[AW] We're one in the river and one again after the fall
[Mandatory Pack Thread] [Posting Open]
#1
Quote:Dated April 20th: IC meeting to coincide with this announcement. Posting once is mandatory, or your character risks demotion in the next rank shuffle. You can decide if your character would logically have been present at the smaller family meeting, or if they are only responding to the call now. This will remain open until the end of May so that everyone has a chance to respond.

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[500+]

Late morning found a sombre group of Vináttans returning from the borders. There was a chill in the air and a fog that hung heavy over the lake, as the sun had not fully cleared the treetops to burn it away. Florina stood back a few paces from the family gathering, and silently watched them deal with their feelings. Miskunn caught her eye and nodded, encouraging her to act now before rumors spread. This wasn't what she wanted, Flori thought as her jaw tightened. Then she tipped back her head and sounded a howl rich with strength and loss. There was news, and it was not good.

A handful of the Stormbringer clan had seen Saul off that morning and said their farewells. There was no way to hold him back or change his mind – Saul was a broken man, and they could only pray that he found his daughter and healed his soul. If he couldn't find his sunshine girl, it was unlikely they would ever see him again. Rúni wouldn't let his father go alone, so he had chosen to depart as well. Florina didn't try to stop them simply because she wanted her cousin back, and she wanted Saul to succeed in his quest. Colibri had dried her tears, but the puffiness around her eyes betrayed her deep concern – Saul was still weak, barely recovered from a leg injury, clearly not in a sound state of mind. Coli had begged him to stay because she was scared for her grieving friend, and now she clung so tightly to her mate that Florina wondered if he would have to carry her home.

Florina was numb. She had imagined herself standing at Uncle Saul's side, the strong right hand of the law, partner to the only father figure she had accepted in her youth. Instead, he would never lead alongside her. Saul was gone, and Vinátta was hers alone. The weight of what she had done in replacing her mother abruptly settled on her shoulders.

Her only consolation was knowing that Colibri could never have assumed the mantle of Virding by herself, and she had saved them the disarray of choosing a new successor. Florina stood alone now, because she alone could handle it. She would not be broken like her predecessors. She squared her shoulders and raised her head high, pale fur blending with the stubborn swirls of fog. Once she was satisfied with the packmates who responded to her howl and filed in, she spoke flatly.

"The Virding is gone. Saul has left the pack to continue the search for Sólieri." Florina paused briefly, casting a glance at the gathered Stormbringers who could confirm the exchange. Saul had only spared the energy to say goodbye to his closest and dearest, and even that had been a drain on the weary father. Silver eyes studied their faces as she wondered if they would lash out at her again and demand her impeachment.

"No one else will carry the name Virding. I will remain Sannindi because that is the title I was given. I am sole leader in Saul's stead, and he has passed his responsibilities to me personally."

That was all she had to say. She was in no mood to hold their hands today, and remained still except for her slowly waving tail. It should be enough for them to know that Saul entrusted their fate to her. Written only in the clenched teeth, the hard stare, and the tense lash of her tail, was the fact that Florina would miss her teacher.



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#2
whoo! First post :p and Carrie is more accepting I would think...

She had not assumed that this moment in her life would come, but the leadership was changing. First with Colibri stepping down, and now with Saul?! Carya couldn't believe her ears whenever Florina was calling to the pack, and she stopped in her tracks upon approaching the wolfess, or rather their new leader. Bitter feelings aside she looked around then back to Florina.

Carya would miss her previous Virding, and she turned her face towards the new Sannidi, her ears flickering on her skull. There were words that needed to be spoken, but there was nothing else that she could say. Her ears folded and she gave Lochlan a glance, as he was among the Stormbringers already gathered and then looked at her feet. I am grateful for Saul's decision then, as well as yours. it was a bitter word held onto her tongue but no bitterness came out.

She flickered her ears and would return to the rear of the crowd, ears shifting in case anyone wanted to speak with her, if not, then she would take a few moments to hear what else was to be spoken, and then she would leave to deal with the recent turn of events.
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#3
No time for table. Weird Shi is weird. @_@
---

A flower graced her hair, plucked fresh at the dawn of spring, a hue to match her eyes and dress. Her blonde hair was neat, her white fur pristine. Shiloh Dawnbringer looked beautiful -- looked strong. It was all she could do. Be strong for the family that was left.

