The Heartwood do you remember, how it felt when we were young
December 31, 2019, 12:12 PM
Hydra
Moonspear
Alpha*
WAY backdated. @Revui @Arcturus ; after they leave NW. Once a bright and vibrant deciduous forest, The Heartwood is now a wasteland of ash and cinders. Proud trees were consumed in a blaze that claimed the entire forest and what life flourished here has moved on to greener pastures. The fire scorched deep into the earth, ensuring that regrowth will take a great many years. 
 

Hoarfrost had overtaken inkblotted trees, some old with rot and the rest... it rested beneath the frost and heavy snowfall. There was no sign of rebirth here, only what had once been. Hydra and Arcturus were now armed with the truth of it, and yet Hydra desired so much more than that. Was owed, in her own perspective, so much more than that. Hydra had raised Revui alongside her parents; had he so easily forgotten her? Surely not her lessons—he survived much! But her. And his family, too; their loyalist ways. For even their father, in the end, aligned to them... to his benefit, to be sure, but the fact remained. 

Hydra listened for any noise her favored brother might make; in the interim, she was quiet but ever listening to all he might reveal... whether he meant to, or not.

I'll find that you'll find that I'm lethal
December 31, 2019, 12:22 PM
Revui
Ursus
Earthclaw
The adventure to the coast had not amounted to much, but he also had not made it all the way. There had been many packs clustered in the north of the valley and when he had thought his work was complete (that he had mapped them and found among them Rusalka, when in fact he had barely graced their borders for a night) he turned around. Best not to waste time and energy; his sister had taught him well.

Yet the scent of the Nightwalkers had fallen away from him. Revui carried the musk of the wilderness; ash, pine, blood, but not the mark of Vengeance that would have outed him as a soldier among his once-captors. Being out on his own gave him a newfound sense of freedom - stronger than when he had emerged from the pit, even. The boy was loathe to return despite the dark promises he made.

When he neared the heartwood he knew he was close. Here there came familiar scents and they derailed his plans further, overwhelming his senses, luring him through the ruined woodland until he affixed his glower upon two shadowcast beasts.

The woods have always been filled with these soft doe-eyed things;
with hearts beating for the arrow, the bullet, the lance.

I have always been the huntsman.

December 31, 2019, 02:15 PM
Arcturus
Firebirds
Tradesman V
arcturus had little at all to say, once they left nightwalkers. he was consumed by his thoughts, which were largely emotional. the roller-coaster ride that had been the last few days had burned him up inside. firstly, arcturus had taken great pains to take the memories of his brother, and box them deep where they would never resurface. finding out revui was hurt and captured and possibly dead, to finding out he was fine but gone, well -- it undid that painstakingly made casket of emotions, and now, he was hounded by them.

his silence ended when he saw revui between the ash. he nudged hydra, rather abruptly -- while his gaze focused hard and cold on the ghost of his childhood. on the brother that had once been his best friend. arcturus' first thought was god - he's gotten so big (and more scars now, too). he wondered if revui might look at him with the same surprise. then came those angry feelings of guilt, of betrayal, of abandonment, of anger. of resentment.

you left us. his gaze narrowed, the growl from his muzzle clipped and short. you left me. after everything. after all they had done together. why??

when you come down to take me home
send my soul away

December 31, 2019, 03:20 PM
Hydra
Moonspear
Alpha*
It took not the nudge from Arcturus; Hydra, hyperobservant, had seen him. 

Even despite her height, Hydra did not doubt herself. She had beaten many his stature before, but this was not even a tertiary thought that occured to her as she came closer and closer. 

There was no shade to her gaze as Hydra approached; he need guess at nothing as the guileless Queen came upon him. There were a dozen things she might have said, and yet she settled on this: Revui, There was no resentment. Only a question in his name that all but said: explain. With Vela, once it had been humans... but at least she let them know. Revui had not done them that courtesy, but his blood had been indication enough to Hydra that he was dead; and yet here he stood. Indentured servitude went well past the sentence he had left in between them; and the trespassing, well, she would get to that

Why would he not have returned? 

Dead; alive; if there was a God, if there were several—if Odin and Hela, or anything within the damnable Heavens were real—let it save him from the foul feeling that threatened to swallow him whole inside her!

