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WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Specifically, this thread is marked mature because of: .

It was late. Later than he had meant to stay out.

He had seen Vodeva and something had coaxed him to remain. The Tavern was an old friend despite its newness, and each night Ambrose would crow his jaunty tunes high into the rafters for whoever found their way to the Brass Potato. Vodeva and her alcolytes had taken to parading through the City Square, their long robes marking them as followers of her divine, but… Iomair saw her slipping further and further out of reach.

On this night the tavern was quiet and filled with the gentlest of candlelight. The days hunt had been successful, and so Iomair had spent some time at the cooking pit roasting his prize before bringing it inside. Celaeno and the others often worked there, but he had been surprised to find only Ridgewell and his collection of cats working over a large stew pot.

They ate and drank, and when the darkness came they lingered and told stories.

Apostrophe lay casually sprawled in a creaky old chair. They were easily distinguishable by the russet fluff of their pelt, the pretty glow of their eyes accentuated by the dim lighting cast by the Brass Potato. Someone had leaned it back into place so that it looked out over the interior of the tavern, its dented face gleaming and gold.

”Sleepy in here tonight,” Apostrophe noted, tapping a long claw against the table, ”I thought it would be busier with the Ladies coming home.”

Iomair grunted, ”The Ladies?”

”You know – the ones that are always walking through the square.”

”Mm. I know the ones.”

”Your lady’s a tough one to miss.”

”She’s not my lady anymore.”

The long sigh that followed came with a quick drink, after which Iomair stood and splayed his hands against the table.

”I can walk you back if you like?”

Together they began the long walk back to the City Square, their conversation punctuated by the pauses they made to relieve themselves in the bushes. The moon was bright enough that they did not need torches, but both wolf-dogs had wide eyes and even wider pupils - the dark enveloping every avenue that led to the square.

”The square’s not lit?” Iomair mused as the dirt road finally gave way to cobbled stone, ’That’s-”

There was a bone-chilling scream that threatened to deafen them both, and then a moment later the calls went out.

”-Smoke!”

”Get help!”

”Water!”

”... Fire!”

The pair shared a look before rushing forward, their expressions solemnly set as they set off after the others.

It cast an eerie glow against the grape-dark of the sky. Orange sparks and embers refracted off of the black smoke while belched as if by a dragon of olde.

The cry of fire rang like the peel of a bell.

Someone screamed, ”Where’s Rabbit?!”


(///) | NPCs: Apostrophe (pNPC)

A house in the City Square is mysteriously lit on fire in the middle of the night on October 5th. Members are free to investigate and see what they can do, or watch the building burn at a safe distance. After the fire is contained, everyone goes home to get some sleep. What could have caused such a freak accident!?
NPCs: Rohan, Macha, Ridge & Fleur
minor PP approved by Howly


It was a fitful sleep, one made all the more complicated by her son’s plaintive whining.

Rohan often had to be soothed back into slumber; this was not an isolated incident. But when the Isiltári rose from her bed to comfort him, assuming he would be at the foot of her bed where the children curled up with their father — he was instead pawing at the window, where the colored tapestry was illuminated by an outside glow, faint and familiar.

The torches, no doubt, that lit the Square at night. She sighed tiredly, carefully peeling herself from Bellad’s side to coax her son to bed, but he remained staunchly in place, crying and beseeching his mother with wide amethyst eyes.

”Mama,” he cried, tugging at the fabric covering the window, ”Something’s wrong. Look.”

Eyebrows furrowing, the wolfess heeded his concerns, eager to write them off as another nameless monster that he would grow out of.

Bunching the tapestry in her hands, however, Fennore was greeted with something else entirely — a monster fiery and untameable raging in the heart of the Square.

”By the gods,” she murmured, stunned into silence for a moment more, but soon she ushered her son onto the bed where his sister had just awoken from the commotion. Grabbing a cloak from her dresser, she gave her firstborns a look so stern, so deadly somber that they could have momentarily forgotten she was their mother and mistaken her for a battle-hardened warlord.

”Stay here. Do not leave, under any circumstances,” she ordered them both, summoning the slumbering cat in the corner of the room with a loud snap. ”Macha, do not let them out of your sight.”

