[P] [M]Lest we Never Meet Again

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.

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[000] ooc text here

It was quiet, sitting out amongst the summer trees, filled out with their mature foliage now. The leaves whispered sweet nothings to the wind that shifted and stirred them where they clung to their branches, as Nyx herself sat perched in among them, well enough off the ground that any of the wolves of the forest could pass beneath her and be none the wiser, but the angel of war made no attempt to disguise her presence or conceal her scent, she merely sat where she was, and took in all that was around her in silent contemplation.

Winter white fur shifted delicately over the exposed skin of a thousand scars in the light summer wind that blew through the land that day. It wasn't a powerful wind, yet it was just enough to shift the contents of the femme's scarred fingers as the brown glass bottle dangled precariously between them. Amethyst eyes, jaded, and darkened, circled with heavy shadows, gazed down at the container she bore with her, how the liquid within shifted and circled within it's confinements. "W-what good would i-it do me...?"

Straightening out her back, resting her head back against the trunk of the tree that held her aloft, the snowy femme winced. Something that she seldom did, at least when anyone was around to see it happen. It was the tug of her newest wound, a minor thing, compared to some, an inconvenience, a scab that would leave a scar, and another dull ache to plague her petite and fragile body as the months and the years pressed on, each day bringing her physical form new punishment, and her mind closer to the edge that she had been pulled back from by her mate what seemed like a lifetime ago.

Her mate. He was an old wolf, at least older than anyone she knew, but then again, Nyx herself was older than most of the people she knew. He was dependable, he was the solid foundation upon which an inexperienced Nyx had built her life back in Anathema, as well as the cornerstone of all her strength and stability, the one who had encouraged her, protected her, carried her when she could no longer walk, worried over each and every wound that she sported, each new reminder of the fragility of his own mate, of the temporary nature of the life that they lived, and the fact that, at any moment, the gods could decide that her next battle would be her last.

Nyx herself was also far too aware of these things, but she didn't fear death, not her own, at the very least. She worried too, over the arm that had become weakened when her mate fought and defended her and their family back in the caverns, she worried for their pups, the ones that had been sent away to live within the stronghold that was Casa di Cavalieri, and the one crooked tailed little girl that still graced their home with her light, the one surviving pup of her litter, and the one that bore the face of one that was long lost, a constant reminder that her own pups were far from invincible.

No matter how she thought, and worried, no matter her the pain she felt, or the work she endured, she never talked about these things, not with her brothers, not with her mate. Again, her eyes fell down towards the dark bottle she held between her knees. She wanted to, but she didn't know if she was capable. She wanted her mate, but she didn't know what to do with him once he found her, as he inevitably would; she'd left him a clue, in the form of a curved metal blade that rested somewhere below her, affixed to a long and curved wooden handle.

Image © davebloggs007 | Texture: InterRose | Table by Sammiie

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"Nyx? Nyx, where are you?" the male called out, worried ever since she failed to check in a few hours ago. He gave a gruff sigh, a bit peeved that he had to go hunt her down to see what she'd gotten into, seeing as she never failed to check in with him before. I'm getting too old for this shit. he grumbled in his head, growling low at the creaking of his joints, his body starting to show it's age. If you're bellyaching this much, I'm surprised you haven't carved yourself a cane by now. Came the retort, to which Lukos accepted with very little indignation. It's not that he was resenting Nyx for acting out on her own, but rather his own physical self not being in the best condition that it once was. He could barely lift his right arm above his own head now, and things weren't improving for his physique overall. No matter how hard he worked or trained, the simple truth remained. He was past his prime now.

She had left an easy enough trail to follow from the camp, for someone usually concerned with masking their presence. Scenting the air, he followed the path out into the Dampwoods, following the very tell-tale winding tracks. She had strayed a good distance from their home, and quite haphazardly. A grim line was all he mustered at the implications of Nyx being so sloppy in such a long time about her presence. Eventually, after winding his way through the thick underbrush and tree trunks that had come to feel like a home in itself, he found a very familiar weapon sticking straight out of the ground in front of a tall tree. Tasteful. Lukos looked up, glancing through the veiled canopy to the branches above. "Sweetheart, are you in a tree again?" he called out.

