there's a million things I haven't done but just you wait...
#1
It had taken some convincing to get a meeting with the Brotherhood so early after waking up, but Luca had pressed the importance to Aldora. This was no time for games, no time for pleasantries, it was time for action! Blood. The meeting had not gone as well as he had hoped, with some of the members pushing back against him. He wasn’t sure if he could trust them all. Did they not understand that Casa was under attack!? Thankfully, Fenris had granted him an obedient son who seemed to understand why Luca had proposed these changes, and so Luca had rewarded him in turn. He would need a team close to him to keep Casa safe.

Despite calls from the Brotherhood members to think about the changes and not act rashly, the Lune marched his way to the Great Hall, his body shaking as it ached. He could not rest, not now.  Blue eyes? With Aldora and Cedric by his side he called for the pack. His howl was weak, and his muzzle stung where Morty had stitched up his lip. The Lune was not in good physical health. His naked body was wrapped in bandages, one of his eyes was swollen red, and fresh stitching could be seen on his face where he had taken quite a beating. His ears poked through the top of the wrapping on his head. He needed rest.

Voices. The first Cavaliers began to arrive, their eyes a mix of concern, worry, fear, and curiosity, but Luca did not search their eyes for those emotions.  Voices. His ears flicked as he tried to soak in the reactions of all.  Steadily he observed those that gathered. Was someone here responsible?  Voices. Familiar. How? He didn’t remember. His head hurt. Someone wanted him dead. Someone wanted death to the weak.  Someone. Familiar. He closed his eyes, pressing his eyelids together firmly and frowning his brows and he tried to focus.  Danger. They were in danger and he needed to focus. Still….could someone in Casa be responsible…. Eyes.  Blue. Yellow...Blue?

As stragglers arrived he began to speak. His voice coming through as thin and weak as he swallowed. For days he had not eaten, for days the only water he had was what Morty had provided alongside whatever concoctions she had pushed down his throat. Days. It had been days.  Sleep. Nausea. Sleep….focus. Focus! “Cavaliers, I call you here because we are all in danger. A few days ago….”  Days. “A few days ago I was attacked. I have talked to the Brotherhood and shared that I do not remember what happened. I am told I was found on the outskirts of the border. We must act now, together, to protect the pack.”

His eyes pressed together and he staggered before finding his balance again. “It has been a hard year for Casa with a snowstorm the worst we have seen in years, quakes shaking the earth and remolding the soil, the return of the strange flowers, and more recently the number of dead fish sweeping ashore. I have already put into place two rules for your protection: a ban on fishing, and a ban on travel north of the mountain. Today, I ask you to accept that we must do more to keep our next generation safe from those who threaten us.”  Eyes. He searched for the eyes but his memory was so foggy.  Yellow? Blue? Blue. They were blue.

“New rules are being put in place. Rule 1: All members must be inside the Fort by the time the sun sets. This means any families living outside of the Fort must find a new place to sleep. I will be offering the guest rooms and the unoccupied council rooms upstairs. Rule 2: You may not leave the Fort without another adult present. We must watch each others backs and be vigilant. Rule 3: There were be no group gatherings of four or more with those outside of your family without a Brotherhood member present. We do not know where the threat is coming from and unfortunately, that means there may be those among us who are responsible for…..for my injuries and the blood message. A failure to abide by these rules will result in a loss of privileges to leave the Fort for now.”  Dark pelt. Dark…..Hushhowls?

He could see their eyes. Eyes. Judging him for the decisions he made, and he knew that he did not have full support. More. Softer. It had to happen. Danger. His heart raced in his chest. They were turning on him, they had traitors among them. Who could he trust? Focus. “I know this is a big thing to ask, but I promise you, my friends, that this is temporary. We must keep each other safe. Think of your family, of the new pups we care for now. We can not risk any more lives. I have vowed to protect you and if we work together we can identify and eradicate this threat.”