Dreyrugr had always wandered, and his children wandered, never blessed to be together at once, driven by wind and snow and grief. Shiloh had seen this day coming, the lack of luster in her brother's eyes, had seen him broken -- ever since Lilin abandoned him, Saul had not been the same. She had seen this coming.

As Florina howled, the Araedi Ríkr stood with her staff and watched the other Vináttans approach, group. Her slender face was expressionless, her posture tall and like the guardian that she was. She listened without really hearing Florina's news, though carefully guarded emotion flickered, almost beyond her control, at Flori's choice of her title. This she suppressed, along with everything already burning below the surface: grief, betrayal, fear.

Florina fell silent, and Shiloh stood rigid. She did not care if she spoke out of turn now, but her voice lifted regardless.

"Vinátta is not a weak pack. Our strongest, our wisest, our most disciplined, most industrious -- we will protect, serve, and guide the pack as we always have. Our Sannindi will guide us to match her fortitude, and we will guide her in turn. Family watches out for each other no matter what."

Her voice was strong, carrying, even if her heart rang hollow and a dangerous flood of emotion struggled against a frighteningly calm demeanor. If someone spoke out against Florina now -- she would strike them down where they stood, she thought. The only sign of a grieving, terrified sister was a tightening of fingers at her staff, below the Frithr necklace wrapped there.
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#4
His uncle's decision to depart was one that left a strange taste in Lochlan's mouth. It was understandable to some degree, but the blue-eyed Stormbringer had always considered the Virding a constant in their lives. A wolf of great character and strength who would stand there always as the head of their bloodline and their pack both. Yet the loss of his daughter had left him a broken creature and it was time. Time for him to go off and find his daughter or die trying. Forcing the sadness down his throat and letting it settle into his gut instead, the Araedi had said his farewell to Saul with his heart half-broken but beating in his chest.

Now the unproven Florina was going to be their only leader. The wolf who they had to rely upon for all leadership decisions, despite the pack's lingering uncertainties about her in general. Certainly she had not shown herself to be a failure when it came to leading the pack, but she hadn't shone as a particularly bright star of leadership either. Losing Saul felt like losing their father figure and he knew Vinatta could survive it, but that didn't mean it made him feel good about it. He would miss his uncle and he was not pleased that the only wolf that would hold the high power in the pack was a wolf that was virtually a stranger to them all.

Numbly, he stood as the pack was called to gather and learn the news he already knew. Briefly, his eyes flitted to Carrie and to Iris, but other than that he remained solid and still. There was nothing left in him to say.
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#5
[ 442 ] » I don't know what I'm doing~ I just hope it's at least a little bit accurate. ^^'

She was not allowed to follow where her mother had gone that morning and until the howl rang out she paced the floor of their home with an unsettled mind, worry and wonder flooding her thoughts. Something was wrong, she could feel it, and the more she waited the more she worried about what was going on. The sound had barely reached her ears by the time she was out the door and on her way toward it and she did not slow her long lupus limbs until the small group materialized out of the fog ahead of her. Pausing, she took a moment to shift into her tall lean optime form before slowly approaching the quickly growing crowd as the rest of the pack trickled in from all over to hear the news.

Spotting her mother among the many solemn faces standing at the front of the gathering the young Moineau slowly skirted the crowd to stand near her, but she did not step past the small space that separated the somber group from the rest of the pack. Once it seemed like everyone had arrived the Sannindi broke the news and a frown spread upon the dark femme's features, her lime green gaze moving from Florina's face to Shiloh's, watching as her mother fought the swell of emotions their new leader's words had summoned. Dreyma's ears drooped against the soft curls of her hair and she wanted desperately to step forward to console her mother, but she stood firm and rigid in her spot, not wanting to step out of place or do something wrong.

Saul was uncle to her, someone she looked up to even if she didn't know him very well. He was the Virding, everyone looked up to him, and like the rest of the pack Dreyma believed he would always be there to lead them, guide them, and stand as the strong and noble figurehead of the pack. Now that he was gone it was like there was a hole, an emptiness, a missing piece, and thankfully Florina had not decided to try and fill that space. Although she did not attend the meeting about the new Sannindi she had seen the ripples of dissatisfaction flow through the pack. Shiloh had accepted Florina though, chose to stand by her rather than oppose her, and so Dreyma did too. She was their one and only leader now, there could be no questioning whether it was right or wrong. Someone had to lead them, and looking at her now, standing strong and proud even with sadness and responsibility weighing down upon her, Dreyma believed Florina could do it.
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#6
OOC: Don't mind Ascher, he's just having a wee breakdown lol

IC:
For all his clever words and deep thoughts, Ascher was no good at goodbyes. He wasn't practised at them, really – rarely had he been given the chance to say the words before family and friends were plucked out of his life, or he was plucked out of theirs.

