[AW+] THE SUN THAT BURNS ME CLEAN
Prompt 2 [A Tear in the Tapestry] - December 26th
#1
this is backdated to dawn of december 26 & is part of the tears in the tapestry pack plot. set at the king's bastion.
sorry for the little bit of a late start! please wait for amanda's post with iomair :-)
[wc 435 +4]

Losse had been in fits since the... Incident. He was riddled with guilt, haunted by visions of eyes staring at him, silver brindled fur, a menacing smirk. He wished he had been drugged like the others, wished his memory wasn't razor sharp with clarity. He wasn't tricked into giving information about the pack. He had done it to cover a crime. He had murdered someone, and Silivren had seen it, and she had offered him a deal that he couldn't refuse.
But in doing so he had betrayed his family, his home, his king. He had betrayed everything he loved, the community that raised him and kept him safe. He had withdrawn from everyone, lashed out, been cruel to the people he considered friends, trying to push them away so that he wouldn't have to lie. 
He couldn't do it any longer. He slipped out of the home he grew up in, the home he subconsciously knew he had outgrown, and into the Square. With sure, silent steps, he set out to face his reckoning. He brought nothing with him but the trinket she had given him, the teardrop a cold weight in his palm. Losse clutched it tightly, firming his resolve, and tried to focus on his task. He had no time to consider the way she spoke, the menace in her blood red eyes, the way she had held his life in her claw-tipped palm. He squeezed his eyes shut shook his head violently, trying to rid himself of the sound of her sly chuckle, the hushed whispers of her wife. The scent of Samson's blood. 
It clung to the insides of his nostrils, permeated his every waking moment, and many of his sleeping. It was almost a living thing, wrapping around him, constricting, choking him with the cloying coppery odor. It was strong in his nose that morning, had been since the boy woke from a nightmare, and it grew stronger as he walked to the King's Bastion. He paused and considered, scenting the air. It wasn't memory. There was real blood, and there were enemies within their ranks. Thoughts of reckoning forgotten, he rushed to the Bastion, terrified to see a corpse, and stopped with a jerk at the sigh of the doors.
Scrawled across them, in bold, bloody strokes, what could only be a threat.

THE CROWN IS HEAVY ON THE HEAD AND HEAVY IN THE RIVER.

He scrambled back and gasped, hard, sucking saliva in with the air and choking out a cough, trying to howl and call for help. He coughed, and he gasped, and finally, he screamed.
a very speedy reply machine
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#2
The King slept curled around himself, his nose tucked into the fluffy brush of his tail. On some nights the four legged form provided a strange sense of comfort, the small lupus form compressed into a doggish circle. Like this the room was small and unassuming, cozy – if not for the layer of parchments that had been spread on the work table, the low fire sputtering out into nothing. He had scratched the bed into a comfortable divet, and his breathing signalled that he slept deep enough not to dream.

When dawn crept its pastel hand through the broken windows it did so in silence and stuttering stops. The shadows deepened before they were cast aside, and slowly the Bastion roused itself – creaking and swaying as the Nobility found wakefulness.

Iomair rose with a grunt, stretching his scruffy legs before him as he arched his back and wagged his tail. A yawn exposed his teeth, and he leapt nimbly from the bed before beginning the shift onto two legs.

When it was done he haphazardly combed his hair, squinting through a frost covered window into the blurry beyond. Everything glowed subtly, ad further afield he could make out mountains with snow capped peaks.

A sudden scream had him stumbling from his place at the window, the fur along his shoulders rippling in anxious waves. He tugged a tunic on, ignoring the way it lay open across his chest and ran out into the foyer, taking the stairs two at a time as he threw open the doors to run out into the Square.

The scent came first. The acrid metallic smell stung his nostrils, and for a moment he was unable to see past the crying Lossë – the boy huddled in a similar position to when the King had discovered him on his first shift.

When he turned he found the words sloppily spelt out across their home – each vibrantly red letter slick and shiny from the cold.

”What-“ Iomair bared his teeth, growling.

THE CROWN IS HEAVY ON THE HEAD AND HEAVY IN THE RIVER.

The River. Nín. He found himself lost in the ripples the words cause, the warning that rang clear and sharp like a bell.

He shook his head, the boys cries diverting his attention. Iomair ran to the Privileged and crouched near him gently reaching to grasp his shoulders, ”Lossë, are you alright?” He gave a shake to grab the boys gaze, "Did you see who did this?" His brows furrowed as realization came over him - though the boys hands were not stained.

