[RO] [M] Everyday a dying day
[A Tear in the Tapestry] | 8 Jan | Dawn

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: dark themes; alcoholism; trauma; mentions of violence.

Location: The King's Bastion || NPCs: Sólveig Dawnrunner (Optime) || Form: Lupus

"DAMMID, BERCY, DON' LEABE ME!" he shouted, wrenching his jaws and reopening his wounds.

But he shouted into empty air. His cousin was already gone. And, just as he had been time and time again, Reblin was left behind.

With a harsh guttural howl that scratched against the inside of his throat like sand and vibrated the roof of his mouth until tears sprung to his remaining eye, Reblin wailed. He wailed until the pain overwhelmed him and he was reduced to a rhythm of hoarse whines and whimpers that rocked his body.

"Blease don' leave me..."

Again. It had happened again.

❆ ❆ ❆

The first had been his mother. Ayrin was a tough woman who had become hardened by her experience — an experience that left her devoid of any sense of motherhood or compassion or desire as it pertained to the children she bore as a result of it. They had never been wanted, and she was never shy about ensuring that they knew it. If it hadn't been for their grandmother, Reblin and Torrin almost assuredly would have perished — if not from malicious neglect than certainly by their own mother's teeth. Instead, Ayrin had nursed them, resentfully and without love, until they were weaned.

And then she ignored them.

Despite their mother's abandonment of them, Reblin and Torrin grew and they thrived under the guardianship of their grandmother and the teachings of other Viburnum members. They learned how to hunt, they listened to the stories of their ancestors, and they learned the lore of Trillium Hollow. From outside appearances, there was little to suggest that they were anything but normal, well-adjusted young wolves.

But Reblin could never understand, much less accept, that his mother wanted nothing to do with them; that, to her, they were little more than the foxes that scavenged their kill sites or the ravens that sometimes harassed them; that, to her, they were worth less than prey. If she ignored him, it just meant that he needed to try harder; do better; be better.

Torrin, on the other hand, grasped this concept more readily. Maybe he had more of his mother in him than Reblin did and maybe that helped him to recognize the futility of ever developing a relationship with Ayrin. Whatever the reason, Torrin found his brother's efforts foolish. Pointless. Idiotic. It put them at odds with one another. It caused fights. It made them say things to each other that they would later regret and do things to one another that they would wish they could take back.

Reblin would always apologize afterwards. Torrin never did.

And then, before they were even a year old, Torrin left Viburnum. That became Reblin's second experience with abandonment.

❆ ❆ ❆

"Oh, Mister Reblin!" a voice cried from above the din.

"Go away," he growled back, pinning his ears. But he didn't look up and he didn't move. There was nowhere to go even if he could.

"You're bleeding again," she pointed out needlessly.

Reblin barked a harsh, blistering laugh that lacked any humor or kindness or warmth.

"Who cares?"

There was a weighted pause and then he felt her at his side, gentle and sweet. "I do," she said softly. "I care."

For a long time Reblin was silent. How long had it been since anyone cared? Seasons and seasons. Too long to know. Too long to matter. Slowly, he opened his remaining eye and lifted it to her face. She looked tired and worn, her braids a frizzy mess and her fur unkempt, but there was a certain fervor in her eyes that was familiar to him. He regarded her silently a while and then he swallowed.

"You're her daughder."

The young woman blinked, the surprise plain on her face. When she nodded, it was staggered. Her expression was pinched and bemused. She canted her head, a crease between her brows that betrayed the question he knew she was about to .

"You knew my mom?"

"Yeah," he said hoarsely, a bitter smile on his swollen face. "Yeah, I knew your mom."

She scooted closer and started to blot clean his oozing wounds. "How?"

❆ ❆ ❆

After the lone wolf, Thyri Dawnbringer, had shown up in Trillium Hollow, things got better. He had decided to leave Viburnum — to leave his mother and whatever aspirations he had for their relationship — behind and explore the world, just as Torrin had. He discovered what Luperci societies could be and how other wolves lived and what the many different kinds of skills there were in the world. He explored. He made friends. He built relationships.

Good relationships. Meaningful relationships. Lasting relationships.

