Broken Antler Fen When you were here before
All Welcome  November 24, 2020, 02:10 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
After Wraen and Maia had discovered the Broken Antler Fen and enlisted it as a potential place to settle for winter, she had returned to Redhawk caldera only briefly. She did not see a point in going back and forth between the two places, even if they were located not too far from each other, when she could camp out here and do a thorough inspection of the place as long as she wished. 

It was a little soggy for Wraen's taste, but with the below zero temperatures that was not much of a problem. Except, where the moss gave way to a little frozen stream or pool of water, she had to be careful and watch her step. She had nearly fallen once and not wishing to break a limb, the she-wolf walked around the larger patches of ice, jumped over those, who were smaller. It reminded her a little of the childhood game - where you were not allowed to step on certain marks on the ground, because then you would go straight to hell.

Hell she did not find, but at the centre of the territory trees gave way to a magnificent lake. Wraen stopped at it's banks and observed the vast plain of water. She wondered whether it was deep and whether the ice was strong enough to hold her weight. However, lifetime of experience warned her that testing the theory in practice would not be a good idea. Therefore, she began to move along the ice-capped lake's edge to see, what other wonders the territory had to offer.
November 24, 2020, 06:51 PM
Arcturus
Brecheliant
Family
arcturus knew of the game in wraen's mind. his early childhood had been built on such a game: jump from rock to rock, point to point -- first one to lose his balance forfeited. such a memory brought him back to his early life -- of revui, his sister hydra, and his parents.

memories that if arcturus had his way, would fade in time and lose their clarity. for as they blurred around the seams, so they would lose their sharp edges -- and arcturus would find grief among his examinations no longer.

he observed wraen as she made her way around a body of ice-capped water. arcturus never cared where they settled, so long as it was with those he loved -- this territory was a shade less gloomy than the sentinels, but he had yet to love it.

enough time had been spent ruminating over their last 'real' discussion. arcturus found he only had the appetite for one or two deep, soul-searching conversations a month; any more, and he found it taxing.

waving his tail in friendly greeting, the mountaineer warily made his way to wraen -- all the while treading with a healthy respect for the water.
November 25, 2020, 02:50 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
Wraen had not realized this herself, but she was similar to Arthur in that she tended to overthink stuff, if given enough time. All those days after their last in-depth conversation and leading up to this very moment, when she turned and caught sight of a familiar dark figure in the distance, she had thought back and forth about their relationship. She had promised to try and yet after talking to Towhee she knew that those same doubts - whether Arcturus was making the right choice giving up on everything for her, whether she could ever love him just as much as he did her, whether them being apart was a better thing - were still there and they would be always, until they learned to know each other better.

However, it took her one look at the very real Arcturus before her for that hypothetical one that she had conjured in her mind during his absence to disappear. All doubts dissolved in thin air, scripts for noble self-sacrificing speeches were discarded, she forgot about Kukutux's and Hydra's disapproval, in fact, they stopped to exist for her entirely. Because, what mattered the most was that he was here with her now. There was no shame in her for feeling very happy about them meeting again or that she despite her mature age ran to him as eagerly as a puppy, or that she made a little cheerful and silly dance before him that involved a lot of tail-wagging, smiling and play-bowing. Or that she ended it with a wolf-equivalent of a hug and an out-of-breath whisper - "You kept me waiting." - while she nuzzled the fur on is neck and nape affectionately. 

He was home. And with this - she too no longer was a vagabond without a shelter.
November 26, 2020, 12:04 PM
Arcturus
Brecheliant
Family
arcturus liked to believe he was a man of stern bearing, but for all of his stoicism, wraen managed to evince a display of excitement that was anything but restrained. as she spotted him, she came towards him jubilant - arcturus strode to meet her in equal measure, the three-week-odd tension rolling off of his shoulders like cascading waves.

he met her with a brush of his muzzle, his hips swaying by the force of each happy wag of his tail. he'd missed her more than he knew, and it all came powerfully flooding back to him as she nuzzled him in turn and pulled away. in wraen's company, toil and trouble had a way of fading away -- it was like he was sitting near the only source of warmth and sunlight in interminable dark.

