Moonsong Glacier Dreams of what I once claimed to know.
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#1
RIP 
Consciousness did not feel worth the effort. What did he have to be awake for? A sweeping cold from his chosen haunt, or the pit of despair he had thrown himself in to? For a time there was stillness. Laborious breaths became steady. The trail of blood he'd left pointed to the lake and then veered in to the underbrush, and while Revui sank in to the blissful state of near-death, cushioned by the cold embrace of the perpetual winter upon this ice capped promenade, he longed to slip away.

Your newer scars—victories? a smile in the dark; pine-green eyes staring over a quilled shoulder.
I think he wants out, chuckled a distant voice, and when Revui tried to lift his head to look, he saw constellations.

A draconic shape spanning the air around him, a spine of Orion's belt; wings unfurled, its mouth gaping wide...


He woke, seeing those stars burned in to his vision, blinking in the dark as they slipped away. The taste of rust set in between his teeth. He swam in his own body, tethered by a thin silken strand to the vessel of his body. A vague awareness prickles at his throat, something perfuming the air, drawing him out of the stupor—bunches of winterfat crushed beneath him.
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.

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#2
Dad had told him to be careful because Aibreann had been attacked. He wasn't the best pack medic in training ever, because as much as he wanted to, he couldn't find it in himself to care. She was alive, wasn't she? All he could think about was how Cupid never got that chance when the bees came for him. Caerus would help out where he could if needed, but his heart wasn't there, and he wasn't going to force it to appreciate a woman with too much to be happy about. 

He traveled from Neverwinter. Winter was coming, and part of him knew he might have to thicken up to prepare, but he was still a scrawny little thing despite his dad's best efforts to feed him. This place was cold, and Caerus thought he could sink into earth here and just be, without having to concern himself with his Dad or any of the little maggots that might try to steal his only remaining parent away, or any of the mothers that would try to take him into their fold. He wasn't theirs. He was Mal's alone now, and he wanted to think Mal would only be his- the other kids all had moms. They ought to stick to them and leave Dad the hell alone. 

He sighed heavily and moved until he found a trail of blood. All Dad's warnings of be careful went out the window as he followed the path into the underbrush, and soon found a large smoky male who barely looked alive with how still he lay. Caerus watched him wide-eyed at some few yard distance for a moment, noting the slight shift of his chest as he still breathed. An exhale of relief, perhaps, as he shifted closer, pausing as he found his father's scent on this man. He was hurting... did dad do this? But the guys that attacked Aibreann were dead, right? So who was this? 

Caerus didn't think his father would attack an innocent wolf without reason, and yet, Revui looked so vulnerable now, falling apart at the seams and grasping dearly at his consciousness. wake up. Caerus spoke quietly in more of a plea than a command, gently prodding his shoulder in some place without cuts with his paw. He stubbornly wanted the story, even though this man seemed like he might not be awake enough to speak... but Caerus would hope for him to do, and settled into a seat at his side, assuming that he was not a danger a present.
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kukutux had come away from wraen; she had stumbled down the edge of silvertip and made her way toward the icebound glacier where she had last met arcturus. tears blurred her vision to think of him; the duck swore to herself that her mind would pine for him no longer. let him be off with his ill-made companion. let him forsake moonspear fully. 

the snowbird knew that when he heard the words of the woman he had chosen, he would be angered. and so she prepared herself for it, wiping her tears aside with an angry gesture, thinking of what she might say.

her trek through moonsong was not complete when the heavy scent of blood and of torn flesh rose upon the wind. revui; rage craving through her veins as she tracked him as though he were a wounded caribou.

a child at his side; kukutux drew to a rigid stop, wet eyes staring. was this one of his? but the longer she watched the more it seemed the pup had no resemblance. "you want to die, revui?" the snow-wife shouted through the cold air, striding toward his downed figure with towering hackles. had she not only just put him together again? what sorrow in him drove the trader to the teeth of wolves time and time and time after time?

a gulp of air; her practiced gaze cast about helplessly for any sign of plantlife that might aid her endless questing to keep this vicious fool alive. "you. go to find me the small white flowers that grow in the ice," she commanded of the strange sitting boy, bitter and wrapped in her own grief. or leave. she herself went to revui, muttering a prayer beneath her breath as she bent over him again. "if you want a death, i will give you the red plant," she hissed into his ear upon the end of a sob. easier then, for him as well; to breathe his last here instead of rushing bullheaded into the jaws of yet another wolf.
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#4
idfk what this is.
There was pressure against his skin and a youthful voice stabbing at his ears. The rush of blood in his veins was the loudest, it throbbed, but nothing could drown out the pleading of that child; he tried to lift his head. Eyes rolled in their sockets. The universe spun.

