Bitterroot Valley you hit me yesterday because i made you cry
All Welcome  May 02, 2020, 02:09 PM
Reif
Approved Members


returned, back, home?

he ponders restlessly over the words, snout wrinkled in vivid concentration. odd that 'home' fit in so well there. he could announce 'i am back' or 'i am home' and no one would bat an eye at the difference. yet there is a yawning cavern of significant polarity writhing between the two. he felt more lost than home but he has returned. a huff of frustration is freed to roam the frigid air tickling at his lissom figure. what the hell was home???? he'd lived in a few places so as a result were they all home or did such territory promiscuity rob him of the right to refer to anywhere as home?

grumbling, he stalks aimlessly through the flatland rolling peacefully away from him. sage gaze focusing on the swaying heads of vibrant flowers as they spread determinedly across the valley, one big coruscating carpet. the harsh bite of recent weather has hindered their display but it is as if it makes them more animated; dancing with a burning ferocity to disguise any bald spots sneering out. licking at his lips, willowy limbs shift to drop his figure close to the ground as he inspects the deviant life before him. the intensity of such a solemn expression would lead you to believe that he must be inspecting something with a far greater presence than a mere plant but no, the look he offers to this speck of innocent beauty does not waver as a featherlight paw is lifted to carefully move it so that it can be seen from all angles.
May 20, 2020, 09:37 PM
Valiant
Pledged
Seelie Court
I can delete this if it messes things up for Zephyr!
The journey back to the Teekon Wilds was not as long as it'd felt leaving the place. This was his first time making the trip on his own, however, and so his nerves were just a little bit shot.

But he was big, now. Not quite his full height or as filled out as he would've liked. Not yet the same side as his venerable father — but big enough to hold his own, he thought. Big enough to feed himself, and keep himself warm at night, and to bristle and growl at strangers if he needed to make himself intimidating.

On his current trail, however, he was all swishing tail and nose-to-the-ground. Here was a scent he'd not crossed in a long, long while; one of Atwood's brothers! One of his cousins, he was fairly sure, but he'd never been clear on how that relationship worked. And he didn't even know which one this was. They'd not spent much time together, except when they were tumbling little masses, and Valiant had always been too focused on fun to really get to know any of his tiny companions.

When he caught sight of the other boy, however, he knew his name almost at once. "Reif!" he called, his heart leaping at the sight of a familiar face — but one that likely had no expectations of him. "It's me, Valiant! Do you remember?"
May 22, 2020, 06:46 PM
Reif
Approved Members

reif!

his skin prickles as he jumps, balance faltering at the unbidden motion so that the paw that had propped the gossamer plant before him now became the enemy as it pushed it to the earth; his entire weight pressing into the frail burst of life. devastation flickered briefly across round eyes at the crushed specimen, dislodged petals already hitching in the breeze and getting as far away from him as possible. who- and they knew his name! it had been long, so long since he'd heard that uttering tumble from another's lips and it was about as nerve wracking as the sudden blast with which this stranger had intruded on this solitary moment. but then- was it a stranger if they called out his name with such brazen confidence? his mind ticked frantically away from him at such speed that this had all raced and rallied throughout before he'd even turned narrowing eyes to rest upon the approaching figure as they spoke again.

ears leaned back against his head at the pierce of such enthusiastic yells, willing the hitch in his breaths to cease so that they could slow...slow...please slow down....his eyes fluttered shut for the briefest of moments. he wished it could be longer, that he could sink into the rolling dark until the writhing in his head settled once more but no, he must make sure...safe....blinking rapidly; he tried to ignore the sudden glare of the verdant surroundings. once lovely but now..harsh, piercing. another shaky inhale, focus. 

valiant...