"What are you doing so early..." Suspicion crept into his tone, unbidden. "Where were you going?"

(445) | NPCs: N/A

#3
WC: 448

The scream pierced through Gwaun’s half-asleep mind, skewering dream Nín before she could even leave the reeds. His eyes shot open, and after a few seconds of orienting himself in the waking world, he squirmed out of Smokecloud’s arms and leapt toward her bedroom door. The Ironpaw yelped after bumping her head on a low-hanging shelf next to her bed, blinking away tears as Gwaun’s claws clacked from the other room.

With the window furs nailed shut and the heavy door latched, Gwaun had no choice but to whine and scratch at the wood until his friend dragged herself out of bed and opened it for him

Gwaun almost fell as he rushed out of Smokecloud’s house, his feet sliding on her icy stoop. He tore through the snow-covered streets toward the King’s Bastion, lips pulled back in fear, before skidding to a stop at his little brother’s tightly curled side. Gwaun barely registered that the High King crouched beside him, too busy headbutting Lossë and licking at his exposed fur, the scent of blood thick so thick he could taste it on his tongue. Was he hurt? It took the shepherd a moment to realize that the smell wasn’t coming from Lossë, but instead the large, heavy doors that separated the Bastion from the outside world.

At first, the shock of seeing the dried blood kept Gwaun from realizing there were words there, a gruesome and threatening message to be read. In hindsight, he would have preferred the sudden lack of literacy to last a little bit longer.

“The crown... The crown is heavy on the head and heavy on the river,” Gwaun muttered aloud, unable to stop himself. He thought of the medallion hidden in the inside pocket of his poncho, of the one that Lossë must have had as well, and wondered if the same person who’d carved them had painted the horrible message. Who was the spy, the traitor, the monster who had done this?

Gwaun whined worriedly and rubbed his face against his little brother, and it was only in his haste to do so that he realized High King Iomair was the one who’d gotten to Lossë’s side first. The shepherd was so grateful for his presence that he couldn’t put it into words, both now and when Lossë had first shifted.

He was a good king. He was a good king, he was a good king, he was a good king.

The shepherd held onto the words like it would make the nightmare stop, like having good leaders kept horrible things from happening to good people.
#4

Sleep had barely been offered to him before it had been taken away once again, a sweet promise of something not meant to be. The dawn light shocked his eyes and he gasped, blinking in shock at the early winter sunrise. He could feel the way that his heart raced, his pulse thumping in his throat.

What the hell had woken him up?

A scream. The lord remembered, and his instincts took over. Quick as a flash, Calan bounded out of his bed, kicking errant sheets out the way to avoid tripping his long limbs. It wasn’t as easy as he had first hoped. Though his whole body felt supercharged, as if dunked in cold water, he could still feel the way that last night’s drink sat in his body, upsetting his balance and impairing his judgement.

He didn’t even bother to shut his chamber door as he dashed out into the main hall, his blue eyes glancing up and down the corridors for any sign of commotion. No one else seemed to have heard the scream - or perhaps he was the last to respond to the eerie distress signal. Either way, the perpetrator was not to be found in this hall, and no one was here to tell him what had happened.

No time to think. Just act. So Calan dashed his way down the stairs, fingers flying down the railing, his blonde ears flicking to pick up any sounds. He could make out the slightest sound of conversation from outside the thick main doors - no words, just noise - but that was as good a sign as any for the frazzled blond. More people meant more chances at finding the source of this scream.

He’d barely popped his head out of the door before he started speaking, frightened blue eyes searching for disaster. “What on earth is going on — ” But he cut himself off when he saw that they all seemed to be looking at him. Well, not at him exactly, but all in his direction.

Then came the smell.

The hairs on the back of his neck raised as Calan turned his head around, looking to the very doors he’d just stuck his head and chest through. His fingers rested against the soft, old wood, just inches below the gruesome message. He’d had no idea how close he was to touching the blood himself.

It took everything inside of him not to be sick. But in all honesty, he was just too scared to do more than freeze, his nose flooded with the blood’s tannic scent.

Somewhere behind him he heard Gwaun’s voice, reading what must be written above. Calan’s own voice was no louder than a gasp. “Good gods.” His eyes scanned between door to door, taking in the ominous message for himself. The warning was clear, as was its target.