Keep control, keep control. Traitors. Familiar. “To lead up this initiative I would like to announce some happy news.” Happy. Safe. Yes, this was good, they would all agree. “I will need to rest in the upcoming days, so I have promoted my son, Cedric Stryder, to the position of War Lord to help lead the way in keeping Casa safe. If you have any concerns for your safety, or you discover any information about those not following the rules, please be sure to speak to Cedric. He will serve us well.”


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[WC: 900+ ] | OOC: Dated on July 10th evening. Please allow Cedric to post first. Set a few hours after this thread.


#2
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OOC -Everyone is free to reply now with their reactions! Shy

Through this magnifying glass, I see a thousand finger prints on the surfaces of who I am.



Cedric didn't deserve to feel nauseous right now. He wasn't the one who had been beaten bloody. But looking at the condition of his father, the thought of almost losing someone else close to him without a chance to stop it, it all made Cedric want to be sick. He kept failing, over and over and over and it was becoming such a tight circle of pressure that at times the Stryder found himself struggling for a chance to breathe. Luca had survived, a small blessing from Fenris, but Cedric could see the weakness in his father from the way he stood and the distant look to his eyes. Others looked to their Lune with doubt, wondering if he should even be up right now, but Cedric had a deep pride for Luca. Proud of a man who put the safety of his pack over his own health and well-being, a man Cedric could call his father.


Cedric's frustrations had been burning throughout the morning meeting. Anyone looking at the young man could see how he seethed at the thought of failing once again to protect his pack. The moment Luca explained the plan, and the others pushed back, Cedric had all but snarled. He found it baffling that others didn't seem to understand just how serious this all was. Their reluctance to take measures to keep Casa safe sounded to Cedric like claims of empathy, as if they didn't care how many of their friends and family were going to die or disappear. Lives were on the line, something had to be done about it. And so Cedric had taken initiative, just like when he'd made the request to build towers to boost the pack's security, he also offered his father his full support in ensuring Casa followed the new rules.


Frustration and shame pushed Cedric to action. But the moment the Lune turned to him and granted Cedric the position of War Lord, the boy's resolve faltered. He didn't speak out after that, only to give his father a small nod, and had continued to hold his tongue as they waited for the pack to gather. In that time, Cedric didn't even know what to say, knowing full well that he would have to speak out to the pack to secure his position. He knew the pack would be unhappy, that those amongst them who enjoyed freedom above all else would feel attacked by the new rules. Not everyone would see the danger they were in, the threats they all faced. But they would all look to Cedric to keep the peace. Now more than ever.


Letting his father speak, Cedric's golden eyes observed the crowds, watching faces morph in concern, understanding, fear, doubt. A rainbow of emotions brewing together in a dangerous concoction. As the Lune's announcements ended, he announced to them all their new War Lord, motioning to Cedric to make his move.


The white Stryder stepped forward, the second Stryder to take the title of War Lord, the third in a line that had been proven warriors of Casa. With a voice trained in confidence, he spoke. "The rules our Lune has explained will be in effect immediately. I will personally meet with anyone who has any questions, as well as those who live outside of the Fort to aid in moving them into the Fort comfortably. If any of you wish to speak to me about anything that might be troubling you, please seek me out. My position now is keep everyone safe, and I will do all in my power to do so."


Cedric's stomach twisted, but his expression didn't falter. This wasn't the time to doubt himself, to remind himself of all of his failures leading up to this point. "I understand how times are troubling right now, how with these attacks and these threats might make Casa seem weak. But I refuse to believe that. I know all of you are strong, I have believed in the strength of Cavaliers for as long as I've lived. Our strength comes from our bond, so let us all prove that now by coming together to defend against these threats."



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Cedric Stryder

A Knight Carries His Shield 
For The Sake Of The Entire Line
#3
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With all of the current happenings, the elder was not surprised that there was a call to a meeting and having to walk from the Wolfe-Denahli camp meant he had arrived after most everyone else. Temo stayed to the back of the group and kept to the shadows with his back against the wall. His staff contained in it's holster on the back of his tool belt/bandolier lightly scraping against the wall at his back.

