[M] The terrible fire of old regret is honey on my tongue
#1

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Specifically, this thread is marked mature because of: Violence.

[+000]
Ooc here

Twice before this feeling had come to her, once upon a time. Truthfully she had thought this now beyond her, even as herself had blossomed into its true welcoming. They had danced together below the stars with only the half moon to shine her illuminating blessing upon their crowns. Much was changed from the day when he had placed the glancing blow of himself into her placid, pallid life; an aerolite to shake loose all of those uneasily resting parts of herself upon his landing.

Disturbed beyond any hope of recovering the woman she had once been. Those rapid waters had quickly let the fallen pieces settle, and accepted the new, shocking, landscape as a fact. Absorbing it as if her old self had never been at all. She was remade, princess of the mountains and forests.

The tender, new moon's bulge in her belly was barely there. Hardly noticeable, except to those who knew what to look for.

Across the sky, a thrilling sun flung herself, basting them in golden rays that all too soon gave way to a plethora of burnt umber and scorching rouge. Night would not be long with its deep midnight swells, breathtaking in its splendor.

Gently did the breeze ruffle her fur, and Lucia lifted her head to it, drawing in full breaths of wildflower scent.

Turning her attentions back to the man that worked so, at this task she had given him, and closely, interestedly, Lucia observed the motions he made, brush in hand, across the coarse, rough paper. The scent of seaweed and salt still drifted from it, reminding her graciously of that day upon the beach.

Much and more had led them to this point, and it had taken numerous attempts for them to reach this satisfaction. What he created spoke volumes to her, as she watched him compose a visual symphony. Drawn in towards it, the Amarok princess could only tilt her head in wonder as he prompted forth from his enigmatic mind.

Maybe he could not, would not, put such a weight to the lines he wrought, but Lucia knew more, knew there was a voice that rendered speech not in words but in something much more intangible.

#2
Ooc here

Bristled hairs on the end of the wooden utensil in his hand stretched and splayed as he pressed them against the paper's textured surface.

The color pooled in wells, grew thinner on peaks, and pulled a long tendril of hue downward. Streaked at the edges, hard lines grew longer with hard angles neatly in rows. There was no masterpiece here, no. Shoulders tensed through his neck as he leaned forward on the surface made for the pale singer's height, his back bent and the coarseness of his tail counterbalancing him from behind. Carefully, he worked to ensure that the brush never pierced the page. His own war within himself for gentleness, patience in something so trivial, and the desire to meet such a small goal in a life that no longer had rails to guide him. Rules did not apply here.

Everything here was upended. In some strange twist of destiny that he could never have foreseen, the beast had the chance to sink into the skin of something more than he had been made to be. Here stood no king, he was simply a man. Disfigured, imperfect, and surly, with a track record so black that they both knew it would never be spoken between them. Yet, she didn't demand it of him. All she ever had expected of him, left unsaid, was just to be a man. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Ropes of heavy muscle pulled his arm to the top of the page, repeating the rigid pattern of shivering lines. Never had his hands needed such softness. Paws had never gripped something so small without destructive intent, whether purposeful or not. If  blacksmiths had hard, rough hands, then his were made of stone before her. Not once did she complain when the coarse hair-tipped tool broke the page, and many instances of the occasion passed. Supplies she'd gathered, wasted through his gauche collision or pressured strokes, had nearly become a stack. Nested neatly in her cottage, his previous attempts were found to be a pile of his short-comings. Ever dutiful, his desires to succeed in her simple wishes, followed the same track as he always had. Achieve the goal.

Shaamah did not question what her purpose was, but she had given him something that stimulated his body and mind. Worked his coordination and perfected his balance as his recovery had reached it's peak. Improvement from this point was not an option.

Time did not care for such things.

As he aged, his drive wore long after his physical body. Deeper into the steely tones, the silvery hairs crept farther and farther from their initial roots. Even in hands and feet the coarse threads grew, painting a wash over features that muddied the edges of once sharp lines. Jowls fell from the weight of his years, turning downward in a permanent scowl as the black flesh of his flew hung in it's crook. Folds of thin skin hid beneath the wiry plush of his throat and the lining of his stomach had long since lost its elasticity. Wrinkles of fur bunched above the black pants he wore to keep the stains of paint from his legs, the image of the fabric littered with so many patches and stitching they hardly looked more cloth than cord.

As the early evening sun colored the sky in it's threat to fall away to the smattering of twinkling sparkles, where a moon watched where they could not yet see it, light from the world reached a nearing end. Her nature had her return to him. To watch the strokes that were meant to be tender as Shaamah's eye grew closer and closer to the page. As if his nearness could reach clarity in where he could not force gentle lines on the fragile surface, but must heed a tenderness that the page fought against to deny him.

He could not make the brush do as he willed, no. It was if he had to ask the tool to do his bidding, with only the faintest of grips and general direction. Sharp angles still sprouted from the brush as straighter lines drew more easily than anything else he could summon from himself. Ocean blue canted her head, her position on the side of his vision no mistake, as something in her found reason to watch on what seemed a fumbled artist. Yet, the massive man had growth insofar as where he had come naught but days before.

Rigid marks may have marred the page, but not a single bullied hole had perforated it's surface.

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[Image: rnGRPkV.png]
#3
[+000]
Ooc here

Though she were a female disposed towards an intrinsic poetic grasp of the world, below this was an earthiness that bowed her gently in the direction of pragmatic expression. A reed swaying gently in a summer's breeze. She knew that the mountainous man would care not for any pretty honeyed words she might speak, and an older, wiser Lucia had learned that actions often whispered louder than the greatest shout.

A teacher though, she remained. The only consequence for failure was a new beginning.

Perhaps it helped, that she asked nothing of him that he could not give. Lucia demanded no feats of strength, no crowns of thorn, no expectations of him to be something more than what he was. The things she had seen, locked away behind her dreaming eyes, had shown her only that what had been done to him in the past had not worked.

Here was no monster. Only a man.

Only the gentlest touch of her shoulder against the pillar of his leg betrayed the startling eagerness within her to witness the ending of his feat of patience. Truly it was a creation of much importance to her.

At the crux of their interaction, time carried on in its endless winding, an unstoppable force. Truly, it did not matter, not to herself, vanity existed only for the young and foolish. Age spoke only of success, a life's thread that continued to coil, endlessly, finite, about the spool.

Pride.

How brilliantly it burst to life deep in her chest, and Lucia did not shutter its appearance, allocated nothing to temper how her body gave way to its tendrils, flooding across her gentle face; Blossoming vibrantly to life within her blue-pool eyes as she darted them too and fro between his painting and his own face, so far above her head. Sedately, the tinged tip of her tail swayed through the air.

It's beautiful, she said without words at all; and love, love that was blinding.

If only they could have experienced this resolute accomplishment together in solitude. It would have been a granted boon for them to share in this success. The first, she felt, of many to come.

Their blissful silence was rent asunder by the harshly raucous calling of Raven. The bird burst from the canopy to their northwest, settling every nerve in her body afire. Blue sought the skies, latching on to her friend swiftly as the inky shadow soared with great speed towards her little cottage. Away faded the remnants of her elation.

<"Strange! Strange!">

Down came the croaking cry, rusted and hollow sounding and chilling her with icy wariness. Someone was coming, intruding upon their remote retirement. She felt, rather than witnessed, Shaamah's tensing besides her too, acting together in their suspicious caution. Raven swooped, darting through the air to tumble to the ground at her paws. Head lowered to touch a curious coal nose to the bundle of dark feather, with no distraction of taking her eyes from the direction black wings had carried him.

Disgustedly, Raven found their feet again, muttering indignantly in the language of birds. Lucia canted her head, raising it now to peer deeply into the summer-burned once-greenery. Shadows moved in the deepness of her mind, a specter awoken with alarm.

Laughter came to them; Sickly and brewing with a mocking penuriousness, it filled the spaces of her lungs with dread iron. Her little bubble of peace, that she had worked so hard to strengthen against the calamity of the world, was disrupted by decay and rot.

The ghost wailed, lost within those recesses of memory.

#4
cNpc Ohja, yNpc Nazar

At the beck of the Raven's call, Lucia's attention had shifted and Shaamah had become static. Silently he stood in his place while the blue of his eye reached toward the bird that the fair woman messed with. Her head lifted. Pressure from his rising tension pushed the brush. It tore through the page that had been saturated from the threads of hair that rested there, wet with pigment. Colored beads rolled  in downward rivers against what was left of the surface and dribbled to the ground below him.

The wooden utensil remained in his hand, gripped as if a weapon, while he finally turned to face the encroaching darkness that consumed the expanse beneath the canopy of mountain trees. Larimar gaze narrowed as Shaamah's free hand swiped at the air for the corvid to silence it's useless noise, but it had not come as swiftly as the chill that ran through him as the menacing cackle that resounded from the shadows.

Snap

At it's center, the brush cracked in his hands.

Warm was the hue of eyes that slipped from beneath the cover of trees, into the light of the fading sun. Cold, was the look within them. Three figures braced his background, a shadow army to a prince who had lost it all.

Deep and rolling was the primal growl that built momentum in the scarred warrior's chest. Shoulders lowered and a step back braced him. His hind leg grazed the surface of the paper he'd punctured and the whole set-up rattled behind him, yet did not fall.

“Shaamah,” Were the words that tailed the dark intentions behind his mirth as hands bedraggled with age rose to pull back the hood away from his crown, “I've been waiting a very, very, long time to see you, again. Did you forget that I'd be visiting? You know I always keep my promises,” Tartar coated teeth slipped from the pale gray of Ohja's maw, the mocha wrinkle of his nose leather crookedly sitting on the edge of his features, ”You haven't been receiving my messages, have you? Do you still give a blind eye to those that rule you?” He chuckled, “And won't you introduce me to your pet?”

