[P] [M] Burning Shadows in the Dark
Casa Members
#1

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: Violence, Injuries.

Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

OOC: Ember League Plot - Dated June 6th just after midnight - cNPC: Booker Dalton - other NPCs: Mentions of League throughout, primarily Ember, Selby, Ackley and Mills - Set just north of Clement's Park on east side of Fundy Crossing
[Image: zE05Z64.png]

Getting to the meeting point on time had been a struggle. Cedric had to round up the Cavaliers moments after his discussion with Booker in order to set out from the pack in time to reach the location. No one had a chance to sleep and, as the next night had now rolled in, Cedric doubted they would rest any time soon. He imagined this was part of Booker's plan; another caution to try and stop Cavalier retaliation and weaken any attempts the pack did try to make. It was clever, but wouldn't beat the determination of Cedric's pack to save their own and punish these mercenaries. There was pride in Cedric's heart, as he left the majority of the group on the outskirts of Clement's Park, looking at their tired faces still burning with resolve. How no one had complained, they had all marched with purpose and a promise to succeed. As Cedric and the small group left, the Lune's mind had to cling onto the hope that they would all return once this was done, exhausted but happy. 

The group following the Lune had been picked specifically for their ability to hold their own; should things go to plan, they'd be fighting on less than equal grounds whilst awaiting back-up. By Cedric's side was Zetsubou, the man trained for any kind of intense combat, and a father who Cedric knew would give his all to protect children in need. Lucian and Nilda followed as well, younger but still strong, faces the pups knew well and who Cedric put his faith in when it came to keeping his children safe when things got violent. And Eros, unable to sacrifice himself as he'd been so eager to do, but still risking his life for the sake of creating this plan. When they all returned to Casa, alive and successful, Cedric hoped his cousin might learn a thing or two about the value of his life. 

Far out of sight, though as important to the plan as a light in the darkness, Cedric tried to picture his other brother along with Pushok and Arotia. The three brave souls had volunteered for the task of taking back the Avalon, a turning point to ensure Casa's counterattack worked, but a huge risk for those involved. Cedric thought of the trio, putting his faith in Pushok as a knight, but also in his brother and Artoia. At this distance, it was impossible to see them, or even the Avalon in the dark, but instinct told Cedric that they were out there. 

The moon was a cresent in the sky, barely bright enough to light the way, forcing the Cavaliers to rely on what sight they had at night. It was enough to guide them to the shore however, along with the sounds of the water lapping against rock and the few cries of sea-birds who had been disturbed by the activity. The rocky terrain was fairly jagged, but there was a flat point that dipped out towards the Loch a few hundred foot across that seemed like the ideal place to stand. A thought shared by their enemy, as Cedric could see a few figures waiting on the coastline, his heart then skipping a beat as he also heard quiet whimpers around them. 

Booker stood in the center of the group, flanked by three of his mercenaries; the fiery-pelted leader, the small thief who had attacked Kai, and the scarred woman who had dealt the fatal blow to Theo. Behind them by a short distance was their sharpshooter, the woman with a keen eye and a drawn bow, seemingly there to shoot at the hint of suspicion. And shared amongst Booker and his hired hands were Cedric's children, trying to whimper through the pieces of rope used to tie their mouths shut, their young eyes struggling to get a bearing on their surroundings. 

"You arrived." Booker began, his voice more clear than his actual form, at least until Cedric and his Cavaliers came closer. 

"That's close enough." The mercenary leader growled, tugging a little on the scruff of the child she was holding, Dagon, to make a point. Cedric couldn't help but look at his terrified son, then all the others being held roughly by the group, finally forcing himself to glare to Booker. 

"We've brought Eros." Cedric announced simply, then moving his arm back to pull his cousin closer and a bit in front. A forceful push, an attempt to act as if he cared little for his relative, probably pointless given this entire awful event began when Cedric refused to let Booker near the man. "We give him to you, and take the children back, exchange at the same moment."

