[P] [M] lightbringer
[A Tear in the Tapestry] | Jan 8th

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: violent imagery, wartime trauma, etc.

[Image: pretty-flowers-hi.png]Fennore did not fancy herself a warrior. She did not think of herself as a fighter.

After the events of this last stand, she was both of these things and neither of them. Perhaps she was something much worse:

A murderer.

Yet the shock of it all did not let this fully register in her mind. When she let her arrow fly, she had not spared any thought about what label she would be procuring as a result of her actions. It did not occur to her in that moment what she had done — taking the life of another, watching Éna sputter for breath, writhing, bleeding — was truly akin to killing. It felt like much more than that.

It had been right. It had been righteous. Just as Éna had robbed her of her kin, so too would Fennore destroy any hopes of her starting a family of her own. She would rot, her bones crushed to dust and returned to the earth from which they came.

She was justified. Vindicated. And still, she felt hollow.


In the wake of it all, the fighting around them began to subside. Clangs of swords and the dense smokescreen receded, leaving the battlefield eerily quiet. There were bodies all around them, toppled over and twisted in unnatural ways. Thankfully, she did not recognize any of them, though Fennore knew that they had not escaped this final encounter with no new wounds to show for it.

There were fresh tears in her cloak, her white fur tinged with dirt and blood that was not her own. At her arms, slashes and cuts that could heal. Beside her, Amon had sustained more damage than she, and he still clutched the giant war axe betwixt his hands in case an enemy unseen sought to ambush them.

For some time, they merely wandered the battlefield, taking stock of the carnage — making note of faces they might have known. She found Martha Elanor, the odd-eyed acolyte, amongst the dead. When they passed Éna's body again in their dazed patrol, she could not stand to look at her lifeless face again.

"We should get back to the Bastion," Amon said. He could tell by the look in the Isiltári's eyes that she had seen enough; beyond that, she looked as though she might collapse at any moment.

She wet her lips, finding her throat dry like sandpaper when she spoke.

"Alright." There was little reluctance in her tone; there was little of anything at all.

When she did not move, the Rabenuhr native drew close and nudged her along with his hand on her back. They did not make it more than five paces away when a pained voice cried out from the west, back towards the enemy camp.

The sound of it made her freeze, feeling fresh nerves set her alight all over. Quickly, she turned, eyes wide as she stared into the dense smog that still hung over the field like a curse, obscuring anything and everything in sight.

She could not smell anything besides the smoke, but she could hear irregular steps clomping into the dirt and snow, labored breathing trying with all its might to keep someone alive. And, then, she heard him shout out.


Her breath hitched in her throat. It couldn't have been... It was impossible.

"R-...Rohan?" she called out weakly, wetness pricking at her eyes, red-rimmed and still stinging from smoke.

It wasn't real. It could not be real. He was gone. Wasn't he?

That much, at least, was true. For the boy on two feet that staggered through the fog was no longer her son. He was someone else entirely.

When his wild eyes found her face, Rohan looked pained, something between a smile and a sob contorted his muzzle.


He ran for her, tripping on his unsteady legs along the way. There wasn't a chance for him to try to stand up again before his mother fell on her knees beside him, collecting the boy in her arms.

"Rohan," she whispered, in disbelief, as her grimy hands sunk deep in his mane. It was soft with youth, bits of debris and bark stuck in the knots. Already he was bigger than her, taller, still gawky and spindly like any freshly-shifted adolescent.

"You're... I-I... We feared you were dead."

She tried so hard to be strong for the both of them when he began to weep in her embrace, his body wrought with tremors. He couldn't speak; she did not try to prompt him.

They sat like this for some time. Fennore let him cry, for his sake and hers. Over her shoulder, she could sense Amon's presence. A stalwart protector, he saw that no harm befell them in this tender moment. But soon, his paw found her arm.

It was time to go. They had won; and here, she saw with her own eyes, that the dead could come back to life.

There were so many questions she had yet to ask, but with as fragile as he felt in her grasp, she feared he would fall apart at any moment, shattering across what remained of their lands like shards of glass.

She would never let him go again. This, she swore upon her life.

Fennore tried her best to smile at him, reaching up to his face to wipe at his eyes. "We should get you back to your father," she said, voice still wobbly. "He and Atica both have been so worried about you — ..."

When her gaze fell upon his chest, the world came to a standstill.

The eye, unblinking, carved into his flesh, stared back at her.
he's back! yay!
this is set after all of the final battle prompts have reached their conclusion (in Fennore's case, she has just killed Éna Lanthir).

sig by Despi
ooc [+932]
Before Bellad allowed himself to slowly drift out of the infirmary, there had been another death on his watch. He had precious little strength, but he took what little remained with him and to the entrance of the Bastion. Along the way, whenever he saw someone, he would ask the same question.