Vanilla teeth of the Warrior beside Lucia appeared from beneath marred lips, the growl growing ever constant in his breath as his quiet, guttural response. Saliva pooled in the corners of his mouth as fury took his features.

A trio of tsks slipped from the black cloaked figure, “To be assumed. It's no matter. I've been watching. Waiting. Lucia, was it? How has it been, living with the blaspheming murder that stands beside you? Have the divine abandoned you, as well?” Chilling was his tone as he continued, calmly, “I know all I need to. Knowledge blessed, a gift, from those ethereal that speak to me,” as his hand then waved at his shoulder to beckon those behind him to the fore, “Ah- But where are my manners? We are not simple-minded, feral beasts, unlike some. Meet my family, your family, won't you?”

Shaamah's blood could heat the space around him as his breath grew heavier. Wary was the motion that brought the soldier to step before Lucia's slightest form. The security that this place, this hidden oasis on the mountainside, was burned away in an instant. Reality rushed into this secret place, a place where the workings of this world did not belong, and it rotted in Shaamah's throat. The putrid taste of war found him once again, beyond the realm of dreams, where Lucia could bare witness.

Where she might suffer what she naught once desired to know.

The first to step from the shadows behind him was, initially, a stranger to Shaamah's eye. It was a boy, no more of ten months. Black hair trailed in tendrils from his face, tied back to a length that couldn't be seen. Dark, in pelt, barely dressed in pants tattered to rags. His eyes, however, were a familiar, piercing blue, in a pool of charcoal that consumed his expression. The next that slipped from the shadows embrace, wore a pelt of brown hues with glittering sights of what pigment Shaamah had once wielded himself. Another, a female, honing a tone just like Isaiah's own.

Ohja smiled coldly. He'd gotten the drop on them both, and something in his expression exuded his confidence in this, “I really should not have to give you the names of your own sons. Unless... Have you forgotten about them in your cowardly dereliction, too?”

He should have drown them both when he had the chance. Zetsubou, the cursed thorn that stayed Shaamah's side still, and Kaeli, that bred these cur, be damned to the hell they wrought upon him.

Glaring from beneath his brow, Shaamah only found reason to curse the poison that was his blood further. It wasn't the form of any of the three wretches that spilled from Miwa's tainted loins. No, these boys belonged to Kaeli. Shaamah's entire form lifted at the coat, nape to tail rising in a threat as the loose skin of his throat trembled with thunder. Foam dripped, wetting the earth beneath him as the pieces of the wooden brush tumbled down. Palms opened, broad hands stretching the tendons through his forearm, and the monochrome tail lifted behind him. Everything he had been before, everything he knew he was, stirred to waking.

“You left me for dead,” Nazar's voice shook as he clenched his fists, sky sights looked at their quarry top to bottom. Blue rested a little too long in Shaamah's own. He his head back and to the side to do his best to look down at the larger man. Everything he exuded was to hide the apprehension in his eyes, in his posture, while he stood behind his grandfather, “He saved me. I owe this to him,” Lifting his hands, he crackled his knuckles in his palms.

Shaamah wasn't phased by the boy's little speech. There was nothing in his eye of fatherly compassion or regret, no words he had for a son he didn't care for. Two more bastard men to line the tree of a toxicity that he bored of being reminded of. Nazar's attempts at being noticed for what had happened to him were thwarted, and his brows furrowed, his temper flared in his lifting coat. Let the boy be tempted by his anger. It should make him sloppy, enough. The Warrior had killed Sinner for greater crimes, not limited to her feeble mind and becoming one of Isaiah's pawns, and these boys would suffer the same if they thought that they stood a chance of walking away from this day unscathed.

The soldier wasn't committed to the notion that this wasn't a different situation, however.

A veteran his size, his age, was old and his body was broken in ways he suffered, but could not feel. While Ohja was older, certainly, he'd amassed a small militia this time. Sinner was weak and the band that Isaiah had gathered before were toppled by Sapient, as well. These three younger wolves, they knew a fight. It showed in their bodies, perhaps the brown one's a little less. Had Isaiah's ability to raise them been anything like Shaamah's rearing, there was a true threat amid them all.

Numbers stacked, strategies worked in the back of Shaamah's mind. In no way did the two of them have a chance. Still, Shaamah braced with the rumble in his throat. Isaiah knew his strengths and weaknesses far greater than any ordinary opponent, and Lucia would be a distraction to the soldier for as long as the battle wore on. The two had a very slim chance of making it out alive, and if they were going to survive Isaiah and his band of second-hand children, they'd have to kill him before their age caught up to them.

If he died today, then so be it. Today, he would fight for something. Someone.

Let peace find him before the crows tear him apart.

[+1388]
[Image: rnGRPkV.png]
#5
[+000]
ooc:

A silence, a stillness, this was known enigmatically to both of them in different ways. It was not to be, stretched too thinly between them and it died such a painful death with the ripping of their first success, smearing their colors across broken parchment. Grief for what may have been was spared only the scantest of attentions, to waver and quiver deep inside where only her darkest fears were known. She had no time for this.

Vibratory, setting the air all a tremble, the bass of his growl rumbled outwards, touching the sloping arch of her spine, and bristling the fur it found there. Upwards it crawled, grasping further and further until the she-wolf was as sharp and spiking as her mate.

Lucia needed no introduction to these who came before them to destroy their serenity. The vestiges of old regret.

Flashes of dreams, long and short, old and young, darted behind her eyes. She saw, the past and the present and she watched a little boy playing quietly. Lucia watched, in briefness, a King with a crown of thorns upon his silvered brow. Blood and violence and voices crying out in terror. Nothing wore away in comparison to how the ghosts in her mind shrieked at this yellow-eyed viper.

Paws planted themselves resolutely against the terra firma and moved in imitation, one settling back in a bracing feat. Bubbling up, came that energy that reigned still foreign for her, selling the weight of her towards the idea of multitude. Even in an almost doubling of her size, Lucia would never measure up to the largess of these thick-blooded warriors that surrounded her. Claws flexed against the earth, thickened and sharp, bristling with all of the power given to her by tragedy, by the biting scar upon her shoulder that had given her the dubious gift of hands.

The cretinous voice that assaulted their space seeped out of the grizzled male, curling in the air like noxious fumes, eroding away purity whence it laid its sticky, cloying fingers. A being, a princess of Light as she was, his very existence offended her, spiraling about and about in her heart his very wrongness, the hissing, fizzing security in the knowledge that he should not be. Not in her presence, not in her little place of peace, not on the same ground that she inhabited; It was a crime that he breathed the very same air.

Her name, upon it's lips. She repressed an abhorrent shudder. Evil crept, dragging itself fervently onward, and across the face of the gentle woman disgust painted itself with each and every fiber of her being. Her teeth, yellowed and chipped with age, were sent to display an offering of only contentious repulsion.

Did he think she had no knowing? That she remained ignorant of who and what Shaamah was? That his words would shock or frighten her? Males did not appear as he, with scars and tributes to their battles, without earning them, nor did evil imagine nightmares of death and violence in slumber to be woken by a caring woman. She had watched him dream and seen his path tread into a place only he could see. Who had been there to sing him a lifeline that he may follow back into the light. Only herself; Brightness in the dead of night.

Almost overwhelmed by the immoral hideousness of their elderly relation, the presence of others was given less weight. Two boys, who were young and there in their faces could she see the Warrior parentage. Their youth was apparent and her distaste could only grow, for the cowardly actuality of this puppet-master, for using the easily led astray to fight its battles. Another too, a female, resembling the grotesque specter.

Where Lucia would have searched for any taste of goodness, here she cared none to do so. There was nothing to find; This she could smell, could see, could feel in the air about them. It was rotten down to the blood and bones.

Tension crackled, whiplash quick, through He and in turn, through herself who was attuned and floated readily in those same waters. As his pelt and tail rose, as his muzzle wrinkled and brows furrowed, as thunder rolled from his chest and an awakening of what he once had been; So too did her own.

Steps were taken now, to put himself before her own smaller form. Evil did not defend the weaker, did not protect those below. Hence remained a King without a crown, when all needed was sunshine to bestow nobility upon a bowed head.

An angry voice, childish in its pique, a foot stamped against the ground at the wicked unfairness of life. This boy had much to learn of the cruelly cast die that decided the outcome of one's path. Between the two youths, her gaze now snapped; One, righteously absorbed in his rage and the other, shrinking by the second, eyes of fearful hue focused dead upon the Warrior before her. She might have seen the quivering of his throat and fingers if not for the attention that was pulled towards the Mountain as his bulk shifted slightly.

Stillness shivered, as they postured and posed with hackles and bared teeth. Two defensive, defiant snarls echoing as one in the light of the dying sun. If fear had ever been a part of her then now it was absent, and in its place a scorching fury that burned her throat, lighting up her nares with each breath. Lucia was not afraid to die, and she could not be coward enough to flee and abandon her male to a solitary death, not even for the new life growing in her belly.

She suffered no lack of intelligence for all her wildling ways, the wild animal knowing those same calculations and the judging of an odd that stacked up mightily against their success. Regardless, they would carry on endlessly, side by side.

Were they to go into the next world, then they would all go together.

Should this sunset write the tale of her demise, thus had the cards been chosen. Transformed to a warrior of fang and tooth, setting down her age-old weapons of compassion and kindness, a reason for bloodshed found.

