[AW] full hands for the innocents
South of the Ruins, not far from The Southern Watchtower.

It wasn't often that Tattersall was allowed out without someone following him, but today he had taken his chances and slipped away from Sionann's watchful eyes. She would find him soon enough, the puppy suspected – but he wanted to go a little farther, that was all. Everything smelled new and strange and the world beyond his home and his yard was big and exciting.

He was not hard to spot, either. His fur was bright and bold like his mother, though with his fluffy puppy coat still in the true colors had yet to fully emerge. Half of him was getting dirtier by the second, as Tate took every opportunity to dive into interesting looking piles of leaves or secret hiding places beneath brush. It was a game he could play alone. Pretending was a fun way to not be bored or think about the things that made him feel funny.

Besides, sometimes, there were great things to be found – like the rabbit he spooked. It was smaller than him, but much faster. Tate didn't think about this, of course. He was too excited and focused on the pursuit, which took all of the speed his stubby little legs could muster. The gap between the young predator and his prey was growing exponentially, however.
• • •
[Image: d5V6ZhkI_o.png]It was the noise of something badger-sized crushing leaves and twigs that caught his attention on a rather casual stroll. An easy meal was not something the Striker would ever ignore, but he was somewhat displeased to find it was not a fat animal, but a fluffy pup with the distinct colors of Morgana.

That boy should not have been out and about at all. It was quite obvious that the mischievous offspring of his "uncle" had managed a daring escape, the likes of which Krios had not even remembered his half-siblings pulling off. He himself had been quite the escape artist at times, but Krios was also too wily to let the boy go off on his own for very long.

A rabbit darted away, chased by the inexperienced pup. Tattersall did not pay any mind to his surroundings, as young ones never did, so Krios managed to come in close as the boy chased and chased despite the growing gap between him and rabbit. It was so unfortunate that the Striker so rarely found himself on four legs, otherwise he would have eagerly snapped up the rabbit or child for fun.

Instead, Krios lunged at the boy and attempted to grapple him so that he could roll away and lessen the shock to his system when he hit the ground.
All at once things were off-kilter – Tattersall became aware of the larger presence almost at the same time it came leaping out of the brush at him. Like any child, he did the most sensible thing he could think of in such a terrifying situation.

Tate began screaming.

They were high, loud puppy ki-yis of fear and alarm. Instinct had ensured that he learned to use his voice, and all the dire warnings his parents had told him now came flooding back. What if this was that monster who had killed his sister? What if this was indeed the fate of all children who wandered too far from home? Oh he would be in so much trouble if anything happened.

It would have been an unfortunate end. He had only gone a little ways from home, and he was just trying to have fun!

Yelling and wiggling, Tate tried to break free from his assailant.
You got to go out and fall down and get up with everybody else.
• • •
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Krios had not played with pups all that often. Besides his half-siblings, he had rarely encountered those sorts of younglings when frequently out doing his duties. Puppies were not exactly easy to come by in the middle of the night, as he would have often returned at odd hours. What parent left their child unattended well after dark or unattended during winter? It was reckless!

Still, he had some idea of what to expect. Tattersall started screaming, which was somewhat lower on the list than he would have cared to admit. But Krios worked with it.

The boy flailed and wriggled in his grasp, kicking and yelling up a storm. Krios gave a devilish laugh, full of exaggerated menace so as not to alarm any other adults passing by. The last thing he needed was for the call to come up to hunt him down for hurting another of Brocade's children.

"Fiend, you are caught! Escape is not permitted!" he said with a falsely lower tone of voice, trying to keep those limbs from smacking him on the face.
It took him a moment to determine that the attack was not a real one, but once his assailant pulled back, Tate got a good look at him.

“Uncle Krios!!” He yelled in objection, continuing to kick with his back legs. The Striker had a good hold on him, much to the puppy's adamant horror. This was embarrassing! He was supposed to be strong! His father always spoke so highly about the things he had done and use words like warrior and soldier. These were things Tate wanted to identify with, seeing as they were important to Brocade.

He growled and showed his sharp little teeth. “Lemme go!”

