Hideaway Strath drowning in calm waters
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All Welcome 
Everyone seemed happy. Content, at least.

Nyra had been spending some time ranking up. Derg and Arlette kept each other's company. And Simmik and Kynareth were two love birds, as absolutely disgusting as that was. Gross.

But Ambrosia? She was not happy. She was not happy for so many reasons that she didn't even know why the rage boiled inside her heart. The woman was growing bored of her alias, for it had been a simple cover for her grief. Grief over the loss of Donovan, one who for a second she believed might have brightened her life. Angry with Sasha for taking her family, angry with herself for being falsely misled and having hope that she could have been a normal wolf.

And the she-wolf was also angry with her peers. Jealous not of the relationships floating about, but the joy that everyone else but herself seemed to have felt. For a moment, as small as it was, she truly thought that she may find happiness with Donovan. Or, Kynareth. She didn't bother separating them anymore. But no, that too fell apart, and that fucking tiger stole away another chance at companionship. And that would have been fine, if he wasn't interested in settling down and building meaningful connections. Except, that didn't happen. Instead he bounced over to that white wolf, Simmik to live happily ever after with.

Leigh, yes, fuck the alias, had just been a temporary replacement until sweet Simmik ran back into his arms. And he loved her, because she was strong. She was beautiful, not overly emotional, didn't complicate complicated situations. She was not frustrating besides the basic "I hate you"s but all married couples go through that shit. As for Leigh, despite her efforts to hide her past actions, was old and weathered, uninteresting and irritating. The woman couldn't blame Donovan for not choosing her, she simply wished that he had the courage to tell her that what they had wasn't real.

The world was calm, peaceful. Regardless of the fights and violence, considering how bad things could have been, the world was pretty damn okay. And yet the she-wolf was shaking with rage, silently hating everything and everyone, except for Locke. Locke and her were all good.

She felt like she was suffocating, a burn in her lungs. Drowning and strugging to reach the surface all while the others were gently swimming in calm and silent water above. And it didn't help that they all refused to believe that she was not a good person. To them she'd always be innocent and kind, a hero and advocate for justice. No. She was a bad wolf, and she had accepted that long ago. She'd try to do better, help others with their own problems, but she'd never truly be good.

Kynareth wanted an evil wolf. If only he had known Leigh years ago.
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Donovan hadn’t spoken with Leigh in some time. Alone anyway. Not since their argument that seemed to go endlessly back and forth. He seeks her out today and for once he gets lucky. The she wolf in absent of any others, stalking throughout the strath.

His hawkish eyes land on her dark pelt. The faint lines of red, tan, and other colors subtly lining the midnight fur. “Leigh.” He greets easily. His body language is calm and casual as he approaches. “How are you, darling?” Is his next question. He says the words as if they never fought in the first place. “It’s been a while since we’ve talked privately.”
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Of course, on cue the tiger reveals himself, entering the scene and approaching with a calm demeanor. Leigh had long given up her grudge against him, at least in regards to the murder of Aya. Now, she was still frustrated with Kynareth for other reasons, including his relationship with Simmik, but on the other hand she felt a sense of understanding. If he didn't deserve to be happy, neither did she. They were both bad people and deserved the consequences of life.

"Shouldn't you be with your mate?" The question was not meant to sound passive aggressive or condescending in any way. The woman was genuinely curious, for it seemed that the two were madly in love. So how come they had separated?

Aside from that, it was true that they hadn't spoken for some time. Leigh had been distant for so long that she had completely forgotten about her birthday and definitely threw the idea of a celebration out the window. But the pack wouldn't miss out on much. Soon there would be a celebration for the pups arriving this year, and the she-wolf was unsure if she could bring herself to be happy for such an event.

"I don't want to argue," she began, eyes containing a certain sadness and her voice sincere. "But how come you even bothered with me, if you loved another? And if you ever had feelings for me, how come you never fought for our relationship but did everything you could for the connection you had with that white wolf?"

She still hadn't learned all of the names floating around. "White wolf" wasn't the best descriptor but she assumed he could fill in the blanks.

"I know I'm not as shiny and new as she is. And if that's your reason, I understand. I simply want to know why."
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Kynareth’s not too surprised when he hears her ask if he should be with his mate. Rather he sighs softly at the at the words before he says anything.

“I don’t have to be stuck to her hip.” He hums conversationally, tone calm. 

Then just as he’s about to say something else, Leigh is spilling words that he never thought he’d heard her say. He stills momentarily before daring to come closer to the dark pelaged female. 

“I didn’t know I loved her then. I had actually given up on her for a time.” He mentions, voice low in his throat. “I didn’t fight for our relationship because it was clear you couldn’t stand me. Couldn’t stand what I do or what I think.” He pauses, hawkish eyes looking at her. “I was even under the impression that you hated me.” His voice is soft, informative. Not loud and bold like he’s spoken to her many times before. “And that is not at all my reason, Leigh.” He refers to her very last sentence.