I'll find that you'll find that I'm lethal
January 03, 2020, 04:16 PM
Revui
Ursus
Earthclaw
He owed them both an explanation, even he could see that. Arcturus seethed; Hydra spoke his name and went silent too, and both shadows watched him expectantly, tremulous and fighting against their doubts. Revui couldn't even look at his brother; he glanced, but felt too ashamed by the look in the other boy's eyes to hold firm with his gaze. One of the rare moments that he buckled to another's superiority — Revui would not have ever dropped his eyes from Vengeance or the other soldiers, the captors, who he vowed to slay. But his brother was a different creature altogether. He saw the hurt there, the rage, the questions, and broke.

There was little doubt in Revui's mind that they had visited the Nightwalkers. That would also mean the boy, Orochi, was alive somewhere. The plan had worked. The obvious question lay within Hydra's firm gaze: Why would he not have returned? He was free now, not beholden to anyone except himself and his own blood lust, and yet... He had remained in the lowlands. Being so near felt good to Revui but it would hurt him too, as evidenced by the way they both stared at him - imploringly.

He took a breath, and then began to explain:

There was a creature that I chased from the mountain. After, when the earth shook, I thought something must be waking up, and wanted to hunt it. But the earth raged. I.. Was afraid. Not his proudest moment, but he offered his frailty in that flight of panic as something palpable for them to cling to, maybe understand. I fled to a forest and angered the wolves there. They took me down - broke my body. Kept me captive. This they knew by now, he presumed. I am free, now. Again, this was obvious enough, he was here in the ruined forest rather than back among the Nightwalkers.

It wouldn't be enough. His weakness, his fear. Revui loathed that he had let himself be corralled in such a way, that he allow his weakness to become so powerful, and knew he did not deserve anything but the lashing of their teeth. He certainly did not deserve to return home to the mountain - he wasn't strong enough yet.

The woods have always been filled with these soft doe-eyed things;
with hearts beating for the arrow, the bullet, the lance.

I have always been the huntsman.

January 04, 2020, 04:51 PM
Arcturus
Firebirds
Tradesman V
hydra moved on, stalking close to their brother.

arcturus remained rooted to the spot.

he could not bring the full of his burning gaze upon revui. it had been seven months since he had seen his brother. seven months since he had run a hunt alongside him. seven months since he had confided in the titan's coarse fur the hopes of his future, his fears.

seven long, lonely months - without parents or network. his only savior hydra.

and revui had gone, at the moment arcturus needed him most.

no, he could not bring himself to forgive his brother. no explanation was enough. arcturus was not strong enough, at this time in his life, to overlook these things. all he saw, plain as day, was the ugly, hurting scar revui had left in his wake.

his gaze hardened. an intrepid eye would see the cold glitter of unshed, bitter tears rimming his stare. so revui had chased a beast. so revui had been scared. big fucking whoop. arcturus had to navigate some of the worst things of his life without revui: things no child should have to shoulder alone! the death of his parents, the famine thereafter. raising kids that weren't even his own. navigating the minefield of diplomacy. growing.

it was as if a harrow had been pulled over arcturus' life and reamed everything within it - sparing none save hydra.

and thank god for hydra -- the brother revui had never been (lauren would like to note that this was hard to write, and feels very sorry that arcturus is being so emotional). and dirge, too. neither of them had shared a womb with arcturus, but it appeared their fealty was stronger than any bond made in motherblood.

so he had been captured for trespassing. and tormented, and hurt. arcturus refused to feel sorry for revui -- bitterly, he denied his brother that shred of compassion that he deserved. it served him right, he figured, for saying "fuck all" to the spear.

and now he was free, haunting the lowlands like some backwoods devil? when the mouth of the spear loomed within vision, serving as constant reminder for all revui had turned his back upon? arcturus said nothing, but his face spoke it all: bull

fucking

shit.

when you come down to take me home
send my soul away

January 09, 2020, 04:01 PM
Hydra
Moonspear
Alpha*
Hydra blinked at him, and drawled lowly: you were gone long before the earth shook. And you never returned; not once. Not to tell us you lived still—not for anything. I cannot understand it, she spoke, ears pressing forward some as she continued: not when you know how we feel toward that, her tail lashed behind her. I thought you were dead. The last I saw of you, there was your blood, bears blood; Arcturus and I searched for you, and they had found nothing. Had he not once thought of them throughout? Was he so singleminded? 

