Desperation reeks of failure
[p. Skoll]
#1
[html]
We’re the only ones who know

His sins lay bare upon the world and his family recoiled from him for it. He was not surprised, but he was already a heartbroken man. What was more pain on top of what he was already suffering? It was just more water to a jar already overflowing. Silvano bore their anger, their disgust at the former King. He knew that it would be this way when Kalypso came to him apologizing for the information she would reveal.


He shook his head. She was young and ambitious, and reckless. Just as he had told Abigail. She chose poorly the time to reveal their relationship to the world. It was poorly done but it was something she would move on from. Likely. It was no longer his problem. It was a relief, really.


Silvano had not his weapon when he went to the training ring. With no real conflict, it seemed like people were slightly less frequently coming to it, or he had simply found an off hour. He ran his hands over the busted up wooden dummies that served as practice targets. His fingers traced over the nicks and dents caused by weapons.


His brows furrowed a moment as he stared at the dummy, then at his hand. What had he been doing there? He was struggling to remember why he had come to the training grounds.


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[html]<div class="silvsig2">
  <div class="title">SILVANO SADIRA</div>
<span style="font-family:'Amatic SC', serif;">Now, I've learned it's better living in the moment. Enjoy youth, cause it doesn't last.</span><br>
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#2
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Skoll thought much about all that had transpired, all that had been said and revealed and decided, but in the end he did not blaze about the Court in rebellion. He was sullen, in the petty way he was often sullen, but he was resigned, too -- long ago he'd learned that he would not get his way and he could not abandon his pack for it. Worse things had, of course, happened. Worse leaders had reigned. Their nightmare was over, and now they were left in some unsettled post-dream state.

Perhaps if he had not had Galilee it would have been more difficult to adapt. The girl seemed to think the world of Kalypso. And his rank had not changed; he had not been struck from his position. The new Queen would have to face the Haskel some day, but he did not approach her yet in light of all that had happened. It did not feel right to break this new structure while everyone was still recovering from wounds physical and emotional.

He walked on two legs to the training grounds he had not visited in some days, running his hand through his hair, his eye unfocused. Beating up the training dummies would give him some outlet for his tangled thoughts.

When he spotted Silvano, Skoll wrinkled his muzzle and his eye hardened... but the wrinkles jumped to his brow, instead, as he noticed the lost look on the former king's face. He called Silvano's name in a sharp, deep bark, but as he approached the old soldier there was little direct challenge in his posture -- just that vague broodiness.

He had a lot to say to the Ancien and no idea where to start.




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[html]<center><img src="http://soulsrpg.com/images/icons/cdm.gif"/><br/><span style="font-size: 14px; text-transform: uppercase; letter-spacing: 1px; text-shadow: #ffffff 0px 1px 0;" class="cdm"><span style="color:#daa520;">TOP OF THE WORLD, BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN</span><br/><span style="color:#7a5f48;">THEY BUILT YOU UP AND BROKE YOU DOWN AGAIN</span><br/><span style="color:#191970;">SO NOW YOU HOPE TO BEAT THE SURF IN</span></span></center>[/html]
#3
[html]
We’re the only ones who know

Silvano stared at his hand, almost feveriously as he struggled to recall the feelings that drew him to the training grounds. He clenched that fist, then sighed, unable to really remember. It was happening lately, that slow fog of forgetfulness. It had been happening while he had been imprisoned, but he had taken it as a sign of the encroaching madness of solitude. He had been very lucid when the nightmares had unfolded, but now that quiet was taking over again, he found his mind was no longer willingly to cope with it as well as it had once before.


He was almost eight years old.


Suddenly a golden figure approached and the Ancien visibly started at him. He twitched, hand to his chest a moment before he clamped his mouth shut. What was he going to say to Skoll? That he was a terrible, terrible man? Because it was very clear to him that quite a few people in the Court thought that of him. He was no longer their stoic father, a kindly man, but a man who had hurt their mother and brought disaster to their lives. He was merely acceptable, tolerable.


Skoll said nothing, and blinked at him. Silvano's lips tightened. "Just say what you need to say, Skoll. The elderly don't have much time to spare," he added sadly, though he did not smile at all.


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[html]<div class="silvsig2">
  <div class="title">SILVANO SADIRA</div>
<span style="font-family:'Amatic SC', serif;">Now, I've learned it's better living in the moment. Enjoy youth, cause it doesn't last.</span><br>
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#4
[html]

He cares, okay.



The tall man flinched, the man who'd punched him in the face the last time he'd startled him -- but now he only grasped at his chest and stared back. Impatience and distress flickered in Skoll's eye: clear displeasure at seeing Silvano like this, already weak, and from his words apparently already given up.

