[RO] [M] Gold, silver, or bronze hold no value here

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Specifically, this thread is marked mature because of: Injury.

I set aside the highlight reel - And leave my greatest failures on display with an asterisk - Worthy of love anyway

OOC: Vezda is POV - Dated 1st January - Word count: 2750

“It’s done.”

Vezda’s ears shifted to turn towards the quiet voice, his brow lifting in surprise as he hooked a finger into the book he was reading to look up at his father. Bora was sitting in his usual spot, but sitting straight rather than hunched forwards, the barest glimpse of a smile on his face as he looked down at the closed book in front of him. From his position Vezda couldn’t see the book, but given how his father had obsessed over one thing for the last two months, the boy could guess. He wanted to ignore the man, give him the same treatment he’d been giving the siblings this whole time, but instead Vezda stood up to walk over to the desk and look down at Borya.

Borya’s soft yellow eyes glanced up to the tall boy, still not making any comment on how his son had shifted just a day ago, and instead moved his good hand to brush across the book.

“E-everything Tlama t-told me. About h-her home… the stories.” He explained softly, the smile cleaned from his face like sand in the wind. Vezda looked at the leather bound book with weak interest, viewing it more as a vice keeping his father from acting like a parent than anything monumental. “It… it’s f-for you and Luna. S-so you don’t forget her.” Baby blue eyes looked quickly to Borya, soaking in his words for a moment with a muted gasp, before looking back at the book.

Vezda moved his large hand slowly forwards, brushing his father’s own hand and flinching back, as if forgetting for a moment that the man had a physical presence. His hand kept moving until it touched the book, slowly opening the first page to be hit immediately with a sketch of Tlama. His mother, a face Vezda had truly started to blur in his mind from the need to remove himself from the trauma. She looked so… warm and alive, even in monochrome sketch, it was like looking at his mother once more and chuckling as she raced him through forests to go and hunt.

“Vezda… c-come on a walk with me? I-I would… like to g-go out.” Borya added, getting Vezda’s attention once more. The man wasn’t smiling but… his eyes looked alive, Vez was making sure to look at them the most, just like Luna told him to. The book was nice… an effort Vezda could respect… but there was still a sour feeling in his stomach around his dad. Vezda couldn’t place whether it was anger or sadness, perhaps a dark mix of both, only able to see how much Borya hadn’t been there for them and not hoping for a day when he might come back.

But the boy wasn’t petty, certainly not enough to pass on his father’s offer, he was here to look after him after all.

So after collecting some furs to drape over his father, Vezda stood outside the library doors and sighed a long breath, watching it coalesce into clouds of mist. The doors creaked as Borya stepped out and closed them, blinking to clear his vision of the winter sunlight bouncing off snow, then looking to Vezda.

The pair walked mostly aimlessly; Vezda assumed Borya had a destination in mind given he was the one asking for a walk, so the boy just followed his father without thinking too much. They left Wolfville and headed up towards the coast, where steep cliffs roared with the sounds of waves crashing underneath them. The wind was bitter up here, but Vezda was nicely insulated by his coat and from carrying Borya most of the way up. Once at a good view, the boy carefully set his father down and took a moment to appreciate the view. Borya shuffled on his feet, clearly far weaker than he’d once been; as if sitting for months had made him as mobile as the furniture around him. Vezda gave him a short look of concern, before looking back at the Loch.

“A nice view.” Vezda mumbled. Winds blazed past them, Borya almost stumbling a little as if he had the stability of a twig, before the man squinted to look at the view himself.

“W-winter… it has come fast.” Borya commented quietly.

Vezda squinted a little. “Well it’s been here for a whole moon already.”

Wind whipped by again, tossing Borya’s long hair over his eyes, the man didn’t move to brush it away. “H-has it?” He muttered. Vezda huffed, clenching his jaw a little.

“Yes. Me and Luna got our Mentor already. You’ve not asked us about that.” The boy remarked. He was glancing across at his father, trying to see any glimmer of expression on the man’s face. But he was going cold again, as frigid cold as he’d been for months now.

“No.” Came the feather-light response.

“We’ve shifted too… Luna did so ages ago. I just carried you up here. Didn’t notice that either?”

No response this time, just a slight tremble to Borya’s lip. The thought of making someone sad once hit Vezda hard, but now things had built up too much. The boy felt too betrayed, too distant from his father to care. As distant as the man himself had become. Vezda’s jaw tightened enough to push against his young teeth, before finally the boy growled as he spoke again.