The feline, in a rare moment of solemnity, nodded quietly and did as she was told. Steeling her nerves, the Moonwraith and her Starseeker wasted no time making their way out of the Bastion as the screaming began.

In the chaos, bodies ran to and fro, some towards the burning building and others away in a mad scramble. Ridgewell seemed to keep his wits about him and had fetched a pail of water, but it would do blessedly little against the likes of a swirling inferno.

Fennore stared, transfixed, in awe of the awful, crackling display as a wooden beam careened straight into the ground, kicking up millions of tiny orange embers into the air.

Someone had taken hold of her arm, an accented voice speaking into her ear, asking for direction, saying her name. She shrugged off Fleur’s hand with some difficulty, the loudness of her tone shocking even herself:

”Fetch more water, now! See that the other buildings are evacuated!”

An awful sizzling sound seethed from the house when Ridgewell threw another bucket of water on the flames, but they licked at the air just as hungrily, hellbent on devouring the little house while the Realm reeled from the shock.

[+4]
OOC: Minor PP of Vodeva approved <3 || WC: --
____________________

She had not been back more than a handful of days she could count on one hand. Much of it had been spent weeping, moved to utter tears over the marvel of this New Caledonia, driven solely out of mourning for the nostalgia of it all.

The realm’s people had moved on but kept her name. More faces were fresh than were familiar, and more still brought the blood of heresy with them. Éna had her reservations.

But Caledonia, new or old, was Caledonia all the same, even with the growing pains of these odd adjustments. She stuck to what felt comfortable and most of what she knew, following Macha, after Alma, after once-queen Vodeva, all god-fearing and righteous with robes donned to best keep them modest.

Some traditions, however, should have been allowed to die with the old realm’s fall.

Her long hair was pulled by a passing breeze, drawn towards the unfolding chaos by the unseen magnetic pull and the gravity of that flickering amber glow, feeling more than recognizing the shapes that moved about her in frantic hurry to quell the climbing flames, a handful shouldering past her numb, gaunt form, pale eyes owlish and wide, washed white from the light that the engulfed building put off, lips parted subtly in the shock of it.

The waif of a woman had felt Vodeva’s presence without even drawing her eyes from catastrophe. Without words, she reached over with slender, anxious fingers, and twined their hands together to watch in an alarmed, reverent silence.

[+550]
It took Bellad little effort to keep up with the Isiltári, even though he paused in the room for a bit as Atica and Rohan flocked to his feet and whimpered in confusion and fear. They didn’t know what was going on, other than the strange light from outside, the smell in the air they didn’t know and the screams. Bellad knew those things better, and also knew better than to spend the time explaining it to the pups. Instead he held them for just a little, and gently tousled their heads.

“Stay. You are safe and we will return.”

Leaving the children in the safety of the room with the small comfort of a parent’s promise, he rushed out after Fennore. The Bastion’s hallways rushed by his vision, then they opened into the vastness of the outside. The night was an unusual color, grown all the more vivid by every moment. The smells and sounds grew denser and his limbs, though he did not notice it at first, heavier.

Ierian was already here, and his voice was nowhere near the usual gentle murmur. Instead a roar carried over the crowd with urgency. “Is there anyone inside?! WAS ANYONE LEFT INSIDE!? Myriad, don’t just stand there! You heard the Isiltári! Water! Now! Vacate the nearby homes!” Bellad could see him navigate among those in the square, attempt to sort some of them into a semblance of order, the fire illuminating him, teeth bared with stress, eyes ablaze.

Before his eyes he could see a tower of flames, an entire house wrapped in the sharp petals of fire, whipping wildly in a fierce all-consuming dance. He tried to open his mouth to ask if anyone was still inside, perhaps to urge someone into action. He tried to move somewhere. Anywhere. Left, right, forward. Forward? No, forward was the fire. Never into the fire.

Figures of Luperci rushed before him against the backdrop of flames. He couldn’t hear words, but he heard sounds, smelled burning wood in the air. All scents were burning and he thought his nostrils were too.

Move, please, move.