Booker shook his head. "And give you the chance to attack us the moment the pups are in your hands? No." For a moment Cedric's stomach sank, wondering if Booker was about to reveal his true plan; attack all of them and kill the pups. Though what the man really said wasn't much better. "You'll take some of the little worms... but we're keeping two. At least until we're back on the ship. Once that happens, the last two will be dropped on the shore where they can scurry back to you."

Holding back a growl, not daring to even think of asking which of his children would be kept in enemy hands, Cedric gave a stiff nod and pushed Eros to prompt him to move. Wishing he could speak to his cousin's mind, wish him luck in the upcoming carnage, instead Cedric remained indifferent, focusing his attention on the children instead. As Eros got closer, the mercenary leader nodded, dropping Dagon to the floor so the boy could run to safety. A few more steps, and two more children were released, Tor and Lotai. Once Eros was close enough for Booker to grab him, Pandora was also allowed to run, leaving just Tokhaka and Tegan in enemy hands. 

"Eros." Booker growled, his eyes somehow able to go even colder now that he was meeting the man he'd been so desperate to find. "Nice to finally know your name. After all you've done, ruining my life, taking my family... well now I've ruined yours, and you'll certainly remember my name for that."


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#2
The group that trudged to their rendezvous was a quiet one.  He knew that Cedric must be worried for the pups, and that this situation was less than ideal.  Eros though, wasn’t worried, and he wasn’t afraid.  Perhaps he should have been, and he knew a normal person might have been worried for the pups, but he didn’t know them, and he didn’t want to.  He wasn’t the melodramatic loner standing in the shadows, though he didn’t mind if people thought that.  The fiery pelted Male had made a promise to Casa and a certain distance helped.  Mostly Eros was angry.  He was angry that some mercenaries had the audacity to attack what was his.  What was worse, and definitely unbalancing, he had no knives.  Arriving armed to a swap would doubtless have appeared more than a little bit suspicious.  Eros only hoped that if this went sideways he’d get those knives back.  They’d been a gift from Luca and had helped him make a living for a long time.

Eros felt Lucian and Nilda walking behind him, though he didn’t look around.  He also saw Cedric out of the corner of his eye and knew beyond him was Zetsubou.  The fiery pelted Damaichu looked straight ahead, golden eyes watching the figures resolve themselves into the mercenaries, along with their boss and the smaller forms of the pups.  Eros couldn’t help noticing that the sprogs weren’t squirming, and had their muzzles tied.  Eros was only too aware of how effective the promise of pain was to gain a pliant subject.  The promise was often a better tool than the reality.

Eros didn’t resist as his Lune grabbed him, thrusting him towards the group of loners.  The fiery pelted Damaichu took in the faces of the mercenaries.  He understood that most of the time it was only business, but he was hopeful they didn’t realise what Eros often tried to do when folk interfered with his work, or what was his.  If any of them survived this, Eros would do his damndest to get Casa’s burgeoning network to find them.  His expression remained cool as he walked towards Booker.

The Keeper spared a glance to the pup’s as they were released.  Clearly terrified the blue eyed one called Dagon paused for an instant to make sure his siblings were coming, before his nerve appeared to break and his legs pumped furiously, weaving slightly.  The rope end of the rope tying his muzzle shut, trailing on the ground.  Dagon zipped pass Eros without a glance, and the fiery pelted Damaichu didn’t turn to see if the pups reached the pack, although he had little doubt Dagon was heading to Cedric with a focus that left no concentration for anything else.

Booker’s grip wasn’t gentle, and though Eros ached to start something with this loner, not for the seeking of vengeance, but because the loner had the temerity to grab him.  Eros’s expression remained cool though, and he didn’t have to feign the lack of recognition.  The Keeper truly didn’t remember this Luperci, or their family.  For all Eros knew he had killed them, but it hadn’t been personal, or at least he supposed it hadn’t.  Eros had been paid for many things, a bit like these Mercenaries perhaps, although he liked to think he had managed it with greater discretion.