"i'm sorry," arcturus whispered. "i am glad to see you. one day at a time, right?" his eyes sparkled with radiance that just a few moments before had been absent from his cheerless yellow eyes.
November 26, 2020, 03:57 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"Well, I will have to clarify that one day at a time in a succession of days not in several week intervals," Wraen corrected him with a rule that she had just come up with. Because having him gone that long gave too much room for unwelcome thoughts of an over-active imagination. Don't get me wrong - she was in no way jealous or paranoid about, where Arcturus wanted to be and to whom he talked with - it was more about keeping her own doubts at bay and letting herself enjoy the very simple pleasure of living in the moment. Like now. 

"Come on - I will show you around," she invited, giddy to share the news and eager to hear, what Arthur thought of all this. Though she already knew that he would not mind much. He had said it this himself - he was happy to be, wherever she was. "We have big news - Maia's got a beau at Redhawk caldera," she told him, first leaving out the man's name, wagering on, whether he would guess it. There weren't that many eligible bachelors to choose from. "She and Eljay are kind of a thing - that's their words not mine. And, since he is a person, who feels at best, when he's home and Maia did not want to leave me and..." when you listed everything like that, it got very complicated.

"... and we talked about settling nearby for winter, so the two get a chance to - well - bond and see, what comes out of it," Wraen explained. "And out of all places we found this to be the most likeable. Maia will have a place for her dragon breeding program," she grinned. "And I get my trees. And - there are no mountains here, BUT there is a huge rock for you too. You can perch on it like an eagle and pretend that you are on the top of the world. What do you think?" she finished her lengthy speech and watched Arthur to hear his opinion of the matter.
November 30, 2020, 09:49 AM
Arcturus
Brecheliant
Family
wraen's correction was only fair. what had originally felt like a fistful of days had somehow spanned into several weeks. arcturus' mind was clear, but his conscience was not -- he had left wraen hanging.

he lowered his head in indication of his acknowledgment. following wraen with quiet interest, arcturus listened as he learned of their decision to stay nearby, of maia's new beau (and he did not guess, but it was revealed in short order), and the rock wraen quipped was perfect for surveying their kingdom. "i think.... that you know me too well. where is this rock? i will make it my sentry spot at once." arcturus' tone seemed serious, but the glint in his eye gave him away. "that's a fair bit of news... but nothing we can't take in. what do you think then, of maia and eljay?"
November 30, 2020, 03:51 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
Arthur seemed to be enthused by the idea of having his own mini-mountain to compensate the loss of the really big guys. Wraen bumped her hip against his in a friendly manner and said: "You are going to love it. This way." She beckoned him to follow her. "And did you know that it just might been placed there by the devil himself? There was this one time, when he wanted to fill this very lake with rocks - don't ask me why - he probably did it because of a bet or something. And he goes up all the way to the Barrier mountains over there, hauls up a lot, drags the stuff down, but then - oh, no - the sun begins to rise. Devils can't do much during the day, so he panicked, threw the lot in the air and scrammed," she told, mixing an old folk-tale she had listened to once with modern day references. "Rocks fell and rolled in every possible direction and the biggest one landed right here, where I am taking you. Kind of cool, huh? Having not just a rock, but a Devil's Rock!" she laughed merrily, when she had finished the story. 

"Come to think of it..." she began, stopping to appraise him through eyes narrowed to slits, "... I think that you would make a fine devil yourself too. A charming one." Let him ruminate on that one. "Maia and Eljay - well, you know me, I had my head full of opinions and big-older sister talks, but I decided not to meddle and observe from afar. Let them figure it out for themselves," Wraen shrugged. "A friend of mine recently reminded me that I do not know everything and... I learned the hard way, how assuming things wrong can hurt me badly," she sighed. "So, yeah... it is, what it is. But I am actually glad that it's Eljay - I have known that guy for a very long time, his family has known him all his life - and he is very good soul. He would never hurt my sister and her happiness and well-being is of utmost importance to me."
December 09, 2020, 10:59 AM
Arcturus
Brecheliant
Family
arcturus' gaze slid to the sky as wraen motioned for him to follow, contriving a fine tale of the devil and his handiwork.

