[P] evidence to the contrary
Late morning. Amherst. 13th January 2021.

The three story building's roof had collapsed some time ago, but still, along the edges, the wide, weathered stone walls provided amble space to perch. Kyrios had been plenty cautious, climbing to the top, but the carefully carved red brick seemed as sturdy as any tree, if not more so. From this vantage point, he amused himself selecting targets at random from the surrounding area to pierce with arrows. Gathering them all later would be annoying, but it was another task to keep him from idleness while his horse grazed, ultimately.

Next to the building was a wild, overgrown spot of nature: the remnants of some park. A still-standing pavilion sheltered an accidental garden of weedy greens from the recent snow, and Zaku was mowing through her meal steadily. Among the many disadvantages of being a traveler, the time it took to keep his horse fed was certainly one of them. If not for the weight of his various possessions, it would certainly be faster and more efficient to travel without one. But aside from freeing himself from the burden of his goods, Zaku had been his only constant companion for many years, and Kyrios had never considered leaving her behind.

Up and down the block were other brick buildings, some in better shape than others. At the intersection, a metal pole stood with a lantern poised at the top. The glass was already shattered, but the hybrid aimed for it anyway, drawing his bow carefully. Ostensibly, it was always for practice, but Kyrios was aware that archery was one of the only thorough lines in his life and he often leaned into it for distraction and comfort. It was easy, because it required focus, and if he was squinting at a target, then he couldn't be thinking about the many other things he had failed at.

He loosed the arrow. It shot hard and fast towards the lantern and, with no glass to shatter, sailed right through the metal frame, striking the ground with a sharp, subtle sound.
So you know how I suck? it's because I didn't add threads to my subs :/
Remember your youth, in all that you do, the plank and the passion
The deal with the trader had been substantial, but it still meant that he had to find the animals and trap them. He had ventured north rather than east toward the Estrella, having figured that the fur bearers he sought would likely be more bountiful in wooded areas rather than the rougher grasslands covered in their patches of snow. His choice had been rewarding, too. After an overnight venture in an area between New Caledonia and Salsola, he was returning home with a very full line of animals.

Krios crunched through the snow, following broken concrete roads and game trails to hustle through the bits of snow too annoyingly tall to travel through. It was slow going but he had left his mare behind with her filly. It was a little lonely without anyone else, but it made him focus. The sooner he got a good load, the sooner he could get himself home to the person who mattered most. He knew he smelled of blood; there was a collection of white hares and a few mink strung up on the pack on his back. The traps had been tucked into the pack, but there was no ignoring the dragonhead bow and the arrows that were within easy reach.

Amherst was easier to traverse, even with the pavement being broken and shifted with the passage of time. The earthquakes hadn't helped keep them intact, but it was still easier. He knew the streets pretty well, too, after countless patrols and trips through it. Biff's Bar stood abandoned and silent despite having been bustling once. He ignored the sudden desire to peer in and reminisce. No, there was no reason to linger on those memories.

He turned a corner and then froze when something terribly familiar thudded close to his position. He pulled the bow from his back and readied an arrow as he lowered his center of gravity. Krios slowly walked with the arrow lightly drawn toward the source of the sound and pulled it back as he heard the sounds of a horse. But it wasn't someone who seemed militant, as he had been afraid.

It was an older man and a horse grazing at the grass in a long abandoned park.

"Goddess above, why are you shooting at me?" he indignantly called as he weakened the tension of his drawn arrow and lowered the bow just a smidge.

Every now and again, he'd spot movement in the shadows of the overgrown bushes and trees, or in between the brick alleys and broken concrete. Usually, it was a bird, flitting around restlessly, a flash of motion, but little more. They were annoying distractions, drawing his eyes away from where they'd been, only to disappear again immediately.

There had been a time when he'd tried to make targets of such songbirds, but they were always too far away and moved too quickly, too unpredictably. Their size made them quicker, too. Even one perched and seemingly asleep on a post would hear and feel the movement of the incoming shot long before it reached it, and fly away. Waterfowl and groundfowl were the only birds he could shoot, and they were the only ones worth it, anyway, for their feathers if not for their meat, which he found stiff and unsubstantial in many cases.