#6
[+000]
Ooc:

He made himself eat despite the rolling nausea in his guts. This was the day, Grandfather stated with absolute confidence. The damp tracks of his tears in the night had wicked away to nothing and he could appear as nothing less than what was believed of him. More in fact, because they all thought him worth nothing at all.

When Ohja's yellow eyes turned upon him, Mithra made himself stand up straighter, taller, trying in ultimate vain but making the effort regardless to appear more like his fitter, stronger brother. He shared their blood, in spite of his own failing, there was something there that echoed with the fury of long dead Kings.

Mithra was determined, his hands clenched into fists as they followed behind, a small, mobile army against the sins of a monster. Either he did not see, or he did not want to see, exactly how similar the two were, his childhood memories were hazy and indistinct and if he strained hard enough he thought he could remember an angry, blue eye. Sometimes he guessed he might see it in the nightmares that Nazar mocked him for crying out during.

The boy was frozen stiff though when truly confronted with the shade that was his father. Grandfather's dulcet tones were turned to stone and ice as they rained judgement down upon the one that had been stripped of his divine blessings. Mithra's hands fell slack against his sides, the muscles of his stomach heaved and he almost lost his breakfast in the grass.

Heavy, sodden, the breaths left his minutely opened jaw in a bundled whoosh, slaving through his chest and setting his shoulders to rising and falling rapidly. The taste of stale water filled his mouth and the air he breathed was not enough. Something was holding him down, pains popped along the length of his neck, down to his spine and those muscles twisted in phantom agony.

For a moment, the glacial blue fell upon him, as dismissive as it had been to Nazar. Pinning Mithra in place sending him to know only terror inside.

Mithra swallowed, choking on his thick tongue and gagged silently. He couldn't do this. The words bounced around his skull, ricocheting off the bone. Stripped away was the furor of old king's blood leaving behind just who he was, a terrified young boy with not the stomach for such violence.

Dragging his gaze away from the stony Mountain, it fell upon the female at his side who bristled as Shaamah did and Grandfather gave a name to her. Lucia... She met him briefly too in line of sight. Her eyes were endless blue pools that shimmered like the ocean's rolling. It was this that truly broke him, splintered away any last vestiges of resolve he had, the water that struck back at him angrily. He couldn't face it.

Coward, he heard deep within his mind, holding Nazar's voice, as Mithra balked, and turned and ran.

Breaking through the foliage, he heard a raven's wrathful cawing and the flutter of wings behind him before the greenery swallowed him up. He tripped over something, a body crouched in the sidelines, and sprawled in the dirt. Hissing in pain, Mithra picked himself off the ground with barely a look to the surprised face that peered back at him, familiarity sparking there too.

The panic and fearfulness was raised too large for him to think and all that took over him was the animal instinct to flee. Mithra was sprinting away before questions could even be raised, the sound of a brawl fading away from his ears.

Now he must run for hours, for days and weeks, because he knew whoever won the confrontation, they would come to kill him.




When I awoke the moon still hung, the night so black that the darkness hummed; I raised myself, my legs were weak, I prayed my mind be good to me
#7
cNpc Achsah

He was late.

At the risk of being discovered, he had to fall behind. Ohja's voice had already broken the serenity, and impending confrontation was underway with or without him. By the sound of it, Shaamah was alive and well, growls filling the spaces between Ohja's breaths.

Their shadows loomed ahead in the backlit clearing, he knew each one of their forms by their silhouettes at this point. Ohja. Achsah. Nazar. Mithra. Narrowed gaze reached through the timbers, his body made as small as it could be as he crept closer. He wanted to hear everything that had to be said, and he needed to know what kind of retaliation the band of killers was going to get. Zetsubou never wanted to live up to the legacy that his father had invented for him, but if Ohja didn't live? If any of them didn't survive Shaamah? If Shaamah was, in fact, scoping out the Cavaliers for revenge?

A tar fist tightened over the tekko in his hand, before he lowered himself to the ground and stationed himself there.

He'd do what he had to.

What he didn't expect to find, however, was the light pelted body that stood aside Shaamah. The familiar scent of the tracks that wound all over the place here found him in memory, the whisper of a faint song that he wasn't able to recall the words of. He knew that wolf. She was friends of the Hushhowls and the Cavaliers. What was she doing with him? Zetsubou's jaw clenched. Was Shaamah meant to kill her, too? Then why would she stand beside him?

Ink tipped ears perked forward as he strained to hear through the wind that rattled the leaves. Ohja carried on speaking, daring enough to threaten the tower of Shaamah's image that rumbled in the background of everything and revealing more to Zetsubou than he'd ever ask for. He'd heard that the gang had been watching him, but for how long? How long had Lucia been in his company?

Taking in the area a bit more to fill in the blanks, he spotted the eaves of the cottage that breathed smoke from it's chimney. Was this where Shaamah had been all this time? Is she why he wasn't dead?

Heterochromic sights snapped back to the scene he was secretly privy to, watching on as Ohja introduced the boys. Nazar defended his right to be present in this ridiculous scheme which the Cavalier couldn't deny, and Mithra seemed to freeze in his tracks.

Achsah, on the other hand, let her eyes slip away from the battle at hand. Carefully, he watched her eyes survey the expanse behind them, and he slipped his face in his hands. Black hands could cover the lighter tones of his face, but he couldn't see. Index finger split from the rest of his digits as he peeked through, finding Achsah's attention returned to the front. A shivering breath of relief slipped from him, as he watched on.

The young woman seemed very interested in Shaamah mostly, a familiar intense gaze laid upon the warrior. Like a predator. The same way that Ohja looked at Shaamah. The very same way in which Shaamah looked at Zetsubou all his young life.

Before he could analyze it any further, however, the snapping and whipping of leaves and branches came his way. He couldn't roll out of the way in time without being spotted, and before he knew it, he was laid askew. Pain radiated from his side as a body tumbled in the brush behind him. Winced features looked over his shoulder as Mithra collected himself. Mahogany and onyx arms wrapped over his side, shoulders curled forward as he lurched into himself as if to stop the pain as golden eyes met his own. Zetsubou was frozen for that instant, gazing into the eyes of a kid who could call out his presence with just one word. Jaw hung. Breath slipped in quiet, pained gasps from his mouth.

Instead, Mithra ran.

A sigh of relief moved through him as he rolled back to his stomach, his hand braced there beneath him. Sights searched the other faces, and all seemed to have only watched Mithra as he disappeared. Achsah's eyes lingered just a moment longer than the others, but something changed in her. Where was that predators gaze? There was something calculating and malevolent there in it's place.

When she returned to the battle that she was to be a combatant in, no longer did her sights rest on the great form of Shaamah. Her sour, yellow glare rested squarely on the back of Ohja's skull.

Quietly, his brows furrowed as he remained hidden beneath the brush. From his elbows, down his front, he was covered with dust and dried leaves, and his body was still and patient despite the rising tension. The battle was shifting, even before they fought, but Zetsubou wasn't so keen to interrupt it. Not yet. Not until he was sure that he would return home to his small family. He couldn't put Dusk and Borya through that again, and he knew in his spirit that the Hushhowl clan wouldn't forgive him more than once for doing something so stupid. Even if he wasn't on Shaamah's side, there was no telling what Ohja and his kin could do to Casa di Cavalieri if Zetsubou screwed this one up.


[+924]
#8
cNpc Ohja, yNpc Nazar - Wordtober: Vanish

Lucia, lacking in meek nature nor weak of will, doubled in her prowess of form at the threat that revealed himself by dark laughter. Within himself, Ohja took note of it. Calculated eyes surveyed her and the risk she posed, and the heat of Shaamah's fury flared amid him.

“Ah, so you do abandon your gods, too?” Senescent hands tugged at buttons holding the coal cloak over his shoulders. One by one the bone fasteners broke loose of their grip, revealing the body of the man that had been veiled in his entrance, “You volunteer, in this way, to die beside the damned. What a waste of such a beauty, you are,” Piled to the ground surrounding him, the cloak fell. Stepping from the cloth, he presented a fist wrapped in mahogany leather, the glimmer of metal shining from his knuckles. Old scars, once gaping wounds, presented themselves upon his core. Shoulders bore black leather to protect his arms and a chain that jingled between his breast, while legs were decorated in plain, black, and thick canvas. A brown sash made his belt, the same hue of the gloves that he donned and the make-shift greaves.

“I will bear the burden of burning both of your corpses as an offering to the deities you live heedlessly to. May my more obedient soldiers bring you a swift death; A blessing that I cannot promise, if my hands take hold of you,” The pernicious glimmer implicated in his virulent, acidic eyes. He would take great pleasure in breaking Shaamah enough to make him witness another death that would change his son for the worst. Just enough to remind Shaamah that there were gods, and that they were rage-ridden by his escape from death in so many ways.

Ohja parted his maw, but the words seemed to be stolen from him by another's action. The scattering of paws and the frantic steps of Shaamah's rounder son raced away into the brush, and Ohja's eyes only found him once he'd toppled to the earth in his fearful escape. There would be work to do after this battle, and that notion was found not only in Ohja's gaze, but Nazar's hateful, narrowing sights of glacier blue. It appeared as if Achsah's distraction while she gazed longer into the brush than the rest, seemed to notate the same.

There wasn't long for the small band to debate the abandonment, however. At the flight of the black fowl snapped the tension in Shaamah. His temperance was like a weighted cord above a flame, and all at once he unleashed coiled ropes of muscle. Ire in the lone blue eye found only the visage of the man who cursed him with existence.