“Fennore, has she returned? Is the Isiltári back?”

There were Souls he’d seen ride out when the counter-offensive began. Many were wounded and heading back the way he came. Bleeding or not they have already returned, their battles concluded. Yet they could offer him no news of his wife’s fate. He dreamed he’d have missed her return while working in the infirmary. That somehow he’d simply walk out, and she would already be there. Her duty done, her life safe.

Wishful thinking. And nothing more.

The flow of pack-mates he could ask his burning question slowly waned. He was left with just the gateway he was staring at with a desperate gaze. She had to come back. She had to. There could be no life in which she wouldn’t return to him. Did she need his help? Would he be able to provide it with what he had left? Or would she…

“Dad!” Atica called to him, but he didn’t seem to hear at first. Then at some point the alabaster-pelted Songthorn girl stepped right in front of him, trying to look into his eyes. “Dad…?”

He looked at her, unsure what she was looking for, but almost certain it was not in him right now. Undeterred, though her ears lowered, she stayed by his side, looking in the same direction as her father. He felt her hand on his arm for a brief duration. Many times she’d proven more hopeful than he was. Many times he wanted to believe her optimistic prognosis in favor of any grim portents. Many times he hadn’t the heart to try to dissuade her.

They stood like this for slow, agonizing minutes, then suddenly Bellad clenched his teeth and made a rush for the gates. “Dad, wait!” It’s not that his daughter was unable to keep up with him. The sheer surprise at this sudden burst of movement gave him a head start. For days these doors were held closed and beyond them, as far as they knew, lay only death. Demise with many maws, felling pack mates with blade, fang and arrow, dwelled in their home.

He didn’t care if they could still be there.

His daughter caught up as he panted into cold air, the healer’s breathing erratic as his eyes darted around for any sign of a familiar silhouette. Puffs of vapor rose from his half-open mouth, then his voice broke into a howl. It lacked his usual focus and nuance. The sound seemed to consist only of volume and desperation.

When the echo of the wolf’s first call faded, he stood there again, trying to quiet his own breath enough to hear any response from afar.

Nothing. Just silence.

He threw his head up again, feeling the cold against his throat before he expelled another howl, pleading for an answer. Past the third, his daughter joined him, adding a different protracted note to the call. Her yearning for her family resonated in her voice together with her father’s.

These calls carried far. She could hear him from a distance. She could answer. Had to answer.

He licked his lips nervously. Another howl rang out, but it came out shorter than it was meant to. His breath shivered with the makings of a panic, turning his head around. He must have missed something. The cold air was sobering, but he must have overlooked something.

Atica’s ear twitched. “Dad, listen…” He looked at her, incredulous, then perked up his ears. The air was quiet, and then, from somewhere near, a voice. He was sure he knew that voice. And then his eyes proved he was right.

“Fennore…?” His first steps felt like more of a stumble. He could make out the approaching figure, and she was not alone. She was accompanied. The young man, at first, seemed a stranger, but somehow the hues of his pelt, the way Fennore would look back to guide him along with her. Bellad felt a breath catch in his throat. Was he seeing ghosts? How else could both his wife and someone who could only be his son appear before his eyes? Be it a cruel apparition or reality – he had to see for himself.

He picked up the pace. He hadn’t the voice left to call for them, but he had to reach them. Halfway there, he noticed they too, phantoms or not, were making their way towards him. Only when his arms closed around them both, when he could hold them to his chest, feel their warmth and breathe in their scents, did Bellad finally believe a reality that held something beyond the chain of trials that stretched across recent days.

“Fennore… Rohan… You live. You both…” For a time there was little he could do but mutter their names and affirmations of their survival. He squeezed his eyes shut against the sting of his tears. Some pressure added itself to the embrace as Atica joined in, laughing through joyous tears of her own, ones that she didn't even seem to notice. "Rohan, it's you! You're back! I knew it!"

He needed time, but with his arms loosening only a little Bellad leaned back enough to look at them, a sudden urgent realization to his voice. "Were you hurt? Wounded? Either one of you?"
[Image: pretty-flowers-hi.png]It was a process she initiated many times before. Machine-like and cold, Fennore robbed herself of all feeling, replacing it with a black hole that sucked in everything it touched; disassociating like this gave her the much-needed space to evaluate, without emotion, and understand things as they truly were, not as she willed them.

Fennore had told herself that her children would not suffer the same fate as her. There were many safeguards in the Realm to ensure this. Each and every one of them had failed; if Rohan's initial disappearance had not been indicative of this, the horrible, scrawled symbol that maimed him did more than enough to prove to her that she had not upheld her promise.