These were troubling times and the new rules were not of any surprise to the aged wolfdog. Like many others in the room, he was not thrilled with having to move and hole up inside the walls, however, he did understand why the rules were put in place. His thoughts quickly moved on to the logistics of getting everyone and their stuff moved. Sorting out what they need to bring the first trip from the stuff they can go back and retrieve later the next day. Then load it all into the wagons and hitch up the horses. At least this was only temporary, but for how long he did not know.

With all hands on deck, it should go relatively smoothly and quickly, but even then with how late in the day it already was, he could not see them getting into the fort by sunset but at least they will have about another hour of diminishing light to work in. And once in the fort, they can camp out under the stars As soon as the meeting was over, he headed back to camp, mind racing.
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+264 | ooc
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#4
The pack’s presence had been called for in the Great Hall and Sian knew she would dutifully obey. Her paws felt heavy as she made her way there – silent, thoughtful. And worried. The relief of returning to Casa had been short-lived for Sian as information had emerged about various catastrophic events that had befallen the Cavaliers. She wasn’t prone to superstition – and she was hardly in charge of natural events – but the young woman questioned, sometimes, whether her return would be a good thing. For Sian it was undoubtedly a good thing – but for the pack…?

Sian tried to rid her mind of the worry that she might somehow be a bad omen as she dragged her feet toward the great room. She found herself looking down, avoiding eye contact, but open realising this her head jerked up, chin thrust out. Sian was a better actress these days and her body language suggested unwavering attention to what was about to come.

Sian saw the great effort it seemed to take Luca to make his way to the front of the gathering. She winced, her tongue running anxiously over her dark lips, but she remained where she was, somewhere in the midst of the crowd of Cavaliers. Nobody needed to know that she was frozen there; she might as well have been a statue.

The hall was hushed. Sian’s eyes remained trained on Casa’s leaders, her ears, for once, pricked forward.

It was only when Luca began to speak that Sian’s gaze strayed. We are all in danger, he said, and Sian felt something plunge from her gut to her feet. She sought out Aldora, wanting to find some sort of reassurance in her cousin’s eyes.

Instead, Sian found herself wondering if Aldora would be next.

The heightened measures to protect the pack saw little outward reaction from the worried listener. Sian shifted her weight from one hip to the other and her ears fell back slightly as she realised that the new rules were simultaneously comforting and cloying. The sensitive wolf was hardly a wild spirit but when the option was taken away it felt different.

Sian hardly knew the boy – man, really – who spoke after Luca, except by name. He looked strong, sounded certain… but Sian was a good enough actress herself to know that things weren’t always as simple as appearances made out. She couldn’t help but smile when Cedric said that they were all strong. Part of Sian wanted to think that couldn’t apply to her – but times had changed. Sian’s outlook was creeping toward the optimistic, despite the restrictions being put in place.

Maybe Lorenzo had sent her back for this: to help.

[458]
[Image: Sian-Chibi-Aug-2020-2.png]
#5
Hearing of Luca's attack had set Veri's heart into her throat the likes of which she hadn't felt for some time. Perhaps since Rumpa had been attacked. She vowed to herself that it would be a different outcome this time, she'd make sure of it. Morty and herself took caring for Luca in shifts once he was admitted into the patient rooms, tending his wounds and making sure he got sufficient water to stay amongst the living.

It was on Morty's shift that he came awake, although Veri didn't learn about this until several hours later when she was summoned to a secret Brotherhood and Council meeting. Seeing Luca awake had given her a rush of happiness, but the message he came with turned out as sour as he could manage. Her ears had immediately dropped back into her mane during the discussions, and she'd been quiet during most of them except when asked what her opinion on the matter might be.

She was honest; it would be a shell-shock to most of the members to have these new rules put in place, especially to those whom lived outside the Fort and were used to having the freedom of coming and going. She reinforced that she agreed it was necessary for now, however she put out her word of caution that the whole pack would chafe under the restrictions if they went on for a long term.