The dreaded call came early in the day. Dew still clung to the grass and a misty light resided in the sky. Ascher made his way quickly to Saul and the rest of his family, trying to keep his mind open to hope. It was a futile exercise – Saul spoke the words which seemed to have been coming for many months, and Ascher listened as he always did. He had nodded in the right places, he thought, but he couldn't be sure – it had felt as if his world was crumbling when his beloved brother had imparted the news. With all they'd been through, even with the all the time they'd spent apart, Asch couldn't imagine his elder brother, the consummate leader, the real man of the family not being there.

Ascher's feet dragged on the way back from the borders, his hand occasionally lifting to swipe at his eyes. The pools of blue didn't meet anyone else's gaze as the group moved towards Jordheim. Vinatta was without its Virding, left only with the fledgling Sannindi who had caused such a ruckus with her entrance to the ranks. Ascher could barely resent Florina's presence now; the peaceable Viking would have welcomed some bile rising in his throat, but it wasn't there. There was only a dullness to the world, a lack of a shine which seemed to have been dimming ever since Solieri's disappearance.

How much worse could it get, than to have his direst fears realised? Others spoke, words of faith in the pack and in their now lone leader, but Ascher remained silent, his head bowed. His fingers played their old game of clasping and unclasping, writhing behind his back like some tentacled beast. His eyes sought Aspen, Bel and Orvar from beneath his fringe – at least he still had those precious beings in his life, and he needed them now. He wouldn't be afraid to admit it, even if he was afraid of what would happen next. For once, the scholar was in the dark without knowledge or words to help him.

[397]
[html]<center><div class="aschfailsig032018">Ascher<img src="https://i.imgur.com/YFhNC8a.png" width="65px">Stormbringer</div><br><div class="aschfailsig032018-bottom">It's always darkest before the dawn</div></center>
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#7
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Niernan Stormbringer
Why can't the moon stay full forever? Right now she's got nothing on her mind.




Her fingers against his skin, the feel of her slight weight pressed against him, her breath ruffling the fur across his chest. Those were his anchors. If not for her he wouldn't have been standing there, amongst his kin, listening to Florina explain to the rest of the pack about Saul's choice. He felt the dissatisfied growl begin to rumble in his chest, his frustration and pain blurring his inhibitions. Saul had left them. The world had been turned upside down and they had been left clinging desperately to the surface for fear that they would fall. Their leader! It had been bad when they had lost Lilin; a betrayal that everyone felt. But Saul leaving, that just caused a gaping wound. What was worse was that Niernan completely understood. Saul had driven himself crazy with the hunt for Sóli, something that he himself seemed to be in danger of doing. He knew that Saul needed to be out there, looking for his daughter, he just hoped he didn't look too hard in the wrong places and end up dead. Most of Niernan wanted to go with his fellow Stormbringer, though he knew he couldn't. He had family, a responsibility to care for his young children and his fragile mate.

Thinking of her once again reined him in. He looked down at her, grateful for her. One tan hand moved from where it wrapped around her body to brush against her cheek. If it weren't for her and her tactile reminder of his responsibilities he would have gone running off with Saul probably never to be seen again. He offered her a soft smile, his eyes screaming 'thank-you' in that moment. He didn't want to break the bubble of comfort that he was in at that moment, but he needed to see how the pack were coping. He lifted his gaze from his mate, eyes becoming a little blanker, more steady. He watched as the Vikings gathered, watched the emotion that Flori's statement caused, and saw strength. Shiloh was right; Vinátta was a strong pack. They could get through this. They conquered every challenge that came their way, they could conquer this one too. He felt he should say something, as a founder, as a Vald Rikr, as a member of the family, but no words came. Everything he thought of was something weak or unhelpful so he remained silent. He stood with Colibri, feeling his heart break with every moment he realised that Saul wasn't coming back, but fixing it again with the love he felt for her, for his children and for his pack.