When they made the trek back to the Bastion, it was as if she had left a piece of herself on the battlefield. The desperate, foolish desire to simply hide the brand with her hands and pretend it was not there lingered at the back of her mind. She so wished she could live in that moment in stasis, shielded from the discovery that confirmed all of her worst fears: that the Tears had abused him, tortured him, marked him as their own.

Even in defeat, they had won. It was a stain that could never be washed clean. It was a memory he could never hope to hide away; gods knew that she had tried.

Her husband's anxious call rung out in the distance, seeking response. It took several shakes from Rohan at her side for her to fully realize it. After crying his heart out, he seemed to be carrying himself remarkably well, though she knew that he was merely keeping it together for the time-being, trying to blot out everything else that would make their return harder than it needed to be.

The moment he saw his family, Rohan was once again a mess, blubbering and sobbing as he threw himself into the sorely missed arms of his father.


He sought to hold her, too, relieved that she yet lived from barreling onto the field with the rest of them. Fennore was slack against him, cold, her pupils wide with shell-shock and trauma that she would not allow herself to process.

"And Atica, too, I... Myriad, I-I-I missed you," Rohan choked with a laugh, sniffing as he rubbed his nose against the crook of his arm.

"I-I'm not hurt, I just — "

"They branded him," she said, with a nonchalance that surprised even her.

Rohan froze, still flinching with each snivel, but he said nothing.

Fennore's eyes were steadily trained on the bloody sigil, oozing and crusted over.

sig by Despi
ooc [+753]
After all the days they’d spent apart, there couldn’t be enough time to hold him. But although Bellad was running on fumes by that point, he still registered what was being said to him. Fennore’s voice sounded strange. If only because he’d heard that tone coming out of his mouth – not hers. This cold precision, this matter of fact rendition of any circumstance. Is this what sometimes repelled people from him?

Rather than repel him though, it focused his eyes, and simply following the glance of his wife betrayed the mark inflicted on his son.

Bellad’s brows knitted in an expression that at once held worry for his son and contempt for those who’d done this to him. As though separating their family wasn’t enough. The first time he saw his son shifted to Deft Hand marked with a disgusting seal. He’d felt apprehensive on the mark seeing it on the trees prior to the invasion. He had no name for what he felt when seeing the same mark scarred into Rohan and leaking his son’s own blood.

The boy was looking at him, silent but for the sobs still breaking through. He wasn’t sure what his son was waiting for his father to say or do, but what Bellad began with was to place a hand at the back of his neck and cradle him to his chest again for just a few moments. Long enough for his nurturing words and his warm breath to wash over the boy’s head. “It will all be well, Rohan. You are here. We are all here. You will be hurt no further.” He promised, even if by that point it was too late. “The Bastion. We must return.”

He released the child from his embrace, looked him in the eye and waited for even a nod if only to know that his son would follow him now. The family moved in close file, Bellad’s arms never far from his returned wife and son as he guided them back to the Bastion.

Even inside, relief came slowly and celebration came not at all. They walked with urgency, past the infirmary through the open doors of which one could still see their wounded. Their injuries would not heal by simply being informed of victory. And the losses they have endured? Those would be with them from  now, to be mourned in due time.

“Son. Sunspot. Look at me. Don’t be afraid.” He tried to keep Rohan looking at him, not darting his eyes around, peeking into rooms or reading into what the Bastion had to have been like in his absence. “Atica, find Sólveig or Ierian. Tell them we’ve wounds to clean. They’ll know what to give. Bring this and ample water and bandages. Understand? Now go.”

The Little Light nodded and departed with haste, separating from the Starseeker and Light who birthed her. Together with Rohan they made way to their room, the cradle of their family. He seated him on the bed, taking an opportunity to take a closer look at the brand. It seemed all of them were now marked in one way or another. Atica didn’t take long. Bellad took even less time to begin dabbing his son’s wound, treating it however he could. Even so, he knew by that point that there was nothing he could do. The mark would stay to fade years later. He couldn’t simply wash it off with water. All he could do, all he did do, was ensure his son would suffer no harm to his life from this humiliating sign of their invaders and their merciless Goddess.

He’s seen Luperci harming Luperci in ways he hadn’t thought possible. He remembered how taken aback he’d been when Fennore first told him of the savagery she’d endured. He wept for her then, saying she didn’t deserve it. Did his son? Did anyone?

“Good… Rest now, Rohan. Rest. We will be close by and return soon. I promise.” Bellad left the bed for him, and Atica stayed close by of her own volition, hand on top of her brother’s. The healer turned now to his wife. “My Light, I can see you are hurt as well. We should go to the infirmary.” Her nod was curt and soundless, her compliance unfeeling.

Outside, on their way to the place where the rest of the Circle waited, his Light told him in the same cold nonchalant tone he wasn't used to hearing from her what she’d done before finding their son…

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