[P] the breath I've taken and the one I must to go on
p. Messiah
#1
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Four legs thudded against the ground as Nathaniel walked along the moor. Stigmata's sermon still rang in his ears, as did the stories of evil wolves who had captured and tortured coyotes; Nathaniel still felt mixed. He had embraced his wolf side a lot time ago, when he was still a pup and had asked Vesper himself why he felt so much like a wolf. She had replied that they all had wolf in them - but it was their loyalty and dedication to Inferni that mattered the most. He had chosen Inferni.

Her words had set his fears to rest, and it seemed that no one really minded his mixed heritage until now. He was well aware that he stood out like a sore thumb from most of Inferni, whose coyote hertiage has only grown in the past several months; now, he'd be hard pressed to find anyone with as much wolfishness to them as he had. Determined not to let it get him down - he knew who he was, after all - he trotted along the flat lands, paws sinking easily into the soft grass.

185 words

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#2
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The stories riled him -- and bolstered his beliefs. He left the mansion room and shifted down to all fours, small and willowy but a soldier of coyotes. Stigmata was the Word and he was the Sword, and he was doing good work defending coyotes like his brother from the sinning wolves. Memory of Olivia, resisting his help, soured his mouth, and he carried a little firebrand in his chest as he trotted through the mansion hall and paced onto the prickly summer grass.


Messiah spotted a bushy, ruddy tail ahead, and his tongue spilled from his jaws in a grin. He scampered after the wolfish coyote and kept pace with him, taking several strides for each of Nathaniel's. Didn't say much at the meeting, huh? he pressed, drawing cream brows up.



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#3
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He suddenly became aware of another presence near him - turning his head, he spied Messiah, the brother of Stigmata and Nephilim. As the rust-colored coyote strode up to him, he was keenly aware of how much he towered over the de le Poer, although his posture remained relaxed.

Nathaniel's ear twitched backwards as Messiah's high-pitched voice greeted his ears, remarking on his lack of comment at the meeting. The Bellum's usually cheerful and silly demeanor was replaced with a bleak shadow of itself, a more serious tone overtaking his face and twitching in his tail. Finally, he spoke; "Didn' have much t' say," he said, glancing down at the coyote.

On his face was plastered a grin - had it been a year prior, Nathaniel might have taken it as a sign of friendly genuineness and grinned back in kind. Now, however, although he still did not boast the highest intelligence, he knew enough to sense true kindness and a faux demeanor.

161 words

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#4
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The wolf was about a good foot taller at the shoulder than Messiah -- but the coyote did not waver. His grin spread wider across his narrow face as the other glanced at him, more or less solemn. His coloration was pretty coyote -- but the build and reek of him (lying under mingled scents of pack mates) was anything but. It filled Messiah with bits of disgust and fueled that fire -- and made him concerned, or what he might describe as concern if confronted about this later. After all -- a wolf in a coyote clan was a time bomb, wasn't it? He wouldn't want his brother hurt again, even if Nate saved him last time.


No? Guess you wouldn't, Messiah squeaked. He wagged his tail languidly and lifted a hind leg, which batted at his flank. Even with the plants Marlowe had shown him, he sometimes felt like he was still crawling with fleas. The nervous scratching subsisted after a while, and he smiled in mimicry of his brother -- calm, peaceful. What'd ya think, then? Horrible, isn't it? All those sins, all those victims. Your kin really did a number on' em. His smile was a little too big now, and firelight eyes widened with glee.



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#5
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The grin was beginning to unnerve Nathaniel a bit. Something about this coyote was a bit ... off. Creepy? He was instantly reminded of his brother, Nephilim, in the strange way he unsettled the red hybrid. He spoke again, and the high squeak that came out irritated Nathaniel; not so much the words as the tone of them, and the way he said them, like an arrogant mouse.

Nathaniel unconsciously took a step backward as Messiah interrupted himself in a scratching fit; he didn't want to catch anything. Soon, the kicking subsided, and a smile was replaced on Messiah's face. Nathaniel narrowed his eyes at the coyote as he spoke, the last words hitting Nathaniel like an unexpected blow.

"An' what's that supposed t'mean?" he asked roughly, sights set directly on Messiah's now. Was he doubting his loyalty to Inferni? Nathaniel knew no other love than for the coyote Clan, knew nothing he'd give up for its safety. He knew this, and he didn't need to prove it to anyone.

169 words

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#6
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Ochre eyes narrowed at Messiah, who puffed his tail up like a bottlebrush behind him. He wasn't afraid of the other, just -- just that he couldn't trust him not to sin like the others! He glared briefly up at the wolf then fought to appear aloof and collected a moment later. He began to laugh as if the question was ridiculous, though the noise was punctuated with the occasional snort and not exactly intimidating.