“So what have you done this whole time? Sit and write and completely ignore us!” Vez claimed, the volume of his voice prompting a flinch from his father. “Sure, now we have something to remember our mother, but what about you? I can’t remember the last time you actually spoke to me! Or Luna, who has tried so hard to make you feel better… you haven’t even thanked her for anything!” And Luna would hate him for this, for shouting and berating their father whilst he was still fragile but Vez couldn’t help it anymore. The heartache was killing him, the feeling of not being loved by his one remaining parent was too much, knowing Borya really and truly hadn’t noticed anything these last awful months made everything spill over. “So what does that make us to you, dad? Were we only important because of mum? Would you rather we just disappear too so you can go ahead and write a book about it? Books are easier after all, they don’t talk back or feel emotions, better than some useless kids.”

Wind pushed them again, Borya properly stumbling now from the hit of it, the timing almost as if the man was being knocked by his son’s words. Vezda didn’t care, why should he when Borya didn’t even ask if the boy was alright when they came back from the bear incident?

“We tried… so hard.” Vezda mumbled, tears building in his eyes. “To just grow up and deal with it. Take the responsibility of looking after you, not mourning mum… being the strong ones. But nothing we do seems to be good enough.” Vezda moved then, feet squelching in the soft earth underneath, aiming to move away so he didn’t burden his dad with the sight of tears.

He heard his name being called softly, the wind washing it away quickly, and huffed. Borya couldn’t even put the effort in to try and call him back properly. Footsteps eventually followed behind him, another call of his name. Still too quiet.

Winds charged passed once more, this time followed by the sound of sloshing earth and a rumble.


The scream cut out sharply, forced out from a voice that hadn’t properly spoken in months. Vezda spun around as fast as he could, watching the scene as if not truly there, seeing the earth under his father’s feet collapse like snow tipped from a shovel. Those harsh winds knocked Borya off balance, the man’s one good arm flailing around helplessly as the cliff decided to break apart and swallow him up. Vezda moved finally, shocked into motion and grabbing out with instinct and desperation. His hand grasped material and something bony underneath, before the boy stepped one foot too close to the collapsing earth and found himself sinking as well, closing his eyes to wait for the fall.

The impact on his chest winded Vezda, but it was nothing compared to the sounds of something snapping like a dead twig and the immediate, shrill cries of pain. Vezda was angled down, able to see the rocky shore below them and the waves ready to swallow, also able to see his father now dangling halfway off the cliff with his face taut in agony. In Vezda’s vice grip was Borya’s right arm, bony and brittle and now broken from the impact and pressure. A moment later was the wet sound of the clay-like earth that had previously been the ground they’d been standing on dropping into the sea below. Vezda took a heaving, panicked breath, finally peeling his eyes away from the sight of the deadly drop and his hanging father to glance up. He was in a similar spot to Borya; only rather than half dangling down the cliff, Vezda was halfway down the steep angle left from the collapsed earth and solid ground. Given the boy’s weight, he currently had them secure, but now Vezda was terrified of moving against the traitorous earth.

“D…dad.. Dad!” Vezda called down, now feeling the strain in his arm from keeping his father from falling, the cramps in his fingers from clenching around a bony arm and cloth. The man below him looked no better, probably hundreds of times worse. Vezda had witnessed what kind of pain Borya felt when someone merely bumped his bad arm. Right now, the dead limp was being held in a vice grip and yanked upwards with such force that Vezda certainly hadn’t forgotten the sound of snapping bone. It was agony no doubt, and Vezda winced as he saw how much pain was painted on his dad’s face.

“Can you… can you move? G-grab the side with your other arm.” Vezda suggested, huffing his breaths whilst so pressed against the ground. His other arm, free from holding onto his dad, dug into the muddy clay and earth left behind from the collapse, hoping to use it to pull back up.

Borya listened, despite showing no signs of it, and tried getting his working arm to grab at the mud as well. He pulled, Vezda did as well.

More earth and mud shifted, Vezda could see the crack form and was barely able to yell before another foot of earth began to drop from underneath. The edge of the cliff that supported half of Borya’s weight was then gone, the angle of the drop where Vezda’s front half rested became even more sheer. The boy had to launch his other arm down to grab at Borya’s dead hand before losing his grip entirely, committing to the hold in order to take on his father’s whole weight. Borya dropped only for a moment, before Vezda’s hold stopped him and he was swung into the vertical side of the cliff. The man used his legs to stop himself slamming into jagged rock, but Vezda could do nothing as his hands and wrists grated against stone. Something sharp cut deep into the boy’s wrist, cold stone slicing skin and fracturing bone, making him cry out.

