'Souls RPG

Full Version: Mind and Soul
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Vannin had done all he could to hide his struggles from his loving and amazing brother, but every day it had become harder and harder.  The nightmares had grown more frequent and meant Vannin woke unrested.  Food was scarce, but the Luperci with the mismatched eyes had little interest in it anyway.  Their home was gone, and the spirits would either not speak to him, or he could no longer hear them.  They only thing left in Vannin’s life, of any worth, was his brother  Elkin shone like a beacon of light in the oppressive darkness of the world.  Being with his brother brought colour into the world, and when Elkin left, it drained just as quickly. 

Vannin had never thought of himself as morose or serious, and while he’d sometimes been struck by melancholy.  There was always wrestling, joking and hunting to be done.  Vannin was not like those serious blowhards they’d left behind, and yet he struggled to find a reason to smile of late.  What he couldn’t explain to Elkin, wouldn’t have even been able to, was that it seemed to Vannin as though he was fading.  As though he were a leaking bucket and his soul, his sense of self, was slowly leaking away.  Elkin helped to fill that bucket, but the whole just got bigger.

Finally, Elkin had woken him up early one morning and told Vannin to follow him.  The Luperci with the mismatched eyes had protested, but the leader, which Elkin did not acknowledge, would brook no arguments, and they’d set off.  They didn’t travel quickly, taking their time.  They spoke easily, Elkin’s friendly and open nature, a balm to Vannin as always, and the Luperci with the mismatched eyes walked as close as he could manage to his brother.  The one question Elkin wouldn’t answer was to tell Vannin where they were going, not that it mattered, as Vannin would follow him anywhere. 

As the day began to turn to dusk, Vannin could smell the salt of sea spray on the wind.

”We’re going to the sea?” The Luperci with the mismatched eyes asked his brother.
[Image: wolfmoon.gif] Ad hoc Word of the Day - 20 May 22 adjective | concerned with a particular end or purpose

Location: Shattered Coast || NPCs: -- || Form: Lupus

What Vannin felt inside of him Elkin could see with his own two eyes: his brother was fading. Although they had been long from their homeland now and were being looked after well by Harley, his brother's blessed eyes had lost their luster and his pelt hung dull and tight around his frame. Rather than a physical ailment, Vannin's affliction was assuredly a soul-sickness and Elkin as determined to find a cure. Like Masra's delicate light returning night after night in Sova's restful absence, the darker youth was dedicated to see the same for Vannin.

But first they had to go on this ad hoc journey, and travel just a little farther, to where the earth fell eternally into the sea.

Overhead, Masra, illuminated in a waxing gibbous that would soon be full, watched the brothers silently as she hung in the inky, star-pocked sky. The sea smelled of salt and wind and perpetuity. Elkin drew it in deeply and released it again through a panting mouth, his tongue rolling out one side. Although still cool, the nights were warm enough now to feel the effects of exertion more acutely. As he drew in the brisk evening breath cast at him from the sea, he tasted the piquant and mysterious notes of the big water beyond.

"No," Elkin replied, then closed his mouth with a click for a thoughtful beat. "Well yeah, but it's more than that, Vannin, just look!"

Ahead of them, the ocean lapped the shattered, stony shore with persistent tenderness. And beyond? Only the endless sea and Masra's brilliant reflection dancing on the waves. It was the end of everything and the beginning of nothing. Or could it be the other way around? On the Goddesses could say.

"There's nothing else, Van," Elkin pointed out unnecessarily, turning to give his brother's muzzle a tender lick. "This is the end of the earth. And I think... Maybe it's where the spirits are."

[WC -- 335]
Vannin listened quietly to his brother, his mismatched eyes taking in the dramatic scene laid out before them.  The sky was clear and scattered with the light of countless stars, souls which watched over those yet to join them.  Vannin’s lips twitched into a wistful smile as Elkin nuzzled him affectionately.