In the end the rules were discussed, finetuned, and finalized, and the meeting dispersed. Not much later, however, and a full pack meeting was called for. Having expected it, Veri hadn't drifted too far from the Courthouse, choosing instead to check her medicinal ledgers in the Cleric Office while waiting. She came down to join the rest of the pack, roving a keen blue gaze across the various members of her pack to see how everyone reacted to the sight of their Lune so heavily banged up. It had been reinforced that whoever had done this could be amongst their own.

Before the announcements began, however, she made her way to the front whre Luca, Aldora, and Cedric stood. She did not join them, this was their meeting to conduct, but she made her presence obvious to any for those who might have questions or concerns....or as a shield for her Lune.

Her ears flicked as it began, barely moving as she continued to watch and listen the audience before her. There were whispers, scowls, but there were a few nods of encouragment, agreement, and these lifted her heart and made her love her pack even more. At their hearts, they knew these conditions were needed to make sure the culprit was caught and didn't have a chance to try again, on Luca or anyone else.

Cedric's announcement was next, and Veri found it difficult to hide the small smile that had crawled over her muzzle. During the meeting, the white Stryder might have been surprised by the promotion to War Lord but the Cleric was not. He was one of their most defense and offense focused Cavaliers that had the young age, the motivation, and the energy to pursue his goal to protect the pack. She'd agreed with it wholeheartedly, and she could see the same amongst most of the pack before her.

Cedric made a speech too, one that steeled her blood and narrowed her eyes, and she let her smile widen further.

Yes, he would be good as their War Lord, of that she was absolutely certain.

WC :: [600]
#6
(+765)
Optime | Fort Kingsbury (Courthouse); evening | Dated: July 10th | cNPC: Dermid

Related to [CdC] The Mad King.
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Rumors had spread around the pack about an attack on their borders; the Lune had been hurt enough to make him disappear from the public eye, and the pack’s overgrown cat—called a tiger—Ovidiu, had been killed. First the message made in blood in the middle of a stormy night? Then an attack on their leader? What was going on? Was it a coincidence? Had the Syndicate returned once again?

Raghnall had heard many things around the Fort, though, not all of them held any significance to him. He didn’t know who the Syndicate were, for example, though, could judge from their referencing that they were an old enemy of Casa di Cavalieri. Whatever speculations or rumors were to be had though were put on pause when a weak howl from the Lune demanded the pack’s presence before him.

The Scotsmen had been gearing up for a patrol on their horses when the summons had been made. Obediently, they’d obeyed, arriving amongst the throng of other Cavaliers in the Great Hall of the Courthouse. The Officer and Cadet took up a spot along the edge of the crowd, both wearing their kilts, armor, and weaponry. Raghnall’s marigold eyes took in the sight of their Lune as they waited.

The Lune that stood before the growing crowd was a far cry from the wolf Raghnall had met when they had first arrived in the spring. Bandages covered various parts of him, and stitching could be seen holding fresh wounds closed where the bandages could not cover. Raghnall had seen his fair share of Luperci after a fight, but where his Clansmen might have looked battered-but-victorious after one of their many skirmishes, the pale-furred Lune was anything but. He was…beaten.

When the pack had rallied, the Lune began his speech, and his voice just as frail and haggard as he looked. He swayed as he spoke, as if he had forced himself to stand before his pack, to give the appearance of strength. With the Lune’s eyes darting rapidly around the room though, lingering here, pausing there…Raghnall’s brows furrowed. Was the Lune…searching for something?

Luca confirmed the rumors of his attack and its proximity to their borders, went further to summarize the chaotic events that had happened since the winter months. Nothing could have prepared Raghnall for the new rules decreed by the Cavalier leader. His lips formed into a thin line.

From a leader standpoint, he could see the reasoning behind the first two. With the bold declaration written in blood and the border attack, any good alpha would have wanted to ensure the safety of his pack from an unknown danger. Not going out at night, not going out alone, those made sense.