He even goes to sit beside her. Dropping his haunches and looking forward out into the horizon. “It’s complicated with Simmik. She helped me through a tough time when I first made it to these lands. When my pack had also gotten slaughtered.” The words are heavy, solemn. Turning his wide head to look her dead in the eyes. “Funny how karma works, huh?” A dry laugh spills from his lips.
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The tiger sits beside her though Leigh doesn't budge. In some ways she does hate him, but now, after so long, she had grown tired of trying to avoid their relationship. Kynareth had never brought her any harm, not really, and the most she'd repay him with is a nice seat. But she still doesn't meet his eyes as her ears catch his words. She'd excuse the sad joke, however there was still so much more than needed to be said. There was still so much Kynareth didn't know about her, and perhaps this was the time to share.

The woman still wasn't one to judge the actions of another. She refused to judge, despite her frustration with Donovan's choices. For she wasn't much better than he was, and maybe he should have been the one to judge her.

"You have to understand Kynareth... I've done terrible things too. And I'm not saying this to get into the bad guy club. I'm saying this to admit my guilt, to show you that I am not the good person you see me as, nor will I ever be."

She was exhausted. Just exhausted. The she-wolf was sick of running from herself, she knew why she had stayed with the Saints despite all of their horribleness. She belonged here, she was just as bad as they were. It was true that she was eager to do better, maybe find some redemption and look forwards to the future. But the past still mattered, and perhaps showing Kynareth a piece of her history would aid him in understanding who she really was.

"I tried to do better once, for my family. I guess it was similar to you and Simmik. My husband helped me out of a life of crime and death, and I was thankful. He gave me a good life while it lasted. But after he died, I fell right back into that bottomless pit."

A faint sigh esceped her lips as she finished the sentence. Leigh didn't mean to ramble, she didn't want to ramble. But this was the only way she knew how to get her point across. Kynareth liked to interrupt, to answer every little comment. So to get through to him, she had to be aggressive with her words. Plow through and continue to speak regardless of how dumb or random she sounded.

"I guess I really am like my father. Never knew him, only heard stories. But he gave me everything he had. His pelt, eyes, hatred and rage. There's probably a price on his head, there's probably a hefty one on mine too."

She then leaned against the tiger, something she never thought she'd do again after Aya's execution. But the woman needed comfort, and he was the closest wolf nearby. Leigh hated him, she really did. Though she couldn't deny that it was the sweet kind of hate. The hate you have for family, the hate that still allows you to love someone at the same time.

"I may have not made many enemies here, but I've got them. They're out there in the world somewhere. But I doubt it'll be my enemies who kill me. It'll probably be your's. Because despite the hate I feel for you, I'd give my life to see your children have a father. It wouldn't be for you, it'd be for them. To give them a better life than I had."
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Kynareth’s eyes roam over her perfect face as she speaks again. Talks about how bad of a person she was and how her husband dug her out of that pit. How she could possibly have redemption and for a minute Kyn doesn’t understand her at all for a whole different reason. His face only vaguely shifts, eyes squinting and cheeks becoming firm with tension. It’s an expression of wonder and confusion all at once.

Then all of a sudden she’s leaning against him, her warmth sinking into his own pelt. He doesn’t move, thinking that if he does she’d pull away. Yet, he’s pulled from his reverie when she continues. Speaking of dying for him only to see his pups have a normal life and at that his brows furrow slightly.

Already he knows what he’s about to say will probably throw them into another argument. What’s the point of a conversation if one can’t say what they wish? Speak their opinion and the such. So he does.

Beginning with a sigh he starts from the beginning. “If you lived that life once before then why not accept it? It’s easier than continuously chasing redemption. Trying to please others to make up for what you’ve done in the past. It never works. You’ll never get redemption and you don’t need it. The way I live makes you stronger. Resilient. Immortal; until you’re not and your heart stops beating.” His voice hums against her, it’s a deep, low sounding and confident. He’s very sure of himself when he says it. He is quite literally the epitome of an evil, ruthless killer that cares not for what others think of him or his actions. 

“It’s easier to accept it as a part of yourself. Allow it to rule your entire being; your actions, your thoughts. That’s what I’ve done my entire life and it’s what I will continue to do until I die a bloody battle and rot into the earth.” 

His eyes look out into the horizon and his brows furrow thinking of his future children. They will be like him. They will be warriors, they will not hesitate to kill, they will be ruthless and confident. They must be. Or he’ll kill them once he figures out they can’t be. Whether it be when they’re six months old, or three years old, it doesn’t matter. They will tower over him with might and train to become better than even Kynareth himself. 