((ooc: Weird Niernan is also weird.))


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[Image: waV1u.png][Image: e5wYj.png][Image: Y8ztz.png][Image: ni9yZ.png][Image: cfVd1.png][Image: DusG2.png]
[Image: nrIL.png]
#8
[html]

Teagan Stormbringer
I make my mark and fight for tomorrow.




Uncle Saul had left them. She knew why. She sort of wanted to go with him, to find her sunshine cousin alongside him, but he had stayed. This seemed like something that Saul had to do himself. That and of course she was needed here in the pack. The walk to the clearing had been silent. No-one spoke a single word until Florina called the pack. It was still odd, thinking of Florina, her step-sister, as a leader. She had been so used to her step-mother being the Sannindi, but now Coli's valkyrie daughter held the position. Teagan had little issue with the situation; in her mind Flori was family and had every right, sure it would have been nice to promote from within the pack, but what was done was done. This wasn't the time to be thinking of that. This was a time to gather with family and pack, to share everybody's pain over Saul's absence and to rally their strength.

It was Flori's howl to the pack that broke her; she never saw herself as overly emotional, but that howl filled with sadness and loss made tears spring unbidden to her eyes. She looked up, cerulean eyes searching for someone. They found her father, wrapped up around Colibri just as he should be. She couldn't run to Daddy and Coli now; her father needed the reassurance of his mate and she needed... Her eyes brushed over the familiar form and she moved immediately. Her brother was standing firm, waiting and listening, the strong Stormbringer that he had grown into. She wanted nothing more than to crash into him, to bury her face in his white chest and shut out the world. To be like they were as puppies; too busy wrapped up in each other to take notice of the rest of the world, but they were grown now. She came to stand beside him, close enough that the golden fur of her shoulder merged with his dark charcoal. She moved her hand slightly, aiming to brush her fingers against the back of his hand, asking for comfort in the most silent way she knew how.



((ooc: Have an unusually emotional Teagan.))


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Avatar by Kitty
#9
[html]



As they gathered there was a different feeling in the air. It was not the same as when Colibri had stepped down. Blue eyes looked at the faces of her packmates and there was something to be said about the features of the Stormbringers that gathered among the Aston-Coeur family and the rest of the unrelated pack mates. Sons stood behind their mothers, Andira stood beside Anu. Carya traveled on her own, and Anu gave the girl a sweet soft smile when she saw her. Anu felt far more troubled now then when she saw the Haki woman stand beside her daughter. Now Florina stood alone.


When the pale wolf-dog's voice rang Anu turned to watch, taking in the words uneasily. She stood stoic, calm and stable despite the news and the true feelings that it gave her. Saul was gone. She watched the eyes of the young Sannidi, they went to the relatives of the gone-Virding. It was true then, her brain putting the signs together. He was gone. And this was what they were left with.


Despite bitter pill Anu swallowed, and accepted the truth. She would not lie about her worry for the young leader who now had no leader for her own, but she still held faith that the pack would not allow danger to come to their borders. Since the golden child had gone missing there had been little other disturbance, and they lived in relative peace and comfort. Anu did not credit the Soul female for that entirely, but the pack as a whole.


Anu was sad to let Saul go and yet she understood. His family was no longer here, but missing and he chose to try to find her. It was far from a simple choice and yet Anu felt he had made the right one.


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#10
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Eyes bright, Andira wandered to the gathering place by the call of the young-leader. Indifferent to the faces of the sad Stormbringers she could only wonder what new news the Soul female held for them. Andira was bringing to respect the pale blond woman, her direct ways and her purpose. Her courage as well. It had to take guts to stand among so many that had called out against her when she had been titled Sannidi. When Andira spotted her family she milled through the crowd towards her mothers, standing in front of her much taller brothers.


She around at the group, wondering who was missing and if they could begin. Impatient as always. But soon enough the news was given, and Andira's hurried and light hearted mood was desecrated. Saul was gone? The question rolled through her mind like a heavy boulder. The only true leader she had known to sit at the head of the Vináttans was gone. The confidence that Andi held in her pack had come from him.


Her mother must had seen the frown, the sad eyes that she held and touched her hand. Just as she did when Florina had told them all that she would be leading them beside their Virding, Anu held her hand. The touch now was different then it had been, softer and one of support rather then to shake her from her thoughts and restrain her. Denim eyes looked over to her Mother, the confidence that had drain from her seemed to roll back over her. Voices started to call out, and rather then challenge the stance of the Soul-woman they stood beside her. Andi's sister, and Shiloh. They spoke out to stand beside her, to remind them all that they were not strong simply because of one creature. But because of each and every one of them.






