[P] [M] In Us There is a Calling

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.

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[Image: Nazman.png]It was the very thing that Zetusubou and all of Casa preached of. Family. That was the tipping point. Where no threat or fist could sway them, it was a question, that the three of them would answer the same.

The chain that tethered him to this place was gone, and with it, every lesson they'd ever taught him. Strength flowered in his psyche, the true meaning of it, not the swayed words of a cur seeking a higher station. Real strength. Where might was survival. Where survival came with like-minded souls.

He'd never run faster on two legs than now, where each step was that much further from the heart of the territory, one step closer to the edge of this world.

The scent of the border was strong in his nares, and with it, the tender scent of the sunflower. The whisper of her arrival as he crossed through the barrier that protected Casa from true threats, as she had always promised to be. As she would teach him to be.

Hungry paws slowed as the edge of the borders were at his back, and in the trees he stood silently while blue eyes picked the world apart around him. He knew she was near, he could taste the floral notes on the wind growing more intense. Just like it was foretold.

Unfurling his fist in front, he revealed the letter that had been delivered to him. It was torn and water-worn, but it was still there. In it, he read:

“It has been some time. I see how you have grown. I know you still whisper my name in your thoughts. Come to meet me. It has been far too long. I've been waiting for days. I hope this letter finds you hungry for my return. Like the sunflower's perfume, you will find me on the edge of your lands. Seek me out and you will be rewarded, my precious Nazar.”

Tenderly he folded the note before pressing it to his chest with his palm, a moment too long, before he finally tucked it into his vest.

Then, there it was. A stir in the snow. Blue eyes reached hungrily through the brush, until a voice called out to him through the peppering flurries that floated to the earth.

“Nazar,” Her voice beckoned coldly.

Elation found him like he'd never known happiness. His features lightened as the corners of his lips turned upward into a smile, the most honest grin he'd ever known. Yet, from behind the shadow he knew was her own, there rose another.

As quickly as his smile was found, it was drown in the knitted brows and horror of confusion, “What?” He choked for a moment as sights once glossed in the reaching tears of joy, now threatened to fall as everything he ever knew crumbled around him. A nervous laugh piled up in his throat, caught there on the sickness that was twisting at his insides, "I-uh... I came for you. Like you asked. I'm here."

His attempts were not met with a similar tone, but with silence, and a shaking deep into his hands, into his knees, overcame him, "Sunflowers... Like you wrote. I've found you," That rattling in his chest found his voice, and his notes trembled, "'Your precious Nazar'... remember?"

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Sulphur sights watched as the dark-pelted male moved through the wintry world of white. Watched as he unfurled his letter and how he pressed it against himself. Her finger lifted to the same place upon her chest. There within, a beating of a heart long gone cold. She did not envy his frailty.

Her descent came as Nazar's eyes were turned away, and as if she had appeared in the snow before him, like the divine only could, she spoke his name. What his eyes did not see were the gentle roll of her fingers upon her hand, at her back, before she allowed her hand to lax at her side.

She beckoned more than one man.

The form of her son filled in the emptiness behind her, and with eyes like her own, a pair peered into the floundering Nazar's show.

“Where is your strength Nazar?” Her words were sharp, far colder than any winter breeze, and the ice itself that dusted her seemed ne'er to melt. With each breath she drew a pace closer, left another print into the snow, purpose behind her work, “You fumble.”

Fear gripped him. She could see that as clear as fire's light on the night of a new moon. He radiated it, like a putrid musk. An advertisement that she wrinkled her nose at in disdain. It would be so terribly easy to mock his gullibility. How tenderly he held that letter to his heart. What a foolish thing he was.

As she encroached, her steps now strafed aside. Quietly, warily, she circled him, the toxic, static gaze never parting from his darting blue, “There is a lesson to be learned here,” Her low spoken tone did decree. A special hate she had for this one, second only to a the preacher she watched die by the hand of his very son. However, while her inaction had sealed Ohja's fate, a different approach would need to be employed. A more hands on method would do wonders for this boy fettered by his own apprehension.

Or maybe it was his own knowing.

“I trust that you will have it figured out soon enough,” A step to the side allowed Boaz pass her, the long handle of his glaive rising above his head. Once he and his weapon were clear of her, she paced away, eyes of a hunter resting on the ex-Cavalier. Now it was time for Boaz' lesson.