Sizing up and down the trunk of the tree, he wagered on whether or not he could swiftly clamber up to fetch his mate before she made a drunken mistake. Even from down on the ground he could smell the booze, which was never a good thing for the lithe mix to have alone. "Should I even ask where you got that?" he said in a raised voice so she could hear, approaching the base of the wood, glancing around to see if he could find purchase somewhere. In one moment he wondered if he could step off the scythe to give himself a bit more reach from below, but dismissed the idea altogether. Reaching up for a hefty branch, Lukos dug his claws against the trunk and grunted as he tried to pull himself up, his good arm doing most of the work. "Could I ask for you to pick a smaller tree next time? One my size maybe?" he bargained, hissing curses under his breath as he tried to vault himself further up, bouncing against the roots. He missed the days when tree climbing was easy, and more so when it was fun. Time sucks.
A strong gust of wind buffeted the snow white fur on the Pyre's back, carrying with it the scent of the very one she was hoping would come looking for her. But she should have known better, Lukos, as long as he still drew breath and his two legs could support him, would always come and find her. A small smile crept onto her slender rounded muzzle, though the line was tight was the stress that she bore, not as a natural born leader, but as the tool that she had been made out to be long ago.

The wind swayed her where she sat high above the ground, Amethyst eyes closed and her face relaxed as she wondered what it might feel like to fly in the moments before she'd hit the ground. But the voice stopped her, brought her back to the present. The voice sounded, for lack of a batter word, a bit condescending. It brought a wrinkle to the scarred pale muzzle of the warrior as a fang poked out from beneath her upper lip. "I-I'm not a child." Came the broken reply, tan tipped ears twitching as she looked down upon her grey wolf, though with each passing year he seemed to grow more and more white.

He continued to speak, accusatory and facetious, seemingly unaware of the state of mind that the burning fighter had found herself in, or perhaps simply uncaring. Lowering herself to the branch that her mate clung to, careful not to spill a drop from the glass bottle she grasped in her hand, piercing gemstones glared down at the wolf. "Do I nn-need to ask your p-permission?" The Pyre hissed stiffly through clenched teeth, the fur along her spine lifting in a visual display of her displeasure at being greeted in such a way.

Stopping the top of the bottle with the pad of her thumb, the petite fighter leaned forward and jumped from the branch she had perched upon, landing on two feet behind the grey wolf but quickly folding her legs down so that she sat with her knees to her chest and her head resting upon them, tail wrapped over her feet in a self soothing way as she lifted the bottle which she held in her hand and took her first sip of the scorching liquid, her back to Lukos.
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Nyx was mostly silent for the duration that he showed up, but broke that atmosphere when she gave a curt response in an indignant tone. Afraid that he might have hurt her feelings with careless words, he lowered his gaze respectfully, his hands raised relenting. "I know, I'm sorry." Yet he made a blunder after blunder in trying to talk to his mate, as she climbed down the tree quite nimbly. With leaves rustling as she moved from the branches, she lowered herself to the branch his digits were trying to find purchase on, glaring at him in his face with out a drop from the alcohol.

"I see." he said, a bit ashamed he went ahead and just assumed that Nyx was already drunk when he found her. The older male flattened his ears and let himself back down to the ground, not wanting to make a fool of himself again. She snapped again at him, and he hung his head to avoid her seething gaze. "No, of course not. I just... nevermind." he said, tussling his mane out. Nyx made a flourishing jump over him, landing neatly and sitting in quick succession. The little show in the tree and just now proved that she was in far better condition than he was, clearly.

Walking up to the warrior, he sat next to her, careful not to bump or touch her until she came to him first. "Do you want to talk?" he said, his arm relaxing against his knee as he slouched next to his love. Nyx took a swig, sitting in a very defensive posture towards the male. He wanted to reach out and comfort the female somehow, but knew from experience it's better to wait, even despite the urge to help or hold her.
The white furred fighter was quick to curl in on herself once her feet were back on the ground, ignoring the apologies, and the expressions of submission and remorse that her mate exhibited. She wasn't really looking at him, nor was she particularly thinking straight. Tipping back the bottle and taking a swig, she felt a warmth rise in her chest, and her ears pressed back as Lukos settled down beside her, and asked if she wanted to talk.