The wiggling continued, but another idea had come to mind. It was risky – biting someone bigger than him most often resulted in a sharp word or brisk response. He didn't like the way big teeth felt. He especially didn't like how they reminded him of Symre, and that black-spot memory of the day his sister had perished. If he bit Krios, he risked Krios biting him back. Those were the rules.

So, valiantly, Tate resisted the urge to sink his baby fangs into his much larger uncle and instead continued the much less graceful limb-flailing scramble to break free from Krios' grapple.
You got to go out and fall down and get up with everybody else.
my name is gen the suck.
• • •
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Krios had no concept of the mental changes that came with Tattersall's family troubles. He understood that those horrible things could affect children, though he had been far older when everything horrible started happening in his life. His mind had been altered, truly, but it had been more manageable and far more obvious. The fact that Tattersall didn't bite at his hands didn't escape him, but maybe they had very good lessons against biting so he completely disregarded it. Brocade's children seemed fine so it never occurred to him that they weren't completely fine.

"Let you go? Very well, if you insist, little fiend." Krios shook his head and held the pup with his arms stretched completely out in front of him. He looked about and found a very cushiony looking pile of leaves. Then, he glanced at a muddy pond nearby. "Where do you prefer? Filth or filth?" he asked without waiting for an answer.

He broke into a light jog toward the pond, making sure that Tatter bounced obnoxiously along the way. Then, he veered quickly away before unceremoniously chucking the pup into the pile of leaves like one would throw a loaf of bread. Honestly, Tatter weighed about as much as the bread Krios could make - it wasn't good bread.

Then, Krios made a pose, spreading his legs apart and putting his hands up with nails pointed to growl with false menace.
Tate was too young to realize the sort of power time had over memory. He didn't recognize that those fuzzy black places were responses to the terrible things he had already gone through. It seemed to him that the more he learned the more space he needed to remember everything, and that was why he wasn't able to remember things like the first food he liked or the first time he had beaten his sisters in a race.

Krios made a mockery of his command by hoisting him up like an angry cat. Tate frowned and did his best to work his way free, but the Striker's grip was (understandably) firm and kept him from falling. Instead, much to his horror, Tate was carried over and dangled above a muddy puddle. That was the last thing he needed! His mom would be so mad!!

“Nonono—!” He whined, but by then they were moving again.

All at once he was falling through the air, and then he was buried in half-crushed, woody smelling leaves. Buried beneath the mess, the puppy's red fur blended him well among the debris. Tate regained his senses quickly and heard his uncle growl from the clearing beyond.

It was time for revenge!

Summoning all of his might, Tate inhaled deeply and made himself as big as possible.

“YAAAAAAAAAAA!” He bellowed, springing out of the pile with all four legs and charging directly at the larger would-be-threat.
You got to go out and fall down and get up with everybody else.
• • •
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Tattersall's fall-colored fur blended in almost too well with the leafy pile, hidden in the shadows as only a small creature could be. Naturally, he did not expect the boy to linger in fear and cower away too long. Kids were always out to play fight; he remembered this about himself and his half-siblings, too. It had been more fun for them than him, but he had been the only surviving child and had grown up as an only child because of this. Tattersall was so much luckier than he to have sisters his own age to play with.

The pup came screaming out of the leaves with a roar that would have made any father proud. In Brocade's absence, an uncle's pride sufficed. The orange ball of childlike fury came racing at him and Krios gave an exaggerated yell of fright and began to run away. Well, not really run away since that would defeat the whole playing with Tatter thing. He dramatically ran at half speed. Third speed?

Then, as dramatically as everything else, he gave a wondrously theatrical trip and fall. Krios basically leaned forward into a half-somersault that ended up being a shoulder roll with him laying face up.

"Oh no! I've fallen! What a disastrous turn of events!" he loudly declared, milking it for all it was worth and more.
wc: 210
If not for that one, awful event that had taken his sister, Tate might have not known suffering and loss as he did now. These were big words and deep wells of emotion that did not always make sense to him. He was too small to be able to comprehend the true horror of what had happened, and knew only that there had been something of immense value taken from his family.