Hopefully, Boaz would make his mother proud... or he would die, saving mother-dear the heavy lifting later down the line.

And that's when the battle begun. And what a short thing it was.

Boaz quickly worked with his polearm to cut into Nazar's flesh, to batter him and beat him down until he rested, dazed, with one knee to the earth in disbelief.

“Witness me,” Boaz whispered as he brought the heel of the glaive down across Nazar's features, the sick crack that resounded for only as long as he was upright. Like a forced stone, Nazar fell into the snow. Just as Boaz braced a finishing blow, he felt a weight upon the end of his polearm.

Achsah stood with her hand upon the weapon, her sulphur sights reaching out across the expanse, “Not here. Not like this,” She spoke quietly, but her sulphur sights reached out over the expanse of trees. The Cavalier's home was too close and Achsah had far greater things in mind.
Citrine eyes shifted to follow the dark form as it came running across the rapidly thawing landscape. Nazar. The wolf's features shifted into a deep frown, the space between his brows wrinkling deeply as the male, set in his suspicion, chose to follow the younger male. Remus was a new father again, he'd just dropped off his son at Kira's to feed him, but apart from the use of a milk nurse, Remus was doing it on his own this time around, and he wouldn't stand for anything that might bring danger to his newest child, not now, when Aster was the only thing left for Remus to live for, to really live for. The man had his other children still, each and every one of them he saw almost daily, however, they were all grown, he knew, once he was gone, it wouldn't really affect their lives, as they had lives of their own now away from him.

The older wolf followed at a pace he could keep up, wanting to make sure that Nazar wasn't up to anything that might endanger the pack, but his lungs were getting the better of him and his chest and throat burned as he began to lag behind. Shit. He croaked quietly as his breath began to rattle, but it was only a matter of time before the man found his way to where Nazar had stopped. Before he saw anything else, he smelled blood, and the wolf's hackles rose as his muzzle curled to reveal weathered fangs, his hand going instinctively to his sword hilt as he broke through the clearing, but what he saw for a moment he didn't comprehend. 

Nazar knelt on the floor in his own blood, another man stood over him with a bladed polearm weapon, and a woman stood off a bit away. Remus drew his sword fully then, he may not have liked Nazar, but the man was a Cavalier in his mind still, and he was duty sworn to protect him. "Hey-!" The wolf barked in a harsh tone that caught in his throat at the end, a growl rumbling into the air as he stepped forward, not waiting for words or explanations before his blade was arcing through the space between him and the armed male. "Nazar, what happened?!" he demanded, glancing over his shoulder at the bleeding male for a fraction of a second before his attention needed to spring back to the fight, the pain in his chest blooming into a weakness that began to permeate his limbs as he silently cursed, tensing as his head swam.
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[Image: Nazman.png]Hot, searing pain. It poured from his brow, from his crown, and accumulated beneath his jaw. Cardinal red, like the spring finch, stained the frozen canvas in the shape of where his jaw lay. It warmed the snow and took the bite out of winter's fair kiss as harsh lines drew in ruby rivulets across his creased features. Lashes trembled while eyes of larimar blue rolled in and out of the encroaching veil. He fought for his consciousness, and for a time, he won.

It all came at a call.

He woke at the hail of a voice so familiar that his eyes so quickly betrayed him. To the side against the frigid white, his head turned, and he spied his saving grace. Remus stood before him. A frozen ocean of blue carried a new emotional hue with no semblance of the man Nazar had played at being. No longer did the woodsmoke coywolf turn a sneer or a glower the way of the Cavalier, now saint. His eyes looked up to the Knight, and in them, he plead.

Help me.

A balled fist tucked beneath his chest, pitted into the snow as Nazar fought to command himself upward. Muscles quaked and every corner of him, shivered with the electric sting that played the rhythm of his heart on the torn flesh of his face. A gasp shook his lungs, and he wavered, but he was able to peel himself out of the snow. Stilted on two quivering arms, a breath drew long and ragged from his throat, and he answered, “She lied to me.”

