[AW] mountain view
Quote:Check out some of Caledonia’s highland territory with a friend — have you ever visited the cliffs of the Mordotir before?

In the mountains Iomair felt a connection to Dúr. When he wanted to fell close to his family he disappeared into the hillside, hiking until he rose above the cloud line to look out over the sprawling territory beneath him. Soon it would be too dangerous to traverse such high ground, and so as the leaves began to change, he spent more and more time scouting out the areas of the pack that would become off limits as winter clutched them tight.

For some reason he had dreamt of his sister, Vinitharya. She had sung to him and offered a place for him at her table – all while fire burned all around them. He didn’t understand what any of it meant, but it had sent him on a hike up through the low lands in an effort to perch in the shadow of the Mordotir. The mountains were a good place to contemplate, and in the muffled silence of the stones and underbrush he wondered what the winter would bring.

The mountains hung behind him now, and he settled on a large flat space to watch the sun. Further afield he could make out the glittering sea, and below that the dark specs that made up the City Square and the Bastion. It was all beautiful and pristine – he had chosen a good day to admire the view.


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bright clear mid-morning - Iomair went for a hike on the Steppes of Belfallas!
I claim this AW in the name of House Songthorn [+322]
Grass and stone intermingled underfoot as he made his way. This was not Ierian’s first time climbing, but as before required caution. In places such as these he would seldom hazard a journey in Optime. Instead, albeit sluggishly, he bounded on all fours – a massive Lupus form one could confuse for a Secui at first glance. Although he left his staff at home, it was not as though his pains fully disappeared with the shift. That, he thought with a degree of fatalism, was how he was to be now. But he would not let it bar him from the places offered by the Realm.

So it was that he ascended. His breath held, and he weathered the quiet murmur of a familiar ache. It would have him stop. He would, but only on his own terms.

With the morning sun shining at him, making him squint his eyes, his body seemed darker than the shadow it cast. The same sunlight silhouetted a figure. Someone who had reached the summit prior to him. The enormous Songthorn drew the air through his nostrils and hummed with recognition. “King Iomair.” He murmured, not moving, as though to let the King turn and see him, observe the approach at his pace. It was only following an acknowledgement that the wolf moved forward.

“Pray, I hope I do not detract from your contemplation.” Ierian spoke as he leveled with the man and sat by his side. He wasn’t too close, but rested calmly at the corner of Iomair’s vision. Seemingly the healer knew how to place himself so that the view from on high would remain unobstructed for the King. He did not ask what the other Soul was doing here. He called it contemplation, and in that saw plenty of reason for respect.

Not speaking further unless spoken to, the old wolf gazed ahead, taking in the sight of the Realm from the vantage point.
The clear air helped him forget about all that lay before him. Soon there would be decisions to be made, meetings to be arranged. He and Fennore needed to meet to discuss the changing of the season, and there were new projects that would inevitably be required in order to assure that they were ready.

He hadn’t expected for anyone to come and find him up in the mountains, but eventually he caught sight of Ierian and held up a hand to wave him down. The large Songthorn was easily distinguishable amidst the sparse trees and patchy grass – some areas had turn a resplendent green due to the fall rains, but soon the frost would come to turn it all brown.

”Ierian!” He called, ”I didn’t think I would see anyone up here.”

Many were still taking efforts to stock their pantries or to patrol the territory. Their hunting would change as animals began to migrate and travelling would prove more difficult at the North closed in storm by snowy storm.

"Contemplation is always better done in pairs, I think." He gestured for the behemonth to come alongside him, "Please, join me. We can take in the view together."

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ooc [+208]
“The Realm has much to admire. One can hardly blame a Soul for venturing towards favorable vantage points.” Ierian mused with what passed for a smile on the muzzle of a giant wolf in his quadruped form. Given room to join the King, he would hardly squander the invitation and kept his solemn place by the monarch’s side. At first he wouldn’t speak. In silence with light brightening the colors of the land below, time seemed to slow to a trickle like viscous sap.

Meditation was not an unknown option for a pastime. After all, despite the gift of speech, one would often benefit from stretches of silence. To stalk prey, to travel safely and discreetly, to listen to the mind, were one not afraid to heed all that it may have had to say. Increasingly, Ierian felt more and more at ease with his, though it was now seeded with so much more. New sights, new concepts, perhaps even a destiny unlike any he could have predicted.

“It’s beautiful.” The healer spoke finally, eyes gazing ahead of them, quiet tone seeming to fit right in with the subtle ambiance of their surroundings. “What thoughts visit you here, where you scarcely expect to see any other Soul, Iomair?”
”I came up here to think about my family.” It was a sentence that felt strange even as he said it. His family had broken long before the war. He tried not to think of his siblings or the problems that they had faced; his parents wound around their daughter so tightly that it had been difficult for them to see anything else.

Vinitharya had strangled them; her disease had kept them from experiencing their other children.