As he turned his head back to those assembled, noting who was there, he could see that the target in question had already arrived. Everything about Iomair’s stance showed how caught off-guard he was by the missive. There was a tenseness to his shoulders as he crouched, and a single-minded intensity to his normally gentle gaze.

Someone had wanted to spook the High King, and they’d succeeded.

The tense crackle of energy between the gathered three did not make want him to get involved. Now having followed his adrenaline-induced instinct, Calan was very aware of just how out of his league this whole situation was for him.

“I’m… I’m going to warn everyone inside. Tell them to use the side door for now.” If Lossë’s screams hadn’t been enough to alert the entire Realm. He knew it was a cop-out, but he really didn’t care to spend another second reflecting on this miserable mise-en-scène.

The door snicked behind him as he leaned his full weight against it, trying to catch his breath. He could feel the way that a headache was already starting to form at his temples, but he tried to ignore it. Right now there were more important things to do. He could think about his hangover later.

His voice may not have been as loud as Lossë’s had been, but it hopefully was enough to draw the attention of any lords and ladies left sleeping. Cupping his hands around his mouth, Calan shouted down the empty corridors, trying to keep his voice loud and clear. But even he couldn’t keep out the tinge of fear lacing his tone.

“Everyone! Come down quickly!”
(774) | NPCs: N/A
#5
WC: 432

Arran dozed uneasily. His house felt empty without only Meril sleeping there at the moment. Rhavan was with the flock and Tuilinn was with her even though she did not really want to be. Tavor had gone along, too, as moral support and to keep each other awake because their Gramma would probably fall asleep quickly. Gwaun spent his nights elsewhere now, and Arran was simultaneously happy for him and sad that their sleeping pile had gotten smaller again. And, it was likely going to happen again relatively soon because Tavor had been mentioning wanting to travel with his moms. Arran agreed readily and offered to help him prepare however he needed. And more recently, Tuilinn had been mentioning the same, or traveling to the Citadel where some of their other pack members had moved. Arran wanted to support their relationships, but he would miss them both dearly, just as he did Soron. At least he would have visits with them sometimes. Hopefully. Sometimes he felt like he hardly knew Soron at all now. Would the same thing happen if these two left now as well?

The scream jolted Arran to his feet before he realized what he was doing. Meril blinked blearily at him and Arran was already to the doorway before Meril clambered to his feet as well. Arran's brain felt foggy, and yet he knew with certainty that the scream had belonged to Lossë. All sorts of scenarios flashed through his mind as he sprinted out the door. He spotted Gwaun up ahead and followed him towards the King's Bastion, arriving moments later, Meril on his heels, as Calan called out to everyone else.

Arran saw the message on the doors, but didn't really register what the words said, only that they were in blood. He moved up near Gwaun and reached out to sniff at Lossë, trying to see if any of the blood scent was also coming from him--if he was injured. That didn't seem to be the case, but he whined anyway, a sound that Meril echoed. Meril had stayed back slightly, likely not wanting to crowd Lossë more than they already were, but his anxiety was clear in the way he licked his lips and looked around as if searching for an attacker or perpetrator.

Arran's focus remained on Lossë, though. He was clearly and understandably upset.

"Are you alright?" he asked in a quiet tone, making no attempt to hide his worry at all. There was no reason to do so when he had every reason to worry.
ARRAN
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#6
hehehehe
[435 again??? +4]