He thought of how his own father had wasted away after Ayita died. He growled.

Don't fuckin' say that, the Sénéchal said -- commanded, as he stepped closer to his friend with ears and tail erect and his scowl dark. He outranked Silvano now, didn't he? Did that redhaired bitch pressure you into this, telling you everything Mistral told you? he asked, hoping to spark something in Silv; after all, he would have decked anyone who described his own daughter like that. Or did you step aside and let it all happen?

He bared his teeth and flexed his hands, claws glinting. You're weak -- you should be ashamed -- for a number of reasons.

It took a lot to force the words out, seeing Silvano's sad face gazing back at him. Skoll Haskel was a hell of a bully, but he found little joy on picking on the miserable and the lost. He wanted his friend to fight -- fight, fight, hit me like you have before.




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#5
[html]
We’re the only ones who know

Silvano was not surprised at the man’s reaction. Always a creature of emotion, he had honestly expected such a speech from Skoll. He almost smiled in amusement at his predictable volatility, but he felt too worn to even manage such a movement of his facial muscles.

His brows furrowed as the man denounced his bastard daughter, now Queen with something that could not be described as delicate. Skoll did no pull punches, but it was better to see the golden prince in an angry furor than in tearful silence. It was a departure from how they were all feeling before the execution. Perhaps, he ought to be happy about that.

At any time before, he would have acted as Skoll expected, to lash out. But what was the point? He had one functioning hand, the other aching with the cold even when covered with a wrap of cloth. Silvano was feeling age speeding up, no longer crawling toward him, but a runaway train ready to strike. It was not just losing Shiloh. It was everything.

Silvano sighed heavily as he rested his good hand on the dummy. ”You’re not wrong. I am weak, but I am also getting old. The two go hand in hand, it seems.” He flexed his remaining fingers, feeling the stiffness in the joints. He splayed his fingers out. ”Did you want me to hit you? Like we always did whenever you got mouthy?” Silvano lowered it, smiling sadly at him. ”I’m not going to. But you can hit me if that’ll make you feel better.” He laughed, a little darkly.

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[html]<div class="silvsig2">
  <div class="title">SILVANO SADIRA</div>
<span style="font-family:'Amatic SC', serif;">Now, I've learned it's better living in the moment. Enjoy youth, cause it doesn't last.</span><br>
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#6
[html]

powerplay approved bc gen says he "deserves it" :I



Silvano droned on about his weakness and his age as he flexed the fingers of his remaining hand, a weary and sad smile on his greying face. He wasn't going to hit Skoll, wasn't going to show a spark of life, and it angered the blond. It upset him. He thought of his father again, wasted away, useless.

You can hit me if that'll make you feel better.

Skoll glared at him, balling his hand into a fist. He was silent for a few moments, and then he growled and threw a punch.

The full force was not behind the punch, and the place he hit would not shatter. It offered a satisfying thump of flesh on flesh, and he knew it would bruise even if it didn't knock Silvano off his feet. The big werewolf continued to growl, shaking his hand out, and was frustrated to find something like tears springing to his eye.

That's for Shiloh. He drew his hand back again, but this time when it connected with Silvano it was open-handed, grabbing for his arm. He shook the limb, his expression contorted with emotion, unable to articulate what he was feeling. You -- you you you -- merde, je ne sais même pas quoi te dire!

He released Silvano at last and shook his head, his tousled hair falling into his face. We still need you, man. I just -- I want you to feel like shit because yeah, you did an awful thing, but you need to get it over with. Your kids need you, I need you. His eye glinted, and he shifted his weight, uncomfortably vulnerable. Kalypso might be a good ruler but not if she doesn't have you to give her advice so she doesn't end up like -- like Mistral, or me. He grit his teeth at the reminder, then scoffed, half-laughed because it was an easy response to stress. I guess you were a good leader because you pulled all your impulsive shit in the bedroom.





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#7
[html]
We’re the only ones who know

Skoll came at him, as the former King figured he would have. Not that he moved out of the way or attempted to stop the attack. The man connected with his chest, which definitely burned and stung from the impact, but it was not enough to knock him to the ground. He took some reactive steps backward and pressed a hand to the spot. It was not a truly devastating blow, but the man felt it keenly. It would be bruised and tender, certainly, by nightfall.

Shiloh. It was for her. The suffering he endured for the suffering he would have inevitably forced her to suffer, too. For the pain his children buried in their hearts, Silvano was willing to bear it all, if only for the fact it felt as though he had less time left to endure it. It did not absolve him of the fact it had happened.

It was hard to imagine that of all the people in the world, Skoll was the one whose moral compass in monogamy was a far stronger straight line north. It was an amusing thought, really.