As his body quavered, it was the tremulous shudder of his voice that exposed his real terror. What was wrought on his corporeal form found no purchase on his heart. It was the misery of deceit that had fractured him most. Loss, measured so immediately after a fight for his prize, weighed differently in him. He'd battled for this. He defended his right and what it had earned him was wretched.

Was loss all he'd ever know?

For all the strength that he'd lorded over his mentality, his frailty now shined. Elbows crumbled beneath him as his muscles gave. A shoulder met the snow first, followed by the dark edges of his face, back into the pool of red that his foolishness had gifted him. The gunmetal gray of his ears, inlaid with earthen hue, twitched at the sound of the disturbed powder at their feet, and as the tunnel of failed consciousness caved in around him, he could hear her echo.

Where is your strength, Nazar?

His chest, burdened with weight that he could not understand, remembered the voice of the Cavalier Lune. What was strength. How clearly now he knew, he had not only fooled the Lune, but so had fooled himself. Strength was not in your muscle, or your might. It wasn't a mentality to be tested or feigned, nor was it as simple as actions deemed. Strength was pain, swallowed, twisted and spit out by the toughest of them all. He was coal amongst diamonds, vulnerable, at their mercy.

“I can't-,” Nazar whispered, terrified of his own murmured words, “I'm not-,” At the edges of his black-cornered eye, a crystal bead tread. From his cheek, It fell, and left a shallow hole drilled into the snow, “Remus. Go. Leave me,” He begged, hazed sights reached to the shadow of Achsah's black-masked face. How right his brother had been, all along.

“I'm not- I'm not worth the cost.”

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His arrival was sudden, but not altogether a surprise. A loosening in the tapestry that she weaved, but her hand did not flinch. A new thread tangled into the loom of her grand design, as stray threads are often want to do.

She released her hold upon Boaz's weapon, and without a look or a signal given, she knew where he would go, what he'd do. He'd been aching for this moment his whole life and Achsah knew it.

Boaz back-pedaled with the Cavalier's arrival, only so much as to stand before Achsah and bring his glaive to the ready. A dark hand ran down the length of it's reach, nestling just below the blade in the crook of his palm, tempered by sights that matched his mother's own. Quietly, the pair watched as this stranger beckoned for Nazar's report.

What a weak thing he showed himself to be.

Achsah's acid eye did not reach down to the cur that rest behind a Cavalier's foot. That weeping boy was no threat, not like the challenge that had been brought before them now.

Not a single word came from Achsah's mouth. She did not need to call her reasons here for this man, nor explain herself to anyone. Coal hands turned low palms up and her jaw rose to look down at the mortal man and his little sword. The tendrils of her dark hair lay wild across her features, unkempt. The black of her eye, nothing more than the head of a pin. What threat was a weapon of metal to that of a god?


Boaz tilted the angle of his head on his shoulders as he inspected the Cavalier before him. It was the man's eyes that he focused on first, and that attention drew down the length of his body. There was a scrutiny in his eye. Boaz was sizing him up while on his chain, not yet working his weapon against the elder man.

Even Achsah could see the muscles as they corded across his body, tense perhaps with expectation.

Was it battle he wanted, or something else? To defend his little friend, here? How curious that was. It was in what Achsah did not understand that she took meaning from. It was a fools errand to defend a pup for the sake of a warrior's life.


Sulpher sights drew from the wolf's blade, to his eye.


A breath was taken in the depth of her chest. Her hunger for what was hers belayed her impatience.

So he would know what it mean to be the ally of a cursed blood.

“Boaz,” She instructed from behind her son. This was not her fight. She didn't care for it. Her feet pitted into the snow backward, one step at a time with calculated, watchful eyes as the perfume of sunflower billowed around her. It was time for soldier to do his work and on the quiet utterance of his name did he move to her devices.

A black paw pressed away from the snow as her son did not so much as breathe before adhering to her design. The glaive was thrust forward to close the gap between he and the Cavalier, it's hilt firmly in hand as he worked it's pivot and aimed for lethal points. Younger than them all, with the training of a warrior made for the fight, he exploded into speed and power, merciless in his onslaught.

