[AW+] A circle to sing them to sleep
Any New Caledonian familiar with the Songthorns can be assumed to have learned of the funeral. Both brothers are present and performing the rites. As of this opening post, those who attend can either look from a distance, listen, or join the circle and howl. The latter has major spiritual implications, so please consider whether either of the Songthorn brothers matters that much to your character on a personal level!
It was the day of a great work long awaited. The setting sun shone through the rustling canopy of young leaves above. Many hours, many days were spent in preparation after the younger Songthorn made his offer to the elder. And from that day, both found the time to contribute, as they were meant to – none other were left to perform the task after all. The place they picked was quiet, removed from the constructs of the Gone which New Caledonians called home, though still within the boundaries of the pack’s lands. Green dominated the surroundings, though the area they chose was a clearing where the sun-warmed soil was pliable, willing to accommodate an entire tribe.

With the Songthorns’ combined efforts the place had been growing new markers over days. Bellad and Ierian alike, at times assisted, brought round boney white and gray rocks and laid them out in patterns. The clearing slowly grew into a stone garden that from a bird’s eye view presented a map of the stars the way the fallen tribe had known them. Oldenseal, Asmin, Foxglove and other heroes of the tribe, some who gave names to the families – Seedtale, Willowcall, Rootseek, all laid out in dotted lines of stone. In the middle was the spot reserved for the mound, not yet covered.

Those more critical of canon and tradition would perhaps have called their rites a farce. But the Songthorns, finally, were past excuses or reasons to neither let the dead rest nor the living move on. Many things meant for this funeral to be a proper affair were missing, most of them beyond recovery. The last two wolves from the Slave Lake tribe could only do their best. As ordained, they each toiled in every one of their forms – one for each stage of the burial.

In Roaming Paw they dug up the hole, digging it deep, deeper than the sole object they would bury in place of corpses with their rictus grins. It still needed to be deep enough, for they had much to lay to rest.

In Weighted Claw they dragged a primitive palanquin of branches. They still felt heavy even without their sordid cargo, without bodies piled upon them. Instead in their place rested but a single bark-shielded scroll.

In Deft Hand they dirtied their palms in the soil in which they had deposited the list of names. Onlookers would see them both shift as one, place the effigy gingerly into the grave, then start covering it with dirt, burying it.

Every now and then, Bellad would look up at Ierian. He saw his older brother work the grave with great focus. Occasionally the elder too would look up. Then their eyes would meet, silent looks passing between the two siblings with their glances each shaded a slightly different shade of orange. One would nod at the other. One, as ever, would share strength with the other. One would pardon the tears of the other.

They had audience and they knew it. They accepted it. From the King and the Isiltári, to friends among the Lords, the Distinguished, the Commoners, members of the pack were made aware of the Songthorns’ intentions, whatever their reactions might have been. With the scroll buried, the two Songthorns got up to their feet. They stood in front of their tribe’s grave, surrounded by the stony constellations, and looked at each other.

There was meant to be a living circle formed around the grave. That of survivors raising their voices up high in honor of the deceased and the Myriad. But they had only the two of them to work with. Both Songthorns had lamented the fact with some blend of embarrassment and bittersweet sorrow to those in whom they have confided when it came to the funeral. They could only do their best and let their duo be as sonorous a circle as they could.

Bellad was first to lift his head high towards the darkening skies, and let loose a howl. Then Ierian joined, a lower, but no less piercing note weaving itself together with his younger brother’s. If sound could have color, it would no doubt swirl up to the sky in ribbon-like coils. But with what they had to spare they stood up tall and sang their loss to the heavens. The clearing rang out with an emotional cadence of a tiny circle of two singing the funeral rites of the many who no longer remained.
[Image: pretty-flowers-hi.png]In time, she had understood the significance of that scroll. He labored and toiled over it incessantly, scrapping early copies with misspelled words and sprawled text and eventually coming to her for assistance. Fennore hadn't meant to intrude on something so personal, but she still helped where she could, correcting his prose and preparing something worthy to honor their memories.

She watched the funeral proceedings with a somber expression, her view of the brothers unobstructed as they carried out the rites. Each step was taken with such care, with reverence, with strong emotions that held sway over even her. Of course she had never met their tribe, and yet the way they were laid to rest told her all she needed to know.

Bellad's harrowing howl rung through the air, alone, before the elder Songthorn joined him. For a moment, their sad song reached to the heavens, their duet memorializing those they had lost.

Fennore was the first of the crowd to move. She scarcely even noticed herself approaching him, at first, as if her body moved and left her mind behind.

Her hand found his, joining their circle — as an outsider to their pain, at first blush, but she did not see it this way. The Songthorns were Caledonians, now, and they held the respect and new-found family that was afforded to all in the Realm. Deeper than that, she had shared in Bellad's pain before, heard his outpouring of conflictions and regrets, just as he had listened to hers.

The extend of their relationship was largely unknown to the pack, but she made her peace with it becoming public knowledge. Supporting him far outweighed that.

Waiting for a break in their song, she too lifted her head and began to howl, another voice to join their solemn chorus.

sig by Despi
OOC: Lemme know if I need to edit anything. :) | Spring Forth April 26: intimidate | WC: 317

Knowing what Arran knew of Bellad's past, he made sure that he was available for the funeral. His oldest children came with him, although he never explained why he was going beyond that he wanted to support a pack mate. That was normal enough for him that none of them questioned it. And Ierian, who his youngest viewed as another father; Arran was here to support him as well. He stood back at first with a few other pack mates as the brothers did what they needed to do.