Ever eloquent, Skoll gave him something that sounded awfully like the speech the former King himself had given the golden man that day at the sea shore. It struck him how odd that was; the tables had turned in an unexpected way. Yet, it did not hit a chord remotely as well as it had been struck for Skoll. His children were many and their support system was far better defined than Galilee’s had been, though she would have been welcomed by the Stormbringer-Sadira brood without second thought.

”We are opposites, aren’t we?” he asked with a laugh, fingers rubbing at the spot where Skoll’s fist had landed. ”In so many respects. You didn’t stray from Aureyla, but you are impulsive with violence. I am hesitant with violence, and yet I strayed from each of my mates. You have a singular daughter, and I have a brood. It’s odd,” he said with a thoughtful, if somewhat distant voice. He did not address the last facet, that Skoll had stirred himself for his child, while Silvano struggled to stir himself for his massive family and the pack that became his home.

A moment passed by, his brow furrowed, and he turned to Skoll with concern. ”You didn’t stray, right?” Who on earth would he have strayed with, even?

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[html]<div class="silvsig2">
  <div class="title">SILVANO SADIRA</div>
<span style="font-family:'Amatic SC', serif;">Now, I've learned it's better living in the moment. Enjoy youth, cause it doesn't last.</span><br>
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#8
[html]




Silvano laughed and pointed out their differences: two tall emerald-eyed men who could not be kings, foils to the other. His joke fell flat to Skoll, who snorted without mirth and watched the man with the same judgment.

His question, though, drove him to speak. Never, he growled. And I was never tempted in the first place. He shook his head and asked, his voice threatening to break, What woman would have been enough for you? Perhaps Giselle had been too soft, and Shiloh too distant once upon a time. What had the man seen in Mara? Lust and companionship, or would he have ever made a wife of her too? Were there others besides that: brief nights shared in the wild?

He fell silent. Contemplative. A fang found his lip, then he shook his head. Tangles of hair fell back from his face and he coughed a mirthless laugh. Succession and illegitimate children -- the cause of all our Kingdom's problems.

Then, worryingly, the laughter did not stop.

Your children, even me -- the children of but one King. You without a royal bone in your body. Maybe Mistral was the most rightful heir if we measure this in drops of blood. Do you know what she told me?




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#9
[html]
We’re the only ones who know

Sadness overcame him in the face of Skoll's continuous anger. For some reason, there was so much pain in the man's voice and he likely thought of his own wife, gone from the lands on a new adventure of her own that did not include her husband and the father of their daughter. "I have only ever had three women in my life." It was a soft fact, one that he doubted Skoll would have believed. But it was true; there had only ever been the three. Things came in threes, in some kind of mythos, or perhaps it was just the way that the dice rolled for the once King.

He did not like the laughter that echoed from the man, knowing that he was likely at a breaking point. He wondered what on earth the woman had said that amused him so, for the Ancien was by no means amused by any of it. Mistral had had some right to the throne that her grandfather long before abandoned, and even Skoll had right to it, for all that he never ended up with it. But it was not how the Court operated, though it seemed to operate now.

Silvano chose to hear him out, for all the nonsense it probably was. "What did Mistral tell you? That you ought to join her on the Throne and be a King? That you should have taken the throne?" He shook his head, sighing as though tired. But he was tired. He was very tired and he wondered how early was too early for an old man to sleep. It was a weary-to-the-bone kind of tired, where the soul was so barely contained. Slowly, it was slipping. He could feel it. He wondered if Skoll could notice it.

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[html]<div class="silvsig2">
  <div class="title">SILVANO SADIRA</div>
<span style="font-family:'Amatic SC', serif;">Now, I've learned it's better living in the moment. Enjoy youth, cause it doesn't last.</span><br>
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#10
[html]



Skoll ended his chuckles with a flat ha! when Silvano prompted him to explain. He doubted that Mistral would allow anyone to share her throne, let alone admit that another had right to it at all. Not that I don't wonder what this mess would be like with me in charge of it. It would certainly still be a mess, just a different sort all together.

He reached out to the nearby dummy and braced his hand on it. She said she has royal blood through both her parents. Her mom the Trouillefou and her dad -- His brows furrowed, and it was clear that the terrible cosmic joke he'd found funny enough to guffaw at moments before was very suddenly no longer funny to him in its reality. Speaking the words aloud took some strength, though when he got them out he was smiling darkly, his green eye burning with something of his old self-loathing.

Mistral was my niece. She's a Haskel.





