Overture Downs but if I keep going crazy like this
All Welcome  November 10, 2019, 10:14 PM
Star
Sagtannet
Klinge
@Kove :3 

Star had taken Ibis' advice on finding what had happened to the Swiftcurrent Creek wolves. She had followed the girl's directions, heading east as directed, hopefully towards Lost Creek Hollow, where the leaders may have some information. She had passed Duck Lake, a place that had been once familiar to her, now distant and empty. It brought up memories of hunting birds alongside friends there when she was young- now the Lake's namesake seemed to be missing- so the famine was true.

She had continued on, now she found herself upon a series of rolling hills. The sun shone upon the long stretch of grasses. Trees littered the land here and there, but she had not yet met the forest Ibis spoke of. She could see it in the distance, a green line on the horizon. She was walking in this direction, onyx eyes fixated on her destination, her pace determined, yet significantly slower than it had once been.

note: star is visibly pregnant
November 10, 2019, 11:57 PM
Kove
Easthollow
Family
tag for reference

The loss of the bison was concerning, to say the least, especially with winter fast approaching. Each morning Kove watched dutifully from beyond the stones, scanning the landscape and hoping that he would spot some movement, some sign of prey. But each morning was the same as the last, not even a trace of the herd to be found—and it was not only the bison that had gone astray, either, he realised. Anything aside from the occasional hare was gone; vanished from the valley in such a way that made him wonder if they’d ever truly been there at all. The quakes were to blame, this he was certain of, but what would that mean for the pack? For his family? Hesitation. What would happen? He gave a hard shake of his head, disregarding the thoughts that threatened him.

Nothing would happen, he would make damn sure of it.

Kove excused himself before the sun really had a chance to rise, letting @Valette know that he was going on a stroll beforehand; he said only that he needed to stretch his legs and that he would be back soon, not wanting to leave without saying anything. From there he ventured north, seeking a trail to follow and scents to track. But the farther he went, the more frustrated he became, the harsh reality of their situation dawning on him.

The herds were gone. Not just the bison but all of them—that which should be migrating through the valley was not to be found, nor were there any indicators that they had come through recently. The valley was void of prey, even the small game scarce.

The Inuk continued nevertheless, not wanting to return entirely empty-handed. Even if it was just a rabbit, it would at least be something. Only when he noticed a pale figure in the distance did his pace falter, mind curious but instincts insisting he avoid; a famine had a way of altering the mind and Kove did not want to see what others may turn to in a time of great crisis. And yet, his legs did not alter his course, drawn forward towards the retreating wolf by an unknown force; a feeling, or perhaps it was a thought, lingered in the back of his mind, encouraging him to approach. There was something familiar about the distant stranger—or perhaps it was just an old man’s mind playing tricks on him, leading him to believe he was back in the far north, where every pale body offered familiarity. Whatever it was he neither argued with nor challenged himself, and instead focused on reaching the individual before his body demanded he rests.
November 11, 2019, 07:11 PM
Star
Sagtannet
Klinge
Star was unaware for a bit as the man approached. But after not too long, she realized something had appeared in the corner of her eye. In her peripheral vision, there it was, a glistening figure not unlike herself in color. Her head turned in curiosity to get a glimpse of the stranger who seemed to be headed straight towards the old woman. A white wolf with a build much larger than Star's. Surely they could see her... did they specifically head in her direction with intent to address her, she wondered? She was confident she had not crossed any marked borders, unless her nose had begun to fail her in her old age.

After standing and staring at the distant man for a moment, she began to approach him as well. She politely let out a friendly bark in his direction to inform him that she was approachable. The closer she got, the more she seemed to squint at him even as his figure became clearer. Her forehead creased in thought. There was something familiar about this man that she couldn't quite put her paw on. It felt as if his name or story was on the tip of her tongue, and yet, she could not recall the slightest detail. She wondered if perhaps at this age she was becoming delusional, recognizing wolves she had never known. Surely she would have remembered the friends she once had? What was still unknown to her, floating at the edge of her memory, was that this was not exactly a friend.

Even though the appearance of the man was only something she distantly recalled, his voice had been one that bounced around the walls of her brain for years after, a voice that told her how nobody had come to search for her, how loyalty wasn't as important as she once thought it was. But her memories had not yet come back to her. So she put on a slight smile in the direction of the man, hesitant to ask if she had once known him, lest he believe her a crazy old hag.

note: star is visibly pregnant
November 18, 2019, 01:32 AM
Kove
Easthollow
Family
That the woman adjusted herself to head in his direction, too, was mystifying. Did she recognise him? Did they truly know one another? Although he hoped it to be true, lest he is forced to consider that his age may have finally started to affect his mind, he did not rely so heavily on that hope; for any number of reasons, any wolf might approach another, whether they are familiar with each other or not. Still, something about her struck at something deep within him, urging a memory to the forefront of his mind. He could feel his body tense, legs stiffening momentarily as the distance between them lessened—minimised to a point where he could better see her, noting the unusual, faded marks that adorned her petite frame.

Ah, there it is—the memory he sought, its forceful entrance into his head bringing him to an abrupt stop.