The customs of other belief systems were always fascinating to Arran. In some cases, he would say that he enjoyed experiencing them, but it felt wrong to think that way of a funeral rite. Still, it came with a sense of peace that Arran found soothing, even though it was clearly layered in the heaviness of grief. He had always thought that funerals were for the living, a way for them to join together and, hopefully, begin to heal. When the Songthorns were finished with the first part and moved on to the next, Arran initially held himself back from joining them. Would it be strange to other pack members? Would they wonder why? He didn't want to break Bellad's confidence. And yet... he wanted to support them.

While he hesitated, Fennore did not. He was a little surprised, and then he was moving forward, too. His children stayed behind as Arran went. Their support would continue to be offered from afar. Arran wondered how many pack members were watching him now, although being in front of others like this was never something that intimidated him. His eyes briefly took in Fennore's hand holding Bellads, and then his gaze shifted, attempting to catch Bellad's to give him a meaningful look, following by a supportive one to Ierian. Then he waited for an opening and joined their song as well.
6/7 Grand Quest Threads Complete
player wiki ♦ sig by despi ♦ av by san ♦ character wiki
They had gathered quietly, called to the somber work of the Songthorns like birds called to the sea. So many of them had become more than peers – New Caledonia was full of every facet of Luperci life, and Iomair found it difficult to gaze upon his people without feeling deeply connected to them. The Songthorns had suffered a loss similar to the Caledonians and had worked to assure themselves respected members of the Realm.

Iomair stood with his arms gently crossed, his expression caught between nostalgic and morose. Death had never sat well for him. It haunted him when he allowed it to, but he made up for this with a work ethic that distracted him from the worst memories. Vinitharya had been buried in Old Caledonia long before the war, but the memory of his youngest sister hung like a veil over sections of his life. There were the soldiers too, blood spattered fighters who had dedicated themselves to the cause and lost their lives because of it.

The King felt his brows tense, his eyes glimmering with emotion as he coughed into his hand.

The brothers worked in unison; moving smoothly between forms as they tilled and broke apart the soil.

Their clan would lay here for as long as the Myriad let them. There would be peace, and already Iomair could feel himself being moved by the determination as they buried each names. They worked until the sky had begun to purple, and when it was done the small crowd stood in silence and was left to ponder questions too big to answer.

When the song rose it broke through the silence like a spring thaw through ice, dancing on the air in spirals of sound that called to Iomairs feral heart.

He stepped into the circle willingly after Arran and took the hands that were offered. When an appropriate gap allowed for him to join the medley he tipped his maw and sang lowly, eyes closed.

The King mourned a great many things, but he felt peace in the echo of their rising song.

(///) | NPCs: N/A
Saga did not mourn as the Songthorn's did. She still knew very little of what had truly happened to them, but she knew of their losses and she mourned for them more than anything. The heaviness in her had truthfully had little to do with the sorrow she felt for people she didn't know and never would, but the lead weight that found itself resolutely anchored to her heart had everything to do with the pain she saw etched on Ierian's face every time they met. The dappled woman could never tell whether it was physical or emotional anguish that creased his face, but she supposed it didn't matter, to the giant Songthorn they were both one and the same. His pain was her pain, and it unsettled her. Empathy had never been one of her virtues and she'd never made any effort for it to become one and his strange shared sorrow was as alien to her as a love that was not built on pure lust.

She attended this strange funeral with all the enthusiasm that it was possible to give to a funeral. Granted, she wouldn't have jeopardized the progress she had made with Ierian (again, for she had not forgotten her great misstep and the broken chair) by turning his invitation down even if she had had no interest in attending, thus it was an awkward, blended sense of sorrow and joy that she shepherded her flock towards the growing crowd. Saga had quarrelled with herself about whether it was entirely appropriate for Lossë and Meril to attend, but eventually, she decided that Ierian had had far too great of an influence on their young lives thus far to deny them the bond that came with events such as these.

As her children nestled in, the littlest pair finding their father in the crowd and Ramsey, Caspar, and Esyllt lingering towards the edges, Saga found Ierian's oaklike form amongst those gathered and joined his side with Evariste, her slight hand finding his all-encompassing and weather palm.
It seemed to Ingvildr that the other members of the pack were aware of the unsaid rules and social customs that dictated behaviour at such an event, but Ingvildr, young and full of energy for life, wasn’t certain of what to expect. She knew of death, in the practical sense, she could hunt and kill and regularly did so with her bow, and she knew that there were similarities in the death of a rabbit and the death of a luperci, but she also knew that there was something different about the death of a luperci.

She moved, slowly, cautiously, taking a place beside Saga’s older children, lingering at the edge of the circle, close enough to watch, surrounded in the whirl of noise as the group’s howls raised together and became one.

Inevitably her mind thought not of the Songthorn’s mourning but went to the unknown presence of her mother’s death. A mother she had no memory of. A sister she could not recall. Her family had been divided by death, but it was the consequence of death that had made its mark on Ingvildr: the early awareness that someone was missing from the picture, the sad looks passed between knowing adults, the compensation by her aunts, the inevitable witnessing of her father’s grief.

So as the Songthorns honoured their ancestors, Ingvildr thought about those of her own ancestors whom she would never know except by story and name.

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