Dragoncrest Cliffs prophet margin
Loner

339 Posts
Ooc — Kat
Deerstalker
Tracker
Offline
#1
All Welcome 
She wasn't aware of the recent attack, at least not consciously. But as Haunt slept, she dreamed of an enormous brown bear who tore her family limb from limb, starting with @Vex, then moving onto @Royal before laying @Arbiter to waste. Even @Kaertok couldn't escape his grizzly grisly fate. Wading through all the blood, body parts and viscera, Sos then advanced toward Haunt.

Her mouth opened in a scream when Artemis suddenly leaped in between the two of them. Her fur had darkened, smoky over silver. The youth watched, aghast, as the lithe goddess took the brunt of Sos's blow. One of her antlers snapped from her head and landed at Haunt's feet, bloodied at the stump. She stared at it. When she looked up again, the two deities were still entangled, Artemis darting and the angry bear god lumbering after her.

The fight went on for a small eternity, until one of Sos's clawed paws came swinging with such force that it tore right through Artemis. The goddess of the hunt screamed, her yellow eyes rolling toward Haunt, who flinched away from the sight even as she woke from the nightmare with a gasp. She lay there, panting and staring at the stony ceiling of some unfamiliar den, watching her breath unfurl from her muzzle.

For the first time in many days, Haunt was aware of herself as she slowly turned over and pushed herself upright. She was tucked in some small cave. Snow fell heavily just outside the door and Haunt shivered, not simply because it was bitterly cold in here or because she didn't recognize her surroundings, but because she could't shake the image of Sos brutally killing Artemis.
Sapphique

Emerald
257 Posts
Ooc — Lieu
Offline
#2
Right on time the snow began to fall. The churning grey sky dumped fat flakes onto Teekon as the wind blew it into large drifts against trees and Dragoncrest’s cliffs. Njord had never quite seen a blizzard so bad in his life… and this was only the beginning. As night fell the storm grew even more frenzied. The islander looked for his own den, but quickly became turned around in the whiteout.

The telltale signs of frostbite tingled at his ear tips as the cold bit at his wounds from the Ursus. Shelter, Njord thought. Frantically, he tried to find other members of Sapphique… Kaertok, Rosencrantz, the wives… was he the only one lost in the white room?

Eventually he saw a tiny dark opening in a cave, partially blocked by a snowbank. Njord stumbled in, looking like an abominable snowman. What he didn’t expect was a white yearling already holed up inside.
Members of Sapphique are welcome to join all threads and power-play Njord (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not he's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!



 
Loner

339 Posts
Ooc — Kat
Deerstalker
Tracker
Offline
#3
As the moments ticked past, marked only by the frigid wind blowing the snow in a flurry outside the door, Haunt became more concerned about her reality over her nightmare. She blinked away the image of Sos's savage claws tearing a hole in Artemis's hide and looked from side to side, trying to place this small cave. It was utterly unfamiliar and it was too cold and snowy for her to pick up any telltale scents.

She could venture outside, though Haunt instead looked inward. What was the last thing she remembered? She vaguely recollected venturing away from the bypass at Artemis's behest. With a pulse of phantom pain, she remembered the severe migraine, just the worst of many. Her teeth grated together, though her head felt absolutely fine at the moment. Haunt exhaled.

Before she could draw in another breath and poke at her hazy memories some more, someone abruptly stumbled into the den. On edge due to her nightmare and her predicament, Haunt leaped to her feet with a sharp growl of surprise, yellow eyes boring into what appeared to be a wolf covered in snow. Beneath his fluffy white mantle, his features were just as unfamiliar as this den.
Sapphique

Emerald
257 Posts
Ooc — Lieu
Offline
#4
Njord practically fell into the little cavernous burrow. Snow clung fiercely to his pelt, every whisker frosty from the cold air and ice. He tracked in some of the storm unintentionally, clumps of snow rolled inside.

At first he felt the (marginally) warmer air, insulated from the biting wind. Then, he saw a pair of glowing yellow eyes in the dim light and a lithe figure puffed up defensively. Clearly, he had accidentally broken into someone else’s den. At first he thought it was one of the kids – maybe Regin – but quickly he figured it was the newcomer recently taken in by the queens. He had heard through the grapevine that they had found Valravn and this one… Kaertok’s daughter.