”Ruined my life?” Eros spared a glance for the sprogs ”I mean, they’re not my pups.”

They needed a distraction right? Well, Eros had been told he could be pretty distracting.

”Listen, I don’t remember you, and if I did kill your family, it was just a job, like these guys.” Eros waved to the mercenaries ”You pay, we come.

Eros decided not to threaten anyone just right now, but he could feel the roiling anger he kept in check inside of him.  That anyone thought they could come and threaten those he was meant to protect?  He had a damn contract.  Eros watched Booker’s eyes get colder, and through their grip, he could feel the other’s increased heartbeat.  The Keeper was sure he was safe though, Booker or the mercenaries would want to torture him, after all the trouble they’d gone through, dying quickly didn’t seem like something on the cards.  Perhaps if these Luperci were just, or Booker wasn’t so twisted with grief. 

The punch wasn’t a surprise, but Booker’s anger leant it a breath-taking ferocity.  The second punch came in quick succession.  The mercenaries realised that Eros had been let go and tensed, but the fiery pelted male stayed put, blood beginning to flow from his muzzle.

”Not personal?!” Booker hissed, his breath ragged with barely contained fury.  ”THEY WERE MY FAMILY!” Booker roared.  Eros thought he heard the sprogs whimper at the sudden noise ”It was personal to me.  You…you ruined my life.  I can’t get them back.  I’ll never be able to get them back.  I can make sure you feel a little fraction of how I do before you die though.”

Eros was oh so tempted to retort, it’d be so easy, and he was so good at it.  Another remark though, that might drive Booker over the edge, and that’s when folk got unpredictable and did unexpected, and often emphatically dramatic things, like eye gouging, or tongue cutting.  Not to mention with the pups, Eros’s coolness might make Booker seek other targets.  So the fiery pelted Damaichu said nothing, instead he waited for the next blow, or Cedric’s signal.
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#3
Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

OOC: Ember League Plot - Dated June 6th just after midnight - cNPC: Booker Dalton - other NPCs: Mentions of League throughout, primarily Ember, Selby, Ackley and Mills - Set just north of Clement's Park on east side of Fundy Crossing - PP of characters approved
[Image: zE05Z64.png]

Cedric winced a bit as Booker lashed out at Eros. He could feel the other Cavaliers flinch, as if waiting for this to be the cue to start fighting, but Cedric remained silent and patient. Eros could take a hit, Booker wouldn't kill him immediately, so right now Cedric needed to focus on getting his children back as soon as possible. The timing of things in the dark could never be perfect, so the Lune had to wonder if the group taking on the Avalon were already there, which was hard to confirm given he could barely see the ship and couldn't look over to it without giving himself away. So instead Cedric focused on the two remaining children in need of rescue; Tegan and Tokhaka. Tegan was furiously wriggling in the hold of a small, black and white pelted woman, the one Cedric recognised as the one who'd attacked Kai. Young but clearly already dark in her heart, the jackal woman didn't seem to care much for the upset puppy other than grip her tightly by the scuff and legs to stop her from escaping. Tok, meanwhile, wasn't with the main group of mercenaries. His size being more of a challenge to carry around, the large pup was instead tethered to the mercenary with the bow, the one hanging back a few paces to keep an eye on things. The burning look to their magenta eyes told Cedric that they'd have no issue aiming their arrow at Tok's head or stabbing the boy the moment things went wrong. 

Dagon was scrambling at Cedric's feet, along with the other kids, the man unable to resist the cries of his children as he slowly crouched down to them. Pulling the rope from each one's muzzle, but then shushing them with careful touches and passing them back towards Nilda and Lucian. It hurt him to push them all away, but right now the Lune couldn't afford to break his focus on the exchange, putting his faith in his brother and Nilda to guide the pups back and behind them all. 