And so his gaze sometimes followed only lazily and as an afterthought when there was movement at the field of his vision. He'd been focused on the lantern and only the lantern and had not given much thought to the brownish shadow moving towards it. His vantage and distance kept him safe enough.

The voice startled him. Kyrios tensed instinctively and pulled another arrow from his quiver. The bolt found itself notched, though his arms remained relatively relaxed and there was no tension yet on the string. The stranger was also equipped with a bow. How good was his aim? It was easier to shoot down than to shoot up. The ground was a more cooperative backdrop than the sky and the air didn't interfere as much, but being on the ground provided more readily available cover, while Kyrios's silhouette was stark against the gloomy clouds.

From the distance, the cream-colored hybrid couldn't make out the other's features, but being caught off guard so close to Salsola territories made him uneasy and the usual humor in his voice was a little shaky. "Wasn't shooting at you, love," he said. He grinned and felt a little better for it. "I wouldn't have missed such a big target, if I were."

He laughed and returned his arrow to his quiver, then swung his bow around so it hung from his body, freeing his arms and climb down the side of the building. It was rare that he made any boasts about his skill, but coming down from his perch meant he was giving up an advantage, so he hoped that overall he didn't appear too much of a threat. Feet on the ground once more, the scent of blood and prey washed over him, but his blue eyes fell to the stranger's distinctive bow before reaching his overly familiar face.

It was only through habit and practice and a distant sense of fear that Kyrios kept the benign smile on his face from curling into a snarl. "Hello," he said cheerfully. "A fellow archer, I see."
1. how dare you make me wiki fall into stuff about Kyrios
2. Krios isn't fat. Okay.
Remember your youth, in all that you do, the plank and the passion
There was a strange amount of things to process in a moment's notice.

First, the pet name that was not remotely affectionate coming from a stranger. He was certainly not the man's love so it smacked of condescension and mockery - it had been such a long time that anyone had been that way with him that Krios had forgotten what it felt like to be on the receiving end of the mockery. Or, was it mockery? It hadn't had the tone of mockery and more like a slip of the tongue rather than a veiled barb. 

Did.. did the stranger just call him fat? Krios stared with his jaw hanging slightly lower, pulling his mouth open and giving his face a stupefied look. He was somewhat dumbfounded. Did he really just get called fat? The laughter had shattered his surprise with a crack and he turned the point of his arrow downward completely. Krios hesitated for a moment as the man climbed down, watching him warily for malice. No sign of it came and he let the bow's string fully relax . Yet, he did not return the arrow to his quiver.

He was far too suspicious of anyone, really. Once, Krios had been easy going and fun. Then, he grew up with great aggressive speed. It was obviously a good thing, he thought, when the strange archer cheerily kept on grinning at him after glancing at the bow.

"Likewise," he said with a jerk of his chin toward the smiling man. Krios wasn't smiling yet - but, then again, he hadn't started smiling in the first place. "Though, if you were shooting at me, I guess you wouldn't tell me, would you?" he asked slowly, too used to being careful around Salsola's territory as he eyed the man.
i apologise for nothing. >:)

Occasionally, someone would tell him that his mannerisms weren't appreciated, but this was rare enough that Kyrios did not often think about it. No one ever took him seriously, regardless. They either assumed that he was a poor flatterer, an uninspired thief, or a hopeless flirt, all of which he thought were fine assumptions. They kept others from taking him too seriously, which in turn, kept him from taking himself too seriously. And of course, using pet names casually and indiscriminately had long allowed him to freely use the terms when he really meant them without anyone being wiser.

Likewise it did not occur to Kyrios that his boast could be construed as an insult. It was a mere statement of fact that aside from deer, most of his targets were quite a bit smaller than a canine, consisting mainly of rabbits, raccoons, groundfowl, and random, unfortunate, inanimate objects that attracted his attention. Perhaps this was a perspective that would give away the fact that he was truly a mere hunter and not grizzled soldier. He had fired on canines before, but he had never aimed to kill. Not yet.