“Little warrior?” he questioned, eyeing her carefully. Could it truly be her? After all this time? He could only vaguely recall their last encounter, yet their initial stuck out in his head like a rusty nail, threatening to embed itself into his very core. He had never hurt her, had never even truly considered doing so, and yet… he was ashamed. Ashamed of how he had acted, intruder or not—ashamed of what the woods, the Brotherhood, had led him to do. Hardly did Kove think back to those times now, devoted to Easthollow and his family, but seeing Star was enough to drag everything back into the spotlight. She had trespassed, and he could remember using that to justify his actions, but now he doubted himself; she should have been run out or killed, as any other may do in defense of their home, but instead, the wolves of the woods had tortured her. And while he took solace in recalling his lack of contact with her body, he knew vaguely of what had been done to her.

And he regretted, even to this day, that he had not gone against Meldresi’s wishes in order to kill the brute that had tormented her so.

Kove did not take another step towards her, choosing to keep a nice cushion of space between them—she would want that, wouldn’t she? He couldn’t recall having ever gotten close to her, and used that as reasoning enough to stay away now; there was a reason behind the lack of touch in his memories, he was certain. He left for her the space she would need to flee, even, should she wish to do so.

He could not blame her, if she did.
November 18, 2019, 01:00 PM
Star
Sagtannet
Klinge
It was his voice, breaking the clear air, which awakened the most vivid memories within her. 

 ​"Little warrior?"

And then, she could hear the same voice, once upon a time: 

"Your pack does not seem to hold the same loyalty to you as you do them, because I have not seen a single wolf come to try and save you. No one has even come to ask of you." 

"You are alone now, Star."


Of course she knew him. How could she forget? He had not once laid a claw on her, no, he had not hurt her at all- physically. But he was one of the many factors in those caves to break down her mind. To truly convince her that she was alone and that her believed friends did not care for her, in the same way she cared for them. They had changed her mindset permanently, she no longer held the same dedication to loyalty that she once did. In her mind he was one of them all the same, despite the relative kindness he had shown her in comparison. How unfortunate that they had met under such circumstances. 

Her eyes widened the moment she recognized him, with an almost instinctual flash of terror, before she took a slight step backward without even thinking about it. But despite what her muscles told her to do, her mind held confidence. She was no longer in that situation; she had no need to be afraid of him. She had grown as a warrior too, her scarred pelt was enough to prove that. 

"Yes, I'm that little warrior. And you were Ko... Kova? Kove?" She fumbled a bit as she tried her best to recall his name, buried deep in her memory. There was an awkward pause as she was unsure of exactly what to say to him next. What do you say to someone, who traumatized you long ago, but so long ago that the wounds are not fresh? She tried to look into her heart. Did she forgive him? But even she was not sure what the answer to that question would be. It would certainly be more mature of her to say that she was completely over it. But she was still unsure of whether she was able to take that step. On some level he deserved her forgiveness, considering he had only interrogated her. But on the other hand, he had taken advantage of her lack of mental stability in a difficult time, and his position of power.

note: star is visibly pregnant
November 20, 2019, 08:11 PM
Kove
Easthollow
Family
First, there came recognition.

Then, there came fear.

Terror flashed across her face and more distance was placed between them, a single, retreating step taken. He was not shocked by this, her reaction minimal in comparison to what he had expected. After all, he was the sort of ghost from the past that most would never want to see again; physically, he had never harmed her, but one might argue that the mental attacks inflicted were worse.

A wound of the flesh would always heal quicker than that of the mind.

“Kove,” he confirmed, following her own confirmation of identity. She had grown—or matured, rather—since their last encounter, different now from the scared girl he had once known. That she stood there still, facing him now, was proof enough of that. Whatever ordeals she had been put through in the past seemed to have faded, or at least no longer held her in as tightly of a grasp. But, of all the things that he had also let go of, she was not quite one of them; interrogating her, weaseling his way into her mind, was one of the first tasks assigned specifically to him by the Brotherhood. Her enslavement in the woods was an event that would forever stand out in his memories, for it was the first time he had come to realise the type of company that the forest’s inhabitants kept—and what they were capable of.

“I can leave, if you would prefer that,” he offered, ready to honour her wishes. He was not the same man he was back then. Hell, even back then, he wasn’t himself. The shadows had morphed his mind, stealing from him his identity and the teachings of his true family. Back then, he wore a mask to fit in, to fall in line and ensure his life continued—but at what expense? Now he was free, able to live his life as he was always meant to but, although he had moved on, he could not expect the same from those that knew him then.
November 26, 2019, 08:44 PM
Star
Sagtannet
Klinge
The man confirmed his name as Kove. And then, Kove asked if he should leave. Suddenly Star felt overcome with shame- he had seen her fear. Had it been that obvious? She cursed herself for letting her eyes and movement betray her feelings. Even through that small action, she had already made it clear to him that he still had power over her. 

No. 