“Oi!” he blurted in surprise, “easy there, I’m friendly. Jus’ lost my way in the storm, ‘ats all. The wives found you, right?” he asked as he pressed himself against a wall to make more space for the teen. Although he didn’t want to press her bubble, he really really really didn’t want to go back out there.
Members of Sapphique are welcome to join all threads and power-play Njord (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not he's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!



 
Loner

339 Posts
Ooc — Kat
Deerstalker
Tracker
Offline
#5
The growl died in her throat when he spoke, insisting he was friendly. She scowled, though it wasn't directed at him but rather what he'd said. The wives? she mouthed. She didn't have a clue who he meant by that, though evidently he knew something about her. Perhaps he could help her put the pieces of this puzzle together.

"I don't—I have no idea what you're talking about," Haunt admitted, too thrown by everything to say anything cleverer. "I just woke up here and I have no idea where here even is. And I don't remember how I g—"

She didn't bother attempting to raise her head until she heard footsteps. Artemis? she thought, every movement calculatedly ginger to avoid triggering more pain. But the goddess had vanished. Standing in her place was a smaller, darker she-wolf with fur the color of tree bark. This comparison felt particularly apt when taking into consideration the scars roughening her edges. Haunt's eyes tracked over them slowly before raising to a pair of narrowed golden eyes set just below an ear cut to ribbons.

The memory simply whooshed in like the wintry wind. Haunt blinked, recalling the scarred she-wolf now, though if she'd ever gotten a name or any identifying information, she didn't remember it now, much less make the connection that she might be one of the aforementioned wives.
Sapphique

Emerald
257 Posts
Ooc — Lieu
Offline
#6
Had Njord heard wrong? This girl didn’t seem to have a clue what he was talking about and she insisted she didn’t even know where she was. With a sharp shake the snow fell from his pelt onto the floor, which he kicked back with a swipe of his paw. “At’s bettah,” he sighed. When her voice cut out (as a memory interrupted her train of thought), Njord interjected.

“Aren’t you Kaertok’s girl?” he asked with a rise of his brow. “Yer in Sapphique, now. It’s a territory by tha sea cliffs. Rosalyn and Erzulie must ‘av brought you here ta rest… but a wicked storm started brewin. Now there’s buckets of snow outside! Fiercest gale I’ve ever seen.” The islander looked over her confused countenance and realized he might have been explaining too much too fast. “My name’s Njord… can I stay in this ‘ere den with you a while? It’s snowin’ something terrible. Maybe we can get ta know eachother? Figure out how ya got ‘ere.” he asked in a friendly tone.
Members of Sapphique are welcome to join all threads and power-play Njord (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not he's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!



 
Loner

339 Posts
Ooc — Kat
Deerstalker
Tracker
Offline
#7
Nothing else came to her, at least not until he spoke her father's name. Haunt jerked sharply, eyes narrowing, lips parting to refute him. No, I'm most definitely not "Kaertok's girl," she thought bitterly, ready to say as much out loud when suddenly his question triggered the rest of her memories. They came in like floodwaters. She even held her breath as if plunged underwater, only to release it raggedly a moment later as the last bits and pieces clicked into place. She even recalled these past few weeks when she'd been out of it, those particular recollections hazier than all the rest.

Of all the things he'd said, Haunt found herself repeating, "Erzulie..." The woman had treated her kindly, fed her. The other names—Sapphique, Rosalyn and, of course, Kaertok—were familiar too. She swallowed as she recollected that moment when she'd reunited with her father, in the throes of agony. The only reason she'd followed him here was because her mind had been shorting out... and because Artemis had commanded it. Same difference?

There was no sign of the goddess now. She had been a constant presence at Haunt's side for weeks, a spectral guardian during the worst of her affliction. But now Haunt's head felt clear and she realized she felt the goddess's absence. She hadn't simply died in the dream, she was well and truly gone. The youth didn't know how she knew it, though she suddenly realized she would never see Artemis again.