The older he grew, however, the more the idea of family expanded. Salsola emphasized connections, and Tate and his sisters benefited from this without a doubt.

Krios' overly dramatic fall was seen as a boon to young Tattersall, who put all of his efforts into catching up to the bigger hybrid. Once he was near enough, he pounced!

“It's all over!” He gloated, nipping and squirming and wiggling his whole body with uncontrollable excitement. The chase and catch produced a flood of warm, pleasant feelings in Tate, who laughed even as he tried to trample and climb up Krios' side. They looked similar enough to be relatives, especially in the forms they were in now. There was more wild in Krios, though – his brown, ruddy coat was an earthy contrast to the starker patterns in Tattersall's own.
You got to go out and fall down and get up with everybody else.
• • •
[Image: d5V6ZhkI_o.png]Krios gave an overexaggerated cry of false agony as Tate leaped upon his prone body and began his assault upon his vulnerable flesh. As fun as it was, though, Krios could not help but think that Tattersall was a little too good at shoving his feet exactly where it would hurt the most completely by accident. There was the foot to the belly that felt like it had forcibly introduced his kidney to his spine while trying to simultaneously separate his small intestine from its nestling place between his large intestines.

He was horribly relieved that those evil little feet never got close to the more valuable organs that he hadn't even had a chance to use yet. Damn it, he still had a chance at children and he would be damned if his uncle's child ruined his prospects with a blow to the wee willy winky and his two buddies.

Krios squirmed about, after feeling the relief as his kidney remained in place and his entrails continued to be properly located. Then, he gave a great big yowl. "Oh, please, tell my wife..," he trailed off into a silence that seemed to grow exponentially around him. He stopped moving completely, belly down to the ground and eyes shut. He looked to all the world as though he had been successfully vanquished by Tattersall. 
wc: 219
we can wrap up with your post, I think? Thanks for the thread!
The sound – a high, sharp squeal – stopped Tattersall almost at once.

Puppies learned rules about acceptable levels of play early on, both from each other and from their mother. Morgana had not tolerated shenanigans, and reinforced her position of authority each time it was pushed. Even their father seemed to bow to her whims. He was too young yet to understand the nuances of their relationship or the black and terrible place ripped open by his sister's death. It had touched him too, even if he couldn't see the mark so clearly.

There was some beauty in the design of things, this allowance of memory to so easily let go.

Tate was surprised by his uncle's dramatic reaction, and eventual collapse beneath the puppy. Perched atop the Striker's prone form, Tate leaned forward.

“Uncle Krios?” He asked. Though this was a game, he was still in a place of development that made it difficult to determined what was false. Bit by bit, Tate was learning.
He trampled right over Krios' face during his descent, surrendering his position of power with the satisfaction of winning plastered all over his prancing step and puffed out chest. Tate plopped his butt down right in front of his uncle, tail wagging behind him.

“What should I tell her?” The puppy yapped.
You got to go out and fall down and get up with everybody else.
Thank you <3 Feel free to archive when you're done!
• • •
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His dramatic falling had not quite elicited the response he had expected. Instead of sudden panic over real injury, Tatter was seemingly undeterred to be declared the proper winner. The boy sat atop his back for a moment before the weight shifted along his spine like a sharp jab from an overly precise finger.

And of course the boy trampled all over his face like it was nothing, merely another place for his little feet to plop on. Little nails sank into his cheeks and he was so, so ready to shove the precocious boy away.

Who on earth had taught him that sort of behavior? Surely not Morgana. No, it was definitely Brocade teaching them bad habits if any stuck at all with a task master for a mother. The Revlis woman was still that, a Revlis. They were a certain type of person no matter how removed from the main line that went from Sirius to Lokr to Elphaba. They were probably the more dangerous Revlis anyway as the hushed rumors of mental instability were diluted away with the blood of other families.

He muttered under his breath as the boy leaned in to hear better what the man was saying. Soft and garbled, he waited for Tatter to get close, and closer, and closer..

And then he grabbed him, laughing as he burst at him. "Tell her I don't go down so easy!" he hollered, starting another round of chase that made the dull ache in his chest abate for a moment.

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