if this was lucifer's magnum opus, arcturus thought it explained why the man was so damn unhappy all the time.

he forgot that quip as wraen turned back around, appraising him with narrowed eyes and a subtle smile. him, a devil? arcturus didn't possess a fleet enough tongue to fire some fancy riposte back. he simply grinned, tail fanning the air behind him. she had called him charming - that was all that mattered.

focusing on the topic at hand, arcturus mused after maia's pairing with eljay. arcturus had very limited interactions with eljay. he remembered the man was present in firebirds, and he recalled the man had a daughter -- beyond that, he knew very little.

"as her big sister, do you think he is good enough for her?" not hurting someone, and being worth someone were two different things. arcturus had seen how many wolves could live alongside one another and be harmless, but that did not mean they were good for each other. solemly, he cast his gaze back to wraen, surveying her with the sympathetic interest of an older sibling who would believe very few men were good enough for his own sisters.
December 10, 2020, 03:35 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"As a good big sister I will trust Maia's judgement on the matter," Wraen replied. It sounded easy, but it had not come this way. Her shifting from the role of advisor and caretaker to one, who minded their own business and got involved or spoke their mind only when asked, had come difficult. The biggest changes are the hardest to make, when you are middle-aged, but it also meant that learning new things about life never stopped. And she was a true scholar in her heart. A devoted forever-student at studying the wonder that life was. 

"As I trust yours on, what you want to do with your life," she added, having promised herself that her conversation with Towhee was the last time she tried to put all the reasonable arguments on the table, why Arcturus giving up on his dreams about having a family one day for a barren spinster with sharp tongue and propensity to talk too much and far too often, was a bad idea. She had put those doubts in a coffin and performed proper funeral rites. She had made a choice of being happy, instead of... wise, rational and boring.
December 12, 2020, 12:21 PM
Arcturus
Brecheliant
Family
OOF that last line!! :o

arcturus wondered what it was like to trust something -- or someone -- so implicitly as to believe their judgment and their way of perceiving the world was correct. he had once thought that way about his own big sister. he had built his world around that belief, and when that idocus toppled it had taken nearly everything from him in the process.

this mindset was a double-edged sword. arcturus liked to believe he trusted wraen's belief in others implicitly - somehow, she was the sole exclusion to his trust-no-one clause. perhaps in that way, love made reason and ambitions blind.

it was a surprising change of topic, from maia to his own hopes and dreams. he had not put them aside - not in the way wraen had buried her own doubts. instead, he had simply remade them. if he could not have the sun, he would settle for the sunbeam he could feel between his fur. the next best thing.

"are you worried?" arcturus asked. once he had asked her something similar, and she told him the uselessness of fear. all the same, he found the shift in topic jarring and wondered if there was something on wraen's mind he was not aware of.
December 12, 2020, 12:40 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"Who exactly - you or her?" Wraen stopped for a short while, regarded him with an honest and curious look, then resumed walking. They were not far from the stone throne and the excitement of showing the place to Arcturus had made her a little giddy. 

"No - worry would be a waste of time," she shrugged. "Especially, if it is for things that have not yet happened," she went on and at that moment believed she meant it. Maia was at a safe place now, she could not imagine a way Eljay could intentionally hurt her. They just needed time to get used to each other and see, where things would go, how could they adjust so that both were happy. Neither were kids anymore, she saw no reason, why she should feel worried about that. 

"Should I feel worried for you?" she asked just out of interest.
December 20, 2020, 11:31 AM
Arcturus
Brecheliant
Family
as they came closer to wraen's destination arcturus noticed a subtle shift in her demeanor; a lightness in her step nearly untraceable.

he did not comment upon it, though his gaze was drawn uphill as he considered wraen's answer. he wished to hold a fraction of her courage -- there were many things that worried him, dogged after him like unrelenting hounds at his heel.

eventually, he would come upon a wall.

there were so many ways their lives could take a turn - some for the better, some for the worse. arcturus was compelled to think of how a single thing could set their lives in motion - something as small as a ripple in a pond, even. it unnerved him.