his nose scrunched as he observed with close wariness, studying the emotions that flickered across those boyish features. he seemed...pleased? right? his head cocked a little at that, why would he be pleased at the sight of....him? did he know him, there was something familiar there- like an itch on his brain. still crouched amongst the flowers, willowy limbs tense and apprehensive; he remembered. rolling back over bright flashes, picture perfect memories caught on camera. the gentle embrace of hazy afternoons, the hum of whispering willows as wolves lilted and laughed...safe. he knew who this was, no one significant really but....he represented a part of reif that he missed terribly now that everything was cold and dangerous. so what tumbled from pale jaws wasn't exactly a direct answer, but it said enough as it slipped forth hoarsely. "elysium"
May 22, 2020, 08:24 PM
Valiant
Pledged
Seelie Court
The silence seemed to stretch on for a very long time, in Valiant's mind. He felt more and more uncomfortable with the amount of excitement he'd expressed as he waited for the other boy's reaction. This was clear in the slight wilting of his stark features, but his body language remained hopeful and friendly.

"That's right," he agreed, realizing that, perhaps, Reif had just had trouble placing him. It was no surprise, really — they'd been so small, and Valiant had played more often with his brother and sister or by himself than with the other children in the woods. A little more quietly, he added, "I was in the willows just the other day. It's — it's not like how I remember."

He kicked awkwardly at the dirt.

"How have you been doing?"
May 25, 2020, 07:16 PM
Reif
Approved Members

so deeply snared by the onslaught of memories skimming past his terse gaze like a manic slide show, reif failed to notice the withering of his newfound company. failed to notice that his chilled demeanour had reached icy claws forth to tear through the radiant joy of the fellow willow born boy. all he could see was mama's....atwood.....sundance...and dappled light prancing daintily along his paws as the willows hummed merry symphonies above. he too seemed to shrivel up a bit as rapid blinking tore him free from the treacherous reverie and back to the real world...the sights he'd marvelled at only moments ago suddenly dull and muted after what his mind had portrayed to him. 

eyes snatch at the pallid creature when he speaks, voice too dropping so that it was but a wisp of mist slithering across to his crouched figure. he swallowed hastily, pushing frail limbs to lift his body to a stand...he now recalled his own mission to their former home, yet unlike valiant he hadn't succeeded in such a journey. he'd kept walking, like a mere flea clambering up the mountains and back down until the air grew sharper and crueler with its icy talons; the mountains but a leering row of teeth to his back. but he'd just kept going until the teekons themselves were a blur in the distance. oh gods. 

that faraway look had casted veils over that sage glance until a question was tumbled his way and he jolted a little, mind returning to the present once again with graceless regret. he frowned a little, how was he doing? "fine..i guess?it's posed as a question, head tipping to the side a little. what was he supposed to say? he most definitely wasn't fantastic or jumping for joy but he obviously wasn't dying...such a pointless question. no, that was unfair; that question was kind. it was...what was it, it was considerate. he should, ask how valiant was too right? wrinkling his nose a little in concentration, he asked quietly "and how have you been doing?he caught his gaze for only a moment to pose that question before blinking away again. 

there was another question that he did want to ask, could feel the pressure of it lodged in his throat but...the idea of summoning it was choking. he had to know though, just in case...licking at his lips he whispered, voice just audible enough to reach the other boy with the breeze's aid "i don't suppose you caught any signs of..olive or seabreeze? sundance or atwood? i...i haven't seen them in a long...long time...he studied his paws with intense concentration then as if the way the blades of grass shielded them despite how many of their kin lay crushed beneath them was the most fascinating thing in the world. he hadn't let himself think of his family at all, it had been easier that way..to just block their memories out. but now...he felt things, these clamouring emotions. and they were terrifying.
May 27, 2020, 12:02 AM
Valiant
Pledged
Seelie Court
Even after Reif's not-so enthusiastic reply, Valiant didn't regret asking after him. He regretted that things didn't seem to be going great for him, of course, but that was just how things worked, wasn't it? "The same, kind of," he admitted with a feeble wag of his tail. He came a little closer, disliking how this felt like meeting a perfect stranger even though that was really what it was.