Sucking in another breath, Haunt realized she'd stopped paying attention to her guest. Rather, she was his guest, wasn't she? She didn't belong here, after all, and with Artemis gone, well... "I'm from Legion, in the bypass. I need to get back to my mother, my brother and sister." She moved closer to Njord, then began pushing past him. "It's all yours, I'm—" But now that she was in the threshold, Haunt could only stop and stare at the blizzard conditions.
Sapphique

Emerald
257 Posts
Ooc — Lieu
Offline
#8
The name Kaertok caused quite a reaction. Njord surmised that the Tartok must not have been a very good daddy. Maybe one of those ‘just going out for a pack of cigarette and never coming back’ types. It didn’t make much sense to the islander, who admired the stoic man. Njord always perceived him as the honorable sort and a decent father figure. His chin tucked as he frowned and shrugged as if to say ‘sorry.’ All of his information was, in fact, hearsay.

She seemed to become more agitated the longer she dwelled on her circumstance. Concern for her family twisted the teen’s porcelain expression. Legion… the Bypass. Njord hadn’t a clue where that was. It wasn’t by the coast or Sunspire, so it must have been a few days travel away. “Easy there lass,” Njord encouraged as she got worked up.

Eventually, her resolve solidified and she began to move past him. Njord shifted out of the way, but he managed to get in a “I don’t think you should–,” before she froze at the sight of the outside world. Their predicament was precarious because of the deadly blizzard.

He sighed empathetically out the nose. “Lass, a few minutes out there an’ yer nose will freeze right off. What say we hunker down ‘ere ‘till the storm’s past an’ then we can ask the Alphas ‘bout seein’ ya back to yer Legion, eh?” He tried to compromise with the girl as he laid down on the den’s floor.
Members of Sapphique are welcome to join all threads and power-play Njord (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not he's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!



 
Loner

339 Posts
Ooc — Kat
Deerstalker
Tracker
Offline
#9
Her ears flattened to her skull as she realized there was no way she was going out in that. She turned to look at the well-meaning man, realizing for the first time that he spoke with an accent. He called her "lass," more than once, and coaxed her to remain here with him until the storm passed. Her yellow eyes slipped sideways to observe the blizzard, then she turned her back on the doorway.

"How long will it last?" she couldn't help but wonder, then finally remembered her manners. "My name is Haunt. What did you say yours was?" There was a bit of resignation in her voice, on her face as well. Her tail switched idly from side to side, wondering about her family's current whereabouts. Was Kaertok somewhere nearby? Was Arbiter looking for her? What did Vex make of her absence?
Sapphique

Emerald
257 Posts
Ooc — Lieu
Offline
#10
Moment passed as the vim drained from the young woman, bested by the storm. She acquiesced and turned to him. Njord exhaled out the nose – a sigh of relief. Sapphique couldn’t lose another wolf, especially one of Kaertok’s children.

“Dunno,” Njord replied quietly, cerulean gaze turning to watch the waves of flurries cascade past the den’s small opening. “It’s my first winter in Teekon, ‘an I never seen a storm so bad.” He caught himself realizing he was being a bit of a debbie downer. “But I’m sure it’ll let up soon enough. That’s mother nature for ya… alwayyysss changin’. Just like tha sea.”

Haunt. Funny that was her name… now with Kaertok being dead, and all. She looked just like him, too. Njord resisted a frown, trying to stay chipper. “Tha name’s Njord. Njord Sveijarn-Corten. Why don’t ya come and sit besides me? Warmer that way.” He was genuine in his invitation, but would ask his next question whether she did or not. “How’d you end up in Sapphique anyway?”
Members of Sapphique are welcome to join all threads and power-play Njord (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not he's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!



 
Loner

339 Posts
Ooc — Kat
Deerstalker
Tracker
Offline
#11
There was something soothing about his accented speech. Perhaps it simply distracted her, reeling her in and helping her forget that she was effectively trapped in a strange place, her mind still more than a little overwhelmed. Her lips parted when he enunciated quite a spectacular mouthful of a name. She didn't bother trying to pronounce it herself, though it rolled around in her head rather musically.

"I was out hunting," she answered him slowly, carefully, "when I got a really bad headache. One of your leaders, I think, found me... then my dad showed up. I don't remember it too well but they brought me back here. I think I've been staying in this cave, at least mostly." She thought about that day on the cliffs with Erzulie. If she could remember that, why couldn't she recall her own father visiting her?