“Coward,” The darker boy spat in the place his bother once stood, his voice nothing but a grumbled whisper, but the notes were riddled with venom. Mithra was no more a boon than a bane, and the promised son flexed in place. The useless boy could do nothing more than simply vanish when presented with a true battle, but the action worked in Ohja's favor. Apprehension was still in his eye, but it was hidden beneath the might of obligation. They would all have to work harder for the same effect, once again, thanks to that ungrateful blob. After Nazar's acceptance of his brother's fate, in nothing but a second's pass, sights found the freight train of a man closing the distance between the lot of them.

Ohja, in tandem, gripped Nazar's shoulder and threw him ahead, “Like we've practiced, my sweet boy.”

The kid staggered at first, before the feigned bravery in his expression melted into terror. The likes of which he'd never known, fear, gripped his feet in place, and in some semblance of defense of Grandfather behind him, the black and tan child threw a fist with all his distracted might at the warrior.

Shaamah absorbed the sooty strike in his forearm, and a hand gripped the wrist that was offered to him, the attack easily seen in response to the interruption by the lesser experienced Blackson spawn. Inertia pushed the warrior into the young male, the air stolen from Nazars lungs with a shoulder's force, as Shaamah's arms worked with diligent motion. The beast yanked his son forward at the arm and pulled the child over his knee. Limbs connected to the upended son spread like a blooming flower and Shaamah continued on his path beyond the boy, eye dead set on the villain that had stolen the fiction of this place and brought it to ruin.

Within the instant, Nazar was off of his feet and tossed aside. His back met with the ground and the rest of him followed, only on the earth long enough to figure out what had happened to him. Scrambling in his father's wake, Nazar righted himself and returned to the fray, chasing Shaamah's image as he trampled everything in this path to reach Ohja.

Before Nazar's muddy outline could catch him, Shaamah and Ohja clashed. Drool sprayed from Shaamah's frothing flew as the old man hooked his jaw, the hammered hit moving through the warrior like none he'd been privileged to within Canada's bounds. His balance shifted, and only luck had him find his feet in enough time to step aside another blow. A twist at the waist kept the metal edges of Ohja's fist from him once more, barely, and as he attempted to right himself and counter, his footing braced on something live.

The yelp beneath the warrior stole his eye from his quarry and caught the flash of pale fur. Lucia worked beneath him, but he'd caught her in her flight. The correction to free her paw came at the expense of another body that collided into him. Nazar wrapped his arms around the thick of Shaamah's throat, an Ohja spun his weight into a roundhouse that med the warrior's ribs. Shaamah's lungs spasmed in his chest as he heaved to gasp for breath in the arms that gripped him. Kneeling from the blow, the lone-eye'd soldier couldn't keep himself upright with that boy on him. His weight lurched forward as his arm whipped up and reached over himself. A thumb pressed to Nazar's throat, his own gasp of surprise claimed that Shaamah had found the right hold.

The beast pulled all of Nazar forward, in an attempt to pile the kid into Ohja. Wise to the trick, the elder moved to the side, strafed the body that toppled in his stead, and brought two fists down on Shaamah's neck. Only able to catch himself with his free hand, the blow bore down in just the right places. Ears rung with the attack, eye blanched white in his vision. The warrior was a sitting duck, but another strike did not follow quickly after.

While Shaamah shook his head, saliva threading from his mouth, Ohja had suddenly become preoccupied with the little white flea that flittered around them all. Ohja's irritation came in the form of calls to Nazar and Achsah, but the words were but muffled rumbles in Shaamah's ears.

The ringing subsided and his vision came to, but only in enough time for Ohja to return to him in a flurry of strikes. Veteran combatants, long fought opponents, battled one another with verve long past simple enemies, as Ohja's remaining disciples had begun the dirty work of keeping Lucia from Ohja's heels while distracting their quarry all the same.

Nazar didn't have the time for catchy phrases as he had thought he would, but his thankfulness to make himself Lucia's target rather than be thrown at the powerhouse that Ohja busied himself with must come with a price. A threatening rumble slipped from the young male's throat as her teeth sunk in him, tripped him up, and she was off again, ”Pest,” He hissed beneath his breath as he leapt up and carried on after her, just able to keep up with her pace, but no where near as slight as to navigate the battlefield as she did.

Broad hands gripped Ohja at the shoulder, just between his throat and his shoulder, and Shaamah pressed digits deep into the pressure point there. His sire snarled a hideous noise, pained by the strike, and tried to break free. The two danced forward and back but Shaamah's weight and power were not contested by Ohja's own. Steadily Ohja was loosing ground, but fortune came in his favor once again. Shaamah's legs caught the passing form of Lucia as she sought to weave between the aggressor and her companion. His momentum stolen, the warrior's upper-hand was taken from him, and Ohja parried his shoulder free.

An attack found him at the back again, but he couldn't risk turning to find who it had come from, while Ohja lurched down pressed into Shaamah's stomach with his shoulder. The elder's arms embraced the soldier, Shaamah left pinned against himself with little to do but have the breath squeezed out of him again. A series of cracks riddled Shaamah's spine, a rigid tail erected with the nerves that fired unheard.

It was here that Shaamah's sights fell from alert and glazed over. Hands contorted as claws protruded from his fingers, his grip pulsing between a fist and an open palm. Drool dribbled from the warrior's maw and laid thick cords of wetness across Ohja's back, the noises slipping from Shaamah's enveloped chest akin to stressed growls and roars devoid of plentiful breath. All at once, he ignited, and teeth found awkwardly into Ohja's shoulder.

The bite wasn't enough to sink deep, but it served it's purpose well enough. A shredded cry of agony left Ohja's mouth as he released Shaamah. Form stumbled back and away, the contorted stretch of his body trying to grip the place he'd been wounded.

The warrior knelt to the earth upon his freedom, chest heaving for the air that had been ripped from him and Achsah was quick to take Ohja's place. In her stead, Nazar continued to hound the form of the pale bullet that raced between them to keep distance between her nipping jaws and Ohja's pained form as,  the old man cursed in fury of them all.

[+1771]
[Image: rnGRPkV.png]
#9
[+000]
ooc:

As it always had done, love made a fighter of the peaceful woman; And love raised a female up, above the pauper's station she so assumed. Shedding her sea-stone crown for a sharp mouth of teeth, and for deadly claws.

What gods of mine do you know, rotten heart? She wanted to hiss, to seethe and froth, like the boiling ocean waves, and consume this apparition only to spit him out, broken and diminished. She would reclaim, as nature did, eating away even the bones of disfigured souls such as this one. The Mother of Many, giver of life, breaker of bonds, tender of spring-time joy and summer's bliss and autumn's splendor, and now bringer of winter's bite.

What do you understand of beauty.

Nothing.

Only decay and blight.

Vices and sin.

Lucia was flush with rage. A feeling most unaccustomed to her gentler heart. No voice was given in response to his accusatory rhetoric, for there was no arguing with those so Wrong. It would be but a waste of her air and concentration.

The rounded, thick bodied boy looked at her now, giving her the spell of his attention. It was a yellow she well remembered from dreams of a life she had never lived. When they met alone, she saw only fear, and in some deep, secret part of her she mourned for this poor boy who was here by coercion and terror. Meeting the piercing, stripping nature of her gaze, it was this that forced forth his reluctance and she could only watch in desolate longing as he broke and fled their confrontation.

One more life, freed from this tragic travesty.

Lucia was well and willing to walk into the beyond for her strife, and for her love, but her Raven-friend was not so brave a creature, and for this she could never blame him.

Black wings and black words took to the skies, screeching out their horror at this occurrence.

This departure set amongst the bristling wolves like a racer's checkered flag, gripping the bursting tinder to a reckless fire and lifting it all alight.

The rebounding of her anger, for the youth that fled into the forest, for the youth that felt himself a warrior of renown was immeasurable and it continued to double and double exponentially. Mercy fled before her outrage, and only could she change to fit her male, those forgiving, pliable lines of herself becoming hardened rock.

A Mountain King gained only a Stone-strewn Queen to stand by his side.

And at his side she charged forth, with all of the strength in her wildling body, with the burden of youth clinging to her belly, and for their future was she willing to spend even their frail, tiny lives. The wilderness knew this within her, that Life would continue. Darkness would only prevail if their virtues stood aside. For Shaamah would she take their meat between her dagger teeth, and rend with the intent to rip away a natural life.

The catastrophe of their footfalls reverberated through her chest, in time to the rapid beating of her heart.

She was no experienced fighter, in the ways of this, but she carried more with her than her own pureness, and it was this that led her to bare teeth and echo deeply the aggression. Grief had no place here, as the blue-eyed youth found himself thrown into a fray he was ne'er prepared to enter.

His forfeited life paid only for the wrath of his Grandsire.

Mountainous stone met its progeny, in a litany of wrenching and Lucia's focus was based far more closely, her jaw parting to ward off an ancient evil, and there the seconds piled up until surveillance of the son was set aside. Her teeth found naught but air, and this was enough for her Warrior to bring himself into play. Here she could be only a hindrance, not a true player in these pieces of the game, it was that Lucia bowed to the greater skill of the man she had bound herself to.

Snapping, the maw of her could not be denied though, nor could they ignore the swiftness with which she traversed the same foot steps as they, with lesser speed. She was a dwarf, lost within a world of giants. Never acting thus so however, created an area for error in their bonding, and as his colossal weight came down upon her paw, Lucia could only wrench her voice in pain without consideration for where it may lead.

Her stumble cost him an advantage. Guilt ate away at her soul. They had never fought together, and though she was a darting arrow, it was harder to predict where he might be, not until they developed their style. In this they had never needed to collaborate, and for this there was a difference there, they were not truly in synchronization.

They could only do what they did with what they had, and the spans of their aging bodies were no match for strength and the youth of two, then three came to fight, and they were only two themselves, both hindered by the sun and the heat, and the agedness of themselves.