Booker's fury on Eros was buying them time, time to assess all the things going on and decide on the best approach. Who would Cedric take on when the real plan was revealed? How would he get back Tok and Tegan before the enemy had a chance to kill them for the Cavalier's rebellion? It would need to be done with speed, before the mercenaries knew that their plan was falling apart, with their escape route taken from them. 

Cedric could practically see Booker shaking with anger, specks of blood on his knuckles from his blows against Eros, the temptation in those icy eyes to just end things right there did pass by, before the man went to roughly grab Eros once more. "Don't think you can just pass all this off in silence. I'll make you talk... I'll make you beg for me to kill you." He tugged on Eros, taking a few steps back from the Cavalier group, his place then taken by the other mercenaries still watching carefully. Each step was a countdown, Cedric's skin buzzing with anxiety and building adrenaline, ready to snap the moment he knew the Avalon was reclaimed. 

The spark to lit the fire. And it came a few seconds later with a cry for help echoing from the shore. Everyone looked back to the Avalon, including the mercenaries, but the night came as a disadvantage for them as well as it was near impossible to see what was going on. For the League it was a surprise, for the Cavaliers, it was a signal. 

Cedric was moving immediately, feeling the others also prepare to fight. Lucian took aim at the one holding Tegan, the arrow only grazing the small woman's arm but delivering enough shock to make her drop the wriggling child, allowing Cedric's daughter a chance at escape. Nilda was calling to the Lune and throwing him something for Cedric to catch; a sheathed dagger, belonging to Eros to help arm the man. Zetsubou was Cedric's shadow, moving with the Lune as he made a charge for Booker and Eros. The man was looking back towards the Avalon, his ears pulled back and his head shaking, rage replacing the shock just a moment too late as Cedric managed to shove into him shield first. It broke Booker's grip on Eros, sending him stumbling backwards before righting himself and glaring at the Lune, before both of them turned to the muted yelp not too far away. 

Cedric's heart dropped as he was Tokhaka flailing against the rope around his neck, an animalistic panic taking over the boy as he tried to get away from the woman who had him tethered. The woman who had just shot at the boy, arrow managing to catch the boy's ear and leave the torn leather splattered with blood. The arrow had clearly missed, but the amount of blood still left Cedric feeling sick, the father managing to compose himself enough to shove Eros's dagger into the Keeper's hand. "Get back my son." Eros was quick and nimble, Cedric knew he'd get to the mercenary holding Tok well before the Lune could, leaving Booker to Zetsubou and Cedric. 

A quick glance around to his other Cavaliers was all Cedric could afford. Lucian and Nilda were defending their position as the wall between the mercenaries and the pups, but they were outnumbered with three currently closing in on them. Zetsubou had Booker occupied and Eros was moving to take out the mercenaries sharpshooter. The surprise had paid off enough to grant the Cavaliers a moment of control, but it would soon be lost without back-up. 

So the Lune lifted his head and howled, short and loud, calling for the Cavaliers they had left behind to begin the charge. It would take them a few minutes to arrive, and those tense minutes would be spent defending and stalling out the mercenaries. For now, Cedric focused his attention on the three trying to break through Lucian and Nilda's defence, drawing out the one wielding their own shield to try and get them in a duel.


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#4
Ooc here

[Image: Zetsu-Lisanata.png]A splinter of the pale moon cut through the dark of night, the stars present like an omnipotent audience, waiting in anticipation. The twinkling lights saw the Cavalier entourage, and those that lie in wait. They watched as a second faction worked under the cover of night. They witnessed the muzzled pups and heard their whimpers in the dead of night.

Tension gripped Zetsubou in the center of his chest, tight through his shoulders and neck as he walked aside Cedric and Eros, their charge. Alongside them, Nilda, the Hushhowl woman, and Lucian, the brother of their very Lune. Hackles threatened to rise beneath the cascade of black locks that fell, unruly, from the grip of a leather cord that barely held his hair at bay.