His fears, his desires; well, he lived a life suited to it now. The life of a lone wolf, if he did not return to the Nightwalkers, or go wherever else his feet might take him. Hydra did not suppose it would be Moonspear now, not when the wind had never blown his sails in that direction before. She did not want him there anyway, not as he was—

Hydra continued, gaze not at all warm upon him: and then, as it turns out, you were not dead. You trespassed into packlands; something I know I deliberately warned you against when you were a boy. You are not a boy anymore, Revui, nor were you when you trespassed; you are free, now, and you used your freedom to work for your captors. Not to return to those who had come to protect you, her tail lashed behind her and her muzzle wrinkled. Hydra did not suffer fools very well, and to think Revui one! It pained her, but he painted no prettier picture for her. He was lucky he was not dead, but here and now Hydra did not think luck was the word she would place upon him. 

The matriarch took a step back from him, disappointment clear upon her once indifferent features. Return to Moonspear only when you are ready to become a man, truly, and you remember the meaning of loyalty and are prepared to be all of that. Now is not that time, clearly, she drawled, dignified enough not to scoff, and we have too many cubs to care for to support one more. Her features had shifted again to stoicism, and the Queen of the Wilderness gave him one last long look before she turned on her heel to depart the scene. They had at long last ended their search, and Hydra had no more time to spare for the wolf who could spare none of it for them in kind.

I'll find that you'll find that I'm lethal
January 09, 2020, 08:55 PM
Revui
Ursus
Earthclaw
In the wake of his silence there came a wave of uncertainty. It was a passing spasm of emotion that filled the void after his explanation during which Hydra was watching him, and he could not meet her gaze - nor could he look upon his brother, but he felt the heat of Arcturus' focused rage upon him just as strongly. Then his sister began to speak. To say that Revui wasn't prepared for this was an understatement; he presumed his explanation would have been enough to satisfy, but he was no wordsmith, his tale had been a truncated version of events and it wasn't enough - it could never be enough.

It felt as if he were being subjected to the cold shoulder of Charon again. The same words flowed from Hydra now. She spoke of her fears that he had died, the ceaseless hunt which had pulled her from the mountain - as well as Arcturus, again, the dutiful one - and Revui could not help but hear their father's voice reverberating in sync through it all. He had wronged the mountain again in trying to defend it, wronged his family for not returning to them, and lost the faith of his greatest idol.

And when she moved away from him, Revui's gaze lifted to stare after her. The shift of her posture was subtle; she was a Queen, carrying herself in such a way to demand focus and showcase her rank, but also there was a darkness to it. He glimpsed her face and saw the disappointment carved there where otherwise it would have been impassive, like the granite of the mountain he was no longer welcome upon.

Revui looked on in shock, unable to hide the hurt upon his face as his world - and his place within that world - withered and died. As the mirrored hurt slid from Hydra's face and she became other to him, Revui broke his focus upon her and looked to Arcturus, as if he might step in and speak up, not knowing just how much had changed among them all.

When Hydra moved to leave, Revui finally found his voice and called out hastily, his voice crackling: You can't banish me, only father can!

The woods have always been filled with these soft doe-eyed things;
with hearts beating for the arrow, the bullet, the lance.

I have always been the huntsman.

January 09, 2020, 09:20 PM
Arcturus
Firebirds
Tradesman V
arcturus would think of this moment many moons from now. he would think of it often, painfully. and he would think of revui — for never once, had his brother been fully banished from the beta’s thoughts.

he had nothing to add when hydra spoke. she had said it all. she always did. she who arcturus learned from, imitated, idolized. through her mouth came the words arcturus was not strong enough to speak. he simmered, yet listened.

someday, revui might return. arcturus’ expression was bald — too readable — as he looked upon revui. for all the hurt and shock that adorned his brother’s face was duplicated back — trifold even — by the bewildered hurt that the beta’s countenance wore.

then came the crack — the feeble words in the wake of hydra’s implied exile. arcturus looked long and hard upon revui when he registered what had been spoken, and found he did not care to hear his father’s name wielded by blood that had defiled all charon had vied for. it was as if, to arcturus, revui was not deserving to utter such a name - to evoke such memories.

he rose and paused. for a moment he looked as if he might follow after hydra without a word — yet quickly he turned back to revui, expression cold. his tone final.  father is dead, revui.