But nothing other than the flames and the frantic round dance of shadowed Souls moved. Like charred leaves cast about by the wind. Ierian, Fennore, Iomair, Fleur. Then Corice Songthorn, Vetiver, Elder Thist, Eyebright.

No, they weren’t here. Couldn’t be here. They had been scorched to the bone and left behind, buried in ashes. Screaming, so much screaming. In his eyes, smoke trailed after the silhouettes of New Caledonians and Slave Lake healers and he could no longer tell them apart or pick apart the cries or the scents or the sights.

He thought something stared, glared at him from inside the fire. Bellad's lungs felt empty and ravaged with heat. His claws dug painfully into the burnt flesh on his left shoulder. He did not remember when he gripped himself so tightly. He did not remember screaming his throat ragged. He did not remember his eyes stinging with unbidden tears of an unrestrained panic. He could not tell the screams apart, so it was no wonder then that he didn't even recognize his own.

Brought to his knees, paralyzed with fear, all he could do was shake and wail in terror as his nightmares found him in waking.

It had been a busy two months prior, and things were staying busy into the new season, as well. For the past few days Celaeno had been working to clear out and begin renovations on a room in town to use as a more permanent place to store her belongings. Living in a more central and populated place was proving to be less quiet than her norm, but tonight it was especially so. Though she hadn’t been sleeping she had been focused on threading beads by firelight, and the commotion that would start up outside would see to it that her candle would be snuffed. 

What she was met with once she made it out to the square was devastation in the making. Such was the trouble of having permanent housing so close together like this, since fires risked spreading to neighboring residencies and becoming too large and swiftly growing to be fought by mortal means. In the face of these people she’d grown to care for risking losing their homes and possibly their lives there was only one recourse for her. If it was a matter of fight, flight, or freeze? 

Celaeno chose to fight the fire. 

“Diggers! I need diggers!” 

Her words would boom, adrenaline kicking in to give her voice a further resonance over the crackling and whoosh of the fire and subsequent chaos of people yelling, her directives now joining those of Fennore and Ierian. 

“We will use dirt to snuff the fire from the bottom. Use the water to dowse it from the top! We will focus the edges of the building first! Work inward towards the fire’s source!”

Her direction was specific, and rather than calling out to the crowd as a whole she would call those she recognized by name, or otherwise spoke directly to the attempted helpers that were overwhelmed in the heat of the moment and didn’t yet know where to start when it came to leaping into the action. 

Along with Ierian, Celaeno would help to navigate the growing crowd before breaking off to begin working, using her strength and size to help cast the water high towards the roof and along the tops of the outer walls, and otherwise lend assistance with tossing loose dirt into the windows and the doorway of the building. Besides just controlling the fire so it wouldn’t spread she was also looking to create a pathway for anyone willing to enter and try to make sure no one was still trapped inside.


[+423]
The cries had brought the women out into the City Square like quiet shadows. The acrid smoke sent long plumes out into the night sky, and Vodeva was forced to cover her mouth. Some small part of her feared that the smoke would bring back the pain in her side – but as Alma pulled her closer she followed somewhat tentatively.

Éna came a moment later, the long inky tendrils of her hair practically floating around her shoulders. She had appeared soon after the others had joined them – another lost follower of Nín to be added to their cause. Alma chuffed softly to the taller Alcolyte before burying her hands in the deep folds of her sleeves – her wide eyes reflecting every crackling flame.

Screaming attracted her attention and she twisted, hawklike to make out the bear-like form of their Healer doubled over on the cobble stones. Others were running for water, or counting the heads of their families. Vodeva felt her hand be clasped and allowed it with a chilly approval, though when Éna squeezed the priestess did not squeeze back. There were lessons to be found here, messages rote by whatever evil had come to claim them.

It all had to mean something.

The Lady’s waters would put it out.

”I brought some water!” Rabbit had appeared, his long droopy ears tinted with soot. The bucket seemed very small in his hands – had they always been so dark? He tossed the water into the flames and then immediately joined Celaeno, his attention focused on her clear instructions.

"I will dig!"

Vodeva glared and remained silent, tucking her veil into her collar to protect herself from the falling ash.

There was nothing to be done save for pray. The building would crumble into nothingness and a dark mark would be left as a warning for all of them that even fire was not infinite.

