Neverwinter Forest the beach, the way the water felt-
Private  September 08, 2020, 01:19 PM
Huā
Yuèlóng
Huángdì*
for @Mal , set for today/last night either or?
 

The troubles had kept the both of them busy. Hide was back, and with that a great stress lifted from her shoulders. And so she could have more time in the last days in the forest to spend with those she felt she had neglected in her worries about the missing wolves. Her family, her crush, her children. But she had not seen Mal recently, and set out to find him- unaware of Cupid's state, especially unaware of the state Mal was in because of it.

September 09, 2020, 02:19 AM
Mal
Neverwinter Forest
Alpha*
And some tags for ref just 'cause. :P Many details vagueyvague.

When he could, Mal put on a particularly untrue face -- when he went to go see @Aibreann and their children or swung by @Miriam's to see her and Liliana, mostly for the benefit of the children -- and to those who were wise enough, it was probably fairly easy to see through. He would spend more time with Caerus for obvious reasons (unless the boy outright avoided him), and there he was more honest, but still afraid of seeming too weak to his son. Mal was the adult. He needed to be available if his son needed support, not the other way around. However good that might be working. He probably saw @Simmik too? She'd get a similarly kinda honest view of things but he was pretty avoidant of a lot of things.

He might be healed from his previous escapade across the realm, but he certainly was in no state to do more, despite the better weather and everything. There were times he just went off by himself, lay down under a tree, and practically melted into the ground itself from the mental exhaustion at it all. Though obviously awake, he wasn't particularly aware of things, lost somewhere in the back of his mind, running over events, doubts, and everything he did wrong and now couldn't fix for the millionth time since and it was just as draining. This absolute disaster.

Unsurprisingly he wouldn't notice her approach -- perhaps at the last minute if she was being loud.

September 26, 2020, 05:15 AM
Huā
Yuèlóng
Huángdì*
When she found him, he didn't appear particularly... focused. Huā frowned as she got closer- and of course, she wasn't a noisy woman, and thus she had to call out to earn his attention: Mal? What was he doing, sorta moping around like this? Had she missed something? (Of course she had.)

September 26, 2020, 06:05 PM
Mal
Neverwinter Forest
Alpha*
Blink blink. He was slowly pulled back to reality, turning his head slowly to look at her, and then a shift of his expression to be a bit more neutral, awkwardly trying to metaphorically box things up that he didn't know how to do. Oh. Um. Hey Hua. What're you up to? He wasn't very good at pretending things were okay, at least with things this weighty. His tail flapped rather limply a couple of times but he otherwise didn't move.

Nah, he was totally normal right now. Nothing wrong. It was easier to badly pretend than it was to figure out where to start if she didn't know.

September 26, 2020, 09:58 PM
Huā
Yuèlóng
Huángdì*
Huā was no mastermind of emotional complexities, but you didn't have to be Mal's therapist to tell something was up with him. It was certainly rare to see him without some little lopsided smile, and he didn't exactly seem eager to see her (though she wondered if it was right to expect that from him.) Immediately whatever hint of a smile she had fell away, and her coffee shoulders drooped slightly, posture weighted. Um, I was just... looking for you. Are you okay? The answer was obviously no, but she wanted to be there for him- and still, didn't feel right about prying information out of him. He'd share as much or as little as he wanted, she figured- and if he wanted her to leave, that was an option too. Whatever helped.

September 26, 2020, 10:31 PM
Mal
Neverwinter Forest
Alpha*
He didn't really know what to say or what might fix things. It was all just... A lot. A pause and he shook his head. He still seemed like he was moving a bit in slow motion, Cupid is dead. Drop that brick, then the other, And one of my sons is missing. Been missing. Since before Mal even got back. About the time he would have been able to go looking, that's when Cupid... happened.

And he was just very mentally exhausted now, trying to be strong when around his pack, trying now. Failing. Mal had been trying to hold things together with minimal support but it was probably the wrong thing to do. How could he ask for help from Aibreann or Hua when it was about Cupid and he had Caerus and Liliana to care for? And Simmik had her own issues to still deal with. So what did it leave? Exhaustion, pretty much.