"If I were shooting at you, I wouldn't have come down, and I wouldn't miss twice," he laughed. "But then we couldn't be having a conversation, and I'd much rather a conversation." If he'd killed the stranger, there would be retribution, though he supposed he'd have plenty of time to make a run for it, if he really wanted.

Kyrios approached the younger man casually, but his pace was cautious and he stopped a fair distance away, still in the shadow of the building. He eyed the carved design of the other's bow carefully, but there was no mistaking that it was the same one. It was too ornate and gaudy, he'd told Lokr once, but of course that was the whole point, maybe even more so than what bows were supposed to be for.

"It's been a long time since I've seen that bow," he said, smiling wistfully. "You've inherited, I suppose. Is Lokr still alive?"
One day.. one day I'll relearn how to read comprehensively c':
Remember your youth, in all that you do, the plank and the passion
Krios had the distinct feeling that he ought to have been more careful with the stranger in general, but struggled against the unassuming aura that radiated around him. It threw him off his game, a feat that had become more and more uncommon as he grew older. Things seemed less likely to shock or astound him, but the tawny man's mannerisms managed to do both simultaneously. Whoever he was, whatever he wanted, Krios was not at all sure if he wanted to know more or if he wanted to whip a pipe at his head.

He settled on caution because no one ever managed to be both threatening and unthreatening simultaneously without reason.

"I suppose so. I appreciate not sporting a new piercing," he said, somewhat more jovially than before. As much as he wanted to be completely stiff and guarded, it was hard to completely let go of his smartass mouth.

The stranger walked tentatively closer and Krios eyed his bow, arms, muscles, everything. His body tensed the moment his father's name casually slipped from the older man's mouth. It was not often that he had heard the Pentiti's name, especially outside of Salsola. His eyes shot up to the man's, grip tightening protectively on the dragonhead bow. Who was this man?

"I have. And I don't know, but he's no longer here." Krios narrowed his eyes at the coyote, more and more alarm bells going off in his head. Coyotes often meant Inferni and a coyote that knew his exiled and reviled father was even worse. "How do you know of him?" "And why do you know his bow?"
It was too easy for him to speak without thinking thoroughly. It was, perhaps, a defensive mechanism that allowed him to treat all others the same, regardless of what he truly felt. The stranger before him, like the child the other day, was obviously Salsolan, but Kyrios continued to act as if those facts didn't matter. His nerves and old rage were pushed back by habit. There was nothing in the world stronger than habit.

Lokr's son (for who else could it be?) continued to regard him suspiciously, but the coywolf could only find amusement in this. Kyrios was more a danger to himself than anyone else.

"He was a friend," he said easily, and this was the truth, once. "It's been a long time since I've been here, but I'm surprised to hear he's left. We were just yearlings then though, so maybe I shouldn't be." Kyrios kept his wistful tone, hoping to imply a far longer time than had truly passed, though that wasn't difficult. It certainly felt like lifetimes ago that he had called Lokr a friend. "You look just like him," he added.

This wasn't entirely true. Kyrios did not often try to remember such ghosts, but he was certain, at least, that Lokr had had more markings around his eyes. (He had loved them, though he had never said so.) Lokr's departure did not truly surprise him though. Who had stabbed him in the back? Kyrios didn't particularly care, but if they'd allowed him to escape with his life, then were they truly Salsolan? He could have laughed.

"My name is Kyrios Lykoi," he offered. "And you are?"
Remember your youth, in all that you do, the plank and the passion
How old was his father? How old was the man before him? Krios had to reevaluate his initial suspicions of the two of them being of a similar age.

The man before him looked younger than he had ever thought Lokr to be, but his father had been under the strain of leading a pack of barbed wire and venom brought to life. The coyote stranger did not seem to have that burden and had clearly not suffered nearly as much the Revlis man had. Either way, if the stranger and Lokr had been yearlings when they had known one another, it was a time before Krios himself had even been conceived.

Krios had nothing to offer up in terms of information. The stranger knew his father's real name rather than some alias. Did he know where Lokr had come from? Would he have care?

Lokr had been young once -- shocking a thought as it was for an offspring to ponder -- so it made sense that there may have been mistakes made in his youth. Or was it just a warning sign they could all have seen before Lokr abandoned Salsola for parts unknown and a woman whose love was more valuable than a crown?