Gaze blank, eyes wide and wild, the merle breathed heavily through his open, dry mouth. He could taste it, the blood on the doors, the blood on his hands, he had washed his hands so many times, he had dunked himself in a cold creek and soaked until he could feel the chill of water -- or was it guilt? it was definitely guilt -- down into his bones. Still, he saw the stain, he saw his crime, dripping in scarlet-hued proof, the grim reminder of what he had done -- why wouldn't it wash off? Why wouldn't it wash off, why wouldn't it wash off, why wouldn't it wash off? He took great, deep, heaving breaths, retching and moaning low in his throat, the weight of his crime reducing him to a base, witless creature.
A familiar scent. A familiar sound. His brother, headbutting him, frantically checking him for injury. His father, whispering low, asking if he was okay. Calan, eyes going from bleary but concerned to alert and shocked in a moment. His own heartbeat, pounding in his chest, tapping a staccato of terror and guilt and deep, wretched sadness. He took a long, deep breath, and squeezed his eyes shut. Fist tightening around the heavy teardrop he clutched like a talisman, he thought of the color of his mother's eyes, the taste of honey, the deep rumble of thunder and the renewing rain it brought. He let out a shaky sigh, and he calmed down.
Losse opened his eyes and met the gaze of his king. The suspicious, accusatory gaze. He did not know much of politics, but he knew that it was not a good idea to be on his end of that kind of a gaze, and he knew that the king was the most powerful creature in his world. The boy longed to be at home, asleep in his mother's arms. Had it only been last summer he was frolicking in the flowers and chasing bugs? How could his life have changed so badly so quickly. He leaned, slightly, into his brother, and tightened his fist further around the teardrop. 
The suspicion in Iomair's gaze was justified, and it weighed heavily in his gut. He was a good king, a kind king, had alleviated Losse's great fears of adulthood, there was no reason for him to be such a terrifying figure. But good kings were only good to good people. They were not good kings to criminals, they were righteous enforcers of justice against criminals. Criminals like the merle. Murderers.
He swallowed, hard. "I-I, I needed to t-talk to y-you," he whispered.
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#7
Slowly others gathered, but Iomair found that he only had eyes for the young boy who trembled beneath the weight of his hand. The letter hung before the Realm like a silent prayer, the message cast like a stone into the sea.

When Calan spoke Iomair nodded, ”Go – make sure that they’re alright. If they saw anything…” No one would have allowed the words to be written without sounding the alarm. The City Watch had increased patrols and everyone else was on high alert.

He wanted to react with emotion – to run to the mountains and pray that Dúr see them through this conflict.

Instead he tested his hands, the familiar weight of his token grounding him to this place amongst the cobblestones.

”It’s alright.” He said this again to Lossë, as if it saying so would change the tides of fate that now came to New Caledonia’s door. The King straightened and smoothed his hair, allowing his gaze to skip across the faces who had come to gather around them.

When Lossë spoke again the King frowned, ”What do you mean?” He felt darkness ripple over him, ”Talk to me about the message?”

He flicked an ear to the other Fir-Chlis’ present – the young shepherd and his Father lingering nearby.



(211) | NPCs: N/A

#8
The commotion travelled far. Like the thunder of a rumbling storm it grew and tumbled through the streets like fog, growing fainter and fainter. And that faintness only served to heighten the uneasy sense that the noise instilled in those who heard it.

While she was not sound asleep, Saga had not yet risen from her bed. Rays of light poked their golden fingers through the knot holes and gaps in the wooden shutters that guarded the glassless windows. Dust danced in the path of those golden beams, falling and settling on the worn wooden floors and any other flat surface they could find. The dappled woman was a feral creature at heart. Warm furs and filling meals were the only things she needed to live a happy, comfortable life. Though admittedly, she would have preferred if that life also included a fireplace, for that was the one "luxury" that always made her rethink simply running away to live feral. It wasn't a thought that crossed her mind regularly, or seriously, but it was a handy distraction when the going got tough. And times these days were very tough indeed.

The howl, the scream caused her to rise immediately. She knew that scream, as every mother knew the cry of fear that erupted from the chests of their own children. It didn't take her long to skitter to the front of the Bastion, green eyes wide in terror. They sought their surroundings, chest rising and falling rapidly in fear and from the effort of getting here. Blood adorned the door and the steps onto which it dripped menacingly, but a quick scan of her youngest gave her a fraction more piece of mind than she had had mere moments ago. The danger still wasn't over though, and she crept closer to Losse, eager to avoid startling him or scaring him off when he was already so flighty. Gwaun had already taken ahold of him, and behind them stood Meril and Arran, and so the dappled women found herself freezing against her own will. A bitter taste flooded her mouth. Losse didn't need her right now. He had his brothers and his father.

Swallowing, Saga's gaze turned to Iomair, her dappled coat bristling from tip to tail and her lips twitching as if poised to bare her teeth. The King had already made one misstep at the very beginning of this ordeal, and she did not trust him not to make another one. If she'd been furious at the public ridicule he'd subject Daisy to after she'd spoken her mind, she'd be murderous if he spoke against her son. For now, she said nothing, tensely weighing the situation up. The woman's gaze drifted past Iomair once or twice as she read and reread to the ominous note scrawled upon the doors before the small crowd. The crown is heavy on the head and heavy in the river. A threat presumable made for Iomair alone, so what leave it somewhere so open? Humiliation? Undermining his rule? Well, it wasn't as if the man hadn't already done that for himself.