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#11
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Though silent and distant, the Araedi had been among those granting farewell and best wishes to Saul at the borders. He had been the adviser her father—whomever he was—had not, the willing "uncle" figure to Farina and her sisters since their birth. From him she had learned to track and hunt, close in her youth but distanced in relationship as she grew older. Now he was leaving them, halting all rising hopes that the two might reunite as friends since their escapade hunting a doe in the winter.


In a way, Farina blamed herself. She and Andira had trained in Casa di Cavalieri, had sharpened their skills as warrior-guardian Araedi in hope of solving problems like Solieri's disappearance. They had not been fast enough. She should have spent those two weeks searching harder, training later. She should have asked more questions in the city and at other packs. Some Araedi Farina was turning out to be.


She knew Colibri would take the news difficultly and wished to support her, but as always Niernan trapped her in an embrace Farina found unyielding for her daughters. Fine. The behemoth lingered near the back, her arms folded in a rather intimidating display, result of shame and anger and a cracking heart.


She thought when Auntie Lilin returned, everything would go back to normal. Why could nothing be easy and kind?

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#12
The caramel pelted male stood with his back against a tree, his arms folded and his left foot bent and pressed against the trunk as well. His chocolate gaze looked out across the border in the direction he’d last seen his cousin disappear. The small family gathering had been a difficult one, there hadn’t been a great deal of discussion, there had however been a great deal of listening Now he was gone, Saul was gone. It didn’t seem like long ago that Nier and him had stumbled out of the trees and been greeted to Vinatta by their cousin, and they’d set about making a home for themselves.

Bran wasn’t a terribly materialistic lupreci, he didn’t need a lot to keep him happy. He knew the most precious thing he had was his family. He’d not become an Araedi for rank or recognition, he’d done it to protect those he loved and cared for. It had been Saul had given him his promotion. It was only now the Stormbringer Araedi realised how much of a foundation Saul had been to him, his cousin’s departure had left Bran flapping and floundering. Vinatta was a strong pack, a place of friendship, of love and camaraderie, but it all seemed suddenly cold and unfamiliar. Saul was gone, it was hard to believe with the Virding’s scent still on the caramel Stormbringer’s coat from their last embrace. Nier had made himself a new family here, and while Bran never went in for any of that melodrama crap, he felt lost, surplus.

When Florina’s howl came gathering them all, Bran’s ears twitched, but he did not move. He’d said his piece at the last meeting, he would not come when she called, it hadn’t been a statement spoken in anger, it was perfectly true, so there he remained, watching the distance. Florina, another unwelcome change to Vinatta, perhaps it was time to leave these lands? Niernan and Asch were taken care of, as were his nephews, they’d all be left in good hands. The valley must have changed to by now, but at it may feel more like a home right now. Bran pressed his palm against his eyes, doing his best to wipe away the moisture that had gathered there, his expressive features lacking the trademark crooked grin. A face swam before his mind’s eye then, the sea glass eyed visage of Drin, something had started between them. Could he walk away from that? He heard the pack gathering, but he’d not be there, he’d not answer that call. He pushed himself off the tree using the foot resting against the rough bark, and moved towards the border. He stood there for a moment, which stretched into minutes, and finally he realised there was a patrol he needed to get on with. So he turned and let his feet make their way along the oh so familiar paths. He hated to admit it, but he needed time to think.
#13
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[487+]


She felt it since she’d returned from her expedition with Bran. It had been painful to deliver their news to Saul, but Solieri’s trail had gone cold and they’d both returned empty handed. She’d held her friend then, allowing tears to soak into her pelt and feeling just how feeble he’d grown since she’d last patched up his leg. Her Virding, a male she now considered a brother, was withering away before her eyes, and there was nothing she could do, no tisane or quick remedy she could force down his throat to have that vibrancy return. A part of him--the greatest half of him, had departed Vinatta when his daughter went missing. Saul was losing a battle to desperation and depression. She chose to stay with him that night, simply to keep a fire burning and some conversation flowing to pass the time. The Aor Vald had a feeling it would be one of the last times they did that, though she offered to keep him company for a few days--he didn’t need to be alone--Saul had assured her in the morning he’d be okay.