”Perhaps you’ve missed your calling Elkin.  Maybe it’s you the spirit talkers should have drilled and bothered.”

Vannin’s smile faded though, his expression growing distant as he looked out over the water.  The sea shimmered with Masra’s light.

”You know…” Vannin began, his voice soft and a little distracted. ”I remember a story from back home.  I was told that one night every year Masra shines her light upon the big water so brightly that those lost or disconnected can walk upon that light and find their way to her, and join their family once again.”

Again the wistful smile flicked across his face, and for a moment he closed his eyes, before turning to look at Elkin.

”Just a tale for pups of course, but I always remember it.”

Once more Vannin’s gaze was drawn to the shimmering path in the ocean and then up to the waxing moon.

”Masra.” Vannin whispered, almost plaintively. 

For a moment his deep blue eye appeared to gleam unnaturally bright in the reflected glory of Masra’s presence.  Almost immediately though, the shine left and Vannin closed his eyes.

”I’m sorry Elkin, I can hear nothing.”

Opening his eyes, Vannin looked to his brother and was surprised to see the other had disappeared.  Vannin rose from his haunches and looked around.  Strangely the young Luperci felt no panic just a sense of wellbeing and fulfilled contentment which had been absent for so long. 


Came the voice, and though Vannin could not see them, he knew it was the silvery lupus again.  Following the clear instruction, Vannin closed his eyes and let the sounds of the end of the earth flow into him.  He basked beneath the light of Masra.  He felt the pounding of the surf against the cliff and as he listened that sound morphed into a heartbeat.  This place was alive, the world around him was alive.  Finally, like a drowning animal Vannin clung to that sound and let it sweep up.  He let it show him all the other sounds he’d been so deaf to.  As he opened his eyes, tears spilled from them, blurring the sight as he looked into the sky.  Souls flew across the night’s sky, dancing around Masra.  They where there, the spirits had always been there.  Vannin had not wronged them, they had not abandoned him, they had been with him all this time, but he’d cut himself off from them, the sadness of their exile making his soul curl away from everything beyond him.  Vannin could not stop the tears, did not even attempt to.  As his sobs grew so did the blurriness of his vision and as he tried to blink it clear…

Vannin saw dark fur and felt a wet nose.  For a moment the young Luperci was confused.  His mind slowly gathered the pieces though.  Vannin’s head was slumped against his brother’s warm frame.  The two still sat at the edge of the world and tears flowed down Vannin’s face.  For one horrible instant he thought it might have been nothing but a dream, a fainting fit brought on by the lack of food, but beneath the crashing of the waves Vannin heard the thrum, the heartbeat and he knew it had been no dream.

”I..” He began, choking back sobs ”I…can…hear them.”

His body shook silently as Vannin cried with the joy of it.  Not just for the returning of a part of himself, but so grateful to have been blessed by a brother who worked so hard to find a solution or cure for Vannin.

”Thank you…Elkin.” Vannin closed his eyes again, luxuriating in the world now filled with music and sounds he’d thought lost forever.  More than though, he relished this moment, with Elkin, his face half buried in his brother’s pelt, staining it with tears, while the other could open and see the streak of stars in the night sky.

”Thank you.” Vannin said again, his voice no more than a whisper this time.
Location: Shattered Coast || NPCs: -- || Form: Lupus

"Pfft. With my attention span? As if!" Elkin countered good-naturedly, giving his tail a stilted wag. "We probably would've been sent away from home a lot sooner if they had."

Although the memory still stung, and the loss of their pack — their family, their home — remained a weight in his heart, Elkin's tone was mirthful and humorous. Making light of a situation was always his preferred means of getting through difficult and uncomfortable moments and emotions. Laughing in the face of serious matters simply seemed to take away some of its power and control. That it perhaps wasn't the healthiest way of confronting such conflicts wasn't something that the darker brother cared to consider. If he could lift Vannin's spirits, even just a little, then it was worth it. After all, lifting his brother's spirits lifted his own in the process. It was a win-win!

