Redtail Rise I shall be punished for it now, I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears
355 Posts
Ooc — hela
set for 6/14 around 2am

It was the early hours of the morning, long before the sun would rise when the sky had opened up and dropped a downpour. Veins of lightning crawled across the sky, minutes apart, and were followed soon after with a booming thunder that rumbled the ground. The bear was angry with her. She had been a loyal subject to the spirit and now she had abandoned everything. Every day, she waited for the other shoe to drop, for her punishment to be dealt in some horrific, scarring way. She could feel it coming, though she said nothing of it to anyone. The bear was nothing here. It held no power over anyone else, but it still had power over her. The bear haunted her thoughts and dreams and was slowly driving her deeper into the depression that had started before they left Ursus, when she could see how the world was battering @Aventus and driving him to madness. 

Rain pelted against her and soaked her to the bone. She was panicking, trying to get back to the den because she knew the children were coming. She had felt the cramps starting yesterday, and they continued throughout the day and night. Until now, when they felt like they were trying to split her in half.

When she drew close to the den, she was seized by a pain so severe it made her stagger. The pain struck again, and this time she cried out, but the sound was drowned out by a smash of thunder above her. Arielle fell to the ground with only seconds of consciousness before she was yanked into darkness, Blood pooled around her tail, far more than there should be. A pup squirmed within its sac, its struggle ignored. 

She dreamed while she was out, but of nothing good. The bear stood before her with giant teeth bared. Blood dripped from its jaws and a tiny brown infant lay dead and mangled at the spirit's giant paws. Arielle started to cry. That was her daughter laying there, gored and lifeless. Her heart broke into a million pieces. She was powerless against the bear; this was her punishment and she could do nothing but accept it. The bear only watched her fall apart, cold, beady eyes judging her. The spirit had forsaken her, though only because she had abandoned it first.

Minutes passed that felt like hours to her, but she finally came to. She was groggy and in pain. Sorrow beat at her relentlessly until she could remember what was happening. Arielle turned and found the lifeless puppy, still in the sac. She quickly cleaned it off and brought it inside; she swayed as she moved but fought stubbornly against the weakness. She set the puppy down and went to her herb stash to find something for the blood loss. She ate it quickly, along with a few other things she had been saving for this day. Then she returned to the child. It was dead, she already knew, but that didn’t stop her from licking and nudging the tiny body in the hope that it would stir. But it had been too long. Her tiny daughter, with her downy soft, dark brown fur was gone. Tears formed in her eyes, but she had no more time to mourn; she was struck with another contraction, this one nothing like with the first pup. It hurt, but it was mostly bearable, unlike before. She worked hard for however long it took, pushing when she felt like she was supposed to. Finally she delivered the second puppy, and this time, she was there to clean it off and stimulate it to start breathing. This one was a boy and mostly white with blobs of coloring in a similar pattern to hers, though the colors were slightly different (@Ancelin). When she had cleaned him off, she pulled him close and helped him find a place to feed. A flash of guilt stole her breath for a moment as she looked down on her son, so tiny and helpless, like the first born who had been left to suffocate, alone. Tears filled her eyes again. Her decisions had cost the life of her child; she should have protected her.

Again, her thoughts were pushed away when the pain started. She was afraid to sit up and jostle the pale puppy, so she tried to remain where she was and just breath through the pain; it helped that she knew it was temporary. She was completely out of energy at this point, a combination of labor and blood loss making her almost dizzy with exhaustion. But she refused to lose another child to her weakness. So she found some primitive drive to keep going and delivered the next pup with quite a bit of a struggle. She immediately pulled him over and cleaned him off. He was black and reddish brown, and another son (@Atreus). When he was crying, she pulled him close and helped him find a place to feed like she had the first son. 

She could only watch over them for a short time before she could no longer hold her head up. Arielle rested it on her front paws and watched the rain continue to pour down outside. The full moon cast a glow across the entrance of the den that was only made brighter with each flash of lightning. Tears flowed from her eyes unbidden and stubborn. She had no more energy to hold anything in, so along with the pain and exhaustion, she was battered by a fiery rage that took her breath away and a bone deep sorrow that made her wish for death. Everything seemed to crash into her at once—the space that had formed between her Aves, how lonely she had felt the last few months, her betrayal. She had tried to be strong and ignore the way those things actually made her feel, but now they took advantage of the open floodgates. She was unable to fall asleep despite how tired she was because the emotions were too strong. The tears wouldn’t stop and she just let them fall. She had given up.
363 Posts
Ooc — ebony
consider that being born to blood was natural for the children of the bear. and consider that the bear was either just or without fairness. never both, and this was why very few had enjoyed any righteousness at that mighty paw.
but ancelin would not have known this. his first breath was ruled by an angered, loud squall which tried its best to shatter the tension emanating from the only figure he had ever comprehended, first the beat of her blood as he grew within her, and now the swipe of her tongue.
there was someone else here and yet ancelin did not turn to find them. he drank deeply but when the smell of his mother's tears filled the air with salt, he lifted his blind head and was somber for a moment not befitting his very small age.
451 Posts
Ooc — Kat
Atreus came into the world agitated, mewling his wrath as some unseen presence attempted to soothe him. There was no placating the newborn, even when he found his way to a teat. He drank angrily, punishing his mother’s underside by gnashing his gums and pounding his little fists. Feeding did not calm his temper. If anything, it grew worse, as if he absorbed Arielle’s fury through her milk.

