Dragoncrest Cliffs [BWP] A Lyke Wake Dirge
Sapphique

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#1
All Welcome 
BWP: Prologue (backdated)
He is singing A Lyke Wake Dirge
Cloudy, gusty, dark sky 28F
1:00pm Dec 31st

A somber silence cut through Sapphique as yesterday’s violence haunted Dragoncrest. It had all happened so fast… the bear, Raleska’s body… blood, howling, fangs, and claws upon his hide. Njord moved with a stiff walk, three lines of lacerations marred his left haunch but he had, luckily, come out of the battle only mildly scathed by the beast. @Raleska and Kaertok had not been so fortunate.

After the fight, the she-wolf’s disfigured body had been moved away from the stones where the Ursus had first delivered her. Only a smear of wolf’s blood in the white snow marked where she had laid. Njord stood besides it as a gust of freezing cold bit at his exposed flesh, but the greatest ache was in his heart.  His chest was heavy for his new family. Though Njord was but a greenhorn in Sapphique’s – Rusalka’s – great history, he was bereft with sadness for @Rosalyn, @Erzulie, and all the children who had known the dark woman and the pale man.

Dark clouds churned like a witch’s brew overhead as the whistling wind began to pick up speed. A great storm was coming. Njord’s voice became low and drawling as he sang a familial funeral dirge for their lost pack-mates.
This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
Every nighte and alle,
Fire and fleet and candle-lighte,
And Atlan receive thy saule.

When thou from hence away art past,
Every nighte and alle,
To Whinny-muir thou com'st at last;
And Atlan receive thy saule.

If ever thou gavest hosen and shoon,
Every nighte and alle,
Sit thee down and put them on;
And Atlan receive thy saule….
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Saints Of The Dying Light

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val's mettle had been tested the day raleska was delivered to their doorstep, dismembered beyond recognition. he had only known raleska as an older but distant sibling -- his first instinct had been to seek out @Chacal and @Regin, for the sight of his mothers bereft by grief and the vision of raleska's sundered body had terrified him.

returning to the spot, val heard through the murky haze of stifling sorrow a sound - a song that both dropped his stomach and lifted his heart to hear. his ears perked as he came towards njord, eyes inquisitive yet ringed by somberness. the wind behind him began to rise, and the clouds above gathered in great, dark colonies.

njord's voice carried through the wavering winds, low and constant. when he was finished, val looked to the ground before quietly asking: "who is atlan?"
NEGATIVITY, WE JUST DEAD IT LIKE D-CON.
Sapphique

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#3
Towards the end of his dirge Njord realized he entertained an audience, but kept his head respectfully bowed throughout his performance. As he crooned the last few lines of his hymn the wind seemed to die down and a silent calm came over the clearing. The boy approached – just as somber as Njord – and begged the question, who is Atlan?

Njord turned his sad, blue eyes towards the youth. This was Valravn, the lost son of Erzulie and Rosalyn who had been chased off by a bear (Sapphique didn’t seem to have much luck with the Ursus). Younger sibling to Raleska. Kaertok had searched high and low for the youth, eventually delivering him back to the pack. This was supposed to be a happy time.

He was dark and sooty all over, not even a yearling. His pubescent proportions made him see ill-prepared for the hearty winter ahead of him, but Njord knew if had an ounce of salt that his mothers maintained, that he would be alright. Unlike Raleska’s leering yellow eyes, Valravn’s gaze was inquisitive and kind. He didn’t deserve to lose family in such a violent way.

“’Ello lad,” Njord said quietly with a melancholy undercurrent to his words. “Some say Atlan is a god. Other’s say Atlan is tha sea itself. Some think ‘es a boy. Other’s say a girl. My family wer’shiped ‘em back on tha island… but Atlan could be cruel and made my family do cruel things…” Njord looked at the blood on the ground. “I never much believed in ‘em. Why would I want ta follow such a cold-blooded dei-ty? Funny how thinkin’ of Atlan brings me some comfort, right now.”

He frowned, looking back to Valravn. “Or maybe I jus miss grieven’ together, an watchin the sea reclaim those who ‘av left us.” He paused for a moment. “Sit with me?” he asked, wanting some company.
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Saints Of The Dying Light

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val carried the songbird's spirit within his heart; he found njord's dirge was at once both beautiful and hauntingly sad. it transported him to a different world, the way songs often do -- and when in ended, he was flooded with melancholy in the manner of tide returning to the wrack line.

he solemnly examined the stripe of ruined snow. the place where hours before, his family had congregated to avenge the death of his sister. val could not say he understood why anyone would worship someone as mercurial and violent as atlan. for once, his heart simmered with an ugly emotion. "well i hate him." val supplied, tearful as he obligingly sat next to njord.

he didn't mean it -- he didn't really hate the sigil of njord's old home. he was just a child, bewildered by the ruthless complexity of the world -- and even though he had company in the form of njord sitting right next to him, val felt impossibly alone.
NEGATIVITY, WE JUST DEAD IT LIKE D-CON.
Sapphique

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#5
The crow-colored boy plopped down besides Njord, puppy dog eyes glistening with wetness. Well I hate him, the teen stated decidedly as a streak of anger painted his expression. Njord breathed a heavy sigh out the nose as he lifted a paw to drape a limb around Valravn’s dark shoulders. He knew what it was like to hate the world… hate someone like Atlan. Njord never considered himself a wise wolf, but maybe age finally gave him the capacity to reflect, instead of react, upon tragedy. He had once been very much like Valravn not so long ago.