The Cavaliers would know that they'd brought poison into their clan, and their price would be paid in more than one head by the crest of the hidden sun.
From the tones in his voice and the way he remained there defeated in the snow, Remus could tell that Nazar had been hurt here in more than just the physical sense. His history with the other male hadn't been very long, and what time they had spent together had been, to say the least, not preferable, yet despite all of it, Remus had a soft heart under his cold exterior, and he couldn't bring himself to leave the boy there like that and pretend he'd seen nothing. 

"You're a Cavalier." The wolf replied as he kept looking at Boaz, his sword at the ready, though it was apparent his words were directed at the male on the ground behind him. "And I'm not going to leave you behind."

The long bladed weapon lurched in Remus' direction and he knocked the blow aside with his sword, another strike and another parry. Another dodge, another blow. The blade glanced across his thigh leaving a deep fissure that streamed a river of red down the length of his lean, muscular leg. Another touch of the blade fell upon his shoulder and all the while Remus tried to strike back, tried to cut Boaz with everything his had, tried not to make himself a liar to the male he'd just sworn to protect. But, he could feel the tremors slowly taking hold of his limbs. He could feel the searing pain in his wounds and now in his lungs.

Despite his best efforts, the ailing male couldn't stop himself from doubling over in a short fit of coughs that left droplets of crimson tinged spittle to litter the snow in front of him, and his vision swam before everything came to focus on the blade puncturing his lower abdomen, his eyes falling there for only a heartbeat before he swung his sword at the other male again, trying to get him away, but the rending of flesh came with his retreat, and more of the Knight's life spilled onto the ground before instinct drove the male to lower his arms to the wound, trying in vein to hold back the gushing torrent that was spilling out of him as his weapon fell.

Now, the male couldn't help but glance back at Nazar, citrine eyes held fear and regret, but he said nothing more.
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[Image: Nazman.png]Fists clenched in the soft, frigid powder and his brows creased, his features worked into a grimace as he accepted his defeat. He was done, shattered, and would surely be left by the armed warrior that stood between Nazar's grounded form and the cruel woman that sought his end. Yet, as the words carried from beyond him, it was clear that Remus wasn't having any of him. Pale eyes broke upon and he jerked his blood slacked wounds.

You're a Cavalier

He had barely understood before, but now in his time of need, the truth of it all came down upon him. 'Why would you want to be a Cavalier? Jace had tersely questioned him when he'd come to her for knowledge. Then, he didn't have an answer, but now, in his time of need, it was revealed to him. Wanting to be a Cavalier was not wanting to be righteous or to fill one's time with tedious, menial labor. A Cavalier defended their own.

It was exactly what he had expected from Achsah, but was given nothing. Remus, conversely, had blessed him with this protection, this concept of something greater than himself. Despite everything that Nazar had put him through, the man still aimed his blade at Nazar's aggressors.

Before any greater intellection could dawn on him, Boaz and Remus exploded into battle. The coywolf couldn't simply lay in the snow while his fellow Cavalier fought for him. Arms pressed beneath him again, pressing his weight up on fists as he lifted his knees below himself. Now kneeling, he righted his back and blue sights sought out through the chaos. Before he could witness the brutality of Boaz's attack, the image of Achsah stood in the path of his sight.

Her hand slapped across his face, and his head whipped to the side. Without time to react more than grimace, her forearm came across his throat, and he landed on his back, winded. His choking gasps shook him, but she wasn't finished with him, yet. A dark footpaw with the silvery marking of her maker struck his face. There, in the snow, he watched from the ground as the two men fought, his features twisted from pain.

“Watch,” She said, coldly.

Then, Remus fell.

Tattered in the snow stroked and dappled by cardinal blood, Remus fell.

A coughing fit had taken him, and Nazar grunted as he tried to rise. The weight on his chest pushed down on him, collapsing him, again, leaving him no more an audience to the blade that tore through the Cavalier's middle. Widened eyes, with pricks of black, witnessed Remus grip what poured crimson down his front.

“Remus!” Nazar growled as those citrine eyes turned to him. Unable to accept it, he grabbed the Achsah's foot, burying his claws into her skin while his paws pried him away from the ground, “Remus... Dammit!” Never in his life did he think he'd be calling the man's name, as if it might bring him further from the threshold of death's ink-black gate.

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Boaz' blade drew a red ribbon into the trampled powder that had been their battlefield, sights drawn across the leavings of his Glaive's edge.

