[P] [LCSS] crossroads
[Image: pretty-flowers-hi.png]Somewhere amidst all the merrymaking and the light, plucky music capturing her attention, Fennore caught sight of a ghost.

It had been some time since she last saw the Fontaine woman — their visits had grown scarce in the past seasons for one reason or another. They both had their lives to live, after all, and Fennore's had certainly progressed by leaps and bounds in the time they had grown apart. Del Cenere, as well, seemed to have undergone significant change.

How long had it been? A year? Maybe more? So many things were different now, she realized.

Lyssa, too, seemed different, even from afar. The wolfess couldn't quite place it, but the coyote woman looked... off, somehow. Curiously, she drew closer, the light of the fire dying down as she traveled to the outskirts of the revelry. Few others were around them, a few splinter groups that talked quietly amongst themselves and partook in the food and drink of the evening; but Lyssa was alone.

Fennore straightened the front of her dress before lightly clearing her throat, her hands clasped delicately in front of her.

"Lyssa Fontaine?" She spoke tentatively, as if to avoid spooking the other female, and an idle hand tucked strands of her hair over her shoulder. Her pale nose twitched at the scent of booze, but she smiled earnestly at the Diplomat nevertheless.

"I scarcely recognized you, friend."
takes place the night of the bonfire, August 23rd (Monday)!

sig by Despi

The festivities had begun and Lyssa felt just as empty as ever. Normally the young woman would have jumped for joy to celebrate, meet new people, and have a chance to dress up. But now… Now nothing seemed to make her happy. The golden woman sucked back her drink as she listened to the bonfire happening behind her. There was music in the air and the sounds of lots of happy luprici singing, laughing and dancing. She ignored them, instead choosing to focus on starting out at the dark sky above her.

A beautifully familiar voice called out her name behind her. Golden eyes closed a moment, imagining her friend’s face before she looked at it. She was afraid to see how much the New Caledonian had changed, and frankly, she was afraid of the change her friend would see within her. Lyssa turned, a sad smile on her face. “Fennore, so good to see you again.”

How long had it been since she’d last seen her fire-haired friend? Since she could scarcely remember, that meant it had been far too long. The woman looked beautiful as always, wearing a fresh dress with hair done up neatly. She looked the same, but maybe a touch older. And happier. Her mood seemed a lot more cheery despite her concerned face.

“Come, sit down,” she offered, patting a spot beside her. “It has been a while, hasn’t it? So much has happened…” She drifted off a moment, her head surrounded in a slight fog from the booze. “But I’m sure the same could be said for you! Please, catch me up on what has been happening in your life.” She smiled warmly at her friend, though in the dark it was hard to tell if the smile reached all the way to her eyes.
[Image: NU9sCyZ.png]
[Image: pretty-flowers-hi.png]Lyssa's words — ones feigning normalcy, Fennore suspected — did not match the forlorn smile on her face, though it would seemed her appearance had at least alleviated whatever ill feelings she had been attempting to ward away with her boozy drink. "It has been entirely too long," she amended, a light correction, before she gathered her skirts into her hands and lowered herself to the ground next to the coyote.

She acutely ignored the coarseness of the sand, knowing it would annoy her to no end trying to dislodge each and every grain from her pelt when the night was over.

"I had intended to visit your pack much sooner than this, but, alas..." Her words trailed off, and she gestured loosely with her hand as she spoke.

"Our previous subleader disappeared last summer. I stepped up to take on many of his duties for myself, and the High King and I restructured many things in the Realm — they call me Isiltári, now. 'Queen of the Moon.'"

Though she didn't boast, it was clear she was proud of this turn of events, as confusing as those first days had been in the Lord-Regent's absence. She had persevered and come out stronger because of it. They all had.

"I also... was wed to my mate, Bellad. And we've two children now, a son and a daughter." Fennore stifled a laugh, shaking her head.

"It seems so strange, that so much could happen in just one year." Her bright eyes looked to Lyssa again as she cleared her throat, switching gears,

"But enough about me; how have you been? Are you well? What has kept you?"

The golden woman was happy to see her friend again, but an odd feeling flooded through her. Although the fiery woman sat right beside her, it was if the woman was a million miles away. With each accomplishment, her friend shared, the larger the gap grew inside Lyssa’s heart. Of course, she was happy for Fennore… but she was a Queen now? And was married with two kids? The feeling burrowed deep within her, eating at a part of her she did not know existed until now. Fennore was living the life that Lyssa had dreamed of, while she laid there in the dust; Physically and metaphorically.

“I’m so happy for you! That all sounds… wonderful.” She tried her best to smile, but could already feel the corners of her mouth turning down. “Yes, I am well,” the Diplomat started, trying to come up with something interesting to say, “I have been very busy, you know, traveling to Palisade and Bete Noire… I haven’t really had time for much else.” Again she tried to smile, but this time ended up failing.

It had been over a year and that was all she had to share? Her travels in the last few months? Of course, she didn’t want to talk about the fall and winter seasons. They had been tough on everyone, but those had been the events that had triggered her fall. Lyssa pulled a flask from her bag, taking a big swig. The liquid burned in that familiar way, but it was not enough to stop the pounding in her head. “Want a taste? It’s John’s new recipe.” She held out her flask to her friend, reminded of the first time they had met. She smiled earnestly then, reminded of the times they had spoken honestly with one another.

“I lied, I am not doing well… But I’m afraid I don't know where to start.” Her voice was soft now, barely louder than a whisper. Partly she hoped that her friend wouldn’t be able to hear her over the chatter of the celebration around her, while the other part wished her dear Fennore would take this giant weight off her chest.
[Image: NU9sCyZ.png]
[Image: pretty-flowers-hi.png]A chasm, deep and unavoidable, formed between them with each word she spoke.

It had not been Fennore's intention to outshine Lyssa, much less rub any of this in her face — and surely the coyote didn't think this of her, but it was clear that something was wrong. The Fontaine's smile didn't quite reach her eyes, echoing a sadness that seemed so ill-fitting for her ordinarily sunny exterior.

The Isiltári listened dutifully, attentively, when she came up with an unsatisfying answer, but she did not pry, instead letting her narrative unravel on its own.

She chuckled at the offer, thought not quite out of humor. The way Lyssa drank rang with a familiarity that was more intimate than an occasional taste here and there. "I will try it, though I am more partial to wine, I'm afraid." Still, she relieved her of the flask for nary a moment, just long enough to get a sip of the moonshine and let it scorch her throat all the way down.

New recipe or not, whiskey was still not a welcomed taste, but Fennore quickly chased down her displeasure by clearing her throat and covertly licking away the taste.

Eventually, the truth did surface, but it was said so softly that the wolfess wasn't sure she had heard it correctly.

"Start from the beginning, then," she prompted gently, letting her hands settle in her lap as the party roared on around them.

"Did something happen?"

sig by Despi

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