Then a piece of the glacier broke away. It swept towards him as well as the boy, though he did not know it was a boy. He thought his blood was willing him to rise—a difficult thing to achieve considering it was mostly on the exterior of his worthless body now.

He could focus for only the smallest intervals of time. The glacier spoke to him with the face of the woman he'd hurt, but there was his father's voice again; no laughter now, only the gale force of anger.

You want to die, Revui? More words came, but in his current state they mutated, merging with memory: Your instincts will tell you to run. Yes. Yes, they did. He ran from everything, but always towards death. He had always been this way, and for the longest while it had been praise he'd received from his family.

There was movement but not from his body — his blood ran along the earth, redirected by the orders of the glacier. No, that was wrong—he knew that was wrong. Someone was here with him, sweet-smelling, like dew on new grass, like the rain; yes, the rain.

You were cruel to me. Hummed the wind. The cold deepend around him, and the wind pulsed sharply against him, as if to push him in to the dirt. It rumbled, and he imagined gathering storm clouds fat and ready to burst. If you want a death, I will give you the red plant...

Is that what he wanted? All this time he ran in to danger thinking he was being a warrior, for the sake of the mountain, for Hydra, for his parents, for glory—so many reasons and none of them were for himself first; and now he was without alliegance to any but himself. Is that what he wanted? To bleed his last drop and freeze here, or be fed death willingly without contest?

If he died here he would become everything he loathed. Lacking any such blood-bond or fealty that made him a true warrior, stripping him of the very blood in his veins—that last vestige of what made him an Ostrega. Hydra could take his name from him, banish him for his choices, but he would be forever bound to the mountain and to the family, even so. Not here, not if he bled out and let himself die. No; he was better than that. He had to be better than that.

His breathing had lulled, but something in his thoughts (or perhaps the voice hissed in his ear) brought a change: a spasm of the lungs, something nearer to a death-rattle than anything. Revui opens his eyes and sees the blurry shape of Kukutux there, so close.

Nuh... I'm s..orry, Kh... Blood in the throat aspirates across his teeth, splattering upon the crushed winterfat at his chest, and he struggles between swallowing it and breathing through it.
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.

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#5
soon enough there was a woman there. caerus regarded her with a cold stare- she was commanding him to help before he'd even received revui's story. for all he knew, this guy had been an ass to his dad. if only revui had sat up before- and though he did not listen to her hissed words, kukutux's sob made him feel awkward, as if he had intruded upon some lover mourning her poor wounded boyfriend. the man breathed awkwardly in a pained way, bleeding still, and caerus glanced down to him before racing off as if to gather flowers.

but the scrawny boy had no intention of returning to this scene, and would promptly head home, unsure why he felt anger bubble in his chest- fuck them fuck them fuck them- two people who cared for eachother most, was what he saw here. caerus would never rise above his siblings in mal's eyes. and the only one who loved him more than anyone else in the world was gone. he wasn't most important of all to anyone, and that thought stung his heart sharply. no, he would not return here; he had no eagerness to witness a damn feelings fest.
and he didn't want to face his own.
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#6
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Somewhere along the way, the silvered Valkyrie had found the scent of the snow white medic along the grasses and in the wind and, finding herself curious, had decided to follow it with the thought that she could assist in the collection of her herbs again. The act had been enjoyable enough and while the woman had very different views than she herself did, Keres had still found pleasure in her company and so sought it once more.

It was only when she had found herself following the scent far enough that Keres had realized that this was no simple jaunt into the Wilderness to find supplies. And yet, she had been far enough into the action of tracking Kukutux that she did not turn and return home, instead continuing on until she found herself in a landscape of chilled white.

She arrived in time to hear the woman's request of the boy, clear green eyes flickering over the man from the mountain before she also turned to go seek what had been asked for, just in case the young wolf could not find it. This proved for the best as she turned only to see him run. In resolute silence, the Ostrega woman departed and sought the flowers Kukutux needed. Fortunately, they seemed plentiful enough and after plucking a collection from their roots, Keres returned with a mouthful of them, setting them on the ground beside her packmate and the man she still didn't know the name of.

What else can I do to help? She asked gently, voice whisper quiet, as if it would shatter whatever scene had been set here.
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revui was going to die.