She made a sound in her throat and then strode away from the others, her hands held out as others rushed passed. She shared a look with Iomair but he disappeared in the throng to assure the fire did not leap to other buildings.

"Rand?" Vodeva spun to look for him, her form silhouetted by flames, "Rand?!"

A note floated from above, lifted like a feather by the heat of the flames.

Vodeva snatched it out of the air with a snarl.

I want to walk by your side, holding your hand.

There were other papers, she could see them now - gently floating twisting things with burnt edges and smudged writing. The fire belched and sparks flew out into the night and she could smell where they perforated her skirts.

What had befallen the realm?

(///) | NPCs: Rabbit (pNPC)
(+686)
Optime | Fort Louisbourg | Dated: October 5th; night | aNPC Teagan; cNPCs Ronin, Mako (Teagan), Genkei (Argive)

Related to [NC] Spooktober 2021
It had been a while since all three of them—Naomi, Genkei, and Ronin—had gone on a late-night patrol together. However, Naomi had a feeling that it had more to do with certain circumstances rather than reasons made purely out of duty.

There'd been a few interesting scents lingering near the Kingdom's borders as of late; a group of Loners that flirted dangerously with the border line. The scents and tracks had been fresher the previous night when Ronin had patrolled through the area. With the owner of the smells having yet to be identified, Naomi had been slightly annoyed to find first Genkei and then Ronin both conveniently being out near the borders when it was supposed to have been her night to patrol the section of border. The pair’s excuses had been rather weak, and the Stryder daughter had been quick to call them out. Even still, she’d relented to letting them accompany her, and they’d ended up finishing the patrol together with not a single incident. Making their way to the heart of the Kingdom’s lands, the boys had decided to engage in a bit of playful roughhousing.

Genkei grappled Ronin into a headlock, making the younger male let out an indignant sound in protest. Striding past the boys, Naomi sighed as she shook her head, turning her attention back to the path ahead of them. They weren’t far from the Fort, and it was better for them to get rid of their playful energy before they reached the homes of their slumbering packmates.

As her glacier eyes took in the familiar sight of her home village, the Escal blinked at the distant curl of smoke and orangish glow that appeared to emanate from it. At once, the Watchman knew something wasn’t right. She knew what the Fort should have looked like at night, and a glow large enough to be seen from their distance only meant one thing; a fire.

“Genkei! Ronin!” She barked over her shoulder to gain their attention. Not waiting for their response, she grabbed the sword at her side to keep it from bouncing as she broke into a run.

The Peers were hot on her heels as they entered the Fort and quickly made a beeline towards the chaos that had erupted in the center of the City Square. Bodies scrambled everywhere and there was a disorganized conglomerate of voices as Caledonians shouted orders while others screamed or wailed in their shock and dismay. At the center of it all, a fire greedily consumed one of the vacant homes.

The fire’s roar and heat was louder and hotter than any Naomi had ever felt while helping her father out at the forge, and, for a beat, the trio could do nothing but stare in astonishment. Genkei was the first to recover, snapping both Ronin and Naomi of their reveries as he spied the siblings’ father. Otousan!”

Mako’s head jerked at his son’s voice, and, as the trio jogged over to him, Naomi could see the smoke marks blemishing his pelt. “What happened?” Naomi asked.

“Don’t ask questions. Just help put it out!” Teagan barked, her voice stern and commanding as she tossed a pail-full of dirt through one of the broken windows. Her fur, too, was stained with smoke marks.

“Celaeno has the right idea by using dirt,” Mako nodded as he wiped at the feeling of a floating ember touching his ear. “We have to smother it from the bottom if we have any chance to keep it from going any more out of control than it already has and spreading. Either get to digging or start filling up buckets and tossing dirt into the building. Try to clear out anything that might catch from a stray ember and move it out of range while you’re at it, and stamp out any embers before they can catch!”

The trio of friends nodded and instantly broke apart, helping their packmates clear the area and attempt to put out the roaring flames.