The Tekko, hidden at his back beneath his cloak and upon separate hips, did not jingle in the silence of the night as they walked toward the rendezvous. Mentally, he prepared himself as his paws crossed familiar grounds. Emotions surrounding his mourning thoughts, of his own children and their loss, filtered away from his mind with a deep exhale. With their young prisoners, he could not risk the distraction. A soldier, stoic, walked beside his Lune and his packmates. He would do what must be done for the sake of his fellow Cavaliers.

Heterochromic sights washed across the faces that they approached the League, and his paws stopped obediently where he was ordered to. As Cedric spoke, Zetsubou took note of the mercenaries that were at Booker's beck and call. Their builds, their weapons, and their gaze were all put neatly into the Sworn's mind. He scrutinized every inch of them, utilizing all that he could get from a glimpse in the dark of night with eyes that glowed with the reflection of the pale light of the moon.

One by one the pups were released, until Eros would be handed over. The last of them remained in custody of their kidnappers, as it had been decided without Cavalier input. Booker's contingency plan complicated the situation.

Eros was pushed forward by his Lune, words were exchanged, and Booker engaged him. A strike was laid upon the Cavalier, but Zetsubou stood gravely firm. Eros didn't understand the gravity of what he'd done, but Zetsubou expected this. Truthfully, the more furious that Booker could be made, the more dangerous it was for the pups, but in that same vein, Booker could grow sloppy. Their interaction wasn't what he was concerned with. The peaks of ink-dipped ears were forward set, but seeking. They were all waiting for a sign.

It came just shy of seconds when Booker placed himself behind a wall of his hired mercenaries. Ears darted at the cry, the signal, that echoed from the shadow of the Avalon. From behind his back, Zetsubou wrapped his hands into the grips of the Tekko and ripped them free of their binding cords. Now armed with the deadly iron weapons, he walked in Cedric's tracks, and broke past Booker's guard.

The Lune loosed Booker's grip on Eros with his shield, and Zetsubou strafed in between the two of them. Cedric would need a moment to call for backup, and the Sworn could provide it. Leaving nothing to chance, Zetsubou's attacks were strong and quick, and if his weapon did not strike Booker, then it put space between the man and his mercs. Splitting their form would do enough to hold them off for as long as it took Eros to grab the pup and arm himself; give them time for their aid to arrive from the veil of night.


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#5
Eros could see it.  Booker was psyching himself up.  The loner was rapidly losing his grip on the situation and on what was real.  It was very easy, lazy perhaps, to see Booker as evil, but Eros learned while wandering the neutral territories that those labels were the luxury not often afforded to many.  Grief made folk do stupid or even insane things.  Eros always had mixed feelings when he came up against those lost to anger, hatred or grief.  On the one hand they were often super easy to manipulate and get them to do exactly what you wanted, but mis-calculate and those results were often spectacular and almost always bad.

The loner might have thought Eros was being coy, or stringing Booker along, but the fiery pelted Damaichu had no idea who the shorter male was, or anything about his family.  The widower might have been right, maybe Eros did kill the guy’s family, he’d helped lots of people settle scores, wriggle out of debts or take control of bits of land.  He had never been cheap, but Eros got the job done and had very few qualms about what those jobs entailed.  Was he evil then?  It wasn’t really a question or concern that Eros was ever burdened with.  Now, he worked for his family, and Booker et al had something the fiery pelted Damaichu wanted.  Well, technically speaking Eros never wanted anything to do with pups, but he did want to make sure the mercenaries’ corpses could be displayed as a warning to others who might try something this stupid.

When the signal came, Eros watched Booker turn, the scent of tension strong in the air.  The Cavaliers had known it was coming though, and so Eros wasn’t surprised as a knife, just the one, was shoved into his hand and Cedric re-iterated his order.  Eros heard Booker’s cry of frustration as the Keeper slipped from his grasp both figuratively and literally.