"shh, shh," she swallowed as blood flecked his lips, as his chest swelled with the death's-head breath. had she done this? her paw, still crossed with a healing scar from her rite high in moonspear. this is not what i wanted, the heart of the duck whispered fiercely, though the inner spirit bared its teeth.

you asked to be released. you did not say how. perhaps his soul cannot be untied from your own unless he is dead. a sobering thought, one that turned her blood to ice. but he had said no to the red plant; he; sorrow upon his lips, and the boy gone, gone.

a familiar step, and kukutux rounded with a hot stare upon the woman keres. for a long moment she watched, and then her small figure lost some deal of its protective tension. the grey warrior had been present during revui's last healing; it was a bitter irony for them all she had come to see him downed again. 

"i do not — i —" lips twisting, sight turning to mist as she looked upon the scant breath left in the trader. "he needs medicine for his pain." a swallow, kukutux drawing a breath as she thought of the poison that had poured from her mouth to wraen. 

"please look for red flowers the size of a paw," the snow-wife asked quietly of keres, unable to take her eyes from revui. much of it would kill him. a small number of the black seeds at its center would put him into a relieving sleep.
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#8

He trespassed. Alone. The glacier moaned its observation to a shard of drifting ice. The blood had been purged from the white; he was alone now, emptied, cold. We are fortunate we did not find his body, the ice said, but the voice was wrong. He has heard these words before - been here before.

True battle is new to you; you will be forgiven. It was his sister's voice; she wasn't here, he knew she wasn't... Was he dwelling on the past? His life drifting through his mind as a final reminder of all he had given up; was he going to die?

Wolves are different than prey. They are aware of their weakness. And so, do what they least expect, to start with...


Consciousness slips away. Comes and goes like the sweep of tide, as he dreams and he bleeds.
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.

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#9
Under the glassy evergreen stare, Keres froze, watching her just as she was watched in this moment. Tension sung in the air and, though she knew it was not directed at her, she was careful to not overstep here where the ice of the moment was as thin as glass. The words of the mournful Kukutux were met with a gentle nod, her own attention moving to the crumpled form then. She wondered what his story was, wondered if this was where his story ended or, perhaps, where the chapter broke only to start anew on a page fresh and without words.

Of course, Came the only suitable answerr, for who was she to argue? She had offered help and the request made was easy enough, turning from the broken man and the healer that sought to soothe his hurts. Off to search again, hunting the glacier for a splash of color against this stark, white world.
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kukutux bent over him again,

her brother

seeking to clean red from his mouth, cleaning his lacerations, wincing with a blink to see how revui seemed made of twisted scars. she listened to him breathe; her mind repeated all of wraen's words inside her head, mingled with the words of what she knew now to be a curse.

men were shamans for a reason. no woman could be chosen for it; no foolish, stupid, crying woman. it was not their lot, and yet she had taken it to herself and —

with keres departed, kukutux pressed her crown against his hard shoulder, silent hot tears falling from alabaster jawline into his flint-made pelt.

i plead for his life. again. but this time it was the spirits she begged, not dirge. not hydra. only the faces of the ones gone to the dancing lights.
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Do what they least expect... Hydra advised, standing over him while he sank in to the snow. There had not been snow that day. The world had not been so white and clean as this, he knew that this was wrong— And what else?

What else? What if an intruder was still nearby? Those blue eyes brightened to something pine-heavy, the shadow tapering through faces. Jarilo this time; no jealousy in the moment. And what else? Two faces he could distinguish hinged upon one torso, their blackness bleeding out over the glacier.

Where had father gone, he had been here before — where was his laughter?

Don't stray too far, the voice instructed. The shape of @Charon standing at a great wall of ice, now. He couldn't go anywhere with this obstacle before him! Revui looked for an exit point and began to stride, to run, becoming a comet of silver besides.

Abandoned by another. @Hydra?
It's begun to rot, @Jarilo now; green threads weaving overhead.
I think you two can best it. He couldn't tell them apart now.

Two—?

Revui races along the edge of the barricade and does not notice as he rises with each stride, the path winding in to itself, curling like a snail's shell. He is cold and alone, except for his shadow; the jadelight deepens overhead, and the darkness beneath him rises up - twin suns for eyes. Each stride he makes so too does the shadow.

You left us, those eyes said; but he was here now, wasn't he? He was here, running with his brother. Listening to his sister on the wind, climbing the mountain. They were running together—he'd left, but he'd found a way back. It could be as it once was—brothers, as they were meant to be.