Of course, he should have suspected a question like the one that followed. Atwood, he thought to himself, experiencing a familiar pang, but he was more hung up on the first two names. "I'd thought..." they died, he finished in his head, but he didn't trust any of his memories from that time period. It didn't seem right to share this assumption with Reif, either — not when he wasn't sure.

"I'm sorry," he said with a shake of his head, his heart thumping a little uncomfortably. "I haven't seen — well, anyone, really. There were no traces of them at the willows. Not my dad and Aeryn either. Some new pack is taking over."

This was said with a tiny thread of bitterness, but he was quick to shake this expression away, even if the emotion remained.

"When did you last see them?" he asked, a lump forming in his throat.
May 27, 2020, 08:48 AM
Reif
Approved Members

the look he cast towards the slight steps taken by his company wavered warily for only a moment before a heavy weariness settled over him and a sigh pushed free from his snout. limbs slackening, he leaned back to allow himself to sit whilst regarding valiant with eyes much softer, better suiting the serene sage rolling within them. at the unfinished sentence to tug from his lips, a frown pressed against reif's features as his head tipped to the side. why didn't he finish? had he forgotten what he was going to say or something. his mouth had opened, ready to loose a rough prompt when he...apologised? stiffening a little, brows knitted tightly as he felt slight panic wriggle through his chest. had had done something bad? something that required an 'i'm sorry' to shake off deeply embedded claws of guilt? the assumptions kept rolling forth as a muscles twitched within tightly clenched jaws when he mumbled once more.

it hurt his head, this little rollercoaster valiant had taken him on to get to that statement. what had he thought, it could not have been what he just said because there was certainty with those facts, not the doubt encrusted 'thought'. and why apologize? "you don't need to say sorry, it's not your fault right?a dangerous question. he couldn't really see valiant doing something bad, there was a pure glow to him and those wide, doe like eyes but why say sorry. his eyes shut briefly as the rest of the statement caught up to him. no one at the willows, so cam hadn't been lying about that. not that he'd thought he was but...no room for doubt now. swallowing thickly, he urged his mind not to wander down the dark path of wondering what had happened to his family; what had seemed to wipe them from the face of this damned earth. and, what was that...a...a new pack? his eyes flashed open, sharp as a thin blade as they cut towards the boy and he stood. "what?it tumbled messily from his lip as he bristled, short pelt spiky like an angry cat. "they..they can't!an indignant, childish wail. "they can't do that they...no they can't, it belongs to elysium i don't care if there's no one left it's still, it's ours

breathing quickly, he glared off towards the leer of those jagged peaks. to think of these strangers parading about his home, stealing the willow's whispered secrets and sleeping in the dens he'd rolled about in with his brothers....no! the earth seemed unsteady as his tail lashed to relieve some pent up energy, scattering the vibrant hues of silken petals as they took to the breeze. the question barely made it through the fog that was slowly engulfing him but he latched onto it, used it to reel himself in and away from the claws that had been making to clutch cruelly at his mind. he couldn't break down..no, not now. working to steady his breaths, he shook his head listlessly. when had he last seen them? "it's been a long time..remember when the whole world started shaking and breaking? i was out one day and some damn rocks cut me off from the pack so i left the mountains they weren't safe. i was gone a good while before i met cam, remember him? he told me that everyone had disappearedhis paws shuffled through the fallen flowers, blinking regretfully at them before looking back up to valiant and whispering "i wonder what happened to them"
June 10, 2020, 03:15 AM
Valiant
Pledged
Seelie Court
Valiant fought the urge to step back, away from Reif. He'd been glad to see the boy at first, but now felt a little strange and wary in his company. "I suppose not," he allowed, but still felt guilty for all the things he'd seen but couldn't change. For having a living father — even one who was far away — when others did not.

Reif's outburst did cause him to draw back half a step, his ears pinning before he could stop them. He tried to make himself relax, but it hurt to look at the other boy's pain and to remember how things had been before. He hadn't allowed himself to be angry about the other pack's formation. What would be the point? And he hadn't allowed himself to really miss those that they'd lost. How could he, when he didn't even know what had happened to half of them? When he hadn't been able to save them? When others had lost so much more?