October 12, 2020, 03:28 AM
Huā
Yuèlóng
Huángdì*
Her friend gave a slow shake of his head, and Huā awaited his words with breath held stiffly in her lungs. Cupid is dead. Huā thought of the moment she'd met the dark fellow the other day, a fairly quiet presence who had experienced the same violence from the saints as Mal. He'd been one of the other... bearers of Mal's children, for a lack of better term in Huā's mind. And now he was dead?! The empress had never really met him in a way personal enough to grieve- rather a heavy guilt settled over her, thinking of how she'd merely regarded him as competition for being at Mal's side. Sure, she'd wanted Cupid to go... somewhere else and make it easier for her to get what she wanted. But she never wished for him to go this far. 

The second was equally bad- the kid wasn't confirmed dead, but he was a child, and Mal's own blood. Huā released a shallow breath, unsure what to say. What could be done? There was no bringing the dead back to life- but the child, he could still be found. The siren tried to imagine losing her son. The thought nearly made her sick; she couldn't imagine what kind of pain he was going through- and with little prior experience with situations of comforting others' grief, Huā couldn't imagine what sort of words could be conjured to repair his spirits. Sometimes spirits couldn't be repaired at all. There was no rushing grief... and Mal would have to go through it, but the least she could do was let him know that he wasn't alone in the world- even if Huā hadn't known Cupid like he had, she was still here as a shoulder for Mal to lean on. The siren bent down and laid beside him, applying a sorry little lap to his cheek if allowed, quiet and unsure. I want to be here for you. Emotionally. She couldn't stay with him in the forest, not when she had her pack all awaiting their return... as much as she wished she could, especially at a hard time like this. If you want to talk, I will listen. If you need something from me, tell me, and I will try to help. It would've been nice to be able to offer an I love you too, if that could possibly provide any warmth into a cold time... but she was still hesitant to say such a thing, and wondered if it was wrong to speak something so personal in his moment of grief. She didn't want to bombard him with questions, definitely not in his state, and thus rather than asking after whether he'd sent scouts, she made a personal note to go scouting on her own if his son wasn't home by her next visit. Cupid was not something she could even try to fix- and that fact was almost frustrating. It was hard to know what to do, besides staying with him for now and offering her ears.

October 13, 2020, 01:52 AM
Mal
Neverwinter Forest
Alpha*
When she lay next to him, he closed whatever distance was between them, burying his face in the fur of her neck, silent for a moment before taking in one sharp breath. It had been an invitation -- at least from his touch-starved perspective -- that he'd been so ready to take advantage of. Hadn't it? He was too tired to confirm.

Because for the last however long it had been, everything had been about Mal making sure that everyone else was ok -- Caerus, Liliana, Simmik. And because of the first two, he didn't feel like he could go find solace on his own -- no, he was supposed to help his children, wasn't he? And he was probably too touchy-feely for the whole list, leaving Mal feeling particularly alone and on his own.

But he was trying to keep himself together, but at the same time, he did need to talk to someone who didn't (as far as he knew) have a pile of fresh problems of their own. So there was an understandable pause there before he croaked, I didn't get to fix things -- I can't--. Which part? All of it. All of the bad things had fit there in some way. It was vague enough. It wasn't like he was any good at talking about any of this stuff either, other than to blame himself.

October 22, 2020, 09:43 PM
Huā
Yuèlóng
Huángdì*
This time, she wouldn't try to shy awkwardly away from his touch. The way he threw himself into her fur showed her he needed her affection right now, and so she sort of returned that embrace by letting herself sink into him in the same way, though careful not to make herself a burden, and rather more like a blanket to provide comfort as she could. A small lap to his cheek as he spoke up. She was quiet for a moment, It's okay to not be okay. There was no rushing grief. She wasn't going to try and prod him to get better ASAP or move on with his life or anything like that. Of course it was still fresh news- but if he wanted to wallow for days, weeks, months, she could shower him with affection and offer listening ears each time she saw him again. You cannot... cannot talk to him anymore, but... he is still with you, is he not? She delicately lifted a black paw and pressed it to his chest, the heart. She wasn't religious. She didn't believe in the heavens, but she did believe someone could be kept alive by their stories, the memories of them that remained among those who loved them, or the legends passed down. Back at home there were so many fables of ancient wolves, whose lives became so well-known that she thought them just as real as her own sisters. 