He'd been called many things.  A whore, a bastard, a drunk and many more things which were far less pleasant.  Eros didn’t care, because those same Luperci still paid him, still slept with him and still bought him drinks.  Why? Because he had a talent he excelled at, even beyond his reputation in the sack, and now, knife in hand, he went to work.

The Keeper moved with a fluid inexorability.  Covering the distance between himself and his target in the barest of heartbeats.  Without pause or hesitation, the fiery pelted Damaichu sliced into the rope tethering Tok to the mercenary.  The sudden lack of tension made the pup lurch and tumble to the ground.  The mercenary’s eyes were dark, and their expression calculating.  They threw aside the bow, at the same time drawing a knife.  Eros knew where this was going.  They were aiming to put him on the defensive by stabbing the prone pup.  With only one knife a feint would be difficult, and blocking would mean he’d get slashed instead.

”fuck it!” Was all the warn Tok got as Eros’s foot, punted the boulder weighted pup out of danger. 

”Man, he’s going to be so pissed!” Eros said, thinking of Cedric. 

The fiery pelted Damaichu didn’t make the rookie error of watching the pup’s trajectory, confident he’d judged it correctly.  More importantly, he had very little doubt the mercenary would be following Tok’s flight, which is why he managed to get in a slash.  He’d been aiming for the other’s knife holding wrist, but caught their upper arm instead.  Eros saw the bloom of blood and the wince of pain, but he smelt nothing.  His muzzle bled freely, and his sense of smell was ruined for now, clogged with the coppery stink of his own blood.  The free slash was all Eros got before the fight began.

The mercenary was fast, and relentless, and apparently despite their employer’s wishes, seemed quite content to try and gut him.  Eros often coated his blades in something noxious, but the blade had passed to through too many friendly hands, it would have been too dangerous.  As they fought, the Keeper felt the ever burning ball of anger, on a slow burn that he drew off of.  He blocked and dodged as best he could, though he’d never found knives the greatest weapons to defend with.  Still, Eros fought, landing small and safe cuts, never hurried or panicking that he needed to end the combat.  The two opponents learned more about each other the longer they fought, and there was an ever increasing likelihood of a mistake.

The mercenary’s slip up, when it came, wasn’t a desperate one, but Eros had been watching for something.  The balance slightly off, the arm just a little too extended.  Eros lashed out with a foot, driving a kick at his opponent’s knee.  There was a sickening crunch and a horrible cry of pain from the loner.  Somehow though, they retained enough of their faculties not to drop the knife.  They had lost their balance though.  It didn’t mean that as they fell and Eros slashed them across the throat, they managed to get in one lucky shot, aided by gravity, slashing down Eros thigh.  Eros grunted and felt the warmth matt into his fur.

Eros didn’t stay to watch the mercenary’s inevitable end.  Nor did he give them the mercy of a quick death.  He’d done what he’d needed to, and their corpse wasn’t going to be going anywhere, he’d take the warning when he had time.  Once again, like so many times before, Eros had killed another Luperci.  Perhaps the lack of guilt, shame or satisfaction should be worrying.  Yes, there was anger, but it wasn’t directed at the slowly suffocating loner, he didn’t care enough about them for that.  It was the audacity of what they’d done.  These nobodies had gall to come here and attack this place?  With a shake of his head, he’d already forgotten the fight, and his mind had gone back to wondering if anyone had seen him kick the pup.  How likely was it after all? I mean, they were all fighting right?  Besides it’d been the fastest way to get the mass of a pup out of the way.  The kid was huge, it must have been like dropping a rock.  Eros shuddered to think what Kai’s….and he decided not to finish that thought, there was still stuff that needed doing.
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#6
Cerberus hated this waiting in the wings. He had to trust that everything would be fine. Nilda and Lucian had the pups and there were others with them. But his nerves were getting the better of him as Armani waited near him. He was prepared to fight with his pack but he also worried about leaving Armani with the pups alone. The older warrior had been adamant of doing her part injury or not. She stayed in Secui and waited for her moment.