She was his equal now, she would not allow herself to be scared of him. Before responding she took a few deliberate steps toward him, as if to say, I'm not scared of you anymore. As she got closer, something became clearer. He was no longer the powerful young man he was so many years ago. Age was reaching him just as it was reaching her. He was old now. Maybe it was just an illusion of his old age, but he seemed to have a greater gentleness to him. And though she had made herself act as if she was fearless, now she felt on some level that she really was. She had nothing to fear from this old man on the last leg of his life. 

"No, no... It's okay. You shouldn't," She responded. There was a moment of silence before she spoke up again, "It has been a long time. I shouldn't dwell on it anymore. It was my fault, for trespassing." It pained her a bit to say those words. She stared awkwardly at her feet as she spoke, avoiding eye contact as she accepted the blame. It was hard, forcing herself to forgive him on the spot like that. But she felt that perhaps it was the right thing to do. Who was she to hold a grudge against this old man who had never scarred her physically? She had been the one who had gotten high and trespassed, it was an idiot thing to do. And even though their torture and interrogation had pained her so greatly, she could not help but feel that it was her own fault. 

"So... how have things fared with you, with Blackfeather?" She inquired, some part of her hoping that Blackfeather had fallen. How her heart would hurt, to hear that after almost five years, the pack remained. Of course, she had no idea that the man had moved on from his darker past towards a better lifestyle. Or that Blackfeather had shifted their morals as a whole.

note: star is visibly pregnant
December 05, 2019, 12:04 AM
Kove
Easthollow
Family
There was silence.

And in that silence, she stole a few steps closer to him.

The man’s eyes widened for a split second, surprised by her actions, before easing into an expression of relief; he did not move nearer to or away from her, remaining where he was instead and allowing her to creep as close as she felt comfortable getting. He couldn’t say for sure if he remained for himself or for her, wanting to ease her troubled mind as much as he wished to rinse himself of any lingering guilt. But all it took was one sentence for him to be thrown back into the past, the corners of his lips turning down into a frown whilst he shook his head. “No,” he stated, voice still firm despite his age. “You trespassed but they took things too far.” Sent away or killed, those should have been her options. Yet, instead, the wolves of the woods had taken and tortured her.

It was dishonourable—and yet, she seemed willing to move past it.

When asked about himself and the woods, he was surprised, to say the least. “Things have been well for me,” he answered, easing into the conversation. “Blackfeather dispersed, all of those there when you were kept from leaving now either dead or gone from these lands. I took over for a short period but we were too few in number and those lands were cursed long ago… haunted by so many, I am sure.” How many had died? Of their own and of others, wolves murdered in cold blood. “I do not know what became of those that remained afterward. I left them some time ago and joined my daughter’s pack up here.” Would that put her even more at ease, knowing that he was no longer a member of the pack that stole her away? It would not change the past, of course—but perhaps it could translate for her the changes he underwent.

“How have you been?” he asked in return, curious. “Where have you been at for all these years?” Perhaps that was too much to ask. “You do not have to answer if you do not want me to know.” He didn’t want to interrogate her, nor come off as if he was attempting to do so. They were on equal grounds now, after all. Neither of them young, neither of them trespassing.
December 21, 2019, 02:53 PM
Star
Sagtannet
Klinge
I'm sorry for keeping you waiting so long!! my muse for threads comes and goes (and of course that's no excuse) but yeah T_T please forgive me hh
Her shift caused him surprise that she could see in his eyes, before he became seemingly more relaxed. And then, Kove disagreed with her- saying they had gone too far. Well... maybe they had, she would admit to herself. Even if she had been the one to trespass, they had taken it to an entirely new level. But she wouldn't agree out loud, and so she said nothing. 

The man then shared of Blackfeather, saying all those who had wronged her were dead or gone- she wouldn't voice her relief, but the corners of her mouth tugged a little, as if she wanted to smile in hearing it. So Crescendo was dead (or gone). Among the others. She wasn't a cruel girl but the thought made her joyful, as if she could now find peace in the Wilds. Maybe her friends were long gone, but so were her enemies- and she never really had real friends anyway. She could start again here with a clean slate, even if she was well into her life. 

Kove explained how he had left the haunted lands to live with his daughter's pack. If he'd hoped that'd help her to see his change- it did. The way he spoke was more mature, the voice of a wise man who had come a long way from where he began. And, a daughter- a privilege she'd never had, children. Green envy grasped her heart momentarily, but she shooed it away. Perhaps she was never meant to raise kids- she'd likely fuck up as a parent anyway, she thought. It was best this way- she could devote all the passion within her to serving her pack. Anyway, a smile came to her eyes, as if to acknowledge a newfound respect for the man, without a word. 

Then Kove returned the question, which instilled the same surprise in her. "It's fine, I have no qualms with answering you," she laughed light heartedly, before continuing. "When I came back home from Blackfeather, my pack was angry with me of course. And looking back on it now, I behaved very immaturely. But I was chastised, and in my emotion I left and took to the North. Nothing especially notable there- I spent my years in one pack, and then another. Things happened, of course, but nothing worth the time to tell. I never had kids and I spent most of my time serving the community." She sighs, letting a tad of emotion strike her. "About a year ago, I became a nomad again and made my way back here." She finishes anti-climatically with a twitch of her ears.

note: star is visibly pregnant