But not let go. Vezda wouldn’t let go.

Both of them heaved for breaths, panting hard as they waited for any more collapses. A sign that the earth was truly going to swallow and spit them out.

But after a few minutes of aching muscles and excruciating pain… nothing happened.

Vezda swallowed, blinking past tears to look down at Borya, who looked pale and unmoving. Panic gripped the boy’s heart, and fueled him to flex his shoulders and back to try and pull his father back up. It didn’t go far, Vezda had no proper anchor to pull up from, only whatever bits of hard ground his feet were currently digging into. The slight shift made Borya move, glancing up through glossy eyes to watch his son. Vezda tried a few more times, groaning and sobbing as he tried to pull them up, losing strength with each attempt and leaving his arms shaking.

“Vez…” He rasped, the boy almost missing the call in his focus. “V-Vezda… stop. Y-you can stop.”

Vezda whimpered, chin slamming against the muck and clay. He pulled again.

“S-son… stop and l-let-”

“No!” Vezda barked, teeth bared, “I’m not letting go so shut up!”

He could see his father’s eyes clearly now, not covered by hair, or angled away. They looked sad, they looked like ghosts… ghosts of emotion and love now gone.

“It’s alright.” Borya mumbled, “I sh-should go… I just… burden you both.”

Vezda’s shoulders screamed, his broken wrist now going cold and numb, barely able to hold on. He didn’t respond, not with words, just another muffled sob. His eyes closed so he didn’t have to see the forlorn smile on his father’s face.

“L-let go… you don’t n-need me.”

He didn’t want to listen. He didn’t want to because it was right. Vezda and Luna didn’t need their father. They had family to look out for them, they had goals and a future without their father weighing them down. If Borya wasn’t there things would be easy. But it would also be just as empty as the holes left in their hearts from losing Tlama.

“We don’t…” Vezda cried, “But we want you, dad! I-I don’t want to live without you. I never have!” His fingers were shaking now, claws digging desperately into cloth to avoid slipping. “So please… please don’t go… h-help me.” The boy begged, and repeated it again and again, watching Borya look up with tears streaming down his face. Falling down the sheer drop into the lake below. When nothing happened, Vezda squeezed his eyes closed and prayed, wishing for anything to happen to help them survive this.

A cold, trembling hand moved against his arm, shaking for a moment before grabbing tightly. Vezda’s eyes opened, able to watch Borya move his good arm up to hold onto his son’s shaking limb, the man's sad eyes holding a glimpse of determination to them as he then nodded up to Vezda. Huffing, smiling just a little, Vezda cried out as he let go with one of his arms to lift it up and dig into the mud. The boy pushed in deep, forming the anchor with his hand and then heaving once more, finally able to shift and pull them up. Slowly they rose up, mud and clay sloughing off their fur as Vezda managed to pry them from the dreaded cliff and closer to hard ground. Borya muffled whimpers as his fragile arm was pulled and tugged around, eventually moving his good arm to dig into the clay himself and help his son get them up. After minutes of strain and desperation, Vezda heaved one last time and managed to roll Borya over him and onto solid earth, collapsing himself with a long sigh.

Wind tossed his short hair, stole the breaths he gasped out, and after a moment of just letting out the adrenaline Vezda shifted to check on his dad.

His heart stopped for a moment as Borya lay there with his eyes closed and face slack, but seeing the rise and fall of his father’s small chest made Vezda sigh in relief. Exhaustion, pain… Borya was just sleeping. Vezda wished he could as well, but the boy needed to get them to help, and somewhere far from a cliff. Blood needed to return to his legs first, so for now Vezda just focused on breathing, ignoring the pulsing pain in his broken wrist and instead watching every breath his father made. Borya’s right arm was against the floor, sling covered in muck and rolled up the arm. Slowly, Vezda moved the dead limb back into place, like handling broken glass, and covered it up with the cloth sling. Once done, Vezda patted his father’s head and brushed back the wind-swept hair, before his weak hand clenched amongst the strands and Vezda leaned forward to press his head down against Borya’s chest. A shrill cry left the boy, followed by waves of uncontrollable sobbing, broken apart only by a mantra Vezda continued to mumble.

‘I love you’... ‘Don’t leave me’


You're ready, born ready
And all you gotta do
Is put one foot in front of you


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