Frowning, Haunt distractedly drifted nearer to Njord. With nothing else for it, she dropped to the floor with a sigh and curled up nearby, albeit not quite touching him. "If it's the fiercest storm you've ever seen, how do you know it'll ever stop?" she wondered a little dubiously, glancing at the practically whiteout conditions blurring the view of the outdoors.
Sapphique

Emerald
257 Posts
Ooc — Lieu
Offline
#12
Haunt seemed to be calm, now, and willing to share. She recalled the events leading up to the storm… hunting, a headache, dad. Njord felt his chest pinch as grief struck anew, sad for the death of the great Tartok and even sadder for his daughter who was unaware he was gone. The islander feared, however, than enlightening her would cause more distress and tempt her to leave the den… and so, Njord remained quiet and steady like the sea (perhaps roleplaying as if he was the stoic @Rosencrantz).

At that moment Njord promised to himself that, should he ever become a father, he would be the best dad of all time. A little fantasy of @Valmúaa and him watching over their beloved kids flickered in his mind. If Njord was good at one thing, it was daydreaming… if only his fighting skills could match his imagination he would be set.

He smiled when Haunt decided to curl up on the floor alongside him. Njord tucked his paws under him like a cat to keep them warm. “Suppose I can’t know fer certain,” he admitted, “but I remember a wicked bad sea storm when I was just a lad. Rained fer weeks! Even a part of tha island capsized into tha sea. I thought my family was a goner for sure… but I’ll never forget me ol’ man calmin’ me down. My dad told me all storms in life will pass… bad weather and bad problems. Everythin’ has a way of sortin’ itself out. So far, that’s been true. Eventually tha rain stopped and the sun shone… we just ‘ad to hunker down an’ stick it out. Some said it’s ‘ow life, or the gods (dependin’ on what ya believe) tests ya.”

“But it’s a good thing thing they found ya,” Njord mused, “else you would ‘av been buried in tha snow. Did ya hit yet head? How’re ya feelin’ now?” he asked, the concept of a randomly occurring headache strange to him.
Members of Sapphique are welcome to join all threads and power-play Njord (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not he's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!



 
Loner

339 Posts
Ooc — Kat
Deerstalker
Tracker
Offline
#13
He spoke of an endless rainstorm, which reminded Haunt of her early childhood. It had rained for weeks during her second month. She hadn't minded it, though the sun had come out in the end anyway. She supposed that would happen now, though Haunt could only have blind faith in nature and Njord's word. She was only six months old, so there was no drawing on experience, no practical knowledge of how the seasons turned, inevitable.

That hadn't even occurred to her. Haunt supposed she was deeply fortunate in lots of ways. She probably owed Sapphique her life, including Kaertok. She frowned. No, she owed him nothing. Maybe they were even now. That was a contemplation for later. Right now, she could admit to herself that she was indebted to the rest of Sapphique, particularly its leadership.

"It is..." she said. "My head feels okay. I hit it, a while ago now, and I've had... issues, ever since." That was a huge oversimplification. But her dreams had begun following her injury, then they'd turned into full-blown waking visions. What did it mean, now that Artemis was gone and her head felt more or less normal? Had she been sick in the head this whole time? And was she well now?

She didn't really want to dwell on that right now. Instead, Haunt queried, "Could you tell me about this place? This pack, I mean? You called it... Sapphique?"
Sapphique

Emerald
257 Posts
Ooc — Lieu
Offline
#14
“Ahh, I see,” Njord murmured as the teen explained her head troubles. The Sapphire was hardly a doctor. Erzulie or Grímnismál (who, he just realized, he hadn’t seen in a long time) were the expert medics in the pack – the queen, especially. Her treatment had healed his wounds inflicted by Kigipigak. Maybe Erzulie had a medicine that could help Haunt?

The youth didn’t dwell on her handicap, or explain the odd symptoms and visions that accompanied it. Instead she asked about Sapphique, which was a topic Njord was more than happy to entertain. In a short time he had come to love this pack and think of them like family, despite all the bears.

“Surely,” Njord said. “Aye, we’re called Sapphique and we have two queens at tha helm. @Rosalyn (she’s the dark brown one, scarred up) an @Erzulie. They’re wives… mates! Never heard of ‘anythang like it… but they’re perfect for one ‘nother an’ lead us well. Some of their kids live ‘ere too. ‘Bout your age… you’d get on with @Solaire an’ @Chacal, I’m sure of it. We’ve only been at Dragoncrest a short while, just before winter. I joined tha crew when they moved… Erzulie was tha first wolf I met.”