The feeling followed her since she left his home and that sick twist of anxiety finally came to a head the night before. Dropping off some food for him as was her usual routine, Saul had called her in. She could see it in his eyes the moment he took her hands in his. He was leaving them. Vinatta was not a home anymore without his sunshine girl. Though the tears strangled her, Palaydrian gave him her blessing and prayed for him. Perhaps hugging him for the last time close to her heart. She whispered goodbyes on wavering breath before returning home, a secret now burdening her heart until the sun rose. She heard Florina’s call, her cheeks now dry and a solemness entering her soul. Vinatta had been without a true leader for quite some time, this was something Palaydrian could not deny, but they’d survived. They’d gotten along just fine. The vikings were a different breed of pack, functioning solely from the dedicated members already making up their ranks. Saul’s departure would weigh heavily on many hearts, but the pack would not crumble.


She half-listened to the girl’s words at a distance, feet having somehow brought her to the meeting place, but it was Rok’s beak that brought her back to the present as she turned and headed towards the borders once Florina’s piece was said. The thoughts the siamese female had spoken before now resonated in the back of her mind. Sannindi or not, I have duties to tend to... She’d carry on like usual, Vinatta had lost someone that was respected and loved, she’d mourn his departure in her own way, but her allegiance and dedication was for no leader, it was for Vinatta itself.



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<span class="DRINSigName">the angel opened her eyes</span>
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#14
Padding tentatively forward at the sound of Florina's call, the small coydog couldn't suppress the feeling of dread filling her heart. What now? Last month it had been a change of leadership, much to the disagreement and distaste of many within the pack. And the feeling of tension and sorrow hanging in the air today raised the likelihood that nothing the new Sinnindi had to announce would be happy or welcome.

Standing straight towards the outskirts of the gathering Vináttans, Inara's dark-tipped ears funneled in Florina's words as her mind let the meaning of them slowly soak in. She'd never had the opportunity to meet Saul, who had already holed himself up in his house, succumbing to the demons of depression and despair, before she'd even joined Vinátta. But based on what she'd heard from her packmates, he was a loving leader and a friendly soul. Losing a sister was one thing, but losing a child? Inara thought she could understand a little of what Saul had gone through the months following Sólieri's disappearance, and respected his decision to step down as leader to put all the had left into finding his daughter. She silently wished him safe travels and good fortune.

Lifting her gaze upwards at the pale-coated Sinnindi, Inara studied Florina curiously for a moment. She had decided to reserve judgement of the young sub-leader until she had a chance to see her in action. This had been the first time she'd called a pack meeting of this caliber, and she seemed to be handling things acceptably. No issues had arisen in the month following the acceptance of her new role, so Inara figured she was doing all right for herself. But now that she was the only leader Vinátta had, the little Risna wondered if anything would change.
With a small sigh, feeling her anxiety subside now that she new what the meeting was all about, Inara shifted mismatched eyes over the crowd of sorrowful Vináttans. She had nothing to say, but would remain for a while longer to hear her packmates' words.
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Avatar by the most-talented Shade. Signature image made by the lovely J!
#15
[html]


((300+)) ooc. ooc is fun!

Taro had not spent much time with the leader of the pack. Though, he had always been a constant presence in the day to day life of living there. His heart was heavy less with the feeling of grief, but rather one solely of absence. The orange male knew that he would be feeling this ache for some time to come but like the others that were gathered together, it would not cause them to crumble. Though, he stood there among the pack, many of them Stormbringers and related to the departed leader and showing a variety of different emotion though the tautness of sorrow was written across every face.


The male didn't want to intrude on their private grieving and hung back, trying to serve as a comforting presence to them. He wondered how everyone would get on. Or how Florina would take it upon herself to be the sole leader of a pack of many different souls. Her mother remained as a guide, but Colibri seemed weaker of body and spirit through the passing of time and Taro couldn't blame her. The weight of leadership must have dealt wearying damage upon her bones.


His own mother had gone just as quickly as she had arrived. She had known Saul much better than himself and had probably privatized her grief. Though, he also vaguely aware of her disapproval of the pale furred leader he hoped that those feelings did not limit her. He thought that she would be an excellent Virding, if Florina ever chose to appoint one. He tried to shrug off his assumptions though, this wasn't a time to contemplate replacements and appointments. It was a time of quiet and sadness for the large Stormbringer family to come to terms with Saul's departure. Quietly, he sat near the back just to support them.