As Revui rounded the ice sheet he felt himself miss a step; there was nothing there to support him any longer, just a chasm of blackness, with Arcturus the Shadow spread out before him. Not running now but falling. Head-over-tail between the green and the black.

Teeth in his nape—tiny teeth, barely holding on. He remembers the time that he surprised @Arcturus with a bit of rough-housing and how poorly the boy reacted. In this memory it was the shadow that instigated it; those teeth too small to tear, pressing in to his neck, in to the hot wounds as they split across his body—broken in so many places and yet unable to bleed, emptied already. Held together by the lights.

Arcturus don't— Revui tried to plead, brother, no— but his voice was so small, it hadn't grown up yet. The silence that pervaded their first few months had resurfaced at the end. He mouthed the words and tasted blood instead upon his tongue, and gradually the pressure lifted. The needling released him.




Those last few moments were fleeting. Kukutux wept upon him, pressing her face upon his shoulder, losing the last few moments to grief. Her pleading would do no good. Slowly Revui's eyelids drifted open and the dancing lights gleamed, leaving shards of seaglass where once the soul had been.
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.

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#12
The flowers fell forgotten at her feet, a moment of knowing passing through her, a chill sliding down her spine like ice. What it was, she could not say. A bird flew over head, a gust of wind breathed over the land as if stealing that last breath. Words were of no use, as Keres could never understand the loss of life that happened before her eyes.

Out of respect, the valkyrie hung back, her namesake serving no use now. Were she truly a winged one, she would lift him, guide him to the halls to feast alongside her late husband, but alas, she was not and so kept her paws firmly on the ground. Solemnity held her features, loyalty held her body fast, remaining there if Kukutux should need anything, even if it was just a warm body to lean into.
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Moonglow

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when kukutux lifted her head, revui ostrega had ceased to be. how many times had she seen the look of death upon a calm face? and yet the vision of his sightless eyes staring off to where his spirit had walked broke something deep within the duck. she rocked back upon her haunches, a cry rising strangled in her throat and cascading into the guttural keen meant to guide him skyward.

her mind closed to his name.

to call

revui

to speak it now would be to tether him to the glacier forever. faceless. nameless. a ghost must be allowed to untie itself from the earth, and to do such, it must forget the name it wore in the waking world. tilting back her head, the ticking sounds from her throat taking on the rhythmic cadence she had sung before; lying grandfather to lie within the charnel heap, arranging him so that he would enter the dancing lights reborn.

kukutux rose, the death-song echoing in all her bones; her chest, her mouth, her paws; stained with his blood,

she left a smeared trail of red as she stepped nine times around the body that had once housed the spirit of the trader; shattering, fracturing, singing, singing; voice twining into a howl that carried from the ice of his body to moonspear, to the glen, a shout that reverberated between stone and ice with the force of her great and horrible sorrow. 

and when at last she stopped, kukutux nosed the body's cooling limbs — jerking her mind from his name his name his name — until the man lay where he had fallen, curved against the womb of the cold world as a child might emerge from its mother's body, ready to be reborn among the long lights that danced in the night sky.

"nine days," she grit to keres, voice hoarse and filled with tears. it was an empty expression she turned toward the grey woman, brother-blood drying in bright splashes upon her pale fur. darken, darken as the night came. "moonspear was not his home. i bury him here." her love for hydra vied with the unspoken wish of the stone-man, and she knew in her marrow she would help to unclasp him from the edge of the world here in the coldness of the winterbound glacier where he had fallen.

beneath another time, another place, the duck might have more words for silent, watchful keres, but she could only feel herself fade beneath new noiseless tears as she turned away, moving off some distance in her singing to set her paws against the frosted earth and begin the formation of his death ulaq. she would not come home that evening, nor the next, nor the next, nor the next; kukutux bound herself to the taste of his blood turning to ash upon her tongue and would not leave his bones until she knew he had left her and gone fully to walk in the next world.
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Nine days. Of this, she did not know the significance. That did not stop her from being respectful of the ritual performed, observing in her silence as Kukutux stood before her with the blood of the dead man staining once-pristine fur. A single, resolute nod was given in response, as if using her voice now would break whatever peace the spiritual woman was trying to secure for him in the afterlife he was surely headed towards.

As Kukutux remained, so did Keres. Each night and day, she would stand silent, a protective sentinel upon the ice of the glacier. Sleep fell to the wayside, her priority the security of her packmate, and it was not until the two returned home, together, that Keres would fall into a slumber that not even the morning crow of little Sialuky could break her from.
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