Red eyes watched the earth waiting to hear his leader when finally his call rang over the land. The red hued woman bolted by him. She charged in towards the fray. He knew she would be going towards Nilda and Lucian. Electa moved past him as finally his feet released themselves from the earth they had felt glued to.

Glaive in on hand as he followed the others. Armani had halted and began to hold herself over the pups the best she could. Electa took a battle stance in front of her mother. It shocked him how strong Armani really still was especially in her Secui form an opponent would have to get her moving to really notice her limp.

His mind was taken back to the battle as the sound of Nilda caught his attention. Cerberus didn’t have to look hard for her as she struggled against the smaller coyote woman. The woman had sunk her hook into the sworns leg causing her to cry out. As he watched her leg get ripped out from underneath her. No real thoughts crossed his mind as he launched forward. His feet and anger carried him first and foremost forward. Glaive held ready to swing as he made first initial impact with the woman’s face as she pulled a dagger not noticing him. Unfortunately for him the end he used was the wood end and not the blades end meaning his strike hurt but wasn’t very leather.

Nilda cursed under him as she pulled the hook from her leg casting it aside. “Bitch” she snarled. “Using children as a means to get what you want.” She snapped slowly standing using Cerberus as he snarled at the woman who was starting to stand. His hit had definitely hurt her but he wasn’t fully certain it’s done much. “You ok?” He asked in a hushed tone standing defensively in front of Nilda. “I’m fine” she spoke her tone hard as she drew a breath. She could feel the blood soaking her fur slowly as she turned her wince into a snarl of anger. Her cousins, innocent children taken it was bull.
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#7
Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

OOC: Ember League Plot - Dated June 6th just after midnight - cNPC: Booker Dalton - other NPCs: Mentions of League throughout, primarily Ember, Selby, Ackley and Mills - Set just north of Clement's Park on east side of Fundy Crossing - PP of characters approved
[Image: zE05Z64.png]

Unwavering faith was what the Lune had in his people, his Cavaliers. The moment the call was cast, Cedric knew they would come to help and this battle would be won, but he also knew those few around him would also push for their victory. He knew Eros would save Tok, he knew Zetsubou would protect his back as he turned to howl, and he knew Lucian and Nilda would protect the pups from harm. Cedric also knew of Caspian, Pushok, Artoia and Kira, all now guarding the Avalon and keeping it in the rightful hands of Casa. All his worries that plagued his heart, that kept Cedric awake at night and twisted his stomach into infinite knots, seemed to fade away as the battle began. Adrenaline and faith took over, allowing the Lune to think of nothing but the present, living in the battle and the moment. 

He kept the shield-wielder at bay for the precious minutes necessary, daring a glance around to see how the others faired. Nilda was caught in a duel with the mercenary leader, whilst Lucian seemed eager to go and help if not for his current tangle with the smaller woman of the evil group. Looking to Eros would be risky however, even as he heard another muted yelp from his son, so Cedric pushed back on the mercenary fighter until finally back-up arrived. Thundering of hooves and paws filled the air, cries of battle began as the mercenaries began to see their escape fly away like wind snuffing out the last of a night's fire. Cedric took his chance to disengage from the shield-user and turn back to Booker, the livid man kept busy by Zetsubou, the Sworn expertly keeping Booker stuck in place. 