517
#9
(+410)
Optime | New Caledonia (Fort Louisbourg) | Dated: December 26th; dawn | cNPC: Mako

Related to [NC/SL] A Tear in the Tapestry, Part II.
Her muscles coiled before she struck out. Mako blocked her blow for blow. When they had first started their daily routine back in their Casa di Cavalieri days, he had been slower to react and easier to best. As time had passed, however, he’d gotten better, and, if he’d taken up his axe, might have been something of a challenge to the ex-Cavalier princess. The spars that they had were as much to hone and maintain their fighting prowess though as they were a sort of bonding activity for the two of them.

In the days without conflict though, it might have seemed silly to train in such things. After all, what good was a warrior during times of peace? It was a lifestyle for them though, and not one they found themselves willing to stray from.

Teagan managed to dodge one of Mako’s punches, and had moved to grapple him from behind when a scream made the mated couple jerk to attention. It came in the direction of the King’s Bastion, they both realized. With the message that had been left on the Messenger Tree the day before, neither knight wasted any time scrambling apart from each other. They shared a glance at each other before they split up. Mako went to retrieve their weaponry inside the house while Teagan ran to investigate the matter.

Arriving at the Bastion’s main entrance, she saw a small crowd gathered. Most huddled around someone on the ground—Lossë, she recognized. The boy’s mother and sire lingered about, as did his brother, Gwaun, and the High King. Lord Calan’s voice carried out loudly from behind the…

…doors…

Her mismatched ears fell back against her dark hair as her canary eyes fell upon the bloody inscription scrawled across the Bastion’s entrance.

They were getting bolder, these mysterious assailants of theirs.

Teagan’s attention shifted when Mako arrived nearly at the same time as her children and their friend, Ronin. With the others tending to Lossë and his needs, the Escal decided to take control of removing yet another vile message meant to shake up their people.

Shifting her gaze, she suggested to those that fell beneath it. “See if you can figure out the source of this.” Of the blood. Of the perpetrator.

Turning her head to another, she motioned with a sharp jut of her nose, “Let’s find something to wash this off.”

Teagan Stryder
— The Knight —
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#10
(+574)
Lupus | New Caledonia (Fort Louisbourg) | Dated: December 26th; dawn | cNPC: Ronin, Argive’s cNPC Genkei

Related to [NC/SL] A Tear in the Tapestry, Part II.
The pre-dawn patrol had not turned up anything of note. Naomi, her brother, Genkei, and her friend, Ronin, had decided to forgo their usual armor and weaponry, and, instead, travel in Lupus. It’d made for tracking scents easier as they traversed the thick snowdrifts and stealthily made their way through the forested sections of the Kingdom’s borders. Even with their efforts though, nothing suspicious had been found. With the winter season, it was easier to spot tracks left behind by others, however, so too was it to overlook those that been covered by new snowfall.

It’d frustrated Naomi immensely that the individuals behind the many attacks and vandalisms had yet to have been caught, much less, have anything else known about them other than the “gifts” they left behind. The eyes and tears scattered throughout the Kingdom felt as if they were meant to tease the Caledonians, to show that the enemy had been there, only to have escaped unscathed. As both a Watchman and Wraith, it was an even larger insult. Ever since the burned building, Naomi couldn’t help but to wonder if her packmates had started to cast doubt on the Guild.

What good were they? What good had they been over the past few months?

Ronin and Genkei had tried to reassure her, but the notion still weighed heavily on her.

The trio had just trotted up to the Fort’s gates when they heard a scream. Naomi’s head perked up, and both Ronin and Genkei’s tails flagged high behind them. She bolted, fearful that, while they had been out patrolling the borders, the enemy had managed to slip in and hurt one of their own. She saw her father running towards the Bastion with her mother’s sword and his axe in each hand.

Otousan! Doushita no? She barked as she ran beside him.

Wakaranai. Anata no okaasan wa sakini miniikimashita, he said quickly.

They arrived together, father, children, and friend. Others had gathered, though, it appeared to be mostly Gwaun’s family and relations and the High King. They all appeared to be concerned over Gwaun’s younger brother, and, for good reason, if the blood-written writing on the Bastion’s doors had been the cause behind the younger boy’s scream.

Naomi couldn’t help but to stare as she panted from her sprint. Crown? There was only one that wore a crown among the Caledonians. Her glacier eyes shifted to Iomair who crouched near Lossë. Had he seen the message? Or had he been willfully ignoring it? Because, there was without any doubt in her mind of who its intended recipient was.