What happened to you? he wondered, wishing he could be a ghost in Reif's pawsteps for a day, and see what had transpired since the sweet hush of their infancy. But he couldn't, and he didn't ask.

"When the ground was shaking, my dad gathered up everyone he could find and led them away from the willows," said Valiant, feeling as though he was admitting to some great crime. He'd only been a child, but he felt deep guilt and discomfort over all those they hadn't managed to connect with. "He said it wasn't safe anymore, and we were going to move... but then I was separated from him. From everyone, really. My aunt managed to find me and dropped me off somewhere safe while she looked for everyone — she says she checked the willows and left scent markers, but she never ran into anyone else."

He was glad to hear that Cam was alive as well, but after revealing how he had been complicit in the crime of abandoning the willows and its wolves to their fate, he didn't feel he had the right to ask about thier other cousin. (Were they cousins? Some of them were, he was pretty sure.)

"I'm sorry," he said again, unable to help himself. "I should've looked harder, or gone with her. She didn't know all your scents, so maybe she missed something. I wish you and Atwood and everyone could've been at Round Valley with me, too."
June 10, 2020, 10:56 AM
Reif
Approved Members

his expression is unreadable as he gazes quietly upon the vibrant petals smiling back as the boy tells his story. a slow nod as silence settles between them once more, sage eyes lifting to blink upon his company and feeling a startled bolt stir through him at the intensity of the emotion guttering in that sunset gaze. tearing his look free from it, he frowned a little to himself and rolled the story back over in his mind...uncertain as to what facts displayed so easily before him could withold something to cause such trauma. it was so very frustrating, not being able to dissect these feelings that sprang from other wolves in radiant cascades, pouring from every pore of their soul. he shifted awkwardly amongst the plants, watching them throw flamboyant figures in sprightly dance; that's what he sometimes seen these intense emotions as...dancing colours leaking from the intense press of wide eyes. swallowing hastily, he lifts slender shoulders in a gentle shrug to murmur "thanks for er..telling me, that makes sense"

he was grateful, having detested his lack of knowledge in regards to the disappearance of his entire pack. at least now the knowledge was secured within his mind now, not that it would do much good. his mama's were still gone...atwood and sundance too and now that he knew a new pack strutted about there...he swallows against the sour taste. it meant any fruitless hopes that his family had hidden from the earth's madness were shattered. 

eyes snap back at the apology, frown still lingering but something in the point of his stare grows softer as the words continue to bubble from valiant's mouth. "'sokayhe mumbles, shuffling paws idly "i shouldn't have leftit had been his fault, thinking his yearn to discover the source of these rumbles made him invincible. if he'd just stayed put then perhaps he'd know his family's whereabouts, but he'd left without so much as a word. selfish. ears flick back.

"thankshe whispers again, settling to a crouch amongst the protective embrace of the psychedelic carpet they lingered upon. he wasn't sure what else there was to stay, cursing his inability to make normal talk as the soothing silence traced the fringes of shivering ears.
June 25, 2020, 12:36 PM
Valiant
Pledged
Seelie Court
Despite his words of thanks, Valiant couldn't help but feel that Reif was secretly blaming him for all their family's woes. Not because he suspected Reif was cruel or unfair, but because Valiant could only imagine that he was at fault. So he was taken aback when the boy tried to assign himself some of the blame.

"You couldn't have known," he said, gently but staunchly, "You — we were just kids. Everything was confusing. Sometimes," he took a deep breath and let it out, "sometimes you just do what you think is right, and there's no way to know until things turn out that it was the wrong choice."

There was a lesson in that, he thought, but he wasn't ready to process it. Reif seemed to be inviting him to depart, and for propriety's sake and for his own comfort, Valiant wanted to accept. "I'm staying near the willows," he said to Reif, already stepping away, "So come by if you ever want to talk, or need a hunting partner or — or anything. Okay?"