Following Vannin's line of sight across the wide-open expanse of eternity, Elkin watched the reflection of Masra on the gently rolling waves and believed every word his brother said. When he said that it was a tale for children, he looked at Vannin with surprise.

"You don't really believe that, do you Van? That it's just a puppy tale?" A more self-respecting wolf might have felt some chagrin at admitting his belief in a silly little puppy tale, but Elkin found comfort in it. He tipped his nose up at Masra. "How else would lost spirits find their way again?"

When the darker wolfdog looked at his brother again, he thought he saw something in his eyes — a gleam or a spark or a shimmer — but it was gone and Vannin's eyelids closed before he could so much as contemplate it. Elkin puffed a rapid sigh and returned his attention to the sea, thinking that Vannin was doing his mysterious spirit stuff. He didn't know how long he had been watching the moonlight as it rippled endlessly over the surface of the Big Water, or at what point it had put him into such a trance, before Vannin spoke again, but when he did it was in a strained, choking voice that immediately alarmed Elkin back into his body.

He jerked and wheeled around to his brother, hackles raised and body tense, nosing him to sniff for what was wrong.

But that was just it: nothing was wrong. Slowly at first, but quickly gaining ground, the realization that Vannin was overjoyed, rather than distraught, and that the spirits had returned to his spiritual brother struck him. Nothing was wrong!

As quickly as the tension appeared it melted away again into a wriggling, excited energy. His tail wagged furiously and he nipped and nosed Vannin eagerly before offering the Goddesses a rejoicing howl. When his brother half-buried himself into Elkin's pelt, the dark wolfdog ran his tongue over whatever part of Vannin he had access to.

"It was all Masra's doing," he said with cheerful modesty. "But I'm happy to be along for the ride. We'll have to remember this place, won't we?"

Maybe the Goddesses had a master plan. Maybe they were meant to leave their pack. Maybe this was the start of something grand.

[WC -- 551]
The shower of licks and nips, and Elkin’s wriggling body brought a smile to Vannin’s face, followed by a snort of laughter. 

”Masra might have given me loving brother, but it was you who thought it through and were good enough to bring me here.  I love you Elkin.”

Vannin lifted his head and began to lick his brother’s muzzle and nose affectionately, nipping his cheek and giving the other lupus’s ears a clean.  The gesture one of bonding and affection, but also giving Vannin a moment to process everything.  Vannin finally understood how sad he was at the loss of their home, and how it had caused him to cut himself off from everything.  However, he had Elkin, and now that Vannin knew what he’d done, he could begin to deal with that loss. 

First though, Vannin had to address his brother’s concern.

”I thought the spirits had gone, of course I don’t believe it’s just a story for pups.  We can’t always see Masra’s light, but it doesn’t mean she’s not there.  I think I didn’t really understand that until now.  Guess it means you’re stuck with me here and when we meet Masra.”

Vannin stood, reluctantly leaving his brother’s warm support.  The lupus with the mismatched eyes moved to the cliff’s edge, feeling the pounding in his feet, and seeing the sky ablaze with the souls of those who had come before.  Vannin knew that if he stood very still, he’d hear them whispering support, guiding the step of those who still walked in this world.

Turning back to Elkin, Vannin wondered if this was the time, when they were both alone, when there had been such joy.

”You know, I’ve always noticed how, the worse things seem, the more jokes you make.  I’m sad and hurt that we were thrown out of our home.  I think keeping that from you, and curling in on myself meant I couldn’t hear the spirits.  It wasn’t my fault, and it wasn’t yours either, that we were exiled.  I think we need to let ourselves accept that, and that perhaps there were those in our pack that didn’t like we weren’t what they expected.  We don’t have to talk about this now if you don’t want to, but I think we should start being a little more honest with one another again.  Whatever comes, we can face it together, like we always have, like I know we always will.”