In Thyri and Cour des Miracles, he found out what family could be and Reblin thrived. He had proven himself during the the Winter of Tarnished Gold, both as a friend and as a fighter, and he worked hard to provide for the Court in the months that followed. He learned masonry. He participated in the Masquerade. He made a name for himself.

La Marea came the following year and, as he had in the Winter of Tarnished Gold, Reblin gave the Court his all. When they needed him to guard those fleeing from Cour des Miracles to find safety in Portland, he dutifully departed with them, always intent on returning as quickly as he could so he could provide help to those who remained behind to fight for their kingdom.

Reblin hadn't made it back in time to help save the Court, but Thyri had survived. And, in an act that he understood was made out of love, but which still made him feel unwanted, she had encouraged him to leave. She wanted him to go and to find what made him happy. To become who he wanted to be. To be his own person.

In the end, he had ended up a drunk.

Truth be told, Reblin was already on the road to alcoholism. It had become one of his vices since discovering it. In Trillium Hollow, alcohol didn't exist except for where it occurred accidentally and naturally. But in the developed territories where Cour des Miracles had once laid claim, alcohol was easy to get if one had something to trade for it. And there was always something that someone else wanted, or could use, in exchange for booze.

At the time of the Court's disbandment, Biff's Bar had become one of Reblin's favorite haunts. And it was there that he met a new friend: a young man named Clayton. Reblin was desperate to rediscover what he had lost when Cour des Miracles fell. The life of a lone wolf was sad and desolate. He longed for camaraderie. He pined for friendship. He ached for purpose.

He thought that he had found that again in Freetown, where he fell in with a gang of young Luperci. What he found instead was firsthand experience of what it was like to be on the receiving end of revenge.

It was alcohol that made him vulnerable and it was alcohol that loosened his lips. He talked too much about Cour des Miracles and everything that had happened when La Marea crashed against their shores. He told the stories of their enemies and of how they had met their end, the latter coming from what Thyri had shared with him, and he rejoiced in their bloody defeat.

Later, after he had been beaten and bound and left to sober up, he would come to the full and horrifying realization that two of the gang's own, a youth named Chip and his elder sister, Vic, were among those on the enemy side who had perished in the fighting. And while Reblin hadn't been personally involved in their deaths, he became the gang's sacrificial lamb.

When it came to revenge, there was always someone to be found who could receive the punishment.

❆ ❆ ❆

"Is that why—" Sólveig's fingertips lightly brushed his carpus. He pulled the limb back and folded it under his chest. "Sorry. I noticed that your fur was thinner there."

"...Yeah," he said at length. "Rope an' fur don' play well togedher. Guess i' neber grew back as good afder."

She was quiet a while, her body still close to his as she finished cleaning up and dressing his wounds. His pain was pronounced, its pulsing throb piercing his muzzle and radiating up into his head with every beat of his heart, but he found comfort in the young woman's careful attention.

"How did you get away, Mister Reblin?" she asked kindly.

He drew in a deep breath.

"Dhere was a woman."

❆ ❆ ❆

Elle Cormier was a member of the Freetown gang, but she wasn't like most of the others. She had spirit and she had fire, but she also had scruples. Seeing how Reblin had been kept, bound and beaten and brutalized for a period of time that he had no way of quantifying, had urged her into action. She freed him, but that was only the beginning.

Escaping was a challenge unto itself.

Days of being starved and assaulted and restrained had left Reblin weak. But the fear of returning to those conditions, and to the cruelty that he was sure to receive, made him impulsive and wild. If it meant the difference between freedom and capture, he would do whatever it took to ensure his freedom. And so he ran like a coward and he fought like a wildling. He slavered and he bit and he clawed at anyone who came near, and the gang were not deterred. They came after him as savagely and as determined as they would a deer.

The child had not been an intended target, but it had somehow ended up in the frenzy of his escape and, with a thoughtless slash of his claws, it had become collateral damage.

Maybe it was the wail of the child or the parental instinct of the rest of the crowd, but he and Elle were able to make their escape afterwards. Reblin, however, would find it difficult to ever escape the sound of that piercing, keening screech undulating forever in the recesses of his mind.

After days of travel, the ended up in Trillium Hollow and on the borders of his mother's pack.