A crux came together and in the midst of fray with the shining thread of her tail weaving to and fro as she chased backwards the dank-eyed third, the culmination happened that found her Warrior upon his knees. Red, and blue, and rage washed anew, Lucia sprang forth, abandoning her former quarry to snap her fangs where they could find any hint of skin and fur.

She tasted blood. One of the flailing giants grunted, and cursed at her, but she remained relentless. For a moment, the world was still about her as she turned and turned to attempt to face three enemies at once, to keep them from the damaged male and give him the testing time to recover.

A standing symbol of a failing regime. Already the breath in her chest was burning and her weary muscles pleaded for rest. There was no cure for it but to end this, and then she would either lay down her head in victory or she would lay it down never to rise again. Three to two were sickened odds that gave them no chance to recoup any loss, and this was when she knew that they would lose. The interlopers would wear them down to shadows and tear them apart.

How could she falter though, or give any less of herself for a triumph out of their grasp.

Her beliefs were there, sliding along the way her fur rippled in the salt-strewn wind, in how her tail rose only to challenge again. The aging female was flying again, her muzzle snapping shut about a calf but little time did she get to rip and tear as she would have wanted, she punctured skin and then was gone, a thorn in the wind.

The boy came crashing to the ground, hissing curses to follow her flight. Lucia was not uninjured, and the weight of accumulating bruises, scratches were building, a bloodied tongue hung loosely from her mouth for a moment, taking but just one second to stand still as the youth scrambled himself to his feet, intent upon herself.

Again, they miscalculated, her legs fumbling together with weariness and Lucia was sent reeling by a heavy solid thigh to hit against her ribs. A quiet whine, and the female leapt free of being in the way. Too late, her damage was already done.

She narrowed his visage to a singular sight of herself, in his anger he focused much upon her darting form. Ears twisted, catching the wheezed grunt. Lucia could only do so much, and never much had she a mind inclined towards the martial side of life. The guttural, high scream of the old creature enough to throw a shock across her akin to a raining of icy water.

Finding her teeth again, she bit the boy anew, and raced with single determination towards the one that now lay across the Mountain man as above it all the wretched beast shrieked his furious pain. She led enemy against enemy, turning their great bulk against themselves as she ducked away, and let them collide together, ripping both of their thick forms away in a tumble.

Trembling, her nose found the Grey Ghost's arm, get up, get up, she said without saying. He could only gasp for the air so denied to him and Lucia's sights switched themselves, a furor grown great in her eyes. Bloody, frothy foaming saliva dribbled from her jaws to puddle at her paws.

Lucia left Shaamah's side, coiling herself up to spring forth and tackle the ancient beast to the ground. She would break him against the earth. The continuation of this thought was never allowed to happen. Legs released their spending energy just as cruel hands clamped down upon her spine, digging in their claws savagely. All of the kinesis she built to pay forwards was used instead against her as she was hauled from the firmness of the grass-covered dirt and then she was flying, uncoordinated, through the air.

Instinct acted, in those scant moments as the world spun in a nauseating kaleidoscope of color. The female curled, the words of her body telling her to protect the frailty that she carried. Lucia hit the ground head first, loosing a pained, yowling screech of pain, and tumbled violently to a stop many feet away. The world lost its sound, and bled its colors, leaving her disorientated and nauseous.

All of her breath was stolen in an an instant. Robbed of sound and sight and direction.

Muted, the world came back in, though she lost her grasp upon the time of it. She had no knowing that she had been thrown almost to the hiding place of another young man.

She could not stop.

Get up. It was his voice she heard, stone and rock and the grinding of the mountains above her, about the wailing of the ghost in her ears. It offered no sympathy, only a demand for strength. She would try, she would try and try until there was nothing left within her to try at all.

Uneasily, burdened by her child, Lucia staggered herself to her feet again. The breaths she took hurt her, every nerve of her protested in agony. This much pain she had not felt in years. Not since New Dawn had fallen.

#10
cNpc Achsah


It was chaos. Utter chaos.

Shaamah launched first, something Zetsubou had never been the victim of in his own skirmishes with the man.

Quietly, with winced breaths, he was rooting for those that assailed Shaamah. They had their right reasons for it, that Zetsubou knew full well of, but Lucia? She didn't belong here, and two-toned eyes watched her that much more closely. It was selfish for him to declare internally, but this wasn't her fight. She deserved to live a nice long life without that malevolent soldier to weigh her happiness down with the war he brought with him.

Yet, even so, she battled aside him, and against odds.

There was a clear advantage in compatibility between the two groups. Ohja's own were rigid and worked in tandem well, even in Nazar's short-comings, Achsah seemed to make up the difference. The two younger wolves managed to keep Ohja free of Lucia's burden and get strikes in on Shaamah when he was open, all the same. His father and Lucia were outmatched by younger bodies that knew what they were doing, and an experienced man at their helm. More than that, Shaamah and the pale woman were getting in each other's way. A sign that they'd never fought beside one another, and if they had, they had never learned to work together.

Lips curled downward on his silver maw with her yelp as she was nearly trampled and he leaned forward on his elbow, fighting back the urge to jump into the mess in front of him. Lucia wasn't enough to make up for the difference in experience or malevolence even with as quick as she moved and Shaamah was too slow to take them on without her. They were both up in their years, and it wasn't long, now. They'd tire down. If Zetsu knew Ohja, if anything he remembered of the man was true from his run in with Sapient, the old monster would take them out in the worst way possible, too. Lucia didn't deserve to die just because she knew Shaamah, just because she tried to help someone that couldn't be helped.

A clenched fist pounded on the earth as he closed his eyes in frustration, his other hand still gripping his ribs. At what cost did Shaamah's death have to come? Was this worth it? To watch the friend of the Hushhowl family and the Cavaliers alike be murdered because he couldn't lose the old man and had decided to settle down? Now he was privy to watch a woman who didn't know any better die at his father's wretched side?

Shaamah should have told her to run. It was cruel for him to expect anything else of her.

Achsah in the mean time was making the knowledge of her worth to the battle full well. Dark paws prowled along the edge of the dual battles that went on in her eyesight. Nazar fell, and Lucia had bested him with her teeth, but the pale woman only fell victim to her own ally's balance. Ohja overpowered his quarry and Achsah finally was on the move. She lunged into the fray and did more with a few moments than either of her comrades had.

Zetsu subdued a irritated growl before it could rise, but when he opened his eyes to the battle again, what he saw had tempted him against being so wise.

The pale form of Lucia sailed away from the battle and found the earth in a heap of herself. In her struggle to rise, it was clear as day that her belly was full. It wasn't food that made her struggle to get up. The wrenching of a painful memory, of Dusk on the ground and covered in blood by his father's hand moved him from withing.

A second chance.

Instinctively, his hands slipped into the Tekko's grip and he rose to his feet. Up above the brush, the red man rose, and steps moved him into the scarce growing light. The nearer he grew to Lucia, the wider his eyes spanned the combatants. When his shadow became a detailed figure, when he was free from the trees, the heat of all their eyes fell on him. The opponents parted, leaving the distance between them that dictated the side they were on, and at it's center, was Lucia upon the earth.

The golden eyes of Ohja turned up from his lurched brace of his new wound, pupils tapered and snarl fading into a quiet, furious surprise. Nazar's blue gaze reached, a stranger's gaze upon his half-brother that he didn't know and, by the looks of it, didn't remember. Bi-hued eyes of blue and lavender slowly cut across the space to find Shaamah who, with feral eyes and heavy, panting breaths, found him warily.

Weight burdened the atmosphere now, more greatly than it had before, and the hostility amid them all did not match the look on their faces. Not enough of them knew who he was, and those that did? Well, the knew enough to know he wasn't to be trusted. More over, as he came to Lucia, neither did she great him with any great respect.

It was a stalemate between the lot of them and the tables were in Zetsubou's favor to turn. It was a power that he did not want, but in this case, it was one he was willing to use, to choose, wisely.

Leather of the Tekko creaked in his palm as he cautiously found the center of the battlefield. Slowly, he turned his back to Shaamah and Lucia. Quietly, he stood there, eyes reaching into his new opponents. The lack of surprise in Achsah's eyes was distressing enough, but the fact that Shaamah was to his back, too, caused his hackles to rise. With caution and care, one step moved Zetsubou backward. Ohja's narrowing glare proved that he knew what was to come of it.

Without a word, Zetsubou backed to Shaamah's side, Tekko in hands raised, open palms. Relenting to him. Siding with him. Lucia must have seen this act and known what it meant, known that the scales leaned now in their favor.


[+---]
#11

Uneasiness had them all rapt with the sight of Shaamah's elder son and the growl that boiled in the warrior's chest, low and warning, was made for Zetusbou. Yet, a back was turned to him and Shaamah prepared for the worst. For his coward of a son to join the side of vengeance, of poisoned blood and Shaamah's rightful demise, but a step back pulled the snarl from Shaamah's features.

Shaamah watched as Zetsubou neared him, step by step, with Lucia as his guard, and took a few paces back himself, until the security in this decision came to be. The trained eye on the red man shifted after he came withing reach. Shark, cold glare of a feral beast fell upon Ohja once again, no mind paid to his lacky children. The fight was balanced now, and with lethal weapons in their rank. The standoff had brought all parties to stiller breaths, a rest within the war, but the blood that cascaded over Isaiah's shoulder would be their boon.

As soon as the lot of them had collected themselves, Achsah had grown tired of the waiting. Of all their opponents, the woman launched forward and initiated the second round. In her example, Nazar aims to be the hero of his own story, as well, and makes aim for the slighter woman who has bested him a moment before.