This fight was done. The threat was over.

The loner son disbanded his combat posture and the end of his polearm sank into the snow, a single hand propping it up, while the other rested on his hip. He panted, but was in no great dire need for air. His efficiency had proven to be his benefit against this older man, but Boaz wasn't cocky. Quietly, his eyes shifted to his mother.

Achsah removed her paw from Nazar's chest slowly, frigid eyes unphased as he fought her away. From there, she walked to the kneeling form of the Cavalier's failed warrior. Fingertips drew across his shoulder as she passed, though she did not turn to face him. Her back remained to him as she roved to her son's side, shoulder to his shoulder, purposefully displaying her understanding that the challenge had been no more than a warm-up for Boaz. The boy had suffered far worse at her own hand.

Nazar was fumbling in the snow to get himself to his feet, and the crunching of the frozen white caught her dark ears. Inky-dipped peaks rolled back into the tangle of charcoal threads, yet still she did not turn around to face her victims, “Boaz,” She stated in a demand as sulfur sights reached out into the forest, “You've stopped. Why?”

Boaz's sights widened, but he didn't dare match his mother's eyes. Without a threat here, there was no reason for him to continue, but it was very clear that his mother had other things in mind.

Eyes then snapped to Nazar as he came to deliver a strike across the younger male's features, but a whip of the Glaive's heel sent the coywolf returning into the snow. With his nephew out of the way, Boaz's sights returned to Remus. Slowly, his paws crossed the distance that he had created between them.

Steadily, the Glaive rose, it's lethal edge drawn to rest at Remus' throat.

If his blood didn't take him, then Boaz would in the image of a cardinal grin drawn across the Cavalier's throat.

Achsah, on the other hand, moved from her position and paced to the fallen Nazar. Her paw turned him over in the snow, his impression in the white littered with red. He didn't move, but still he breathed. A ragged groan trembled out of him. It was sloppier than she wanted, but Boaz was a mortal. What did he know of the art of gods?

“Remus. Cavalier Remus,” Achsah took a moment to taste the words, as would any of a fine wine, “Nazar. You're a killer. Finally,” Crouching at his side, she gripped his jaw and shook it for a moment, before abandoning him to the snow, “This Remus was killed. You, the cause. You would do well to remember this.”

From there, she moved to Boaz's side to see how complete his task turned out to be. With the Cavalier free of his last breaths, they could move on to greater things.
He tried to convey with his gaze the thing that he could no longer say, as the damage took hold of his body, rendering his voice useless, citrine eyes told the dark male behind him, 'I'm sorry.' There was a tremor that afflicted every inch of the Knight's body, almost gently, a stillness coming over him as he knew that he had finally lost the fight. This wasn't anything like the three strike match of his first blood, or the bout with the wild cat that his uncle Lorenzo had saved him from all those years ago. No, this was the first real battle that Remus had lost, like so many before him, it would prove to be his last. That much he knew as his gaze trickled down to his hands that gripped uselessly at the gaping maw that had opened in the soft flesh of his abdomen.

He could hear them all talking as the wolf sank to his knees. A gentle yet venomous touch graced one shoulder, but the Cavalier Knight no longer possessed the strength to move. He thought of his child when his eyes flicked back up to meet Boaz's cold stare, there was a touch of cold panic as he realized he'd never see his baby grow up, he thought of his other kids, he thought of his brothers who remained, he thought of his friends, of Ezra, of his horse, even thoughts of the man he'd tried to save but couldn't had found him as regret began to wrap his being like a shadowy cloak. 

But then, he thought of his Uncle, who had always given him strength, he thought of his mother, of his father, of Arlen, and Remus knew that they would all be waiting for him on the next leg of his journey. The frantic eyes that had watched Boaz lift the blade to his throat calmed, and only acceptance remained. Nazar would be okay, this was the end of Remus' journey, but Nazar was still alive, that must have accounted for something, and so all Remus could do was know with everything he had, that everyone he left behind would be okay.

The blade that had cut him had been even colder than the snow upon which Remus lay, watching, watching, as the three shapes faded into the background, as his consciousness began to narrow along with the periphery of his vision, a welcoming blackness closing in all around him. And he knew that he was not alone, he was safe, and he was going home.

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