Location: Fort Louisbourg || NPCs: Reblin (cNPC, Lupus), Commodore Hatchback (pNPC, Optime), Bryony (communal horse) || Form: Optime



Rather than the cries of alarm and fear, it was the acrid smell of the smoke that awoke him. With a start, Percival scrambled to the nearest window, somnolence making his movements heavy and clumsy, and froze in shocked horror at the living light of the fire.

"Daisy!" he shouted as he backed away from the window and stumbled his way through the room, unsure if his sister was even home. He flung open the door and howled. "Inara! Fire! There's a fire!" And then he sprinted down the hall and nearly skidded down the steps in his haste to descend the stairs, carrying on barking his warning of the fire all the while.

The ferocity of the monstrous flames, its forked tongues licking at the onyx sky, its scalding body writhing across the building's skeleton, made him stagger to a halt outside of the King's Bastion.

Somewhere nearby, he heard a wail and the shouts were becoming chants in his head and suddenly he was just a Guppy again and he was watching Fiskebyn burn.

"Th' lake!" A voice cried. But it was a voice from deep inside of his head -- a voice from an old, distant memory -- and it reverberated for a long while like the tolling of a bell.

The Realm doesn't have a lake, he thought to himself as he stared, transfixed, on the flames. Or had he said those words aloud?

"Get to th' lake!" It was his mother's voice, he realized numbly.

"Ma doesn't live here." This time he knew with certainty that he had spoken, and it stirred something within him. This wasn't Krokar. This wasn't Fiskebyn. He wasn't 7 months old anymore. "Water. Water! We need water!"

He broke free of the fire's insidious spell then, tearing himself away from trauma's firm embrace, and started away from the the burning building towards Rhovanion and the sprawling rivers. He thought that there would be buckets around the fields and lean-tos that he could fill at the tributaries. They would be closer than either the pond or the sea.

In Rhovanion, Percival found the Groom, Commodore Hatch, with Bryony hitched to the Realm's small cart. Inside the cart, several empty vessels of various sizes and shapes sat, waiting to be filled.

"This way," he said to the coyote after sharing an unspoken agreement between them.

Leading him to the nearest river, the pair hastily filled up their receptacles, water sloshing and seeping from their imperfect frames, until each one was full. And then they returned to the City Square. Percy scanned the figured dotted around the roaring flames as they approached, catching sight of his cousin, Reblin, tossing up dirt from between his hind legs with such effort that his front paws were nothing more than a blur.

"We brought water!" Commodore howled, urging Bryony to a halt.

Percival joined his call with his own doggish bark. "Come and grab something!"

Goddess, please, he prayed to himself as he heaved a ceramic bowl from the cart. Please help us.



[WC -- 518]


OOC: -- || WC: --

____________________

Few things, if any, spurred motion or inspired haste of the Huxley woman.

She nursed a cigarette, coughing around the abnormality in her lungs and the brutality of the taste. Salka has never been one for vices outside her own sticky fingers. Then again, the time had somehow felt right. Felt normal. She was adverse to immersing herself in the normality and mundane nature her life had taken – however, an unfortunate, slate-grey shadow had taken to following her movements.

The priest seemed to know her whereabouts at any given moment, and it made her bristle.

The acrid scent of her cigarette felt thick, and her eyes stung a moment as she pulled back to exhale, before she came to realize it wasn’t the stink of tobacco clutching to the air. Shouts came from the town square, and orange flickered up the walls of neighboring buildings before she snuffed her smoke and trotted towards the screaming, watching arms directing other Caledonians, a building wreathed in flame.

Salka was stricken numb a moment, watching the bear of a woman, Celaeno, if memory served, start to attempt to smother the fire that doubtlessly would swallow the building and leave little more than a soot-spot and blackened wood in its wake. Smoldering parchment scattered from the blaze. People were wailing.

Wordlessly, she moved to help where she could, digging in with her aching hands into soil to throw it on the fire, close and hot enough she felt it singe the ends of her whiskers as she followed the directions of others.

Location: The City Square (Fort Louisbourg) || NPCs: Merlin Knight (cNPC) || Form: Optime



It wasn't so late for Sólveig that sleep had already claimed her by the time the cries began to ring out. Instead, she had been bent over a sheet of parchment, a quill nestled in the firm grip of her fingers and a small jar of ink a safe distance away on her left. There had been a smile on her lips and a warm sensation in her tummy and a pleasant fluttering in her chest, because the addressee of her letter's diction was Azalea and such feelings were never far away when she was the subject of Sóli's thoughts.