Your son... I will look for him. If I go looking, will you have someone here to take care of you? Because he couldn't be made to take care of himself in such a state... but the members of his pack befell trouble after trouble. She doubted they all loved Cupid as Mal had, but if any did, surely they were hurting just as much as him. She didn't feel right about crossing the wilds if he needed someone to comfort him in his life right now... and wondered momentarily if it would be better to send a scout instead, so that she might visit Mal in her free time instead of lengthening the distance between them.

October 31, 2020, 02:19 AM
Mal
Neverwinter Forest
Alpha*
Warmth, comfort. He probably would have wrapped Hua around him if he could have. When she licked his cheek, he pressed against her more. Why was life so awful and complicated? He'd just wanted things to be happy. Why did it go wrong? The whole thing had done a pretty good job at mangling his perspective, and his train of thought jumped  more than usual.

He understood the point Hua was making, but in his personal situation, it almost made things a little more distressing, and he countered, almost pleading, What if it isn't what he wants? He was angry and-- And then Cupid died. It was unresolved. Maybe based on what Hua had seen Cupid hadn't taken it too seriously any more, but Mal remembered. That was the most raw point -- the fact that they couldn't just do the wolf equivalent of shaking hands and saying things were all behind them now. Cupid had never been good at communicating with Mal, and that made it worse. What had he been thinking? Was he hated?

But at her suggestion of someone to look after him, he adamantly shook his head, No--no it's not about me. I have to make sure they're all ok -- I have to take care of Caerus and Liliana, I don't matter. Or that's what he'd been saying to basically everyone who tried to prioritize him. Which certainly wasn't in his best interests -- he would burn the candle at both ends and then some. He'd sort of avoided Hua, he'd avoided dallying around Aibreann. He couldn't get a hug out of Simmik... This was just how it had to be or something. He had to put his kids first because they mattered.

November 07, 2020, 06:03 PM
Huā
Yuèlóng
Huángdì*
He gave into her affections, which she was glad for, but his next words reminded her why she wasn't a counselor. Things were too complex. She wished it was easy to just comfort him and have him shut up and just take it, and be happy, but that came from the short-tempered side of her, that was perplexed on how to answer. She only felt so annoyed with his answer because she didn't know how to help him, but all she wanted was to do just that. It was irritating. 

She sighed quietly through her nostrils, unsure what to say. 

Okay, okay, maybe it is not what he wants- you- you can not know. You will not. Cold truths falling from her lips, and she knew they might hit hard. Cupid would never be able to tell Mal what he wanted after death. But what if, it is what he wants? What if? He lived here and stayed here, did he not? In Huā's mindset, if Cupid didn't wish to remain with Mal, he would've already been gone- child regardless, their kid could be dragged along. Look at the siren herself- she did not want to leave Yuèlóng. And her kids lived with her, and she chose to live away from Mal each day, (as much as she wished things were less complicated, and Neverwinter and Yuèlóng could be one.) In the same way, Cupid might've been angry, or considered leaving... but he never did, even though he could've got up and left any time. As far as Huā knew, Cupid had been a Neverwinter member since some unknown faraway time, and he'd cared for Mal when he was hurt. Maybe it was just his job as the doctor. But maybe he'd made a conscious choice to remain- they would really never know. 

When Mal said it wasn't about him, her eyes widened, and she planted another anxious kiss on his cheek, You can not- you can not, not care about yourself! She vaguely recalled Liliana being the name of the daughter who was attacked, though Caerus didn't ring any particular bells. She figured that was another kid, considering she'd brushed paths with most of the Neverwinter adults. It is okay to look after your children. But someone should look after you too. I wish I could be here more- I just want to help you. She sighed, and subdued the pricking at the corner of her eyes. I want you to be happy.