On the Bastion’s doors, the King’s Bastion’s doors; was the message a threat? Or a promise?

Beside her, she heard a growl rumble from Genkei’s chest. Ronin glared at the doors and the words strewn across them. Her mother’s voice broke them from their reverie though, giving them tasks to do rather than just standing around and uselessly gawking at the sight. It was, perhaps, for the best.

The enemy could not have power there.

The trio split up to do the Stryder matriarch’s orders. Naomi and Ronin began sniffing about the grounds for clues. Meanwhile, Genkei shifted up into his Optime form, and went off to help Mako find buckets for water and something to scrub the blood off with.

Naomi Stryder
— The Roquen —
#11
martyr of the free world


He, like the others, had been summoned by a piercing scream.

They could even not go a day, it seemed, without something going horribly wrong, some cryptic message left somewhere to taunt the Realm and leave everyone on edge. First was the desecration of the Messenger Tree, and now this — this — whatever it was, as Rand hastily donned his robes and strode out of the house he shared with the ex-Queen.

When he arrived, lingering on the outskirts of the gathering crowd, his amber eyes narrowed at the message scrawled across the doors.

The crown is heavy on the head,

His gaze cut to Iomair, who was consoling the youth that had presumably discovered it in the first place.

and heavy in the river.

That was what piqued his interest more than anything.

Few in the Realm understood the significance of the Tears appearing in the territory, sometimes drawn in blood, other times gnarled in the bark of trees or etched in doors. It was a recognition that the Priest kept close, a mere suspicion that was beginning grow and fester into something more.

He couldn't help but scoff when the blonde Lord thought it a good idea to wake everyone inside the Bastion to gawk at the message, too, as if inviting more bodies to swoon and air their concerns was at all conducive to an investigation. His nostrils flared at the scent of it, the metallic twang easily identifiable, and he remained for nary a moment longer before he left the little entourage to continue speculating — and, in the case of the boy, weeping inconsolably.

There was little to be interpreted, he thought. It was very clearly a threat, one that the High King would have to take seriously.

[+293]
#12
WC: 368

Lossë did not see injured, but he was clearly very distressed. The message was unsettling, but Arran could not help but think there was something more going on. He had no idea what that could be, though. Maybe related to the time when Lossë had disappeared?

When Saga arrived, Arran shuffled over, nudging Meril to do the same to make room for her to get to Lossë if she wanted to. He knew that Lossë was closer to her than to himself, so her presence would likely be more comforting than his was. It made him feel sad for a moment, but he was also glad that he had her here for him.

There was more commotion around them and while Arran's focus was mostly on Lossë, he paid enough attention to know that Teagan had taken charge of getting the message cleaned up. That was good; there was no reason for it to stay there any longer than it already had. He doubted they would be able to find anything about its source, just like they had not with the markings on the trees and elsewhere in the territory. But maybe this time they would be lucky. He hoped so, especially since Lossë was the one who discovered the message. How many would think it was responsible for putting it there? Even though there was no sign of blood on him that Arran had found.

Rand's arrival had Arran fighting to keep his hackles from raising. He expected some sort of accusation against Lossë, but surprisingly there was none. There were no words from him, in fact, which Arran found equally as surprising. He watched Rand suspiciously as he walked away, wondering what trouble he might cause later, and then turned his attention back to his upset son.

"What do you need to talk about?" He prompted Lossë gently, then considered where they were for a moment and added, "Do you want to go somewhere else?" Arran thought that maybe it was not a conversation to be had in this very public space. Maybe he would be more comfortable away from prying eyes, even if he was surrounded mainly by his family at the moment.
ARRAN
6/7 Grand Quest Threads Complete
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#13
WHEW ok pretty much getting into the final countdown on this 
[408 +4]