With the two side soldiers busied, Shaamah was the last of them all to take action. Heavy, loping steps brought him to Isaiah's tortured face, and the coward backed away. All of Shaamah's sweeping strikes and mighty blows were avoided as Ohja did as he does best. He was running away.

Meanwhile, Nazar was fumbling once again. Lucia was able to run circles around him. Rearing back, ready to educate Lucia on who he was, he released a coiled leg into the woman's side to send her reeling. The force of the blow, unexpected footing, caused him to stumble.

Shaamah caught the image from the corner of his eye as Ohja put distance between them. Nazar's falling was salvaged by Achsah, but in no way of kindness. The woman gripped the dark boy's shoulder and threw him headlong into Zetsubou. The Cavalier had already coiled back, and the studs of the tekko med Nazar's crown. The boy fell to the ground, twisted from the force and heavy. His life had left him for the moment, and one less opponent meant one more rise in the scales of their survival.

One last breath was taken as he watched Achsah put the hurt on Zetsubou's face, and then, too, Zetsu fell to the earth. Before he met the ground, however, an exchange had taken place. The Tekko sailed into the sky. Weapons parted as the wind caught them, and Shaamah slapped one away with an open palm, but the other? The other he caught. The bladed tekko rested in his hand like an old friend, the memory of it's use so fine tuned in the soldier, it was if it had never left.

Achsah stood, poised, as the Cavalier collected himself, and Shaamah returned to Ohja. Now arm, and furious for what the old man had sought to take from him.

It wasn't long until Shaamah had caught up to him, and in a brute motion, buried the backhand blade into Ohja's side. Out of time, out of energy, out of relatives to use as shields, Ohja stumbled back onto the earth. Seeing the man flounder incited an ethereal hunger in Shaamah, something buried so deep within him that the scent of the swamps and the hum of his mother's voice simmered in his mind. A heavy hand reached into Ohja's throat with a snapping motion and gripped him there. Lifting the broken man from the ground, he watched the fear ripen in his eyes. Heard the scream of the woman's name who had once been the snake's ally.

“Achsah!” Ohja choked, gagging on the pressure that strangled him. Golden eyes glossed as he kicked the open air, “Achsah! Leave them! Come to me!”

Shaamah's cold gaze turned away to she that he begged for.

Hoarse cries resounded from Ohja as Zetsubou landed aside Lucia from the hurt that Achsah put on him. The Cavalier nursed himself to his knees and remained beside the lupus woman, a quiet question to assure that Lucia was okay from the damage she'd received, but two tone gaze fell upon Shaamah's own. Following, he found Achsah. There, as they all sat in waiting, the weaponized woman folded her arms and rested herself against a tree. The intention in her eyes was just as malevolent as Shaamah's own.

The warrior knew what permission was.

Zetsubou, put an arm before Lucia's chest as she motioned to rise from her place, a quiet gesture of his maw leaning to the darker woman, hoping it would be enough to convince her to stay in her place.

Ohja shrieked in pleading.

“The gods will look low upon you, Achsah. Help me and find their glory!” He choked beneath Shaamah's broad hand. Voice broke in terror when Shaamah released him.

Ohja fell to the ground and curled over himself, choking a ragged noise before backing away through the mud and flurried snow. Ohja's son's heaving chest breathed raggedly as the heat took it's toll, but the sentience in that chilling, blue gaze was slipping. Heavy steps buried into the earth as an insatiable appetite surged through him, each step eating away that ground that Ohja struggled to put between them.

“You are a sinner, Achsah, like my son before you. And you will burn as he, and you will burn as your mother, and you will burn as all your generations forward. The gods won't forget your sins, you bitch. They won't forgive anything!” Hurriedly, Ojha struggled with any way he could reach her, but her eyes were intense on him, her body still, and her intention, against him.

“Cur,” The blade of the tekko came down on Ohja's foot and pinned him there with a curdling holler of pain. With him the noise summoned something primal, the sound of it shivered on his nape and rolled in his throat furiously.

There Shaamah was, returned to his birthplace. Heat blistered on his back and the stench of the mire swirled around him. Within the cavern of matriarchal destruction, Shaamah came to Ohja, who lay like a rotting mound on the earth. There as a boy in his mind, and for all of them to see as the man, Shaamah tore into Ohja. The old man's body beneath him slowly lost it's form as a man, and the screeching died down into burbling rasps.

What the beast destroyed was not longer alive, and still, he burrowed into it. Furiously, he dug to the bottom of that wretch until the mud beneath his back mixed into the blood, and his own drool, and shredded any piece of him that still looked the way it had been alive.

He tore Ohja to pieces, until the heat took him.

Shaamah's glazed eyes drew over the mess beneath him as his body began to fail under the stress. Legs quivered and he toppled from his knees to the ground, rolling from his shoulder to his back. Still, he growled a horrid noise, face contorted in fury as his mind took hold of him and brought him to places long gone, seasons long passed, in violence. Heavy panting shook his burly frame. He lay at the mercy of the sun and the mind, as his nightmare had come to pass. His battle over. His war, finally, won.

[+1771]
[Image: rnGRPkV.png]
#12
[+000]
ooc:

A burden it was, for her to wrench herself from the loamy embrace of the earth. Cobwebs and dust filled up her mind with a clamorous ringing that refused to die back. Her concern could not be for the bairn she might one day bear, only if they survived this counter, it was set upon the rising of red from the uncaring foliage. Another unknown, suspicion plagued her fractured thoughts, another enemy come to ail them and hasten their deaths.

Irate, she bared her teeth to this one too, backing away from an interloper with the ferrous sound of her snarl billowing into the space there between them. Fear found no crack to seep through and neither weight to crush or water to drown her. Fear was not possible now. To the heaven’s of her mother’s people she would stride with head held high.

She found herself on both sides surrounded by the pillar of thick legs, the shredded material of his covering whipping in the gentle breeze.

How now though, did something change upon the wind as she dragged back her denied breaths. Covering her teeth against the visage of this young male who turned back upon the two aging wolves and padded into a line with them, facing their tormentors. Conversely, blue eyes slid to the weapons gripped within the unknown man’s hands.

The pad of her paw twinged with a phantom pain, she remembered the burning of her flesh by the heated metal, recalled thrusting its hot surface down to the vicious wound upon her mate’s leg to halt the loss of his blood. Shooting to his face, maybe there was a recognition there too for the things that could be passed only by blood and seed, kith and kin.

Right then. Lucia, flung into this family feud as she was, found herself invigorated.

Setting her eyes back to the assembled three against which they pit themselves, she bared her yellowed fangs again, for now such odds had evened. Hope sprang eternal that they would make haste from this encounter with breath still powering their lungs and the muscle of their hearts still beating.

Again, back into the chaos they were thrown. The pounding footsteps of the giants above her head she could feel through the vibrations of the earth; And just like that, she had no effort to spare in focusing upon the newest arrival when the anger of a young man who’s pride had been so ruthlessly burned rained down upon her.

Lucia sprang from him, and this, the last of her energy was spent to lead him upon a merry chase. A coin she tossed away not lightly, flicked to perchance land within the well of her wishes, to grant good faith and kind luck.

Making yet a further fool of Nazar’s attempt at attacking her, the aging female incurred yet additional wrath, to be where he was not and to not be where he was. Quickly these moments passed her by, shards of memory she would doubtless have trouble recalling should she survive to live another day.

Not once did either of the aged couple back away into an attempt at retreat, fully devoted to this task they had found set before themselves that it thrust alight the torch of her fury to catch from a glancing look the endeavor It made to flee Its finale.

Settling aside the defense of herself, Lucia took forwards her leaping steps, and, knowing that it would put her open to the relentlessness of the Son, she opened wide her jaw and snapped forwards, teeth closing about the flesh of a calf muscle. Lucia pulled, a terrible wrenching motion of her head and away with her came a chunk of his flesh amidst a wave of blood to pour across her face and blind her.

Next she knew she was rolling again, the world spinning about her as a fantastic amount of her air left through her nose and mouth, expelling her grisly prize in favor of gasping at the remnants of her breath. Blinding away the revolutions of the world, she saw that her opponent lay insensate upon the ground, and her not knowing what had occurred to cause him to fall and remain there.

Now the scales had truly reversed. The grasp of her male encircling the warbling throat of his sire.

Zetsubo fell beside her, shocked by an assault from the pallid-eyed female who now ceased her motions. His question was but answered by a bob of her bloodied head, she would survive her current injuries thus far.

The world was paused and only the sickened, to-be corpse’s wailing assaulted the clearing.

Something was happening, but for the furor of ringing in her mind that had ne’er ceased since her meeting with the ground, she could not yet see it and made to rise again. The arm across her chest stopped her. Fiercely she turned attentions to him, only for his pointed maw to direct her notice, and follow she did, to witness the other female leaning nonchalantly against a tree, offering neither help nor hindrance now.

All four were united in their faction now against the mottled Beast that had been the cause of this entire tragedy. Her jaw opened a fraction, maybe to whisper a query of her own, but it closed shut again with ne’er an utterance of sound.

Malevolence echoed there in the other’s eyes and aimed it squarely upon the squawking male. Lucia shivered, glad that this was now aimed away from herself and from Shaamah.

Isaiah made terrible sounds as he died.

Despite the heaving, retching sounds from the male to her side, Lucia turned not her head away nor even let her eyes flicker from what was being done. Reduced to nothing more than a mass of meat and bones, there was nothing recognizable about the former prince as a creature of existence never mind a luperci of tall stature.