November 07, 2020, 09:16 PM
Mal
Neverwinter Forest
Alpha*
Maybe he wanted to believe it, but right now how could how could he? The world was dark, and that was all he could think of. But I don't know, was his whisper. Why does this have to happen to us? Hadn't they been through enough? Hua didn't know about all of it. He hadn't mentioned his briefly having a brother, or the exact specifics of those who had come and gone, or the details of trespassers and other troubles. Why wasn't the trials they'd been through been enough? Couldn't the world pick on a different pack, a different wolf?

They shouldn't have to. He shook his head and then buried it again in her ruff, his actions counter to what he was saying. Everyone has enough to worry about already, even you. Which was probably why after being kept at arm's length by several people, he did need this. He just didn't want to admit it, because what would he do whenever it was Yuelong went home? I wish you could stay. Mal looked up then, paused a moment before licking Hua's cheek. His actions weren't anxious like hers, but weighted under all that happened. He could say more, but could he actually do so? He was bad at talking. He hoped she could see.

December 03, 2020, 01:28 AM
Huā
Yuèlóng
Huángdì*
900<3

Why does this have to happen to us?

It was not her pain in this moment, but those words broke her.

Why,

why?! 



Why, when they always tried their damn hardest to keep happy and keep to themselves? All Huā had ever wanted was to protect Yuèlóng and her children! She was sure Mal had the same goals with his own people. But it was one thing on top of another- Ying's memory loss, the arrival of the bastards who called themselves saints, the kidnapping of her packmate and the general cruelty upon the innocent from nature and other wolves alike. And her pain in the past few months did not reach Mal's, for he had lost a child and co-parent for God's sake, but she knew that feeling. The feeling that no matter how hard you worked to be a wolf deserving of the universe's kindness, you would be snapped again and again by its whip and made to keep running. 

After all, she had only been a young girl when the universe first struck her so cruelly!

I'll never know. She breathed.

He buried himself in her fur as he spoke. She wanted to wrap him and his children up in a gentle place and hide them away from the evil world. 

Ying was right, all that time ago: Mal was a strong man. Only strong men broke so heavily, with all the weight they balanced so carefully on their shoulders. 

But he was right here, too; she had so much else to worry about. Being a pack leader came with the duty of making sure every member was okay, and then there was the task of raising her own children. 

I wish I could stay, too. She sighed after a moment, I wish Neverwinter and Yuèlóng were the same, so I could always be there for you. Minus all of Mal's Neverwinter lovers, of course. When he kissed her, she gave him a small smile, though it was weak and saddened by the moment. All I can do is make all my little time left here yours, and stay by your side. If you think my company would help... She looked into his eyes, hoping he would agree to her presence in what little remained of Yuèlóng's visit.

But would it only hurt him more, if he longed for her company in her absence? Or would he have another girl's fur to fall into and weep?

January 03, 2021, 12:22 AM
Mal
Neverwinter Forest
Alpha*
We can probably wrap this? <3

He was running low on things to say -- of coherent phrases he could put together that would express himself beyond what emotion did. Even if right now he wished he felt nothing. That nothing had happened. How far could he rewind? It would help, he said quietly. And perhaps later it would hurt. But honestly right now he didn't think there was much of a choice. Hurt and other hurt and other other hurt. That was reality right now. This was the world.

You're here now though. I'm glad you're here. We were supposed to be able to enjoy this, weren't we? And just... He took a sharp breath again, leaning into Hua. This was the hand they were dealt. He wished they could just stay together. So complicated. He sort of shook his head, as if he could make it go away. It wouldn't of course.

January 03, 2021, 09:25 PM
Huā
Yuèlóng
Huángdì*
yesss, will wrap here :>
 

He leaned into her, and she into him, sighing into his fur. There were no words left for her to conjure up either- and so she stayed with him as long as she could, until the darkness settled, until Yuèlóng had to go... she would be near, even if it was a mere day or two that remained for her to be here.