Immersed in her writing, and the emotions borne from her deep affection, the Dawnrunner didn't immediately hear the cries. Except, that wasn't true. She had heard them, but they seemed distant and illogical and otherworldly, as though they were coming from some place far off and carried no significance to her.

"Girls!" Her father exploded through the door with such urgency that Sólveig started and knocked the ink over onto the table. It pooled in the grain of the wood while the young Escal stared in stunned silence at Merlin. "Sóli! Get your sister. Now! We need to get out of the house!"

"What? Why? Dad, wha-"

"Now, Sóli" he roared, causing her to flinch, before he looked past her and howled for her sister. "Inga!"

The moments following Merlin's dramatic arrival were a blur that she would scarcely remember in the days to come. Sóli couldn't even have confirmed whether Inga was at home to join them as they fled into the flickering night or if she had been out and found them afterwards. All she could recall was how tightly the fear had gripped her and how much like a terrible nightmare the rest of the evening had felt.

In the hot glow of the flames, Sólveig caught glimpses of family members and friends and packmates and leaders. Fennore was shouting for water and Ierian was ordering the evacuation of the other buildings. Celaeno was calling for dirt and Vodeva was crying for Rand. And someone was screaming and screaming and screaming. The sound of it carried such misery and fear and torment that it felt as though it would tear open her very soul and spill every last drop of happiness and beauty contained within.

And when her eyes found the source, it very nearly did.

"Oh, Mister Bellad!" she cried, sucking in a sob. With her knuckles pressed against her mouth and tears rolling down her cheeks, Sólveig watched her mentor helplessly as her heart broke painfully for him.

"Sólveig..." The young woman screwed her eyes tight and sniffled. "Sulu, honey, it's going to be okay. Look, Teagan and Naomi are helping to put out the fire and it looks like Commodore and Percy just arrived with water."

She sniffed again and looked away from Bellad. Her milk-mother and Naomi, along with the rest of her family and Ronin, were moving swiftly in their efforts to help subdue the fire. The scruffy High Lord and the coyote Groom were dumping water on top of the flames while others were tossing dirt onto it from below. The sight of it instilled courage in her and, with the next breath she sucked in, Sólveig scrubbed the tears from her cheeks and nodded firmly.

"Okay," she said with borrowed courage. "Okay, okay. I just needed a moment. What can I do?"

"Let's make sure that everyone already evacuated the nearby homes and then we can help refill those buckets and jars of water."

Without another word, Sóli did as Merlin suggested and, setting the memory of Bellad's tortured cries aside, she threw herself wholly into the efforts to put out the flames.



[WC -- 645]

Wc – 220

VIVAMUS, MORIENDUM EST…



A pair of blue eyes watched the flame flicker from a distance, the angles of the jackals face betraying nothing. It had started small, unnoticeable until the flames licked from within windows became visible and then cries of alarm had sounded. Someone screamed, more then once the girl had noticed, and all hell seemed to break loose. Luperci rushed about, worry and stress painted over the faces of all, something the waifish girl couldn’t quite understand.

Shouts broke out into the night, males ordering for water, other voices calling for dirt and through it all Delphine stood rooted to her spot, hands folded primly. An unnerving calm had spread from the center of the girls chest as the flames crested higher, hungrily consuming anything that could be offered as fuel, old wood and fine fabrics ate up eagerly as the minutes stretched on.

A tortured wailing filled the air, causing Delphine to flinch and cringe, eyes falling to a dark figure huddled up on the ground nearby, his misery cresting and falling with each breath. Others filed past him, or watched him with pity and the coyjackal looked past the broken, sobbing man in a pile to the flames once more, finding the heat and light pouring off of the building one of the most beautiful sights she’d ever seen. 



LET US LIVE, SINCE WE MUST DIE.