there was no use evoking the name of their father —  for charon’s reign had ended the moment his body had been given back to the mountain. arcturus turned after hydra, his hackles raised as he slunk away in heated steps.

when you come down to take me home
send my soul away

January 10, 2020, 10:11 AM
Hydra
Moonspear
Alpha*
Hydra's ears turned backward as her brothers spoke their exchange, and the Queen herself bristled. A darker shade passed over her features as she remembered all that had come to pass in his absence, all that he did not know. Looking over her shoulder, Hydra corrected him: you are not banished, Revui. Do not be so thick; listen with your ears, not with your pride. Hydra hardly wanted to call him brother, and was half-inclined to do so no more. She wondered if he had a terrible fall when he had left, but she did recall how dim he could be. Hydra could have made him more.

He reduced himself to less.

She had half a mind to inform him of their mothers passing. In fairness, she knew she ought to—but he had never been fair to her, to Arcturus. For so long they did not know of his own fate! ...and only because he had been found did he reveal himself. Hydra held great doubt in Revui and his loyalty; she imagined that now, he might go and cling to Korei Julia, or Yami, or anyone else for lack of understanding. The estranged, the disappointments of Charon's loins; proof that he was not all that perfect, though they had all thought him to be prior to Speedy—

Speedy. Hydra blamed her for all of this, too. And she imagined Revui finding her, then, and the children she might have bore; she imagined his loyalty shifting to her, despite all that Hydra would do for him. Soft, warm, accepting, and stupid—the final trait something the two of them shared, as Hydra looked to him now.

Return when you are better than you are now, and prepared to have the decency to let us know when and where you run off to. Leaving was never the problem; it was leaving as you did, and then never coming back to let us know you were alright at the least. If you wanted to explore, fine; you know that Alya has, and I have, gone scouting. Alya has even run with Easthollow. It was terribly unfair of you to let us think you dead when you knew we would go to the ends of the earth for you. Only when you are truly ready to do the same do I want to look upon you again, she maintained all composure, voice cool despite the angry heat licking at her belly. She could not believe that each day that passed in those seven long, hard months he could not once have made his way home; that to avoid that, whether he meant to or not, he had trespassed! She refused to believe he had not meant to; she had raised him better than that. I will not leave you wondering: mother is gone, too. With father.

Let him understand more, if he could, of what they had endured while he ran free. His time as captive was brief in comparison to the time they had all mourned, suffered, tried to put the pieces back together that had been left behind. It had not simply been mother and father to her, though; it had been mother, father, Revui. Three losses, three graves—a soulrending bludgeon striking thrice!

If only her mother and father could have surprised them, ripping themselves from their resting place as Revui had. She would have preferred it; they would never have left her, never. Wholeheartedly Hydra had believed that only death could take Revui from her; it was a terrible thing to learn this was not the case. It would have been easier to banish him as she had with Yami, with Korei Julia—those that disappointed you were ever bound to disappoint you again, and it was better in her experience to build an unbreakable wall that even a beserker such as Revui could not break through. But she built no such wall. Not this day.

But every day that passed, stone and steel and iron would come to collect and rise. Every month that went without his return would mean her stripping him away from her; so much of him was gone already, but the remaining love she did have for him was her decider this particular hour. It was with a heavy heart that Hydra turned away and headed to where home always had been... at least for her.

I'll find that you'll find that I'm lethal
January 10, 2020, 03:19 PM
Revui
Ursus
Earthclaw
Their words combined were more effective than any blow he had sustained, wounding him deeper than the broken leg or the impressive scars he bore; these words were full of their hurt, their distrust, their honour-bound code which he had broken. He could not help but listen as blow after blow came — father was gone, and mother too, and he was unwelcome, unworthy.

Then they both turned away from him and were moving off, content enough with their wounding and the weakness they had cursed him with in the knowing; but Revui could not fathom a world without Charon or Amekaze. He retreated within himself for comfort as they were not willing to spare it themselves, not for the likes of him, and when he finally had enough composure to function again, his family was gone.

Revui was left staring at the spots where once Hydra and Arcturus had stood, his eyes trailing after their path, his limbs unwilling to march after them; but this was his chance to reunite and make good of himself, to prove them wrong, to be better. To be worthy. He found he could not do it — and so he turned his back to them again, and marched the other way.

The woods have always been filled with these soft doe-eyed things;
with hearts beating for the arrow, the bullet, the lance.

I have always been the huntsman.