Ciryandil had disappeared into himself in the wake of her death. Iomair could still feel the resentment that lingered just out of sight – a shadow in the curve of his heart. Iomair couldn’t help the subtle frown that flickered across his features, ”I’ve always thought of… Well, it’s all complicated, isn’t it?” He chuckled and gave his head a shake.

”Are all families like that?” He hummed, ”Sometimes I think about the future – my future – and I wonder at how much longer I have left to find someone.”

A deep sigh erupted from between his lips.

He turned to Ierian and canted his head, ”Do you ever mull over such things?"

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ooc [+424]
“Family…?” Ierian drew out slowly, and though his tone was questioning, he wasn’t all that bewildered by the King’s statement. Admittedly, he has not quite studied the royal family tree, whether the branches or the fruits they bore. Iomair and his now former wife, Vodeva, were close enough at hand to have awareness of them.

The monarch elaborated soon, and Ierian thought patiently, even as his own thoughts resonated. Some spectral, fleeting notions reached after Iomair’s words, attempted to anchor there, to latch on and with this leverage drag the healer’s mind elsewhere. Before, he would have marched there himself.

Finding someone. Securing a future. The complications of families. Did he ever mull over such things?

“Hmmm…” Ierian’s eyes drifted closed as though studying some unseen ledger. Iomair will not have been entirely in the dark. After all, he too was now the Songthorns’ Howlbound. He buried the effigy of the brothers’ tribe and he sang with them. He would know Ierian and Bellad’s losses. Of course, he would also know his own.

“Often.” Ierian began with a brief remark, but soon, as he was wont to do, mused in a manner more elaborate. “When I came here. When I woke and found myself walking again. For a time there was naught I could think of but the fallen. My duty to them, I thought, was penance… and I cannot say I have completely abandoned the idea of it.”

The old wolf smiled a wistful smile. “Now it is too late, and I will have never done enough to save them…” His eyes opened, his glance turned heavy and aimed at the space opening before them. He watched the land swell with greater hues of light yet. “And yet… I am with Bellad. With pack. With Howlbound kin. Perhaps even… family.”

“Living a life in mourning had felt right. Felt just. But… Perhaps I was wrong to think that it was the only. It could be that it is not the sole thing to ensue from survival.” Though his shoulders bore the many losses written in the burns across his muscled frame, the more he spoke, the more hopeful was his low gentle voice.

“Ah… I know not if that is the response you anticipated or wished for, o King. If you are bothered by some complications in particular, then perhaps a more pointed question would lead to a more pointed answer. And, indeed, less ramblings from this humble healer.” In closing, a soft chuckle left his throat, giving Iomair room to carry on.

”I understand.” He sighed softly, ”It is hard not to think of the fallen.” He had tried his best to blot out the grislier parts of the war. It had taken its toll on every member of his family. Even though Solas and Indis had not been present for the war they had returned to find their parents changed – the relationships between them pulled taught to the point of strain.

Iomair spent most of his lonely nights pouring over these threads, wondering how it was they had come to pass over one another before being broken and cast aside.

Indis was gone now. Vodeva was a new woman; dedicated to old gods that had always meant more to her than he had. He blew air through his nose and he listened to Ierian, and he wondered if the man had any children wandering out in the great beyond.

”Penance is hard. I wonder sometimes if my life would have been different had I made different choices – but doesn’t everyone feel that way?”

He sighed, ”You are right. There is more to life than mourning. There are things to be grateful for, friendships to be forged.” He grinned as if to indicate he meant their blossoming friendship, ”An old man’s musings are never very particular I am afraid.”

He tapped his chest, "How did you change how you felt?"

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ooc [+311]
Ierian’s smile was a bittersweet thing. But that the expression remained in the range of those available to his scarred face was perhaps a slight relief. “Time…” He suggested at first, before laughing softly, shaking his head at his own theory. No, this answer was disingenuous and hasty. “No, not just that. Not just waiting out for change… Perhaps, change finds its towards us if we allow it. Though in what way it would be carried we do not always know.”

His words were drawn out somewhat, and accompanied by an instance or more of introspection. Mind’s eye turned towards those who have had an effect on him. And towards their actions that found purchase and made him budge. Saga and her children. Athalie and her studies. His brother, growing gradually past a self-sabotaging obsession. Perhaps they’d been less different in their missteps than he had thought.

Some part of him, the one that kept forgetting that the haughty would-be Elder had been all but burned away, suggested that admitting this help would be an embarrassment. He practiced not listening to it and speaking out against it.

“I was fortunate in not being alone. Time played part in it but, were it not spent in company, I know not where my mind would have dwelt. I heard of sages who found solace and great wisdom in solitude…” Another laugh. Slightly more humor to it this time as he turned his head to face the King. “I suppose neither one of us is that wise.” Hopefully Iomair’s sense of irony would soften the blow of such a remark sufficiently. 

“The past will not be undone.” He added, with some of the subtle mirth draining out of his voice. “But, were we to descend from this cliff, I believe we would find our people waiting below. That is now. And that is well.”

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