You tryin' to tell me you aren't a wolf? Messiah pressed. I mean -- I know not completely or you wouldn't be here. Or alive, he thought smugly, proud of himself for not wilting under the tall hybrid's staer. Who was the coyote, then? Your mom? Grandma? He remembered needing to comfort poor Nephilim at the borders when a mutt like this one showed up, boasting only just enough coyote heritage to have some use.


He grinned and even stepped forward, tail still puffed but high now. How do we know you aren't gonna snap and do like the others did, wolfie?



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#7
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Messiah seemed to go through an entire rainbow of emotions in the span of a few seconds, from anger to chilled aloofness to a strange, squeaking laughter littered with strange snorts, like a pig. Nathaniel raised an eyebrow, unsure of what to even think of his demeanor; he wasn't large enough to be intimidating, nor was he threatening enough to be a danger. Nathaniel settled on an annoyance.

Still, that didn't mean that his words didn't anger. His glower intensified, all traces of amusement, if there were any to begin with, gone from his sights. He didn't respond to the coyote's taunts. He knew that Skye was the reason for his wolfish appearance, but he didn't remember his biological father - only his real father.

Messiah took a step forward, his tail puffed out and held high. Nathaniel responded in kind, shifting his pose from a relaxed sort of stance to a dominant one - his height over the coyote was palpable now, and his tail and head was held high. His lip twitched at Messiah's remark - how dare he question his place in the pack?

"I was raised in Inferni," he rumbled, his voice low and dangerous. "You've been here fer less'n a season." The fur on the back of his neck raised, and he was keenly aware now of how much higher in rank he was than Messiah. He usually didn't pull dominance over the others - but only because they respected him in kind. "I'd die for Inferni. Yeh look like yeh'd die from a ligh' breeze," he said, taking in the other's almost emaciated appearance.

266 words

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#8
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The wolf towered high above him, and insolence fought instinct before Messiah settled on laid-back ears and a sneer. He wasn't afraid of the other and didn't even respect his authority -- because he was an enemy in the end, no better than some murderous spy in their territory. Maybe he even was a spy, consorting with enemy wolves. Justifcations piled in his mind, invented paranoia that even overcame his usual beliefs that anyone could be saved from sin -- with enough blood shed and prayers for forgiveness, of course.


The other growled down at him, and Messiah narrowed his eyes. His tail lashed while he struggled to formulate a reply -- because the other was high-ranked and was here longer than him. He did snarl with annoyance and anger as the other mocked his small size, tail lashing again.


Tell that to the wolves I already killed! I am a soldier -- I have the blood of warriors! Messiah shrieked at the other, bristing and puff-tailed and ears pinned still. I come from Gabriel and Talitha, blood of Kaena, blood of Hybrid!



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#9
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Messiah's dominant attitude quickly shifted to an aggressive one as he lashed his tail and snarled at Nathaniel's words. He shrieked of meaningless conquests - meaningless because they were not done in the name of Inferni, but in the name of Messiah and his ilk. It was pointless to fight, to kill, if not in the name of a true family - and Inferni was his true family. Family rang out from Messiah's lips, all just names... all but one.

"Hybrid?" Nathaniel roared, briefly rearing on his hind legs before crashing down on the ground again, anger beginning to rise. He bunched his haunches together in an attempt to largen himself, jutting forward just inches from Messiah's face. "Hybrid was my father," he snarled, more angered that Messiah had sullied his father's name with his lips than he had been at the insults he'd slung at him. "Yeh don' get t' say his name!"

His almost irrational anger flummoxed within him - despite an urge to bite the pest, he wouldn't allow himself to prove him right, and even stronger, wouldn't allow himself to harm another Infernian, no matter how obnoxious and unworthy he was. "Hybrid was more Inferni an' more warrior than yeh'll ever be," he hissed, tail held high and teeth bared. The image of his father had never left his mind - his motivation to fight to protect his Clan, his inspiration to live. He wouldn't let this coyote take that from him.

242 words

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Messiah attempted to fling himself backwards as the other bellowed anger and stamped the ground like a dangerous stallion. His tail tucked quickly beneath him even as his face contorted in a grimace that was part fear, part -- a large part, he hoped -- resilient anger. It wilted further when the other puffed up before him, a giant with his damn wolf blood. His attempt to growl was pathetic, trembling, and he did scramble backwards with claws dug into the dirt. He didn't know that Hybrid Holocaust was this mutt's father. How could they share such noble blood? His tongue lashed in disgust and appeasement both, an attempt to convince the other he wasn't worth harming -- though he became a little more determined that the other wouldn't hurt him.


It was this -- not shame, not upset or fear -- that made him decide to spare Nate, of course. Shaking and small, he growled again. Yeah, well, you're a wolf and wolves all sin sometime. Nobody likes you, I'm not the only one who's waiting for you to hurt us! he spat, hatred welling in him. More than proving him wrong -- Messiah had the urge to hurt him, deep down. He'd a puny body and more ferocity than skill -- but he had his words, his truths.


With a last, sullen glare -- Messiah fled in a shaky scamper.



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