Vannin tilted his head to one side, his eyebrows rising slightly, and a familiar smile appearing on his face, that had been absent for a long time.
[Image: wolfmoon.gif] Ineffable Word of the Day - 30 July 22 adjective | incapable of being expressed in words

Location: Shattered Coast || NPCs: -- || Form: Lupus

As Vannin's warm tongue washed his snout and ears, Elkin closed his eyes and was content to accept the affectionate gesture. They had spent their entire lives together — and even before, still in their mother's womb, when the Goddesses had not yet granted them life; they were together then, too. It seemed to him then that it was the will of the Goddesses that they should remain as such, destined to be two separate personalities working in tandem as a since, united force.

He couldn't put this idea into words, ineffable as it seemed to him in that moment, but he hoped that Vannin felt it too: that completeness of being together. And it seemed that he did, if the concept of them being stuck together in this world and beyond was any indication.

"You would've done the same for me, Van," the darker brother replied, giving Vannin's face a gentle lick that conveyed his own deep, brotherly love. "That means that you're stuck with me, too, you know." He panted a breathy laugh, giving him a cheeky glance.

After Vannin had detached himself from Elkin's side and stepped up to the edge of the world, the wolfdog shook his dark pelt before joining his brother. Vannin always seemed more in tune with his feelings than Elkin, who, as his brother pointed out, tended towards lighthearted jokes and immature tomfoolery when things edged into heartfelt and emotional discussion. And yet, despite this realization (and the knowledge that Vannin, too, recognized it), Elkin found it too difficult to effectively change this behavior.

"I'll bet Sova would've burned us into crispy critters if we both went all serious and sullen." he defended good-naturedly, bumping his brothers shoulder with his own. "Personally, I think Sova secretly likes my jokes," he added quietly into Vannin's ear, as though sharing a secret.

but when Vannin turned his head, brows raised and a long-missed smile on his maw, Elkin's comedic facade splintered just enough. He returned the smile with one of his own — one that was less bright, less broad than usual — and then he sighed as he turned back to the open ocean beyond.

"Yeah," he said distantly, his voice quiet. "Maybe. Still, I just... It still..." Elkin looked at his brother again and this time his eyes were filled with a solemnity rarely seen. "Do you think it'll ever stop, you know... feeling bad?" It was one thing to try and accept that they were exiled through no fault of their own (a concept that felt about as attainable as flying, but one that he would try), but it was another to accept that, if Vannin was right about members of the pack working against them, their family — their father and their mother chief among them — had failed to show up for them. For all he knew, they could even have been in on it the entire time, and that felt even worse.

A stress-yawn gripped him suddenly and he stretched his mouth wide, his tongue curling. "Maybe it doesn't matter, though, right? I mean, maybe it'll keep on feeling bad, but if we're honest with each other, and carry on living, then we'll keep on getting through it. Don't you think so, Van?"

[WC -- 560]
As Vanin’s mismatched eyes watched his brother, he saw Elkin’s irrepressibly upbeat jocularity falter.  Far from feeling sad, Vannin breathed a sigh of relief.  As selfish as it was, he was glad to see that Elkin shared his own feelings. 

”I don’t know if I have all the answers Elk” Vannin began, using the nickname he’d not spoken since before their exile.  The name made him smile, remembering that Vannin had used it to draw similarities with the big and stubborn brother with the equally large and stubborn pretty.  It was a throwback to when they’d both been pups.

”I like to think that everyone makes mistakes, and perhaps with reflection, the leaders, mum and dad, realised they made a mistake.  I guess we can’t live waiting for that though.  I hope that it will start to hurt less.”

The wind swirled about the brothers, bringing with it the strong scent of salt and fish.  Once more looking up at the face of Masra, Vannin lowered himself onto his haunches.