.
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#16
The call caused Aspen to jolt, duck her head, and flatten her ears. She knew what it was about; Ascher had already told her, but she knew she should go to the meeting anyway to support him and out of fear of repercussions. She made her way from her house at a slow pace and stopped when she could see everyone and be able to hear what was said. Her ears were still flat, and she trembled slightly in fear of the self-proclaimed Sannindi. She spoke of keeping her current rank, which Aspen agreed with. As far as she knew, the icy female had done nothing to smooth over the trouble she caused or make any real attempt to get to know anyone or earn their respect. What sort of a leader did not know her pack mates?

Arms wrapped around herself and with hunched posture, Aspen looked around, and although she could not see many faces, she was worried about her pack mates. Saul was their leader, the glue that held them together, he was the one who had given her a home, and it was difficult to believe that he was gone.

As soon as Florina was finished speaking, Aspen looked for Ascher. For a little while, she was able to put aside the uncertainty she felt about their actions during her heat and simply be there for him. He needed her. She met his eyes and she held her arms out, palms up in an invitation to come with her before turning to head home.
#17
Tayui had thought there would be more time to test Florina’s abilities as a leader, but it seemed as though responsibility would be thrust upon her all too quickly. Tayui felt terribly distracted when she thought about Saul’s disappearance. He had never spoken to Tayui about what she had done to Lilin many months (years?) ago and she had been eternally thankful for that. She had known Saul more as a stable leader: always present. She had spoken with him on many occasions and now, the gaping hole left as a result of his absence, threatened to sink the entire pack. Everyone gathered looked so shocked and tired and even their new Sannindi, now the only Sannindi and Virding, looked exhausted.

She couldn’t burst out with anything because she still didn’t know how she felt. It seemed as though everyone had made up their minds as she looked at the faces of the gathered packmembers, but Tayui felt so distant from it all.

She leaned against Anu, seeking the stability only her mate seemed to offer her now. She caught sight of Carya and Andira, and Auguste and Valérian, too. Auguste gave her an encouraging, tentative smile and Tayui returned it. It would hurt for a long time, but they would be okay—they had to be.
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#18
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[234]

Saturn had been relaxing at some unknown area he wasn't sure of... under a tree, till he heard the call from Florina... he jolted upright and looked in the direction the sound came from... he had never been to a group meeting, and he wasn't so used to being around so many individuals at once, the thought just made him... queasy.

He made his way to where the gathering was commencing and he saw so many unfamiliar faces already, and once there he just stood at the back of the crowd, watching and listening, not trying to draw any attention to himself, as he listened, and even though he didn't really know anyone here, his stomach tightened a little and he could feel that feeling where he felt bad, and his sympathies reached out, silently of course, to Saul, whom he had never met, nor heard of, but he hated sadness, hated negativity, and this was just that moment where it was all the negative feelings coming together to just have a party... and Saturn just didn't want any part of it.

He wasn't sure of why this had all happened, he had only joined recently and no one had told him much about the packs past, or any recent events really, all he could do was send his sympathies to Saul and to Florina, who had the burden of telling everyone about this.

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#19
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Alessan Stormbringer
I could hear that you whispered as you walked through that door


Image © Square Enix


It was the call that drew him to the meeting. He knew that his uncle was struggling with things and could only sympathize. He wished that Solieri had not been taken from them, as he ought to, but he could offer no skills and no knowledge of where to find the girl. He wished his uncle luck silently as Florina announced. Her he had no problem with, simply because he knew that while she was untested, she was not wrong for them. She was one of them still, despite leaving. Their blood was the same and so she belonged. If she could lead, then all the better. Someone had to.


His mother's words drew his eyes to her, making him smile slightly at her patriotic announcement. Vinatta was home for them all, and his blood was here. That was the tie he had to his land, and it made him feel strong and proud. Like the grapes, they were in the winter of their lives, dry and shriveled. But they were not dead, not yet, and soon they might as well blossom and fall heavy with fruit, the fruit of their labors. Hopefully everyone who had protested Florina would realize that, and that their arguments had been for naught, since they were still alive and still very strong.