Her focus was on the owner of the arms that ripped and tore and not upon the corpse being dismembered. She had never seen such a thing, and yet, she flinched not at all from it. She who had been there to sweep away the nightmares from which he awoke, and break through the demons that clustered close to strip at his soul.

The singular light in his darkness.

Before he was finished, she took notice of the strain upon himself, and the lessening of his blows. Urgently, her wretched gift raced through her at her behest, forcing those sparks of grasping energy down into skin and muscle, along nerves that had never quite accepted the transformation forced upon them.

Lucia had practiced, ever since that day when she had been forced to watch, helpless as he bled at her threshold, with fear thrumming wildly in her throat, unable to give herself hands fast enough. Secretly and in silence, she had worked away at this gift until she was as proficient at shifting as if she had been born to it and not cursed with its existence.

She stood, her waterfall of hair cascading down, and the small jut of her belly distorting her tender frame. Crimson set into her hands and her legs, and a great spray of it slicking back the fur of her muzzle and face, streaming down into her long locks.

Her feet took her forwards, step after step, without a fear or a hesitation that one might exhibit when faced with such a monster of a man who seethed and growled. His eyes told her that he was very far away indeed.

”♫Shaamah...♫” She made his name into a song. A lyrical lullaby that superseded the snarl of his voice, hastily and vainly given to ghosts that would no longer torment him.

Tidally, those tendrils of faith had always brought him back to her. Like the sun, always to rise again, day after day.

♫”Awake and arise with me, there awaits a paradise to see.. ♫” Slowly his head turned, eyes seeking, unseeing, her pale form. Even if he did not see, not yet, he listened. She had no knowing of how long it might take, only that she was resolute to see this out to the end.

”♫...this, they commit to, laying down thy sword, rest yourself, Warrior, Warrior... ♫” Her voice poured forth, a stream in the parched desert, bringing verdant life with its quenching waters.

”♫And I sing these words, stranger, do not fade from my memories, breathe for this life...♫”

Melodic, she rose and fell breathing her tune in and out, as would the breath in her lungs.

She sang, creating a shadow for him to hide within by her body’s position, shielding him from the harsh glare of the summer’s sun; And watched for the sign that she knew would occur, and when it did, the faint woman curled down to her knees by his head, lifting the heavy mass of cranium and hair into her lap with gentle, aching fingers.

Ever still, she took no notice of how many songs she did or did not make it through, only knowing the lil of her voice and the space of his breathing and the cast of his glacial eye as it stared upwards.

Reaching the end of a particular one, she struck up anew with the one she had sung upon their first meeting, all those years ago,

”♫A dream is a wish your soul makes, when you're fast asleep. In dreams you may lose your heart-pains... whatever you look for, you see....♫"

Delicately she flicked away from his ruff a piece of gore, with no more caring that one might brush away a stray piece of dust. Their blood splattered-faces were reminiscent of each other, and both of their arms and hands were daubed as if in ceremony.

They passed through his thick mane, curling sedately with open trust and frankness, with little concern for the others still about in their clearing.

”♫Have hope in your dreams, then someday... your rainbow will come sparkling through….♫"

Thinly, there was little of the wisp of a ghost left, but she was smiling in Lucia’s mind’s eye. Falling away with every inhalation.

”♫No matter how your heart is bleeding, if you keep on believing... the dream that you wish will come trueee.♫"

#13


For as long as Shaamah worked to corner Ohja, Zetsubou's eyes hadn't left the frame of the cruel woman that rested upon the bark of the tree. Her actions, or inactions, were familiar in a polar way to his own father's. The two alike, he found, were not simply diseased in the way they're minds worked coldly, but their cold minds were symptoms. Symptoms grown and formed from a singular man.

The shrieking finally tore Zetsu's eyes from Achsah, his arm still guarding Lucia without signal from his mind and frozen in place as the scene came to it's peak. Pinned, Ohja couldn't beg his way out of this one, nor run off into the wilderness to enjoy another day at the expense of everything he'd destroyed. It did not take long for Shaamah to set into the old man with a feral nature Zetsubou had never seen, and the display of his curled in his gut.

Shivering sickness crawled up through him and finally Zetsubou came to stand, and turn back from the scene. An empty stomach tossed bile to the earth in a gagging, coughing fit while he embraced his stomach.

Achsah, on the other hand, had succeeded in what she'd come to do. Quietly, the woman backed into the shadows and into the trees, to take her leave without disrupting the event at hand.

Ohja's reign of terror was over.

When Zetsubou turned around, a glance met Nazar who was still motionless on the ground, red sprung from his head, but eyes then sought out Lucia. The wild card in all of this, the sweet creature that fought valiantly beside a man she couldn't possibly know. Not in such a way that had her walking to him, and shifting. Not in a way that would have her kneeling at his side and singing to him. Cradling his head.

Almost as if he were just a man, and not a monster.

Zetsubou frowned and brows knit. Did Shaamah have her convinced? No, that didn't seem like him. The motives didn't line up and none of this made sense. It also seemed very unlike him to allow her to touch him so freely, without resorting to further violence.

Rather than test his luck, however, he hung back. Moving to Nazar's side, he dropped down to a knee and turned the boy's head over. His hand caught the shallow breaths, felt the blood still pump in his throat. He was alive at least. A few slaps to his dark face didn't wake him, and an inspection of the laceration that the Tekko had made on his crown was enough to give anyone a pity headache.

Apologetic sigh slipped through him as he returned to the woman that was now at his back. The Cavalier knew he had to be ready when Shaamah snapped again, when he stood up and took the opportunity to flatten them all down. He couldn't change. Zetsu was convinced, but as she sang even he could see something change.


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#14

Echoes of a time long passed played behind his eye. An image seen of a woman, drained of life that blistered with rot and decay. The devil that lay beside her, pristine. There, it all would have ended differently had he known better. Never again did he leave frayed edges in the loom of time, yet here they came for him. In all the blood that had passed through his hands, in sleep, in fury, in fear, in plight, in quiet and in shame, none held so much weight as this. The first offender.

The initial sin.

But a soft sound trembled in the ringing of his ear that did not suit this life and the overwhelming stench of iron and death.

Muck and mire billowed around his legs. Scars painted strokes long and short across himself. An army at his side? No, a coup. Mutiny. War. The islands that floated across the bayou were not made of earth, and after they'd burst from bloating, they'd sink. Tainted waters. Skies blackened with fowl and flies and wrenched coyotes that plucked meat from poisoned bones. And yet, there was a song.

Vacant sights bore into the brilliance of the sun until a shadow drew across the expanse of colorless sky. A silhouette, without a face, without a name, but a voice that reached to him too tenderly to exist here. The swamp was no place for a voice like this. His battlefield had no drummers, only the furious fight to survive of scores of soldiers that knew nothing else.

The rest of them became the islands.

Tracers of this singing shadow lingered and revolved, trailed as he panted until a word in these notes struck him.

Breathe.

Rapid panting still shook him, but there was a shift, a motion in his eye that followed her more knowingly. It was then that she touched him, knowing him, and cradled his crown upon herself. Quietly, he listened as her notes strung in and out of foggy memory and slowly did he return, despite the unwavering grip of the past. To the sweet smell of grass, floral petals and the smoke of the hearth, to the gentle touch of fingertips that traced through his coat, she beckoned him return to her.

Beryl eye blinked and he inhaled sharply. A moment passed where he aimed to control the breaths that shook him, and after, he came to. Above him, the pale-coated woman, her face painted in cardinal hue and pale sapphire sights reached calmly into his own. There he laid, for a moment longer, and then he rose.

Broad palm rubbed at the blood on his face as he sat up, smearing it down to his maw and shaking away the extra viscera that was left. Dazed, his eye spanned over the scene, finding first the filleted body that lay nearest him, and beyond Lucia to the other side Zetsubou knelt with a curious look their way. The female was gone, but the relaxation in those around him called no urgency through him.

For the first time, in a long time, he'd fought. What that meant to him, to her beside him, and what he knew of the cruelty of men was that their time in this oasis was done.

The quiet gravel of his voice rumbled as a groan in his chest as he lifted himself, quaking with the heaving breath that the heat forced him to take. Slowly larimar eye returned to her, with the frame of her cottage to her back, and the last remnant of her life within Nova Scotia's grips. The fantasy was over. Their location compromised. There were plenty within Eastern Canada's confines that would have enough reason to come find them, and with his old haunt so close, numerous enemies within them, there was no place for them here.

When he finally stood, it was ever present that he was spent and toiling his body past it's limitation. Shoulders lurched forward crookedly, steps were labored as he made his way to Zetsubou. When he reached the Cavalier, they stood to face one another in silence for a long moment in time.

Here and now, his height became the only reason he looked down on his son.

The very man, a stranger in his bloodline, who had broken a cycle born of poisoned lineage.

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#15
[+000]

Her hopes had not been misplaced. One dead, one flat upon the floor, two fled into the foliage, and a single savior to which they owed their lives now. But she had no attention for him, not just yet, first she must return her love to her world, free him of his tormented memories.

Spread out, a growing puddle, her hair lay across his chest, and his lax arms, curling without order into the hollow of his throat as she set forwards her face to monitor the shifting of his single eye.

Made into a mistress of malpractice, the sun was their bane even for the light given. Raining down the scorching heat upon them, for two so thickly furred and aged as they, given little to no reprieve from her hard rays.

Metallic, the scent of blood settled about them, but below that lingered sunflower and wood ash, the sap of pine and birch. In her lonely dreams it had kept her company, but no longer would he walk somewhere that she could not.

A breath he took, differed from the rest, and blinked his glacial eye, and looked back up at her, conscious and cognizant, into her smiling face. Seeing was believing.