”Still, however bad the situation may appear, or however much it may hurt, I know I have you with me, and my soul is whole when you’re here.” Vannin smiled ”You big Elk.” Vannin repeated, chuckling.

”If we stopped enjoy ourselves, living our lives the way we want to.  If we let what they did to us, change who we are, I think that’d be worse.  I like who I am, and I like who you are.  Let’s carry on being those Luperci, let’s play, hunt and find a new home…together.  And, if we ever feel sad, or need to talk, let’s make sure we do that with one another as well.  I’m sure we will have ups and downs, but as long as we keep talking and trusting one another, we’ll make it through it.”

Vannin sighed and rolled his mis-matched eyes.

”Damn, I’m starting to sound like those boring spirit speakers, but maybe a little less self-important, though I am very important of course.”

As he said that, Vannin stood and raised his tail and head, wagging his tail in what could only be described as a haughty air.
Location: Shattered Coast || NPCs: -- || Form: Lupus

His old nickname, one that he hadn't heard since they had become packless exiles, sent a low, short howl trilling out happily from his throat. Elkin hadn't realized how much he missed his brother calling him that until now. Vannin was going to be okay, he thought to himself with a wag of his tail. Both of them would be.

Listening, his pale eyes on his brother until a breath of the sea's piscine brine beckoned him to look out across the dark waves, where Masra's face broke into a million different versions of Herself, Elkin felt comforted by his brother's precocious wisdom. His mouth cracked open into a grin, tongue rolling out of one side, when Vannin repeated his nickname again. He poked his brother's cheek playfully with his soft, wet, warm nose and then gave his ear an appreciative lick.

"Yeah," Elkin said, his tail still wagging. "Yeah, I like us, too. And so does Harley... mostly... I think. Anyway, who cares if they don't, right, Van? We shouldn't have to change to fit in anywhere! We'll prove them wrong. We'll find a place where we'll fit in just as we are!"

Of his brother's insistence that they talk through their thoughts and feelings with one another, the darker of the pair gave his twin a long and thoughtful look.

"I'll always trust and talk to you, Van," he vowed. "Just as long as you don't let it get to your head like those dry, old spirit speakers back h— there."

And he laughed. He laughed because the idea of his brother becoming as serious and haughty as those old wolves was blatantly comical. He also laughed because he had been about to call their birthpack home but he had come to the conclusion that it wasn't home any more and the acceptance of that was freeing.

Rising to his own feet, Elkin lurched at his brother playfully and tugged at the ruff around his neck.

"Come on! Let's get back to Harley and that stinky weasel!" he barked at Vannin after he jumped back from his brother again and raced off away from the edge of the world, taunting him to give chase.

That was home, Elkin thought as he ran.

[WC -- 389]
Vannin smiled, gratefully accepting his brother’s affectionate lick and listening to what Elkin had to say.  It was nice to see his brother’s tail wagging, and Vannin couldn’t help mirroring the gesture.  It made the Luperci with the mismatched eyes feel a little better that he could still lift Elkin’s spirits.  Their exile had been a trauma, like being gored by prey.  The foundation of their worlds had turned to sand and swept away from the both of them.  However, Vannin had delved within himself, and Elkin had chosen to ignore it.  Here, in this place, they had both acknowledged the problem and their feelings.  That didn’t mean that either of them were over it, but that was okay, because now, they had at least acknowledged the problem.

As Elkin dashed off, Vannin paused, hearing the faint heartbeat that had been absent for what felt like an eternity.  He thought himself abandoned, that the spirits had turned from him, and left him adrift.  The truth was Masra had given him Elkin, and no matter how dark the world became, his brother would always be there to guide him back.

”Thank you.” Vannin said, looking up at the moon.

With that he turned and dashed away from the edge of the world and after his brother. 

”Hey! You cheat! Get back here and play fair!” He called after the retreating form of Elkin, trying to sound stern, but unable to stop laughter mangling that sternness.