Reluctantly, she accepted Reblin and Elle into the pack for a brief stay, just enough for them to get their strength back. In Viburnum, he learned of his grandmother's death. She was one of the few who had accepted and loved him and Torrin unconditionally and the news of her death impacted him deeply. And perhaps became the catalyst that encouraged him to double up on his efforts to develop a good relationship with his mother.

Despite his ordeal and the injuries that he had endured, Reblin had not forgotten this desire. However much her motherhood left to be desired, the desire for her love and acceptance remained as strong and as bold as it had been on the day he had left home with Thyri. And now that the opportunity had represented itself, he resumed his efforts without hesitation.

For her part, Ayrin was neither interested nor impressed. Fed up with her son's consistent and unyielding efforts, she rounded on him one day and told him everything: how he and Torrin were nothing but a product of non-consensual intercourse; how they had never been wanted; how she would never accept them as her own flesh and blood.

As far as she was concerned, the only children she had were those borne of her mate, Riev.

❆ ❆ ❆

Sólveig gave a quiet gasp.

"That's terrible, Mister Reblin," she whispered, emotion in her voice.

But he refused to look at her. He couldn't stand to see the sadness in her eyes. Why he was even telling her any of this was a mystery to him. What did she care? And what did he care? It was all so far in the past that it didn't matter. None of it mattered. Nothing mattered.

"Yeah, well," he grumbled, shifting uncomfortably. The pain in his face was becoming unmanageable. "Life sucks, kid."

"But not always!" she insisted desperately.

Reblin considered this and found that he couldn't argue.

"No," he agreed. "Nod' always. Bu' dhe good neber las's."

❆ ❆ ❆

He realized that he was falling in love with Elle after they left Trillium Hollow. It was until the start of autumn that he realized she felt the same way.

They entered into an intense and passionate relationship, one that started out awkward and quickly grew into something bold and fierce. But just as a fire fed with only with dry leaves for fuel burns hot and fast, so too did their relationship. After a time, Elle began to pull away from him and Reblin, fearing he wasn't giving her enough attention, doubled down on his efforts. This, it seemed, only proved to drive her further away.

By the middle of autumn, Elle ended their partnership. And then, as though to add insult to injury, she left him one clear autumn day with neither a goodbye nor an explanation. She was just gone.

This, the fourth abandonment in his life.

The ensuing months saw Reblin drifting neutral territories, somber and alone. Quickly, he rediscovered solace in liquor.

Eventually, he found himself back in there place where he had once made a home for himself. But there was little joy or direction to be found. He fell in with a pack called Mistfell Vale for a time and met acquaintances he could scarcely remember the names of now.

There was a time where he thought that he had found love again in a young woman named Elise. This time, though, it was he who had abandoned her in her time of need. They had set up a date, but Reblin had gotten drunk and never made it to their destination. Someone else did, though, and that had been unfortunate for Elise. Reblin still sometimes wondered if, in her final moments, she thought that it had been he who murdered her.

Of Elise's child, Remy, the wolfdog never knew what happened.

❆ ❆ ❆

"Spen' a while in Del Cenere afderwards. Maybe I should'a sdayed dhere," he grumbled, shifting again restlessly.

He shut his remaining eye and panted through the pain.

"Well," Sólveig began brightly, touching his shoulder with light touch of her fingers. "I'm glad you're here. I mean, I'm not glad that you're hurt, of course. But I'm glad that I could meet you."

Reblin cracked open his eyelids and regarded her speechlessly.

"You probably don't think so, but..." She paused, smiling brightly. "But I think Mom would be happy I could meet you, too."

This time, his panting momentarily ceased and all he could do was stare at her while his heart lurched and his emotions stirred.

"Thank you for sharing your story with me, Mister Reblin," she continued after a time, her smile still bright. "I'll let you rest now, but I'll be just over here." She canted her head and her grin grew until it touched her eyes. "I promise I won't be far."

Reblin watched her rise and pad away to check on the other patients, not caring how his eye pooled with tears and spilled down the right side of his face.

Because he realized that he had finally rediscovered what he had lost with the Court's fall.




[WC -- 2603]
OOC: Event - A Tear in the Tapestry. Directly follows this post.

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