OOC: wordtober - viscous. Hi someone said dirt so Arran is here for digging. | WC: 283

IC:
The commotion outside woke Arran, though Rhavan slept through it. He nudged her gently, knowing that she wouldn't want to be left unaware and she woke with a confused and grumpy sound. She cracked one eye open to look at him, and one ear lifted a little in question.

"Something is going on. I smell smoke. Stay here." Arran's voice was loud enough for her to hear and she frowned again, but nodded. "You, too," Arran said to Meril who was awake now as well. He knew that Rhavan would have followed him out the door if she had been younger, but her joints were aching more and more lately. It was easy to find the problem once he was outside because that's where everyone had gathered. Arran was on four paws as usual as he watched what felt like chaos to him. His instincts said herd but he also know that wasn't what was needed right now. He couldn't see anyone that shouldn't be there, like a youngster.

Then he heard someone say to throw dirt on it. Now that he could do. Some of the dirt was becoming viscous where it was mixing with water, so he zoomed over to a clear spot. He spun around and the fire was hot on his butt when he aimed and started to dig, kicking up dirt behind him and onto the fire. Arran knew they probably didn't want huge holes here, so he shifted to the side a little and whipped around, legs stiff as he took a look at the progress on the fire. Then he spun again, aimed, and started digging furiously once more.
The fire burnt bright enough that the King could feel his eyes watering as he worked with the others to dig dirt and toss it on the flames. Caledonians seemed to pour from every corner, their wide eyes reflecting the fervent glow. There was something feral about the reaction to fire – a deep ancestral fear that caused the fur along his shoulders to stand on end.

He felt himself pleading that the fire would not spread to the other nearby buildings. Smoke rose like a pyre, blotting out the silvery stars that so often gazed down upon them.

He panted, brushing long hair from his face and coughing – willing the work to be enough. His fingers ached from where they raked against the ground, bruised and injured from where he dashed them again cobblestones. ”Hurry!” He called, ”Watch yourselves-“ Often his voice was drowned out by the cacophony of sounds that filled the Square. Someone was screaming, their quaking voice reverberating down his spine.

Rabbit approached and was smudged with soot, the stripes in his fur barely discernible.

”I… I hurt my hand.”

Iomair snarled, tearing a strip from his tunic and offering it to the boy.

”Get away from the flames – go tend to whoever is wailing and make sure that they are alright.”

***

When it was burnt out he stood panting, his face smudged with ash. Others milled about as the energy in the square settled into resignation, tired eyes trained on ruined cabin that still smoked gently into the dawn despite their efforts.

The tired King looked out at those still gathered, "Is everyone alright?"

(///) | NPCs: n/a

No need to reply again unless you wish! This will be Iomairs last post in this magical FIRE thread ;D
wow tl;dr
[+5]

She had been dreaming of water – she most often did – but that night, the smell of smoke invaded the home she shared with her brother and stirred buried memories long before she woke. It was Percival who did that. Daisy heard his shout and felt him stumble over her leg in the dark. Each of his barking cries fooled her mind. She was here, in New Caledonia, but she was back in Fiskebyn, and she knew that the fire was the herald of something equally terrible.

Long after the commotion of a half-dozen feet running from the building they all lived in had faded, Daisy came down with every empty water-skin she could find in her arms. She lingered on the slope before the river, eyes wide and body very stiff. From here, the blaze was visible against the dark night. Other people were shouting, moving –

From somewhere among the crowd, a keening shriek rose and became a horrible wail. Daisy felt her heart skip a beat.

Someone was dead, she thought.

“What's happening?” A small voice asked from behind her.

Daisy turned and looked down. Eddie had followed her out into the night, and further behind him, another pair of eyes glowing in the dark. Was that her cat, or one of the many who lived in the King's Bastion? The smell of smoke overwhelmed her senses, even from here, and made it hard to tell.

“There's a fire,” Daisy told him.

“A fire!? That's bad!” Eddie yowled. His tail puffed up with fright, but he told an emboldened leap forward until he was next to Daisy's leg.

“They'll need water,” the wolfdog, said, suddenly reminded of her task. “I need to fill these. You stay here, Eddie, stay safe.”

“You should stay!”

“I'll come back!” She promised.

She would.

This wouldn't be like last time.