Lykoi. Krios felt his mouth go dry. Lykoi and a coyote, which meant Inferni. He had planned to give a false name from the start, but it refused to slip past his tongue. "Lykoi? So, you were from Inferni?" He tried to piece together what he felt, what he thought, and what the consequences of the moment would be.

He swallowed the false golden name and said with a shake of his head, "I'm Krios Revlis." There was no point in hiding his identity to a man who knew his father, knew the bow in his hand, and had placed exactly who he was so quickly.

"Do you know where Lokr came from?" A sudden need to know more bloomed in his chest. He knew so little about who Lokr really was beyond the teacher and unknown father he had always painted him as.
Truthfully, Kyrios had never known much about Lokr's history, his circumstances, or his pack, and of what he did know, very little of it had come from the man himself. As friends, their attentions had been focused elsewhere: on targets, on skill, on competition, on boasting, on jest, on pointless conjecture.

He could not remember anymore, whether or how he'd learned of the Salsolan's heritage or destiny during that time. But even if he had known then, Kyrios was unlikely to have taken it seriously, anyway, because he had never made any assumptions about his own claim to Inferni's crown.

But Inferni was different. He just hadn't realised, then.

And they had drifted apart long before war came. Even during the prior conflict, when they had been allies, Kyrios had not seen much of Lokr. The other man had become important by then, and Kyrios had not.

Maybe Lokr's, and Salsola's, treachery shouldn't have been such a surprise to him, in the end. Maybe it was only all of his unresolved feelings. Kyrios smiled to spite himself.

"Sure," he said of Inferni. "I was born there. I suppose I'll pass by again soon enough."

What would it have been like if he had decided to look for Maeriia after all? If truly he had left when he still considered Lokr a friend? And if he was to return now for the first time since then, with a five or six year gap, rather than a three year one, to learn that his clan was gone? Would it be up to this Krios to tell him?

He cocked his head slightly. "Though there are Lykois in Salsola, as well, I believe?" It was too easy to feign ignorance. It was comfortable and safe to pretend he didn't know. The old rage felt distant, for as long as he could halfway convince himself of his own charade.

"Krios," he echoed with a small laugh. "Well met. Not a name I'm likely to forget." It was a peculiar coincidence, because he did not doubt that Lokr had not named this son. With a strange certainty, Kyrios felt that Lokr was unlikely to have thought of him in long, long years. How he wished he could say the same.

"Came from?" For this, Kyrios's uncertainty was real, at least. "He was born in Salsola, wasn't he?"

Remember your youth, in all that you do, the plank and the passion
Krios grimaced a little at the notion the man might not have known Inferni had been gone -- truly gone -- for well over two years. It had been gone for half of his lifetime at that moment, a fading memory and footnote to the story of his life. It had been a more exciting time, sure, but it was simply no longer part of the tale. Did Kyrios know?

His eyes narrowed and he sharply focused on the man's face when the Thistle Kingdom's name came so casually forth like nothing at all. So, Kyrios knew exactly where Lokr had come from and that meant he knew of Salsola itself. If he was truly as old as he said he was, he would have known of the war between Salsola and Inferni. Surely, he would know. Unless he hadn't been around at the time as so many young folk liked to venture away from home.

"I.. believe so, yes." He knew of a handful but he was not one to let such information go easily. Plus, the highest ranking Lykois had other names or were no longer even part of the Thistle Kingdom. Helena came to mind, as did Till, but Krios did not care to share.

Krios managed a slight laugh. Their names were similar, shockingly so. He had to wonder how they were spelled since the similarity was so great. Was it a "k" or a "c"? "I" or "Y"? Amusing, but he doubted very much his name had come from knowing Kyrios. His mother had not likely known the man and Lokr had never had a part in most of his upbringing beyond archery and combat lessons. "I'm sure people have called me your name before, probably when drunk," he said, joking and lighter all for a brief moment.