“As for my children, Leigh. I wouldn’t get involved in that.” He whispers easily. No warning in his voice. He says it just as soft as he spoke earlier. “They will be like me. They will kill without hesitation. They will train to become stronger than me one day. If they cannot carry on the Saint tradition; they will die. This is the way it must be.”
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Though she leaned against the wolf, ear pressed against his side, her head shook in response to his blatantly incorrect words. A part of her couldn't blame Kynareth for his mindset. It was all he knew. But damn, he had to be pretty fucking dumb to sit here at five years old and still believe that shit. What a dingus.

Despite that, his words still stung. It never works, she'd never earn redemption? Jeez thanks, really encouraging speech there buddy. She didn't need it? That was where Leigh had to disagree. Unlike him, she had, or at least thought she had something to lose. It wasn't as simple as he made it sound. And then his children? He'd kill them? Kynareth was such a loser.

"The way you live doesn't make anyone stronger. Physically, perhaps, but that type of strength eventually fades with time. It doesn't last, it won't last. Choosing to do bad things, to be evil does not require any restraint. It's the easy path, the weak and mindless path. You may enjoy that life, but don't lie to me and try to lure my heart with false promises."

The woman didn't wish to argue. She was far too tired of fighting with Kynareth, they had done it so many times before. For now, she simply wanted to enjoy the company. Earn a reminder of what their relationship used to be. She'd participate in a debate, but if things escalated she would take her leave. Leigh had only turned four, but she felt older and older each day.

"I have accepted that part of myself. I know I'm not a good wolf, I don't think I'll ever truly be a good wolf. But instead of giving up and accepting that acts of evil are the only thing I'll ever be, ever amount to, is pathetic and selfish. And I will admit, you implying that I could never conjure the willpower to change is insulting."

For a moment there is silence. The she-wolf is unsure how to respond to the tiger's last comment. It doesn't surprise her, he had told her too many terrible things for her to be shocked by his words. But how could anyone reply to such cruelness?

"You would want that for your children? To have them terrify, murder, and ruin the lives of others? You would want them to kill other families, just as you killed mine? You would deprive them of happiness and a chance at a family of their own? Simmik was just luck, you would have been forever alone otherwise. If you ruin your children, you're bloodline is gonna end real fucking fast Genuis."

There is a rapid thump against her chest. Her heart rate had shot up upon finishing her last sentence, though as a small period of time passes the beating slows. Leigh takes a breath, and can finally bring herself to look up at the wolf, orange eyes staring at his striped face.

"I never wanted to change you. I know I can't change people. Just thought I might help you change yourself. Maybe if you're capable of doing some sort of good, just a little, there's some hope for me too. I'm willing, ready to go to hell. But my God, what I would give to see my family again. At least give me the hope of seeing my family, Don, give me that one thing."
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He listens to her politely, sure not to interrupt. Then as she mentions her last words he looks down to her softly before gardening his expression to look out into the horizon. “The path I take might be the easy one but the decisions I must make are not.” He says easily.

Then he continues, going on about his lineage and her insult to his bloodline dying off. He begins with a short, gravelly laugh. “You’d be surprised, dear.” He practically whispers as his hawkish eyes look down to her mischievously. A light smirk graces his lips then. “Why do you think I’m my fathers only successor?” He asks back. “He killed all four of my siblings. One was born a runt; he killed him nice and early. Another was killed at 6 months because he didn’t want to accept the Saint way of life. Another almost died in battle alongside me and refused to go back to the lifestyle. Old man killed him too.” He says blandly. “Then the last one lived long enough to be killed by the humans that stormed my pack. Truly tragic I would’ve loved to rule beside him.” His last words were almost sad — almost.

He doesn’t tell her the part where his father had another litter when Donovan was but one year old. Two girls and a boy. His father killed both the females without question. Leaving the last male to grow along side Donovan and his few brothers that still lived. He sadly also passed away during the fight for his pack against the two legs. 

Again returning back to Leigh’s last somber words he sighs. His eyes find her form once again. “I will never change, darling.” He looks into her eyes, his voice so soft, almost somber. “But if it is redemption you request. Then I will do my best to grant you it. I will try and help in any way I can.” His gaze never leaves the vibrant orange of her own orbs. “Forgive me and I will assist you in any way I can.” Are his final words are so soft, practically wearing his heart on his sleeve.
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Upon hearing the satisfying words leave the tiger's mouth, a sense of relief fills Leigh's heart. She is glad to know that, despite their differences, Kynareth is still willing to help. They may not have been friends anymore, at least not close friends, but it was nice to know that there was still some sort of connection between the two. Even if that connection was real fucked up.