“Aye, me too Val,” the seafarer agreed as he pulled him in a little closer. “It’s okay ta hate someone like Atlan. Hate moth’er nature. Sometimes ter’ble things happen, an’ we can’t understand why.” Njord let loose a single, stifled, chuckle as an old memory crossed his mind. “I mean, that’s why I stopped prayin’ ta Atlan years ago.”

A few silent moments drifted between them as the islander remembered skipping out of prayer and cursing Atlan’s name in from of his devout family. There was no room is his raptorial Grandfather’s heart to love his apostatized grandchild. He pursed his lips. “But… life has a way of continuin'. Whatever life takes, it'll eventually give back. Every storm will pass. Known’ this, it’s bes’ ta fill yer heart with love an’ memories of the ones we lost. It’s tha bes’ way ta honor them.”
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Saints Of The Dying Light

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#6
wtf he's so sweet


njord had many years and and experience more under his belt than val did. the boy was silent as his elder spoke, draping a paw around his shoulders and pulling him close. val, ever a creature of physical comfort, seemed somewhat subdued by the closeness. it reminded him of security -- of his maman and chacal.

which in turn reminded him of his fresh grief. no amount of wise words or softly delivered dirges could heal that raw split on his soul. val wondered how it could ever close, not when any time he ventured near to it he felt the wailing of that strange void suck him in.

it wasn't necessarily comforting to him to think life moved on with or without his consent. there were many things he'd want differently. he didn't understand how life could be so callous to those that lived it. he did understand why njord, all those years ago, might have opted to cease his praying to something so indifferent to something as small as a wolf. "okay." val murmured, not truly believing that treasured memories could be a wellspring of healing for those recently bereft. he didn't have many treasured memories of raleska or kaertok -- did that make him a bad brother and person?
NEGATIVITY, WE JUST DEAD IT LIKE D-CON.
Sapphique

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#7
A comfortable silence filled the space between the red-tail and the young wolf as they shared the burden of heavy hearts. A simple word, a surrender, slipped from Valravn’s mouth. Njord hugged the boy tighter and then released him – a pressing reassurance and then the freedom to feel. To sit alone, to be.

“Yer good company, Valravn. I’m glad you joined me.” Njord remarked with a quiet voice as his blue gaze turned back to the spot where Raleska and Kaertok had lost their lives. He felt he needed to let Valravn know what their last moments on Earth was like. “Yer sister an’ Kaertok fought the bear with all their might. Raleska… she was an’ exceptional scout. Sharp mind, that one. An’ Kaertok… I looked up to ‘im. ‘E was a strong man, body an’ heart. We… Sapphique can live on ‘cause of ‘em.”

Njord fell back into silence as the desire to shelter Valravn from the onus of sustaining the pack came to the forefront of his mind. A new sense of responsibility bloomed within the islander. Kaertok and Raleska’s great sacrifice could not be in vain.
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Saints Of The Dying Light

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val remained silent, involuntarily following njord's gaze to the direction where he had first seen the enormous bear emerge. something cold seized his heart.

he looked away. towards the sea, the cliffs, the puffy white clouds that hung in tendrils suspended across a sapphire blue winter sky.

njord's quiet words brought him back to reality. he thought of his older sister, unaware of her true relation to him. she had always been stern, hard. he often had gotten the sense she did not like him, or did not like to see him.

and of kaertok, val knew very little. the man had been his escort from redhawks to home, and for that val viewed him as something akin to a guardian.

and now both of them were nothing at all -- like the clouds that moved above him, they were there and gone the next.

sapphique lived on because of all of them. val's forehead wrinkled in hard thought. "how come the bear had to come?"
NEGATIVITY, WE JUST DEAD IT LIKE D-CON.
Sapphique

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#9
Sorry for my sandbagging, last post from me!

Though Valravn was coming upon his first year, the questions he proposed were of the innocent kind; rhetorical and unanswerable. How come the bear had to come? the youth asked the seafarer. Njord often felt unwise and immature as he observed the world through his own lens. This instance was no different. Though he wished to justify the sacrifice of their Rosada, he had no clear answer for the teen for why their loved ones had been slain in their own home.

“Why does tha sea rise n’ fall? Why do tha young grow old? Why does the wolf kill ‘ta eat?” he asked, mostly to himself. “Tha rain comes. Tha summer comes. Tha prey comes. Tha bear comes… is jus’ tha way tha’ wurl turns.”

He breathed a deep sigh, turning to Valravn. “M’sorry Val, I wish I ‘ad a better answer for ya. It’s okay to feel… not okay. It’s normal ta feel sad. Or angry.” He paused, not wanting to linger too long on the sad, abstract way the world worked. “What say you ‘n I track down some rabbits, eh? It’ll feel good to warm our bellies,” he proposed, ready to let the bloodied stones of his pack’s deathbed sleep. The red-tail stood up, and turned away from their pew.
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Saints Of The Dying Light

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#10

val's gaze turned somberly to njord as the man spoke of the sea, of wolves, of old and young. the world, val was coming to understand, was infinitely complex.

and his role within it marginal at best.

the boy made no comment. he understood the point: that's the way things are; such a finely tipped sentiment which pressed through his tender heart like a knife.

he rose and followed njord. his own belly had no appetite for kills today, but he would hunt alongside his packmate dutifully, and later that night, when he closed his eyes and slept he would dream he was the rabbit, being chased through the darkness by a pair of unblinking yellow eyes.

NEGATIVITY, WE JUST DEAD IT LIKE D-CON.