She thrust the bottle out in his direction with a snowy scarred paw, waiting for him to reflexively grasp it before she let go, resting her chin back upon her knees and letting her shoulders slump down with the deep exhalation of a sigh. "I-I don't know..." She mumbled unconfidently under her breath, the tip of her tail twitching. "D... Drink with me..." She urged, quiet and meek, unlike the regular persona that the femme displayed for the world.

Amethyst eyes remained cast on the ground in front of her, almost as if she was staring past it, rather than directly at it. She was unfocused, melancholic, and as the bottle was passed back to the younger female, she took another small swig and let it rest on the ground between them, but tilted it towards him as an indication that she wanted him to take it from her again. "I-I'm just.. s.. so t-tired.." She whined with an airy whimper and a furrowing of her tan brows. "I-I don't w-wanna do it anymore..."

Her words were vague, but there was a wet sheen to her eyes as the words escaped, the glimmer upon her cheeks being the only indication of the deep pain that she felt. "It all.. h-hurts.. a-all the time.. I-I want it t-t-to go a-away.."
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Nyx was very quick to ignore him, withdrawing further and further as she began to drink, her whole body throwing signals to him that she was feeling pretty shit right now. She jabbed the bottle out towards him, which he graciously took as she proceeded to fold over in half, somehow her petite frame was still sitting upright. Her words felt unsure, when she finally did speak, and the male couldn't help but remember how this tone was scarily similar to another she used when she felt defeated.

Asking for the old wolf to drink with her, Lukos scooted a bit closer, propping up his good arm on his own leg and took a gulp. He hissed through his fangs, having forgotten the taste in recent times. It might have just been age, but this seemed more bitter than he remembered. That, or it's just crap booze. Passing the bottle back to his mate, she drank a bit more and placed the bottle down, positioning it for him to take whenever he wanted. She began to open up then, showing a deeper look behind the armor she constantly wore, even from him. The whitening historian sighed, taking the bottle from her with more of an intention to stop her from drinking too much than for him to drink period.

Sipping another fiery round, he gave an empathetic look to the porcelain warrior, placing his hand next to her, hoping she'd reach for him. "You know, you're supposed to come to me when you feel like this. That's part of what being mates entails." he said softly, trying to reinforce the idea that he was there for her. Looking down at her muzzle, he saw the trailing crystal, and leaned over to lick it away, as if it never happened. Nuzzling against her head, Lukos leaned back, reclining on his side as he gazed at the lovely creature he fought so long for.

"By 'it', do you mean the job? Looking after everyone, the fighting, that? Talk to me, help me help you." he pleaded in a hushed tone, wanting to understand how she was feeling. Ever since he stopped her from taking her own life some time ago, there was always a nagging fear that she might get that despondent again, and often that voice nagged at him in the voice of his alter. Nyx needed more than just a supportive shoulder, she needed a break, she needed new life in her routine.
The threat of expressing her own emotion and the burning taste of the alcohol on her tongue worked in tandem to put a tense and sour look on the younger female's face as she spoke, her eyes wet with tears and her voice wavering. She let her hand fall limply against the ground as her mate took the bottle from her again, and when his own hand was offered in return, the tired fighter moved her smallest finger in it's direction, just touching his grey digits with her own snowy white ones, and for a moment, just a moment, allowing herself to relax as his warm tongue found her cheek and lifting her face into his affectionate nuzzling.

But the moment was short lived. He was speaking to her of coming to him when she felt like this, that he was there for her and to support her as their bond of mateship would imply. She wanted to believe it, at least part of her wanted to lean into him and let him make it all okay, but there was another part to her, an insecurity that flared up when he began to ask questions, trying to probe around for answers as to how he could help her.

Piercing eyes rose from the ground and her head turned so that she could look at him, her brows knitted in the middle as she moved her hand away from his to not so subtly grab the alcohol back from him as she maintained her eye contact, before turning forwards again to drink. "I-I-I don't need help! I'm s-strong enough on m-my own!" She snapped, taking another gulp of the burning water and fighting back a strong wave of nausea as her face began to feel hot and her tongue began to numb.