His father and brother nudged closer, more pack members came and went, and all the while Losse could focus only on the intense gaze from Iomair. He began to feel like, perhaps, some of the older members of the pack may no longer consider him a child when it came to certain things. Things like their King's absolute rule of law, things like the punishment necessitated by his murdersome actions. He wondered, for a moment, if his dual-colored eyes betrayed this new loss of innocence, if they glimmered less with mirth or no longer shone a childlike light. He found that lately, he pondered a lot of strange things like that. It had been a way to distract himself from the thoughts of guilt and ramifications and what his Dual-Headed God thought of him in the aftermath of what must be sin. He enjoyed the introspection, in a strange way, but his writing lessons with Fennore had been going poorly from his daydreaming. She had started giving him homework. He hated it. 
There was only one force in his small world that held more power over him than anything in his life, more power any guilt of his, more than his King. His father shifted to the side and Losse caught the scent of his mother. He whipped his head and turned to look at her, seeing her hardened gaze on Iomair. It landed on Losse and softened. Saga opened her arms to her son and Losse stumbled up and careened into them, wrapping his arms around her waist and huddling against her. Saga wouldn't let anything happen to him. Iomair couldn't hurt him as long as his mother was around. He peeked up and saw the savage glare she leveled against the King and he knew that she would protect him and be on his side no matter what.
He turned to face his king, still clinging to his mother's side. "I was at the camp, I remember it all, they made me keep it secret. I was coming to tell you. I was scared... Sh-she told me you would s-send me to the U-underthi-ing," his usual fast-paced babble slowed to a stutter as he approached the worst of what he had kept secret. He took a deep breath, inhaling the warm, familiar scent of his mother's fur. 
"S-someone, h-he attacked me. I k-killed him, and she-- S-silivren, sh-she saw. And she made me... T-tell her things."
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#14
There was no room for him to listen to the many who gathered around him. Iomair crouched with the boy and listened, every word hitting him like a stone. He felt his shoulders sag beneath the weight of Lossë speech, and for a moment the King felt as if he spun in place – the words on the Bastion hanging over them all like an omen.

”What power does she have over me?” He asked softly, his hands falling from where they had only moments before comforted the boys shoulder.

”Why would I send you to the Underthing Lossë?” Confusion muddled his features and Iomair began to stand. Had the boy promised her something? There was another beat, and when the boy finally lay his confession before the King it dragged him down like an anchor.

War had strange ways of finding its victims. It would change them all – Iomair felt this deep in his bones.

The ripples of the conflict would be felt in this generation and the next.

He had killed someone.

It was a fact that struck Iomair squarely in the chest, but not for the reasons the young boy would have assumed. He and so many others in the Realm were too young to face death. It would set them down paths that were beyond anyone's control.

Iomair sighed deeply, "It sounds like you defended yourself." He gestured with his nose, ”Come, lets go inside.”


(536) | NPCs: Indis

#15
WC: 491

Arran shuffled more to the side as Lossë ran past him to Saga. Although a small part of him was sad and wished that he could have provided the same comfort, the vast majority was just glad that he could get that feeling of safeness from one of his parents. That was what really mattered, and Arran hoped that Lossë knew that he could come to Arran if Saga was not available for some reason.

He turned to face Lossë and Saga so that he could see and listen without craning his neck around at a strange angle. His normally active tail was straight down around his fluffy butt as a pit of dread formed in his stomach. Whatever had happened was really bad, confirmed by the words 'at the camp.' Arran had not known for sure where he was when he vanished, and he was dismayed  for that to be confirmed.

Partway through Lossë's stammered story, Meril pressed against Arran's side, and Arran could feel the fine tremble in his body. He leaned a little towards him to offer support and glanced at Gwaun as well before focusing on what Lossë was continuing to say.

Lossë had killed someone. Arran's chest went cold as his brain tried to process that in any other way that could mean something else, but no, the words were clear, no there was no ambiguity in Lossë's words. The cold feeling was quickly filled with anger. Someone had attacked his son and Arran had not been there to protect him. A million questions ran through Arran's mind. Why would someone attack him? How had the situation gotten so bad that Lossë was forced to defend himself to that degree? And Arran was absolutely certain that he was defending himself. And Arran guessed that Lossë felt bad about it--or maybe he was projecting. Arran would certainly feel guilty about killing someone, even if the only other outcome would be his own death. A loss of life was always sad because it meant that someone, at some point, had been failed by their family or pack or friends. 

Although Lossë had been afraid of being sent to the Underthing - a bit brainwashed by this Silivren person, in Arran's opinion - Arran was not surprised that their High King came to the same conclusion that Arran had. Even so, with recent events, he felt a bit of relief as well. If Lossë had been sent there, Arran would have been going with him, and he was sure that the rest of his family would have helped him come up with a plan to make sure that Lossë was not alone, too.

Arran thought that Iomair's suggestion to go inside was a good one. This did not need to be a public conversation anymore, not with what Lossë had already been through. His expression was encouraging when his gaze rested on Lossë.
ARRAN
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