He let go of her and began to thrash, his mighty cries lost to the storm pounding the world just outside the den’s door. Only when a particularly loud thunderclap shook the earth did he abruptly go quiet. He grew still, eventually giving a small grunt of resignation before crossly jamming his own foot in his mouth.
I archive threads if my partner goes inactive and/or there are no new replies for several weeks. I'm more than happy to continue an archived thread if you're interested. Just revive it (via maintenance) and tag me in your next reply. :)
506 Posts
Ooc — Chelsie
Aventus wandered the night. It happened more often here than in Bearclaw Valley, a stark contrast to his daytime relief at being away from his father’s lands. He did not recognize it for what it was and attributed it to his father’s ghost haunting him.

He wandered so long that the sky began to lighten behind its grey pall. He was soaked through, but paid no mind to the rain sluicing against his face while he climbed. Arielle slept, or so he believed. She was in pain the day before, but Aventus was oblivious to the meaning. He hunted for her in the night as he always had since moving to the Rise, causing him to stray too far from her side to be of any use in her hour of need.

He knew even before he arrived that something was wrong. He knew it in the scarlet-tinted rivulets running along the stone, the metallic taint that curled into his nostrils, the sting of salt a subtle undercurrent. The beaver tumbled from his jaws, slapping against the wet ground and abandoned as Aventus pounded toward the den.

The smell of blood only grew as he barged into their home, so strong it choked him. Behind his eyes was burned the image of blood arcing from a torn jugular and spraying him in the face. The taste of that wolf’s flesh. The ecstasy he had felt then, and how it had gone bitter and frightful as he grew older and learned that with such power came only loss.

That fear gripped him now, climbing up his throat and strangling him, so that he stood there breathing hard and looking at Arielle and seeing only a corpse. Loss. That was the curse of the bear. That was the curse of Aventus the unfaithful. That was all he ever deserved and that was what he expected to receive.

It felt like an eternity that he stared at his wife’s lifeless body, and then he blinked, and she was not dead at all, but staring deadpan ahead with wet tracks on her face, and louder than thunder was the squalling of one child, and more haunting in their silence than the notion of his father’s vengeful ghost was the second.

His breath froze in his throat as he realized that all the bear had ever taken from him, he had been given in another form. Not by the bear — there would be no come to Jesus moment for Aventus where the beast was concerned — but by her, his radiant mate. When he lost his mother, she had come to him. The bear had stolen Astara, but Arielle had been there to pick him up. A mother gone, a partner gained. When he lost his father...

He could not peel his eyes from the two pups nor comprehend the rush of tears pricking at his eyelids, and when he finally found his voice to whisper, Arielle? it was hoarse with emotion.
355 Posts
Ooc — hela
Arielle knew he was there the second he stepped into the den. She wondered if saw their dead child already. She wondered if he would be angry with her. For a painful moment, she considered ordering him away, telling him to leave her alone. But she could never do that. Aside from the fact that she could never be someone who hurt Aves, she realized just how much she needed him there; she needed him always. 

But she couldn't move at first. She was too exhausted and too gripped by her sorrow and guilt to do anything other than lay there, a prisoner to her tears and emotions. One boy had been quiet and the other had filled the den with angry cries until thunder shook the ground beneath them and seemed to quiet him. She wanted to comfort them and revel in the knowledge that they were alive and well, but everything felt exhausting. She wished she could just sleep for days. 

Her mate's voice, quiet and gruff, made something spark within her. Some sliver of energy formed within her in that moment. She slowly lifted her head and looked at him. She opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out. She stared at him helplessly before finally looking towards the lifeless body of the first born. Tears flowed harder. I'm sorry, she told him, her voice shaky. She couldn't protect him from this loss, and it would only add to everything else that had been taken from him. Just like that the energy was gone and her head dropped to her paws again. Sleep evaded her still.
506 Posts
Ooc — Chelsie
Fading here!

There was a long pause during which Aventus' heart beat so hard, he thought it might break through the wall of his chest. There was a fuzzy sound in his ears and he could feel his pulse in the side of his neck. Arielle was unmoving. She was awake and breathing, but staring hard at the ground, seemingly unable to look at him. The pair of pups wriggled at her side like grubs.

Who could blame her? He had been a terrible mate, and on top of that, he was away and wandering in her hour of need. Nobody could fault Arielle for not wanting to look at him, not even Aventus himself.

Aves passed his tongue over his lips and found them dry as sand. At last her head did come up and her eyes met his and he saw the pain and misery there and felt sick to his stomach. Then she looked away again and he followed her gaze to the ground, to a lifeless dark figure that turned his blood to glacier water.

Oh, it was not Arielle he blamed for this loss. It was not even the bear's vengenace or his father's ghost he blamed. He wished he could blame those supernatural forces beyond his control if only to curse them more vehemently, but Aventus knew the only one at fault for this loss was him. He crept forward to sniff at the cold body, but found no trace of life there. No hope of reviving her.

He had neglected Arielle in the early days of her pregnancy. He had caused her stress. Her had caused her pain. He had failed to bring her food and comfort, as was his duty as her mate, and then dragged her across the wilds to a new home where she felt out of place, all for his own selfish desires. Their daughter's death was his doing and it would weigh on him always.

The pups were quiet now. Aventus did not look at them, but resolved then and there to be better than he had been, to ensure they remained healthy and hardy. He would not take more from Arielle than he already had.

He hardly felt worthy of touching Arielle or drawing nearer, but when she apologized, Aventus shuffled to her and cradled her in his arms all the same. He would hold her as long as she needed. As long as she would tolerate him. You have nothing to be sorry for, he murmured against her damp cheek. I am the one who is sorry.

Thunder rolled outside. He would need to take the girl's body and bury it, but so long as Arielle needed him here, Aventus would not move. His throat burned with grief and guilt and remorse. Perhaps it was never the bear who had resulted in so much loss for his family, but Aventus himself.

He held his mate tighter.

Perhaps he was cursed.

I'm so, so sorry.