The third though? Banning groups of Cavaliers that weren’t blood-related?

Raghnall crossed his arms, a low, rumbling growl vibrating softly in his chest.

“This is asinine,” he grumbled under his breath so that only his cousin could hear. Beside him, Dermid let out a huff in agreement.

The Lune had basically accused his own pack of attacking him and leaving the message on the Courthouse wall. The fool was afraid, and didn’t know where to look. So, instead, he had jumped to boldly insinuating it had been one of his own without a scrap of evidence to explain his reasoning.

Luca must have read the reactions, the opinions, of his pack to his new rules, as he tried to rationalize with them, to persuade them into thinking it was for their own good. Raghnall scoffed. There was nothing in the third ruling that would protect anyone. Why did having a Brotherhood member present make any difference with congregating in large numbers?

Something wasn’t right…

Thankfully, there was one good bit of news to the pack meeting. The Lionheart, Cedric, had been promoted to be the pack’s Warlord. It was only with this announcement that Raghnall’s expression shifted back into its usual, neutral look. He offered a single nod, approving the promotion. Cedric had proven himself in the Dark Knight’s eyes. The young male saw the need to protect his pack, had the forethought and drive to keep his fellow packmates safe. It was a quality that Raghnall would have sought after amongst his Clansmen back home. And, where the Lune’s words might have been damning, the boy’s was uplifting, encouraging.

With a rumbling sigh, Raghnall looked to his fellow Cavaliers, wondering how they might take to the new rules.

Raghnall Thorburn
#7
The fiery pelted Damaichu wasn’t happy. He’d heard the call and had, of course, answered it, but clearly he was later to the game than he’d have liked. Luca seemed a gibbering wreck, definitely a far cry from the uncle Eros remembered helping him get out of New Dawn. There were yet more threats to the pack, which seemed to attract them like a rotten corpse attracted flies Of course, when the announcements came, Eros was even less pleased. He wasn’t used to having his freedoms curtailed and these regulations were definitely an imposition. As he listened his fingers rolled him one of Eros’s special cigarettes, they certainly helped to take the edge off, but Eros felt his heart beat a little quicker at the feeling of being in a trap.

He glanced over and saw the other fiery pelted flash which always indicated his daughter. The two had come to a quiet acceptance, but neither spoke a great deal. She had become a capable adult without any guidance from him, which seemed to confirm Eros’s own thoughts that he’d been surplus in his own daughter’s upbringing. His attention was drawn back to the front as Cedirc moved forwards and began to speak. Eros let the speech wash over him, he was too busy thinking about Casa. Cedric was the typical Knight, almost to a cliché and as he spoke, Eros thought of the ideals, of truth and justice that his pack fought for, and the characture distorted and exaggerated in his head, until he was not able to hold back a snort of amusement, which he turned into a choking cough and a quiet string of creative curses.
#8
434 Words

A howl echoed throughout the fort, though this one was rather weak. Wally left his stitching stuff back in his room and went outside to see what was happening, and maybe get some insight of what happened to Luca. The most he knew was Luca got attacked in the woods with Ovidiu and was almost killed, though the tiger wasn't as lucky. He hadn't seen the condition of either and hoped the Lune was doing well enough.

As he arrived, Wally couldn't say he was particularly shocked to see the Lune's state, taking solace that he finally woke up. Luca really looked like he went through hell, his face disfigured and the worst of it probably hidden under his bandages. At least it seemed likely he'll make a full recovery and was standing, if only barely. How long has he been awake?

News about new rules piqued Wally's interest, and the first two didn't get much of a reaction from the shepherd dog. Keeping everyone together in the fort and paired up definitely made sense; the latter was used similarly in his old pack and ended up saving his life. However, the third made him feel uneasy. He wondered what was the reason for this mistrust, and then he mentioned the word traitor.