But the topic of Lokr never left everything light and airy for long. Krios frowned, looked down, and then back up. "He was. I just didn't think you would have a positive memory of him since you came from Inferni." He paused, brow furrowed. He had to know. He had to ask. "You know that Inferni and Salsola went to war and that Inferni has been gone over two years, right?"
Inferni was eternal in his heart, of course, and maybe that it was why it was so easy to act the part of a smiling fool, none wiser from his long and distant travels. His face betrayed nothing because it had been too long since he had truly acknowledged the loss and his muscles knew nothing except that familiar, comfortable visage. He had been pretending this whole time, telling himself the story he preferred to believe, that when he came home at last, things would be better than when he'd left.

But Kyrios had yet spoken any lies out loud, and it seemed as if Lokr's son hadn't either. This surprised him more than anything, but he supposed it would be hard for him to, at least until he said what Kyrios wouldn't.

It might have been different, if they had still been friends then. It might have been different, if Kyrios had seen Lokr in the act, or met him in battle. It might have been different, if it weren't true that nearly all of his memories of the once king were still positive.

The coywolf did not know how to react to truth he already knew, and so the default smile remained, a mad man's only defense. "Inferni's not gone," he said matter-of-factly, though these words had not been planned. "Salsola musn't rest on its laurels too comfortably."

Oh, had he meant to make such a threat? His tone remained entirely conversational though, without a hint of vengeance or malice. Perhaps Krios really would think he was mad, and maybe he wouldn't be wrong. Kyrios wasn't quite sure anymore himself.
Remember your youth, in all that you do, the plank and the passion
A Krios of two years past would have reacted sharply and with great zeal. A Krios of two years past would have mocked the man for his foolishness and unwillingness to accept reality. A Krios of two years past would have seen a man who was too cocksure and blind to know truth.

Krios, as he was at that moment, was not the Krios of two years past. The son of Lokr felt nothing but a sad sort of pity for Kyrios. He knew that Inferni had raised proud, loyal sons and daughters. The Lykois had been the backbone of the clan and it made sense that the Lykoi man before him was as much part of that valiant tradition as the rest. Lykois had spread from the clan, sure, but that did not mean that so many remained tied to the coyote clan.

It was a faulty connection that ought to have begun to fade with the pack's disbandment. Maybe blood was far stronger than secret words muttered behind false smiles. Salsola certainly taught that to every child born within its thorny bosom.

"I know that the clan moved to the northeast after.. everything. But I haven't heard anything new about them since then." He did not deny the man's claims, merely trailing off the vague sentiment away from the concrete facts.

Krios paused and clenched his fist tighter on the bow. As much as he thought the man mad - perhaps justifiably so if the rumors of the distilled Lykoi blood were true - he could not let his father's childhood friend leave without some kernel of truth. "Lokr began the war with Inferni and abandoned Salsola anyway," he said softly, still as conflicted as he had been then. Lokr had been his father in blood but hardly a father in truth.

He did not know if he owed him any loyalty or not.
That the Salsolan did not react with any obvious disdain or mockery surprised Kyrios as much as his general truthfulness did, but this only fed the older man's latent sense of anxiety and uncertainty. He suspected there must be some trickery at play, but he couldn't see what it could be. He did not consider at all that the other might feel pity, if only because he did not often think to pity himself. Everything was fine. His home was gone and his family was scattered, but this had been true a long time, and they were immortal for as long as Kyrios lived to remember them. Maybe.

Someone else had mentioned that Inferni had moved, to its ancestral territories, perhaps. He didn't remember in that moment who had mentioned it, but he doubted, at least, that Krios didn't know anything new. He knew that the clan had fallen apart after that. He'd already said so. He probably knew, too, that some remnants had created the Gang, and that others drifted, still. These ashes were obviously unimportant to them though. They were no threat to the Kingdom.

His ears swept forward at word of Lokr's abandonment, but Kyrios found that he didn't really care.

Whether the man had betrayed his crown and whether his kingdom had burned his throne didn't matter. The treachery of a treacherous society did not concern him. Knowing that Lokr was gone was enough. Knowing that he would not be able to put an arrow through his heart was enough.