All fires were terrible. That they had contained this one before it spread was the only positive thing of note. The burnt out remains of the building were sad and smoldering. It looked dangerous even now, Daisy thought – there was still smoke, and she could still hear faint crackling under the rubble. They'd have to watch it, she thought.

Her arms were sore. She had filled and re-filled water-skins, buckets, and heavier containers throughout the night. Until the fire had gone down she had avoided the city square. She had, after all, seen what burning buildings looked like before.

She didn't know if anyone had been hurt. It seemed unclear, even now, what had happened.

“Percy,” she said when she found her scruffy brother. He was damp and singed, soot-stained. Daisy was struck by how strong he looked to her in that moment. After all that, she felt drained and deflated. “I'm gonna go get some blankets. And food, maybe. I'll be back,” was all the more she said.

Halfway back, she came across Eddie. Though too afraid to get closer, when he spotted her coming, the tomcat rushed out to greet her. Overwhelmed by this gesture, Daisy scooped him up. She stepped towards a nearby tree, and confident she would be hidden, sank down and hid her face in the cat's side. Muffled by his striped fur and the reverberations of his purrs, Daisy wept until she was finally able to breathe again.

There was still work to do.
The world was warm and fuzzy like sheep’s wool. Dreams were ephemeral, punctuated by the soft clicking of beads and long, languid petting of freshly-washed fur. Gwaun rolled in his half-sleep, heavy eyelids fluttering against Celaeno’s stomach as he breathed her in. She was his Full Moon, and just like the phase’s bright, silver-white countenance in the sky, she outshone all but the brightest of stars.

Gwaun’s reality slid as Celaeno jumped to her feet, depositing him unceremoniously on the cold, hard ground. Groaning, he pushed himself up on his elbows just in time for the house to be consumed by darkness, her candle snuffed out before his eyes could adjust to the flickering light. Gwaun opened his mouth to ask what in the Dual-Spirit’s name was going on, not yet connecting the commotion outside to Celaeno’s sudden departure, only for an ear-splitting scream to pierce through the din.

Gwaun was only a few steps behind Celaeno as she sprinted outside, the door left open in their haste.

The shepherd skidded to a stop when he finally reached the center of town, frozen in place by the serpentine coils of flame that sought to devour one of the Realm’s houses. The scent of smoke and burning wood flooded his nose, and he struggled to pick authoritative voices out of the din; Ierian and the Isiltári were directing their kinsmen to act, but Gwaun could barely hear them over the blood roaring in his ears. Even Celaeno’s orders whooshed around him like fire on the wind, barely registering. New Caledonia was burning.

And then, like a crack of lightning, the world came into pinprick focus all at once.

Gwaun wasn’t sure who he relieved of a sloshing bucket of water, their arms shaking with exertion, but well over a year of manhandling sheep and lugging around wood made it easy to hurl it into the blaze. He passed the bucket back and a ceramic pitcher was immediately shoved into his arms by Filigoda, the tall, willowy woman disappearing just as quickly. Gods, when was the last time he’d seen her?

There was little time to dwell on it as he fought the ever-rising flames. He was too busy running back and forth from the nearby cart to grab more water, too busy scraping dirt from the earth to fill a cracked jug and snuff out a patch of flame all at once, too busy staring into the hazy, orange light and praying that no one had been inside when the fire started.

Valleuar’s glittering sky was blotted out by dark smoke, but hope still shined in the starlight hearts of every New Caledonian; the fire would not spread, and their efforts would not be in vain.

The rest of the battle passed in a blur of fear and determination. When the fire was finally reduced to smoldering embers and smoking planks. Gwaun felt exhaustion seep into his shaking limbs like dark, cloudy water. He stared at the blackened skeleton of the once-handsome cabin and thanked the Dual-Spirit that barring any hapless soul trapped inside — he’d yet to see anyone brave the ruined building to check — no one had been harmed by the blaze.

Gwaun dragged a hand through his soot-stained curls and sought out Celaeno, the thought of falling asleep to the scent of charred wood stomach-turning. He’d spend the rest of the night — or what little was left of it — in Rhovanion, and return to the city square when he wasn’t so tired he feared falling asleep where he stood.