He paused, reflecting on the pack warmly. “It’s been a good life ‘ere. We love bein’ by tha sea an’ the pack is full of good wolves. I thought I’d be ‘ere just for the winter, but now I’m thinkin’ of stayin’.” An image of the fabled Duskfire Glacier ebbed into his thoughts. Would he give up this dream permanently? The one that had first prompted him to leave Meares Island?
Members of Sapphique are welcome to join all threads and power-play Njord (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not he's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!



 
Loner

339 Posts
Ooc — Kat
Deerstalker
Tracker
Offline
#15
He obliged her, quickly launching into the pack's backstory. Haunt listened astutely, though the mention of the women's pairing caught her so off guard that Rosalyn's name went in one ear and out the other. Wait, what? she thought. If he hadn't opined about it himself, she would've sworn she misheard him or at least misunderstood. Njord insisted they were perfect for one another and she squinted, since it just didn't make sense to her.

He mentioned some more names, including the territory's. "Dragoncrest" sounded very fierce and she liked it immediately. She thought of the cliffs and the sea. She'd been out of it at the time, so she would have to revisit the shoreline now that she was in a better head space... after the snowstorm subsided, of course.

She licked her lips thoughtfully when Njord mentioned staying on even after the winter. What about her? Would she stay? Of course, Haunt wanted to get back to her mother and brother. And aside from the explanation he owed her, it wasn't like she wanted anything to do with Kaertok. He probably even wanted less to do with her. That thought made her pale fur prickle, though she shoved it aside. There was the matter of the wolves who'd taken her in, aside from Kaertok.

"Maybe I'll stay too," she said quietly, more to herself than to Njord. What would Arbiter think about that? And Vex? She imagined they wouldn't like it but none of them might have a choice in the end. Haunt owed these wolves a debt and she not only ought to repay it, she realized—thinking of Erzulie carefully shredding a fish to feed her—that she wanted to.
Sapphique

Emerald
257 Posts
Ooc — Lieu
Offline
#16
Last post from me!

The islander could be quite the chatterbox when he got on a topic he was passionate about. Haunt stayed quiet, but responded with various facial expressions. He watched perplexity cross her façade at the mention of a homosexual relationship of Sapphique’s leaders, followed by admiration at the name of the territory, and then finally consideration at the thought of staying.

Maybe I'll stay too, the young girl entertained. “Yeah?” Njord piped, “I reckon’ you’d be a good fit ‘ere,” he said. Though they had only just met, he could sense Haunt’s loyalty and duty to family… something Rosalyn and Erzulie cared deeply for. “I can show ya tha beach when the weather’s better. Teach ya to fish and how to find tha sweetest tastin’ shellfish!” He smiled. Mussels… now there was a food he hadn’t tasted in a while!

Suddenly, his jaws opened as a big yawn seized him. The dim light and warm(ish) den made him sleepy. “Oh my,” he mumbled, realizing how much energy the cold had sapped from him. “I might take a dozer. When tha weather breaks a lil, we can go lookin' for tha others,” he said, words slurring as he tucked his snout under his red tail. No sooner had he finished speaking was Njord deep asleep and dreaming (of Valmama).
Members of Sapphique are welcome to join all threads and power-play Njord (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not he's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!



 
Loner

339 Posts
Ooc — Kat
Deerstalker
Tracker
Offline
#17
Thanks for the amazing thread!

Her lips twitched into a faint smile when he offered to show her the beach once the weather cleared. Once more, she caught herself admiring the lilt of his voice. She found she enjoyed his company too. If the rest of them were like this, then... yeah, she could see herself staying, in spite of Kaertok. The two of them could just ignore one another into oblivion if it came down to that.

Njord gave a yawn, then declared his intent to nap. Haunt nodded and said, "I'll keep watch." She had no place to go, yet she wasn't sleepy. Actually, she was wide awake, with a lot to think about. As his snores began, she scooted a little nearer to keep them both warm, then stared pensively out into the blizzard as she let her addled mind wander.