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#11
[html]
We’re the only ones who know

Silvano shook his head, unable to completely process the facts presented. How could Mistral be a Haskel? Who gave her that royal blood? Surely not Vigilante, surely not. Niece. There were few options for who could have sired the woman, then. It had to be one of Skoll’s brothers, but which? Skoll had three brothers, any one of whom could have sired a bastard quietly. Did it matter? No, she was still a blood relative and they had executed her. But that only made it doubly worse, honestly.

”Skoll..,” he said with great pity. The whole debacle felt far removed from him, now that the throne was no longer his and the responsibilities were removed from his shoulders. ”I’m sorry. But she was perhaps a blood relative, but she was not someone we could trust with the Court. Not with… With all she had done,” he added bitterly, swallowing the bile of grief and anger. He lost Shiloh to the woman’s rage, lost his wife, his dignity, and all that mattered to him.

”She took everything from me, and I cannot forgive her, even if she had the misfortune of being your niece.” Blood meant nothing in the end, it seemed. For all that she was connected to his friend it did not redeem her in the former King’s eyes. ”I am sorry for what this has put you and Galilee through. I apologize, my friend,” he added softly, unsmiling, seeming for all the world an old man with all the exhaustion of his years catching up to him.

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[html]<div class="silvsig2">
  <div class="title">SILVANO SADIRA</div>
<span style="font-family:'Amatic SC', serif;">Now, I've learned it's better living in the moment. Enjoy youth, cause it doesn't last.</span><br>
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[/html]
#12
[html]

;___;



Silvano expressed sympathy, but as he apologetically went on, Skoll shook his head in reassurance. He did not expect anyone to forgive her; he would not, did not. The path God set her on might have been forked, but she had chosen one with a grim end. Shiloh had been Skoll's friend, too, and he had taken her murder personally in addition to outrage at the senseless killing of a mother, a shining light in their pack.

I don't mourn for her, Skoll said, and frowned. I just... He contemplated in silence for a moment. If I mourn it's for what could have been. It doesn't justify her actions, but she came to us an orphan fed on lies. If I had known who she was -- if her father had known -- do you think it could have made a difference? He looked up at Silvano as if seeking an answer from the former King. Raised here, a Haskel or Catori or whatever, might she have turned out normal?

He glanced away and ran his thumb claw over a dummy's shoulder. Honestly, I worry about her kids too. We should have kept them, but I don't think Linden would have let us without a fight. I can only imagine what he'll tell them, if we'll have two princes come for the throne in a few years.

In the end, Silvano apologized quietly. A giant weathered and bowed under the weight of his life, his sins, his losses -- he seemed so small.

Skoll looked at him, and his face twisted, his ears flattening back. I'm sorry about Shiloh, he murmured. But this isn't your fault. He swallowed, then approached the Ancien and reached out for him again, this time his hand falling on an arm gently. Are you going to be okay? he asked, voice uncharacteristically careful. Even after all... all this, I don't want you to stop fighting or being.

What could he say to him? One of his only friends in the Court, a man who brought him from the brink more than once, not quite a father figure but more than nothing.

I love you, man, Skoll said, brow pinching. In spite of all the shit I give you, I'm here for you.




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#13
[html]
We’re the only ones who know

He did not know. He had no answers. What-ifs were always plentiful in life for hindsight was always 20/20. He did not know if Mistral would have been a happier person, welcomed among the Court and her family as a child of rulers. He did not know if she would have grown into a successful leader, like Abigail had. They would have been in a different place if things had turned out in another way. He did not doubt that she was a product of her upbringing.

But such assumptions, such guesses were dangerous. More importantly, the former King was beyond them now.

”I don’t know. I’d like to think that she would have, but no one will ever know for certain. It’s far too late to think about it.” It would only serve to bring guilt. How would they have known? Mistral certainly did not tell them in her youth, if she even knew then. But they had all failed. Mistral, Skoll, his parents, Mistral’s parents, everyone. Silvano had failed. They had all failed her and the Court.

Skoll reached out to him, moving forward, and the man barely flinched at the touch, delicate though it was. He wanted the man to be okay, which only made Silvano feel more tired than ever before. He had fought to get to that point in life, and now it seemed like things were collapsing around his ears while he accepted them with what dignity remained in him.

”Thank you for the concern. It means quite a lot to me, truly.” He gave no indication that he would actually be alright, though. He could feel it all ebbing, like the remains of sea ice being lapped away, a last pile of snow under the early spring sunshine. He was becoming a relic of an age gone by and he was not needed, not really, any more.

”Just look out for everyone, alright? We have some troublemakers in the making, I’m sure.” His daughter was one. He had a daughter, right? Right, yes, he did.

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  <div class="title">SILVANO SADIRA</div>
<span style="font-family:'Amatic SC', serif;">Now, I've learned it's better living in the moment. Enjoy youth, cause it doesn't last.</span><br>
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