"Who leads Salsola now?" he wondered, though he doubted he'd be answered. "You?" Probably not. Krios did not seem cruel enough.
Remember your youth, in all that you do, the plank and the passion
Kyrios gave no answer or rebuttal to the claims that Krios made. He was either choosing to ignore the thoughts or he had nothing to say. Was he truly in denial about the clan's disappearing act? Surely he understood exactly what it had meant and what had happened to him. But Kyrios was a Lykoi, a family with so many branches it was hard to know exactly which had come from where first. Maybe his stake in the clan had been far less than others in his bloodline. Krios often wished he had far less of a stake in Salsola and could justify the same flight his sister had taken to freedom.

He gave a loud laugh, dry as desert wind. "No, thankfully not," he said with a shake of his head. The thought of leading or rising to the top had certainly crossed his mind now and again, specially when he was younger and blinded with ambition. "Lokr's daughter leads Salsola." It was a simple enough answer and he did not dare speak her name, at least not yet. He still plenty of real fear over Elphaba's capabilities and moods, even if the steady ticking of time softened it.

But Krios didn't want to talk about his half-sister. He didn't want to think about all her actions and how she had stuck her venomous fangs right into everybody's business for the sake of her own position. Elphaba was his blood, sadly, and he still had to respect the laws of Salsola as best as he could.

"Are you looking for something out here? I can't imagine there's anything of value to look for, anyway," he asked with a shrug, knowing the land around Salsola all too well; it was his job, after all.
In some way, it felt like the more he learned about Salsola, the less he cared. Why had he even asked? Whoever led Salsola surely had the same sort of dark influence and control over her pack as her forebearers. He couldn't really decipher what sort of feeling Krios had towards his sister, but it was surely some measure of reverence and loyalty. He hadn't said her name; was that out of secrecy or fear?

Kyrios shrugged. "Targets for practice," he said. "I was looking for a 'Biff's Bar', I think? But I assume they've moved on." He let his smile lapse briefly into a toothy grin. "I don't suppose Salsola liked their proximity."

He always found it difficult to assess the truth of his own motivations, anyway. Had he really wanted to find the bar? Who did he hope to find there? His nephew, maybe, but he had avoided his other nephews by way of not trying very hard to find them. And so it was again the case here. He didn't try very hard. Did he even know how to?

"You don't seem like you belong in Salsola, by the way," he asserted decidedly. "Do you like it there?"
Remember your youth, in all that you do, the plank and the passion
Krios had to shrug. "Actually, a lot of us liked Biff's. I think they were just looking to move on more so than anything else." Salsolans had frequented the bar quite often, probably because of the proximity. He had gone often, even after he had promised Kamari to stop drinking. It had been the source of great trades and information, more than enough to provide amusement when dry.

He realized, though, that there was something more important about Biff's absence; the rise of the other drinking den. Did Kyrios know about that place, yet? Surely not, if he hadn't gone to the old Inferni territory yet. He ought to be warned.

But the questioning observation made him pause. Krios had often wondered about how much he belonged in Salsola. Those thoughts had ebbed and faded with time as his certainty of belonging rose. "Maybe I do, maybe I don't. Family's kind of a strong tie." Kyrios knew nothing about the Revlis offspring left in Salsola and certainly could not have known that Krios had no one left but Kamari. His sister had fled the confines of Salsola's culture before it choked the goodness out of her, but he had been trapped long before she had even been born.

Heartless a people as they could be, Krios felt the need to at least warn the Lykoi man. "Speaking of Biff's, there's a new.. uh, place, where Inferni used to be. Just don't be too surprised they're there. They took over the schoolhouse." That was helping, right?
lol sorry this is all over the place; figured we can wrap this up though. maybe they will meet again! 8D

If Salsolans liked secrets and lies, then perhaps they thought that seedy bars filled with keen ears and loose tongues were good places to spread false rumors or to gather information. Kyrios had doubts that most patrons would remember enough to share what they learned later, or that the "confessions" fished out of drunkards in such places were not also lies themselves, or otherwise embellished and doctored by arrogance and pride. There was quality and there was quantity, and the coywolf had never thought that taverns had much of the former.

The barkeeps were generally the most reliable, but also the most suspicious and the most tired. Maybe that was why this "Biff" had left -- he tired of Salsolans drilling him for information.