Already, she could feel the pain in her hands and in her heart melting away, and in it's place, anger. "W-Why do you a-always think you n-need to protect me?! I c-can do it! I-I can do it on my own!" She spoke louder in a tone that neared hysterics, her fangs bared to him. She set the bottle down as she sat and stewed in her own venom, irrational thoughts swirling within her until the tiny huntress got up and wobbled a bit, her hackles raising as she turned on her mate, the love of her life, and spat, "I-I'll show you, g-get up a-a-and fight me! S-See if you can!"
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It was hard, putting the feeling of watching the one you love suffer so horribly into words. Someone who normally is so strong on the surface, an example of strength and good virtue to those that look up to them. To look at them, and know that every day is just another that chips away at the soul. That every time they wore a courageous smile, the lines grew deeper, the eyes dimmer. The questions that remain, if that truly was just something that rested on the surface, like a fine layer of dust. He had watched her face for years, trying as he might to bring some joy and life into her existence, standing near as there was a deeper descent into despair.

The feeling of her hand brushing against his aroused some simple yet crucial happiness, a sign that she was still in there, that he might be able to get her to open up and let him help, just a little. To make it easier on her, so he could see that smile, the real one that he ached to see from so long ago. But as he tried to address it, she pulled away, glaring at him as she snatched the bottle, and he resigned hope with a forlorn look. The Pyre defensively barked at him, drinking heavily and insisted on her independence. The grey wolf wasn't sure if it was just pride or denial at this point.

"That's not what I'm saying, Love.." he uttered, wiping at his face with a hand. But she was already growing livid, shouting defiantly at him, a twisted version of her defiance in the face of violence in a past era. "Nyx, please." Lukos pleaded, his ears pinned as she raged with poison in her heart, dejected and hapless. As gears began to churn in her head, Nyx abruptly stamped the bottle in the ground and rose to her unsteady feet, bristling for a fight. Lukos began to rise as well, but defensively, with his hands outstretched and passive, cautiously backing off from a volatile situation. "Please, I don't see a purpose for doing this, let's just, sit down and have a calm moment to ourselves." he begged, not wanting to be brought to hurting an already wounded warrior.

He didn't want to hurt her, or worse, for Nyx to hurt herself. This was not the time for a spar at all, though the fighter didn't seem to be that benign in her intentions. Why that even he heard voices in his head that he still didn't know how to talk to his mate, to bring peace to her troubled mind. The route she was on only had pain in store for both of them.
(Let me know if the slight power play of Lukos towards the end needs to be changed)

Nyx stood with malice and aggression, the hair along her spine bristling, and something wild and animalistic overtaking the normally stern and self assured gaze that she sported in recent times. The grey wolf stood as well, palms outstretched in an effort to placate her, yet the mere motion of his ascent into an upright position had her ears flicking back and her lips curling back from pearly daggers. There was a pressure in her chest, a tightness that constricted her being and pushed the snowy leader to fight.

She felt like a caged animal, as though the entire world was closing in on her, and her heart pounded in her chest now where previously it had weighed heavily. Tears weaved across the wrinkled contours of her snarling muzzle. "C-Calm?? How can I-I be calm?! I have t-t-to fight! I have to keep e-everyone safe! But I-I can't!" She sobbed, her voice a hysterical mess as her tail lashed and her ears pinned back flat to her head, her somewhat dirt and blood stained fur spiking out along her neck.

"I can't e-ever stop! I-I'm not s-s-strong enough to p-protect them..!" She seemed to be losing her steam, lips relaxed half way back over off-white canines, her eyes lowered away from his. The moment seemed to be passing, Nyx wobbled slightly on her feet, but the next move that the grey wolf would make towards his mate would prove the opposite. Amethysts flashed venomously as her heart jumped into her throat, her mind reeling and thoughts blurring together as the adrenaline would have her perceive the large wolf before her to be a threat.

She growled and let out a bark as she went for him, claws extended, seeking to rip at his hide and knock him off his guard, she was unarmed, so speed would have to be her best option-

She stumbled backwards and looked down at the red tinge on her claws, confused jewels looked up at her mate as a look of shock and hesitation possessed her features.

"Y... y-y-you're bleeding..."
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His expression quickly changed from reassuring and gentle to alarmed as Nyx dramatically transformed into a far more aggressive version of herself, openly hostile towards the male, when normally she barely showed anything even resembling resentment towards someone. The last time she seemed this hysterical, Nyx nearly ended her own life, the thought of that memory inciting a panic in Lukos.