Shiloh spoke no more and her only son raised a hand to put on her shoulder, squeezing it. Dreyma came, too, but he only gave his adoptive sister a smile. She was just as strong as the rest of them. She was family, she was blood, and they would be strong. That was enough for him. What had he to complain of? Sure, some faces seemed distraught at the news that their leader, Saul, was gone from the lands. But it was of his own choice and it was a good cause, to find the lost child. They would prevail.



319


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<span style="margin-bottom:1px; font-family:'Amatic SC', serif;">And I cannot decipher between the thrill and the fear. I want to stop but I like it too much to let it stop here</span><br>
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#20
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354


The chill of winter seemed to linger, and as Lily emerged from her home she could feel the cold settle into her bones. Throngs of fog cast an ethereal feel to Vinatta’s lands, and a feeling of unease quietly settled in. When Florina’s voice caught both darkened ears, there was not much more for the Revlis girl to do except for frown. The tone was somber, and the backdrop to this day seemed suddenly too fitting. Lily headed towards where her new family had gathered, abandoning the plans she had first devised upon waking.

Many of the wolves had gathered already, and Lily silently assumed a place amongst them. Green irises studied the pale silhouette of their leader – observing the stoic strength Florina seemed to project. Her gaze found Lochlan amongst the crowd, and it was easy to see grief etched into his features. Amongst his family she saw similar emotions, and her stomach turned uneasily as she tried to process this. Had something terrible happened amongst the Stormbringers? Lily tried to swallow away the sour taste in her mouth, and her attention was stolen yet again by the Sannindi.

Lily had not personally spoken to Saul, but his presence had not gone unnoticed. He was the steady strength behind the pack – the father of the Vikings. It was troubling to know that he was no longer with them; off to continue the search for his daughter. Lily wondered how the rest of the Vinattans would process and handle this news. Would they accept Florina as their sole leader?

Lily’s gaze found Lochlan once again, but quickly she found herself focused on the Aston girl who fought for the same boy’s affections. Shiloh, too, found a voice in response to this news. Lily remained silent, as did many of the others. Her gaze lingered on Andi for a moment, although the girl’s back was to her. She wondered what the Coeur girl thought of this news. The melancholy seemed almost tangible as it hung in the air, and Lily could feel it pressing down upon her shoulders. What would the future of Vinatta hold?


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#21
Chloé had never really spent much time around Saul – or Colibri when she was leader, for that matter – although he had been the one who'd allowed her to join the pack, so she was sad to hear that he had gone. Although, at least it had been for a good cause. Chloé had heard a little bit about the disappearance of the Virding's daughter, but didn't exactly know too many details. It seemed like there were a lot of disappearances happening. Better patrol more, Chloé decided.

Throughout the entire announcement, Chloé had been at the back of the crowd. After the meeting, she glanced around, noticing that Palaydrian and a few others had left. Taro was still lingering, although Chloé didn't exactly want to sit around and stare at all of her solemn-faced packmates. Determined to do something useful, the Vald turned and headed away from the group, planning to go patrolling the borders or something like that.
#22
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Colibri felt utterly drained. The image was burned in her memory; the lean grey figure, too small and with sharply jutting angles in the wrong places, had been swallowed by the sea of trees. Guilty thoughts had clamored a cacophony in her head, though she had barely uttered a whimper when he said his farewell. If she had been there for him, talked him down in the beginning, supported him instead of selfishly focusing on herself – maybe events would have played out differently. Saul was one of her dearest friends – she could have made a difference.

But it was not to be.

Niernan's hand brushed warmth against her cheek. His touch made her peer up through red-rimed eyes, and though she lacked the energy to return his smile, she held his gaze gratefully. It shook her faith to lose such a permanent fixture in their lives – there could be no greater plan, no reason things would be better this way. At least Saul had Rúni. He would not give up until he had Sólieri, too. Lilin had Lund, wherever they were, and Coli had been forced to accept that departure as well.

Fate had different plans for that family, when Coli had been so sure they would remain together in that big house where the first generation of Aeska had been born. Seeing it dark and empty now would be a constant reminder. She could only clutch Niernan as a lifeline, and let his steadfast presence reassure her that he was not going anywhere. He was her mate, and she could count on his promise: he would never leave without her.

Her five daughters and only son couldn't promise that because they had their whole lives ahead of them, and all six would find their own path to walk, but she could still lean on her mate whenever she was too heartbroken to stand alone.

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