He very nearly frowned when the younger male mentioned the schoolhouse. He hated that a Salsolan knew the territory well enough to place it, but they had had years to get familiar, with no one defending those borders any longer. Still, it was helpful to know that there was another tavern-like establishment there, even if Kyrios definitely hated the idea of strangers convening on his childhood home.

"You're entirely too forthright for a Salsolan," he said with a laugh. Of course, he considered that Krios could be lying, but it didn't feel like he was, and there was nothing for him to gain from lying, either. Kyrios was a homeless vagrant who knew both too much and too little; what advantage was there to be had here? It seemed more likely that the Salsolan was a patron, what with Biff's Bar being apparently well-liked and no longer in service. "Inferni isn't gone, as I said."

Maybe there were remnants in the schoolhouse; maybe not. Maybe Jethro and his family would be there, or other people he used to know. Somehow though, the idea was not as comforting as he might have hoped. Infernians wouldn't reveal themselves as such to Salsolan patrons, or else they had already forgotten the past. Was family important? Was pack allegience important? Those were both easy claims to make, but much harder to prove. Very few people's actions demonstrated that as the truth. Kyrios was no better.

"Family's a strong tie, huh?" He paused a moment to consider, but choose to continue. "Sounds like an excuse," he said. "You aren't saying you like it there, just that you're obligated to be there. Family didn't stop Lokr from abandoning Salsola; you said that yourself. And he was king. You aren't. What really keeps you there? Fear?"

Blue eyes turned away, glancing towards his horse. "Family didn't keep me from leaving either." He regretted that, but maybe that was obligation, too. Guilt.

Inferni wasn't gone, and the more Kyrios said this out loud, the more he thought he believed it, but Kyrios wasn't sure what Inferni was anymore, either. It wasn't home. It wasn't family. It wasn't a place. Memories didn't vanish, but maybe it was only that, after all.

He laughed again and turned back to the other man briefly. "Maybe you're just striving to be a good person who doesn't abandon things or people," he said. "But that definitely means you don't belong in Salsola."

With this conclusion, Kyrios waved to Lokr's son and started towards his horse. "It was good to meet you, Krios," he called without turning around.
If Kyrios isn't dying anytime soon, they totally will 8> Feel free to archive when you've read this!
Remember your youth, in all that you do, the plank and the passion
Kyrios didn't seem to know that his friend's son had been part of the forces that struck at Inferni during their war, which suited Krios just fine. He felt as though there was a needle-fine line that he walked with the truth, especially since madness was not just part of the Revlis line. Plenty of rumors and tales about instability in the Lykoi blood had found their way to him. Salsola had been born of diluted Lykoi blood, after all. Was it really bloodlines that heralded insanity or was it the place in which they lived that made them all a little mad?

"The territory claim is," he amended, almost apologetically. The spirit of Inferni was not gone – essentially the whole point that Kyrios made. At least the tangible, physical presence was gone, but there was no point in trying to clarify and correct at every turn. Kyrios was stubborn enough to keep correcting him and Krios was not made of infinite patience to counter with clarifications.

Family. Familia Fortis Elegit. These were the word that Elphaba loved to end all her announcements and declarations, as though sealing in her vile choices with the stamp of divine approval. Those words meant nothing to Krios, not when family as a concept was so broken and shattered for him.

He smiled sadly, though. "Family took Lokr away. He chose one family over the other." It seemed so simple to say when it had brought them so much miserable pain. Why would the family that was full of poison and thorns appeal to the man with the chance to breathe fresh life somewhere else with family that would not salt the very earth he stood on? Krios could not blame Lokr for choosing; the Striker knew who he would have chosen in the same place. But he wasn't Lokr and Kamari did not ask him to leave. They were bound together and trapped within the thistles more firmly than the Pentiti ever had been.

"I hope you find your Inferni," he called back to the man as Kyrios walked away. Krios meant it, too, even if he didn't know what Inferni was to the stranger without the physical manifestation of it to connect to. He could only turn himself to home via a different street, unable to put the conversation completely out of his mind.

Who else had Lokr been outside of Salsola?

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