"no, not worried for me. maybe cautious is the better term. i feel cautious, all the time." arcturus supplied. wraen would know he was not an optimist -- not in the way that mattered. "sometimes it feels like i see a shadow out of the corner of my eye, or above my head -- and i am always just waiting for the owner of that shadow to pounce."
December 22, 2020, 02:54 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"Well, in that case we compliment each other nicely - I never watch over my shoulder and I now know that someone does it for me," Wraen joked light-heartedly and bumped her hip against Arthur's and offered him a fond smile. She may not agree that every shadow was a potential danger, but then she had to take in account her friend's upbringing. He was a mountain wolf thrown out in the forests and flatlands, plain in sight with very few opportunities to hide and a lot of opportunities to be hunted down. 

This she thought, when she stopped at the big rock she had wished to show her friend. Come to think of it - it was a very miserable substitute to the grandeur that Moonspear was - and she glanced over at him, trying to read his expression. "There it is," she told him, went ahead and made up on it with two leaps.  It may not be a mountain, but it was not your average rock either. "Come on," she invited him to join her.
January 04, 2021, 09:59 AM
Arcturus
Brecheliant
Family
buffeted gently by wraen's soft joke and her nudge, arcturus stopped along the path and surveyed her quietly. maybe there was truth in that -- one pair of eyes always looking back, one pair of eyes always looking forward.

perhaps in that way, they complemented each other very well.

he resumed walking, his expression less troubled as wraen's smile eased some of his nagging doubts. he could spend his whole life looking behind him and it would not serve him well -- not when so much of the world was to be seen by looking straight ahead.

from what arcturus could tell, they had to be near. wraen's steps had slowed, and her expression panned over to something large and dark peeking from a mound of dull earth like a tooth. a stone no doubt left over by an ancient glacier. arcturus looked to her in silence and then to the rock, which wraen had efficiently mantled in a matter of seconds.

it was not a poor vision, seeing his friend draped across this royal stone like a sovereign. "move over," arcturus grinned, wrestling to get a good foothold as he too scrambled upon the rock. when he was finally atop it he sat down and surveyed the landscape below them. for now the vision was cold and drab -- but he imagined in the summer, it was like sitting in the center of a very beautiful oasis. "surveying your kingdom, huh? will make a nice throne for you to command all your subjects from."
January 10, 2021, 09:55 AM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"My kingdom?" Wraen arched an eyebrow and looked at Arthur quizzically. He had meant it as a joke, but then it struck her that with the pack forming and becoming more real by a day time would come to assemble and decide, who was to take charge of the group. Maia had made it clear for years that she had no intentions of being a leader and yet - it stung a little - now she wanted to have all the fun without the responsibility that came with it. It was not fair to think like that, especially, since her sister tried to balance her private affairs between two very important people in her life. Still...

Ibis? Hadn't she mentioned being a leader herself at some point? Or had she imagined that? Wraen decided to ask the next time she met up with the girl. Arthur? He had been a co-leader with Hydra and he desperately needed a meaningful job to fulfill his time. "Nah, I do not intend it to be mine. I will help create it, but I would want to step aside and let it grow on its own, when it's done," she shook her head. "Which reminds me that at some point we should all come together and decide, how we want to govern this thing," she went on. "At the moment though - there's so few of us that we manage to get along just fine."
January 13, 2021, 10:38 AM
Arcturus
Brecheliant
Family
"yes, your kingdom." arthur reiterated with the ghost of a teasing smile fading from his face. even if they did not form, wraen would always be, in his eyes, the one with the crown.

it did not matter if someone else stood at the stead: he respected her wisdom and her experience too much to simply listen to anyone thrust at the helm.