What was wealth when weighed against a treasure so pure and clear. Where did the glitter of gold and silver fit into her world of stone and sand. Useless to her, as gems and jewels were just rocks that sparkled in the light. Utterly worthless when laid in comparison to him blinking back at her, awake and aware.

Who else but herself had ever imagined he might be different than his appearance. That his name might be just that, a name, rather than a cry for battle, a tool to snap for use. Who else but she had ever thought, had ever bothered at all to try and see beyond. Who else had ever cared; for a man who was not a monster.

Shaamah lifted himself from her grasp, and from his body did the pools of her hair fall, sticky and streaked and daubed in the monster’s vapidly spent life. Lucia could only look back at him, and stare in wonder.

They were alive.

More than she could have wished for when first had Ohja and his wretched band revealed themselves from the forest. From the trees, Raven dealt them a soft cawing, a harsh, grating sound and fluttered their wings in condensed indignity.

Tumbled up in those thoughts, Lucia herself took a rasping, heavy breath, relief springing down and rounding her shoulders, setting the straight lines of her body to bending. She was faint and sick with the draining of adrenaline, and so, was behind in his bid to rise from the ground.

As before, she could only stare. Up at him this time, at the sunlight dappling a golden crown to life about his head. A tower of strength and power, savagely touched by his age and his life, but not yet ravaged by it. Lucia touched a soft hand to the firm lump of her belly.

What else was there to do but rouse herself and stand by his side.

Unsteadily, she took to her feet too, a hand upon his arm briefly to stay her wobbling legs that sought to disobey her will and send her back to the ground. She had been a much younger woman when she had last fought as this, pit against such violent, volatile odds. Back then she had barely made her escape with her life too, bound as she was to lead their youth to safety.

Her cottage, touched by light and appearing as if nothing at all had happened, was a vision of homely solitude. Yet now that illusion was shattered. Lucia knew what was left unsaid between them, that this could be their home no longer. What Ohja had revealed and to whom was a question they could never answer and thus, could never assure safety here again.

The price for their peace laid in exodus.

Son and Father met once more. Lucia was by them and striding, with no time to focus upon her bruised and battered body, nor to care for what injury lay undiscovered, her attention now upon this place she had called home for many seasons. Grief hovered above her head as she passed below the threshold and assembled the smallest of remembrances. Those pieces with which she could not live without. What they needed to survive.

A strange stone. A gnarled piece of wood. Seashells that held rise to the imagination. A knife, given in reparation. These pieces and more were piled into a soft fur. Food, what little they had, was taken also. Hunting on the road would be hard, they would manage somehow.

Little else she wished to keep, and she allowed herself only a moment spare to cast her gaze about this house, this space that had been her own. The paint, thickly layered upon the stone walls -- her place of beauty. Giving this up, where she had raised her daughters and had waited for years. A goodbye was so final, and yet, she knew she would never see her joyous cottage again.

Much she left behind, including the ghosts, her own filled with memories past, and the one. Amade faded away from her mind with each step she took out into the light, towards Shaamah, taking with her the voice that had listened and provided.

He was waiting. A fur wrapped bundle tied with rope, the sum of their worldly possessions, hiked high upon her bloody shoulder.

Between the two males she looked, her expression falling to gratitude when it touched upon the man who’s name she did not know. Without him they would have forfeit their mortality here upon the earth of her garden, of this she had no doubts at all. Determinedly, her gaze brought her to Shaamah, 'we must go', she said without sound or words, with only herself.

There was no looking back, only forwards, to what the future may bring, to the light, and the dawning of a new day.

#16


Patience.

Zetsubou found himself entranced in the song that was tailored to the beast that lay in gentle arms, and were it not for the music, it was due to the scene. A look that the Cavalier had seen in his father's eye time and time again, a rage that seemed controlled until the warrior's final days where aggression was all that Shaamah seemed to know. The red son watched as the marred beast was tamed, simply with song.

Sights dropped from the moment, an instance that seemed only fair for them to have without is audience. Quietly, he glazed over the form of his half-brother, his eyes there but his mind wandered. How much Zetsubou had refused to see, not that it was anything that he could have fixed, but he became one of the others. Shaamah was an agent of war, that was it, right?

A swallow moved through him and the first true instance of shame in himself drew a breath through his chest. Shame and pity. Sure, killing Shaamah made the most sense. It was the easy way out. A glance to his own palm, silvery and streaked with lines of pressure traced on his pads. Zetsubou knew he couldn't change what Shaamah had done, but seeing this?

It made more sense to him, now, why.

The sound of shifting brought his eye back, in a quick dart, to the two that rested besides Ohja's broken husk. With just a song, the soldier was in his right mind. It felt alien, but forgiveness was entering Zetsubou's soul for everything that had been done. Not for how it was done, or the reasons, but the why's didn't matter. Zetsubou had everything that Shaamah didn't, and were it not for him, that Shaamah would never have had the chance to. No one had ever fought for him.

Lucia's presence here was no longer a great mystery.

He, himself, rose to his feet and stood afar as the pair situated themselves. Lucia's exhaustion was just as apparent in the way she moved, and he winced in reaction to it, of her frame covered in blood and weary. Of anyone in this clearing between the copse, of anyone and anything, she didn't deserve any of this. Her life saved was Zetsubou's real reward.

Shaamah then rest his attention on Zetsubou and for a moment, the Cavavlier's heart faltered. Breath caught, he took a step back, but was cornered by the body at his feet. Darting eyes gave way to forced bravery and the red son took a deep breath, cast eyes up to his father who had been nothing but his bane and at his merciful hand not once, but twice.

Without a word the two men stood before one another as Lucia took into the cottage afar, and Zetsubou waited with urgency as to what the man might do. As the moment lasted on, the initial grip of apprehension wavered. Shaamah's blue eye looked well into his own, bore into him, with a different weight. This was not the first time the Cavalier had seen this look before.

After a battle was fought and victory was won, this was the very gaze that Shaamah gave those that fought alongside him. The honor that only a warrior might receive. Zetsubou's lips parted, only in slight, but in awe. Respect from a man he'd wished dead only moments before. The world was a strange place, but for the moment, he could accept this.

A pride swelled in him that he would never speak of as Lucia returned, her items in hand, and confidence painted his features. To her, he dipped his head in regard. When her blue sights turned from Zetsubou to Shaamah, the Cavalier couldn't help the glance that his eye made to the cabin. This had been their home. Lucia had packet and that gaze said it all. Closing sights to the world, Zetsubou decided that would pay the cost of his actions.

Returning to Lucia and moving his gaze to Shaamah, his voice rose above the silence in the field, “You died. Both of you. Ohja took your life,” He gestured to Lucia before tucking his hand over his rips, and returned to his father, “And I took yours,” Steady breaths moved across the scene. There was enough blood there to write a hundred stories, never mind the one he'd have to weave, “I'll give word to Casa, and anyone else who asks.”

There was a small moment of silence that held his tongue for a moment, despite all the words he wanted to say, there were few that he needed to. Most of all, his heart needed to know the name of the life they'd fought for, “Wh-... What will you name them?” The timid question rose, and his words were almost breathless.


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#17

A breath of serenity rattled the branches and rustled the leaves of the mountain forest that surrounded them. Lucia had gone off to the cabin and left the two of them in the trust of one another. If history could predict what would happen in this moment, Zetsubou's life would be forfeit. Still, in silence, the two men found one another in their eyes, an exchange that words could not serve. Today, history didn't mean a thing.

As Zetsubou digested the fruits of his labor, Lucia returned to Shaamah's side. In her way, she thanked the Cavalier for what he'd done, but quickly she found Shaamah. She knew as well as he had that the whimsy was over and the fantasy could not last. Not like this. The sweet danube of her gaze bid him away from this, the cast of their former lives that was held onto for far too long. His eye found her knowingly, but returned to Zetsubou.

Before Shaamah could threaten the stripping of his honors to ward against his tongue, the Cavalier spoke.

A tale weaved in simplicity left his son's mouth, the warrior's calculating mind playing the instance within which such a reality occurred. How quickly the story was formed, so much so that, perhaps, it had once been a prediction of intention. The red man had come from the cover of the brush, but for how long was he witness? It was a plan that had been in action long enough to speak perfection into the end of their lives within the realm of Eastern Canada. An strategy born of malevolent righteousness within Zetsubou was present, the ability for him to be cruel was there within him all along, but he had chosen to act against it.

The very same as he had called off the dogs of his protection in the early winter before.

The Cavalier wasn't either of the breeds that made him; Zetsubou was a breed of his own.

As his son had created and accepted a task for himself of his own accord, Shaamah closed his eyes to the Cavalier in acknowledgment and turned away. Preparation for the act, a distant memory to the time long lost when he'd abandoned the mire, took no longer than walking away from it. For this time, however, Shaamah's interests were not simply his own.

Yet, a sound came from behind him. The veteran turned, his head found over his shoulder and canted the the request that was made.

A larimar eye found Lucia as a response and a gentle nod of her head caused the crimson plastered threads that framed her to tremble. Of her admission, the soldier found Zetsubou a final time. A single word was let to the wind in the rough, baritone notes of his quiet voice, a low hum, before he lead himself away with Lucia at his side.

“Peace,” He said.

It was the breath that lingered in the trees and ran through the long summer grass; the scent of the mountain's pine and the gentle stream. It was the gravity that fell over Ohja's remains and Nazar's rest. Birdsong jingled as the sun found the horizon at last and the shadows of the cabin and the tips of tired trees grew long and lazy. Where the thistle had no reach, nor the mire, and a restless warrior would find in she, the wolf of light, what it was to be nothing more than simply a man.

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[Image: rnGRPkV.png]


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