A part of the woman wasn't surprised to learn of the actions of Don's father. It seemed that it ran in the family. But his father was dead, at least she assumed so, and there was no use in wasting time judging those who were already gone. As much as she wanted to spit silent insults towards the heavens, or rather, hell, a POS like Kynareth's father was so pathetic that she didn't consider him a good use of free time.

As for forgiveness? Leigh was split. It was hard forgiving someone knowing that they'd screw up again in five minutes. But if forgiveness was withheld, no one would move past old mistakes and nothing would get done. For the sake of productivity, the she-wolf reasoned to herself. Yeah, that was a good argument.

"I will forgive you, but don't mistake that for forgetfulness. You still stole my family, you took everything from me. Regardless of how ridiculous it is, I will envy your mate and despise your children. Because I am not devoid of jealousy and grief. I'm fucking jealous of Kynareth fucking Deagon. You will help me earn redemption, because yes, I do blame you for my downfall."

She was not looking for a fight, but Leigh was sick of holding back her frustration. In no time there would be little pups running around, and she was salty as hell. By now, Kynareth had probably knocked up three different wolves. He got to have a family, more than one, and Leigh was left with zero. What a world.
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He can see the conflicting emotions swirling like a maelstrom in her sunset eyes. He waits patiently for her answer, hopefulness even showing through his steely facade. Yet, when she speaks, she speaks as if she might as well not forgive him at all. It makes him deflate a little, he tries not to allow the sigh loose from his throat, instead he inhales. 

“I will not mistake your forgiveness for forgetfulness.” He copies like a mantra. His voice isn’t careless though, it is accepting and understanding. “You have all the reason to blame me for your downfall. I will help you, Leigh.” He hums slowly down to her, his eyes never leaving her own. He sighs then, “I can tell you havnt truly forgiven me, but we can work towards that, yes?” He asks hopefully.
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She listens as he tests her words on his tongue. His tone is somewhat unreadable. Not threatening or irritated, but it was just as complicated as their relationship. There were conflicting emotions, strange feelings, and it seemed to be reflected in the two's mannerisms and the air's atmosphere.

"Forgiveness comes in two parts. I am willing to forgive, but you must also earn that privilege."

To Leigh, forgiving someone for screwing up was like a sign screaming "you can mess up and I won't care". She wouldn't hand out that gift freely, at least not as often as some. Kynareth would have to work hard, give it his all. And the woman would have to see true progress, make sure the tiger's words were genuine and he wouldn't end up just fucking around. Only then would forgiveness be completed, and perhaps their relationship could be mended. With scars and bandages, of course, but not as broken as it once was.
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Kynareth is nodding eagerly at her next words and a smile crawls onto his maw. Something they used to share with one another religiously. Laughing and romping around of the fields of flowers within the deep red of the canyons rigid walls. He misses it.

So he moves to step away from her, smile still in place as he bows playfully. Lowering his shoulders and dipping his head. “Then I will earn your forgiveness, your highness. Just you wait and see.” Comes his deliciously confident voice. Hawkish orbs gazing up to her, gleaming with that rugged suggestiveness he always has.
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She watches Kynareth's playful response, though is unamused by such actions. Although the bow didn't seem forced or manipulative, Leigh simply couldn't see things going back to the way they were. That wasn't to say that their relationship would never get better. In fact, she hoped it would. But their once happy connection lead to eventual despair. And if they were to avoid that, perhaps they should instead rebuild something entire new in hopes of avoiding past mistakes.

"Good."

Rising to her feet and giving her fur a light shake, her eyes met the tiger's while she stood. The woman was ready to leave, but she didn't want to simply disappear and leave the poor brainless man confused.

"Well, I'm off to go terrorize my next meal. Catch you later."
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Holy shet my b I had no idea I still hadn’t relied to this haha. We can archive after my next post if you’d want!

He can tell she isn’t particularly impressed by his playful antics, but it doesn’t bother him. He simply stands to full height afterwards and watches her stand herself and shake off. 

Good. She says. Good.” He parrots back. 

Then all of a sudden she’s giving him a casual goodbye. It does hurt him a bit, but what does he expect to be treated like after everything that’s happened with them two. He doesn’t want her to see it though and he tries to keep himself passive as she turns to leave. 

A curt nod and repeats “Catch you later, dear.” as his own farewell. It’s soft and his eyes might even betray a hint of hurt. Hopefully she doesn’t notice before he’s turning away himself.
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Leigh could indeed pick up on the subtle shift in tone, though she had traveled too far from Kynareth to turn around now. No, she had to keep walking. At least the woman knew he cared, cared enough to express even the smallest of glimpses of emotion. But they were no longer friends, at least no longer close friends, and she wouldn't allow herself to get sucked back into Kyn's chaotic mind.

He would help her, and she would hold him to that promise. Even if in the end, she'd be unable to redeem herself or even consider herself worth redemption, Kynareth would help her until she reached that realization.