it struck arcturus as particular that wraen would want to make something and then step aside when it was actualized. perhaps she was wiser than him, and there was fruit in seeing what you sowed grow. he pursed his lips for a moment, going through their list of wolves. it was so small at present. at last, arcturus spoke once more. "spoken like a true queen." he quipped, jumping down from the stone with a soft thud. "and what will be her highness' first orders for the court?" he was teasing, of course -- but his eyes rested on wraen expectantly just the same.
January 14, 2021, 04:32 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"I was serious, Mr.Jester of the Court," Wraen smiled down at Arcturus and had to admit that not being the shortest of the group, who had to crane her back and use a ladder to see anyone's tip of the nose, was kind of nice. She enjoyed that. Too bad Mother Nature does not provide the modern day convenience called "Roombas" for Wraen to ride on majestically through her kingdom, because it would kind of be nice to sit on that rock and have it do the moving around for her. 

"If I asked you - Arthur, I would appreciate you stepping up to lead - would you do that?" she tilted her head to the side, watching him carefully.
January 20, 2021, 01:33 PM
Arcturus
Brecheliant
Family
omg we're ordering wraen a roomba on amazon right now

for a moment arcturus peered beyond wraen -- taking in that resplendent view of his friend atop a roomba boulder. if he could but frame that picture for eternity in his mind's eye -- the way the sun glittered as it arced off of her pelt, that smile that forever captured and lifted his heart. arcturus breathed in deep, thinking when he was old and senile that this might be one of the last memories he held onto.

brought back into the real world by wraen's question, arcturus considered it at length. she was watching him carefully as he did so, and so, the mountaineer picked his words with the usual tactful selection. "i was a good fit for leader of moonspear. but that is very different, than a collection of wolves." his abilities had not ever been wasted in the spear -- and there were days he missed living in his element. "i would do whatever you asked. do you believe me a good fit for that role?"
January 21, 2021, 11:05 AM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"Why do you think that being a leader here would be so much different from being one at Moonspear?" Wraen asked, having expected some doubts on Arcturus's side, but not that he would write off his experience at his family pack as completely useless. She let him ruminate on this, while she managed her way down the rock, which with ice and snow combined was not as easy as it had been getting on top of it. Eventually she made a leap and landed rather unceremoniously in a heap of snow. So much for being someone's dream queen. 

When she had removed herself from the snowy trap and shaken the residue snow out of her coat, she returned to the subject they had begun. "Hydra did not promote you based on your good looks only, did she?" she teased him lightly, because both knew that, of course, his sister hadn't. As "family always comes first" she was, she was not entirely blind on, who was fit to be second in command and who was not. Korei Julia had been a prime example and she did not doubt that even later not all Charon's offspring had grown up to be a leader or mercenary material.

"Besides, I never even aspired to become a leader, but I somehow managed to rotate in that position twice and managed. No one starts out perfect, there is a learning curve. And if I had to choose - I would vote for you. Not because you are my friend and I like you - though that also is important - but because I believe that you have much potential and need an opportunity to prove yourself," she told him. "Besides we need someone young and strong at the helm - my years are catching up with me and the burden of sole leadership is too heavy for me to carry."
February 17, 2021, 05:55 PM
Arcturus
Brecheliant
Family
arcturus considered wraen's question as she made her way down the stoneface. it was not so much that his experience at moonspear was irrelevant -- it was more so that moonspear and his servitude there was a niche element. it was hard for him to convey this into words.

a smile broke his solemn features as wraen dived disorganized into the snow, pulling white powder from her ruff as she stood besides him. her teasing question was met at last with an answer. "it's complicated." arcturus provided in textbook unsatisfactory answer. "i believe my blood relation played a part there. unless you are suggesting you find me handsome?"

not to brush aside her question, which was legitimate -- arcturus fumbled on how to explain his bitterness to see his brother promoted first when he had only ever been loyal to the spear. then, anyway. "i wanted it badly. and i believe perhaps, maybe those who desperately want power are ill-suited to obtain it. in the end i was no better a leader than my brother." he did not care to entertain wraen's suggestion she was old, and so he continued by brushing it aside. "your lack of interest in power is what endows you good leadership qualities. you are able to think about it all -- i was young, and only had tunnel vision for me and my family. this future pack of us, will be more than just bloodline. a collective, where all voices are of the same importance and value." it went without saying this ideal would not have been kindly fostered back at the spear.
February 18, 2021, 03:58 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"Well, who of us have not wanted to be in charge, when young to tell the older ones exactly, how things should be run?" Wraen asked rhethorically, looking back at the time spent in Sunspire and, though she no longer could remember the exact details of her co-leadership there, she could not say that she was very proud at herself and the choices she had made. There were things you learned over time. Especially about people and, how a group should be run. But it did not necessarily mean that the learning curve ended just there. It was neverending. 

