nod. I'm glad to hear that.

Even if he was lying, he was in no shape to be any sort of asset to her uncle. Gods, what had happened to him? She had never seen her brother so haggard, even in times of trouble. Maegi was about to inquire after him when she was flanked by two youths: first Venamis, then Hela. She gave soft looks and chuffs of greetings to them both before turning back to Vaati, looking for all the world like the master of Blackfeather, the shepherd of its children.

Well, she was.

Do you want me to call for @Cassiopeia? she asked. I. . .think it's best if she introduces you to your daughters. She didn't want to present Hela as his, not yet. It wasn't her place.
August 26, 2019, 09:17 PM
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he found it endearing that his sister accepted his criticism of their uncle so willingly, indicating to him that she too shared a similar sentiment. the root cause of it remains unknown to him, any stipulation as to why their family had turned against each other was now lost to more recent and unfortunate memories replacing things he could not care enough about. however, judging by how maegi seemed to hold all the graces and airs of a resident alpha, he could see how someone like damien would be threatened by such a development. "and now you rule... much to damien's displeasure i assume." it was not so far fetched to infer, for there had been the impression from the start that their uncle had self-appointed himself as matriarch, not to be upended by anyone

vaati does not linger on the topic of their uncle, not wishing to speak on it further as more pressing matters surfaced. daughters. vaati looks briefly to the boy who stood at his sister's side, ruling out the possibility that the curious child was his. perhaps a child of maegi's? his attention is quickly drawn away from the boy, settling on the lingering figure of a child bearing all the resemblance of his younger self. perhaps this girl was his. however, he would not begin to assume that the child who looked at him with such a cold, calculative stare was one half of the litter without confirmation. so, he does not move towards her, but catches her gaze with slightly narrowed eyes and chuffs lowly. it was not to be mistaken for hostility, but an authoritative attempt at a 'what are you looking at and who are you?' gesture.

at the mention of his wife, he nods affirmatively, "yes." but there is a brief hesitance in his voice that is governed by the uncertainty that she would accept him once again. she had done so before, but cass was a fickle creature... there was no telling how she would receive his sudden apperance.
August 27, 2019, 04:46 AM
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Maegi welcomed him to her, though he was not nearly as accepting of the other juvenile's arrival. His frosted stare swept over her slight frame, quietly judgemental as she moved to their leader's opposite side, and should she dare to look his way he'd curl his lip without hesitation.

It was the mention of his father's name, spoken with distaste, that drew his attention away. Venamis lifted his smooth ears and rose his crown, eerily pale eyes flitting between the two adults as they discussed likelihood of Damien's frustration over Maegi's title. His parents had bitterly discussed the claim of Blackfeather Woods at length in the presence of their offspring, but Ven was the epitome of ignorance. He could not recall such talk and nor had he cared to, until these wolves saw fit to mock him.

He loved his sire, but his disappointment in him overpowered any affection he held. Damien had proven himself too insecure, too unstable, as was made clear with his inability to formally claim any territory he'd chosen for their pack. Still, despite the sour thoughts he had for his family, he did not wish for them to fall - and Venamis studied the sharp blue eyes of the stranger before him to imprint his face so that he might attempt to bleed information from him in a more private encounter.

August 27, 2019, 06:19 AM
Saints Of The Dying Light
despite her interest in the haggard man, she does not miss the stare that pierces at her from Maegi's opposite side. glancing down from Maegi to set her gaze on the boy, she echoes the curl of his lip and flicks her ears back against her crown. she shifts her weight to take a step closer and is distracted by her mother's name on Maegi's tongue, as effective a deterrent as a nip from Cass herself. 

"who?" she spoke at last, attention returning to the man. she was aware that she had a father, the fact simply played no role in her life - Moonshadow's brood, and the younger ones too, had no father that she knew of. it was the norm, and she didn't feel especially lacking. but this was not the man her mother had described when she'd told them of him while they'd been den-bound. "you should be bigger." she ascertained finally, suspicious.
August 27, 2019, 06:43 AM
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she leaves Scylla toying with the raven skull which appears to be the greatest treasure she possesses; enough to incite a fight without warning and leave the sisters tearing through the wood after one another. her progression toward the borders is swift, and she slips behind Hela as she's speaking, offering her a nudge of greeting, glancing once to Maegi and then the man on their borders. 

despite the state of him, she recognizes him easily. sweeping her gaze over him once, twice, her countenance remains firm as she greets him. "you look like hell." she regards him motionless a beat longer before moving forward, taking in his scent. there is only wildness and earth and travel; he must have forsaken Rusalka a long time hence. some decision is made, and her feature soften. 

dipping her head to motion at Hela, she tells him,  "this is your daughter." pausing she addresses the girl, gaze moving to meet Vaati's once more. "Hela; your father." 
August 27, 2019, 11:03 AM

Yes, Maegi said, though she spoke no further. If Vaati wanted to know more, they could discuss it at a later time. Right now was about his return, and his reunion with his children. One of said children piped up—you should be bigger—and the remark drew a worried smile from the Nona.

He used to be, she thought, and was beginning to answer when Cassiopeia appeared, handling the introduction with grace.

She gave her friend a soft look and then stepped back a pace or two, letting the family sans Scylla have their moment. As she moved, she bent her muzzle to nudge Venamis on the shoulder, urging him to do the same. He was even more of a bystander here than she was, now.

Let's go for a walk, Maegi suggested sotto voce. To Vaati, she gave a parting glance: We'll speak later.
August 28, 2019, 04:11 PM
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maegi retreats into the woods, and the girl speaks up.

"you should be bigger."

he cracks a light smile as his gaze shifts again to the child, impressed by the young girl's blunt choice of words. there was no mistaking from whom she came from. "those are bold words coming from someone no taller than my shoulder." vaati returns amusedly, before nosing his snout over her forehead. he very briefly thinks of tizir, before casting that venturing thought away. no matter, that brood was likely fairing a lot better within rusalka's borders than he currently was. "hela, ruler of hel. interesting." the man smirks slightly, wondering if she was destined to become as fierce as her namesake. as maegi's figure retreats, he refocuses to the woman he simply could not stay away from. how far they had come since their days as mere teens was simply impressive, and how ironic it was that she now returned to the place he had once imprisoned her in. to her, vaati takes a softer approach, "how have you been?" pacing slowly towards her, he carries an honest interest in her wellbeing -- who knew the things she had faced while guarding over the lives of his young. reaching out to touch his nose with her cheek, the man keeps his guard up in case the gesture is not well received.
August 28, 2019, 04:54 PM
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Another adult joins their little gathering, and Venamis turns his head enough to observe her approach. Initially, all he saw was the alabaster speckling of her ebony pelage and he found himself holding his breath as he mistook Hela's mother as his own. How'd you find me!? Venamis thought fiercely, though the concern was quickly shelved as Cassiopeia drew nearer and it became very obvious to him that she was not his dam.

He let himself breathe again, and sought to steal another glance at the ashen girl from between Maegi's forelimbs. This was cut short, however, as the pallid leader shifted her weight and reached out to him, bumping her snout to his raven shoulder to accompany her request for his company elsewhere.

He lifted his cold stare, piercing the marred side of her face as she gave him no time to accept it decline, and frowned deeply as he padded along at her heels. Venamis wanted to say no, to defy her, to try pressing for more information of his family from the blue-eyed brute who'd attracted such an audience, yet he refrained. It seemed like the wrong time to do so, and he moved away to follow at Maegi's heels.