They were in a standoff now, dispite his attempts to defuse the situation, it only made things worse. It was like Nyx was convinced that the only way out was to lash out and fight and rip into anything that got too close, and couldn't accept that things weren't so black and white. He had failed in showing her that, the wolf assumed. Leading by his example, there wasn't much difference in that line of thought at all. There might not even be enough time to correct that mistake, going forward from now on. The seeds are sown, beliefs decided. Maybe, this is just how they'll both be forever..

Lukos pleaded with his mate, his heart bleeding cold at the sight of her having this breakdown that had been building for sometime now. "Nyx, please my love, you're not the only one-" he tried to say, before being cut off again as she spat a rage that could only be directed at herself. Bearing witness to such a display drained all the good feelings out of him, watching someone who acted so strong be so pitiable all along, the slow decay of a different kind of madness than his own that had grown over the years. The madness of putting everyone else's weight on your shoulders alone.

"Nuzzles, you can stop. You're not doing this on your own, there are others that could help.." he said with an ache in his chest, ever one to be such a person. The white warrior seemed to be coming to the conclusion of the outburst, going limp as the Pyre hushed into silence. Seeing that she was physically unsteady, Lukos approached gingerly yet swiftly, intent on catching her if she fell like he had done many a time. Another unfortunate truth that he had longed to forget, is that nothing is as it seems.

With speed and ferocity, one could've forgotten that her senses were dulled with booze as razor claws flashed towards him, a slight hesitation on the grey male's part left him vulnerable, the shock from a split second's change hitting only a moment after it happened. He it wasn't that he blamed her, after all these years one would think that the grizzled veteran would learn to be more careful around someone who has been known to kill multiple people within a few seconds at the drop of a hat. But for one regrettable instant, Lukos had the undeniable look of fear, plastered all across his features as she raked his chest, staring down at her as red splattered them both.

It was not a fear for his life, or a fear of her striking him. It was the fear that for a moment, Lukos could no longer recognize her as his mate at all. And in the very next instant she was back to herself, stumbling as she stared at the blood on her hands, with a dumbfounded expression. Placing a large palm to his chest, Lukos glanced to see a sizable gash across his chest, blinking in disbelief for a moment before looking back to the horrified Nyx.

"It's okay." he said quickly and with an unnerving amount of calm, the scent of iron filling the space between them. "It's okay." he repeated meekly, placing both of his hands on his chest to try and stem the bleeding, a sharp spike in pain reaching his brain. By some strange twist in his psyche, or perhaps a second nature, the only thing he could think about right now is how important it was that Nyx not blame herself for another accident. She was already in a fragile mind, another hit like this could shatter her. He just wanted his mate to be okay, that was all.
There was a dazed expression on the face of the Pyre as she gazed down at the blood on her hands, her eyes still stinging with tears and glassed over as she looked up at her mate and saw the blood on his chest, seeping between grey digits. She told him that he was bleeding, and he said that it was okay. Tan tipped ears perked forwards and then back again at the expression of pain underlying his features. What had she done?

"I-I'm sorry..." She whined, eyes growing wider as the tiny blood stained fighter looked up into the yellow gaze of the grey wolf. She stumbled forwards, slowly, her trembling hands stretched out towards his own as her tail tucked up underneath her, tiny paws that had done so much damage to so many different people reached out to rest on the back of his hand with a timid touch. "I-I-I h-hurt you.."

Again, he said it was okay, as fresh heavy tears pooled up in the slowly clearing eyes of the leader and spilled over her wet cheeks. "I'm s-sorry.." She half sobbed, slender porcelain digits curling around one of Lukos' fingers as she trembled and wobbled, unsteady as she tried weakly to pull him off in a random direction. "W-we need t-t-to go back t-to camp a-a-a-and fix you up.. W-we need to..."

Her lips pressed together and her muzzle wrinkled as a wave of sorrow washed through her like the tide of an unforgiving black sea, and she stopped trying to pull him, and instead leaned into him, fingers gripping his hands, her tiny form wracked with gentle sobs as she leaned into her mate, his blood getting in her hair and staining her fur in places as she clung to him. "I-I-I don't w-want to f-fight anymore..."
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