Wally's eyes shifted around as some concern crept into his face. What brought this up, and who could be the traitor? What would make the Lune say such a thing? A part of him felt some nervousness flow in, wondering if he was suspected. After all, that threat was scrawled out during the same week he arrived. The rule itself didn't seem to solve anything; did he think there were more than three? Even if there were, it wasn't hard for a group to plan around it, not to mention such a plan was useless if only one of them was the brains or the leader was outside of the walls. The only thing it did was to drum up some more paranoia.

In some lighter news, Cedric was promoted, and while Wally didn't particularly know how prestigious the position was, it was still something positive during these times. It wasn't enough to shake off the bad feeling the new rules imposed, and Wally had a sinking feeling Casa may not have been a good choice after all. Still, he was here and got along with some of his new packmembers, so maybe this feeling was misplaced. Hopefully this would blow over in a month or two, or until the culprit was captured. That would be a big relief for everyone.
#9
WC: 643

Something was wrong.

The Lune was unsteady in every sense of the word, rocking back and forth as he addressed the crowd with dull, darting eyes. Every word that left his mouth, spilling out like bile between sharp and dangerous teeth, terrified Nayavota. This wasn’t the man who’d trained with her when she was a child, or reassured her that he’d been worried about his First Blood, too. This wasn’t the leader who’d assigned her sons their mentors and helped the pack weather a year of natural disasters. Hell, this wasn’t even the same leader who’d demoted her two moons ago.

Whoever was standing in the Great Hall, battered and bruised by an unknown assailant, was little more than a stranger wearing Luca’s skin.

Pressing a hand to her mouth, teeth clenched beneath tight lips, Nayavota tried to justify the Lune’s new rules. If they all slept in the fort, and didn’t leave its walls alone… They could protect each other better, couldn’t they? That made sense—of course that made sense, even if she didn’t like it—but the last rule…

Like an arrow sailing straight and true, the truth knocked the wind out of Nayavota. Luca was… All Mother, no. Naya bristled and stepped forward, but Honrin pulled her back before she could interrupt Cedric’s speech; white hot anger pounded through her veins and it took all of her self control not to bite him. ”Let me go, the officer hissed, her fury only cooled by Lotai’s large hands enveloping hers.

”Mahn, I’m leaving, Kjin’s already…” The dark boy trailed off and stared at his mahn, mint green eyes as wide as saucers. ”Sorry,” he muttered, squeezing her fingers in his before disappearing back into the crowd. The Great Hall seemed to quiet as she watched him go, Cedric’s voice muffled by the blood pounding in her ears; she was doing this for them.

”How dare you, Luca!” Nayavota yelled, wrenching her arm out of Honrin’s grasp. ”What kind of leader are you, ripping us from our homes like we had anyting to do wit’ dis? Like we didn’t come running to da fort to mourn our family’s oldest friend, da friend who died defending you!” Naya scrubbed a hand through her hair, long and wild like her mama’s, and forced herself to breathe. This was wrong. ”I… All Mudder, I can’t believe dis.”

The officer turned back to look at Honrin, Jacelyn, her parents, the back of Lotai’s head, and considered their options. Could they just… Stay at camp? Put up a fence and hunker down? Take their own guard shifts, patrolling the fort as a second ring of defense? Or would that only make them targets, confirmed traitors, in the eyes of the Lune? The thought made her feel as crazy as Luca sounded, but Nayavota knew better than to ignore her gut. This was all so he could watch them, could spy on them; rule three didn’t make any sense if he wasn’t.

Despite her conviction, something stopped her from accusing the Lune outright. Naya’s jaws hung open for a moment, spit dripping from her canines, before snapping shut. She searched the crowd for strange expressions and slipping masks; she had little doubt that the threat came from inside the Fort, so at least her and Luca agreed on that. Every fiber of Nayavota’s being wanted to be proven wrong, wrong about the traitors in their midst and the Lune’s erratic behavior, but…

Nevermind, that didn’t matter right now. What she was going to do mattered. And right now, Naya was going to find her sons, go back to camp, and hold down her fort—no matter the consequences.


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