"We are all tunnel-visioned, when we're young. Stupid too - believe me, I was not born smart either," she chuckled. "But... stop for a moment and imagine it from my perspective - the one, who does not strive for power, but is deemed fit for leadership by others. That puts pressure on me. It is an awful lot of work and I get tired. More easily now... than it was a couple of years ago," she said. "And it is sad to see that there are able-bodied people with the right mindset around and they prefer not to take any of that reponsibility, because the old fellow is doing good-enough job already and they do not believe they'll be able to fill their grand pawprints," this may have come out with a little tinge of bitterness. 

"It's almost like asking your mom to hunt for you, even when you are decent yourself," she finished. "Leadership is no different than hunting. It takes learning and practice."

"Don't worry, I do not pressure you in anything," Wraen smiled at him. "This reminds me - I ran into Hydra on my way here. She was looking for you. Revui - your brother - has passed away," she told him.
February 22, 2021, 11:56 AM
Arcturus
Brecheliant
Family
arcturus considered wraen's rhetorical query, thinking back on his early years with his father. he had never contested his parent's rule -- it was not until later, under hydra's thumb, that arcturus began to grow dissident. he knew he'd been tunnel-visioned -- but it was not until he had met wraen had he realized how narrow his perspective had grown.

he sympathized with her for being exhausted under leadership's mantle. certainly, many wolves expected things to be given to them -- and in turn, that entitlement tended to bleed the tap dry. arcturus remembered his own spectacular burnout -- he had streaked across the sky brilliant as any meteorite -- only to crash to the earth in a spume of dust and failure.

was wraen indirectly implying she was sad to see arcturus would not step up to the plate? he was not sure, and before he could ask for details the subject changed to his sister and -- surprisingly, revui.

what did wraen mean, revui had passed away? arcturus' ears turned from 'listening-ears' to airplane ears -- he cycled back to what she had just said, kept rephrasing it in his head. surely she'd said something else, and he had just misheard her. that couldn't be right. revui, his brother, couldn't be dead. nothing could kill the goliath -- not another wolf, not the fall of a mountain, not even stone could wipe his obstinate brother's life from existence. it simply could not be true.

"what?" arcturus asked abruptly, feeling something mount in the back of his mind and come crawling forward. panic. "what?" he repeated, trying to push it back. panic was a slippery thing. powerful, too. "what do you mean she was looking for me -- what do you mean he is dead?"
February 24, 2021, 03:21 PM
Wraen
Brecheliant
Raven
"She did not specify the details, but she did look very upset," Wraen did not have much to offer on the subject and felt a little guilty that at the time she had not asked for more. But then - what business was Revui to her? Hydra would have considered further inquiries as her meddling in the Ostrega family business and that she did not want.

"I think that you should go over there and find out more," she told him. "It won't give you your brother back, but will - hopefully - give some sort of closure," she sighed.

Last one from me! You could fade in your next post.
February 26, 2021, 12:50 PM
Arcturus
Brecheliant
Family
no details. just a name, and the inevitable: dead.

every man born to this world owed it but one thing, and that was his eventual death: even then, arcturus struggled to accept that one of his own could have fallen.

his birthmate, his brother, his blood; wayward as the bruin could be, arcturus never imagined him as anything but what his minds eye held of him: enormous, hale, everlasting.

not... dead.

a pulse began to pound under his eyelid. grief came forward in dark, spidery legs, enclosing his heart. all arcturus could supply in answer was the long exhale of a soul severed -- tomorrow, he would make up his mind.

tonight, he mourned.