As Cedric approached, Booker's furious glare seemed calculating, shifting in panic. The man was sensing the chances of his victory vanish and was looking for a way out. "You can surrender." Cedric announced, his golden eyes burning in a glare. "We can end this now." But the words were fruitless, bringing comfort only to Cedric for at least offering a chance at mercy, for Booker was far too gone to see reason. Cedric saw the flex of Booker's arm and a knife raised, lifting his shield in time to meet the man's charge as the crazed man managed to deftly dodge around Zetsubou's guard to try and land a hit on the Lune. Knife met shield, lodging into the wooden section before splintering off, allowing Cedric to back off and avoid Booker's second blade. Two against one would make this fight quick, perhaps Booker knew that and tried to use his own speed to take out one of them, but the Cavaliers weren't exactly easy targets. 

Though speaking of easy targets, Cedric dared to finally take a moment to look for his children, noticing the five were now protected behind Cavaliers. But only the five. Towards Eros and the defeated mecenary, Cedric saw Tok struggling to stand, still curled in fear and looking for an exit. The boy's deep purple eyes turned just in time to meet Cedric's, and the child made a decision that predictable yet dangerous enough to make the father's heart plummet. Tok uncurled himself and started running, limping a bit, straight towards Cedric to what he probably believed was the safety of a parent.


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#8

In reality, it had only been a few sun rises since her children were stolen from her, but it had felt like a life time ago, the sable woman hadn't slept, of course that really wasn't all that surprising she guessed. So many emotions coursed through her veins and she had cried more tears than she ever had, but now all that remained was anger and vengeance to get her precious pups back and to find the one that rendered the mother unconscious. The long wavy locks were braided tightly around her head so they wouldn't get in the way, and her lighter ends tucked away so it wouldn't give her away in the shadows of the night, the white heart like patch on her chest was also covered with charcoal and ash so it wouldn't be a beacon in the night. Tightening the her bracers around her wrists and preparing for battle mismatched orbs looked out into nothing,

"Paybacks a bitch."

Kai spoke the words but they were hardly audible, closing her eyes she turned and disappeared into the darkness as she left her empty home, come hell or high water, she was bringing her children home, even if it meant she didn't return with them.

Though she and Cedric had hardly spoken a word since the pups vanishing, she knew he had requested that she stay back with the others until called.  The Wolfe-Danahlii woman wasn't happy about it, but agreed to do so anyway.  She stewed while leaned against a tree, the single dagger twirled in her hand over and over as hues of sun and moon looked out into the darkness, the brightness of her eyes seemed dim and she kept to herself, it was best she wasn't around others right now.  If one more person asked how she was holding up she might have put that dagger through them instead of whoever was responsible for knocking her out and stealing her children.

Large ears perked as the Lune's call rang out through the skies, finally it was time.  After one last spin of the blade, it found it's rightful home in the holster strapped to her thigh and she pushed off the tree.  Quickly she made her way towards the Avalon, but she didn't run, she made calculated moves and stuck to the darkest of shadows. Remaining hidden, she watched as Armani guarded some of her children, after a quick headcount, two remained uncounted for, a deep growl rumbled slowly in her chest and the dark furred woman glared towards the Avalon, quickening her pace.

Once on the rocky shore next to the ship, the battle raged on, her eyes first fell on Tokhaka, the largest of her pups, he was scared and alone but it would be impossible for her to get to him, and easier for Cedric or another Cavalier.  Slowly she scanned and within seconds she found her daughter biting and tugging at the hock of a monochrome jackaldog as it hopped on one leg and holding their bleeding arm.  But those yellow eyes soon met the mismatched orbs of her own and Kai knew she was the one that rendered her unconscious and unable to protect her children.  She glared and growled, as she approached, methodically watching the woman, taking in their form, muscle movements, anything that would give her the advantage and tell the Wolfe-Denahlii woman how to take down the bitch once and for all. 

Under normal circumstances the sable woman was a gentle soul, she had love and compassion, it took everything in her not to just scoop up Tegan and run to safety with her.  But if she did that, it would put both of them at risk and she would not allow that to happen.  Kai's movements were quick and silent, as if she was floating and with the jackal woman distracted, it was easy enough to deliver a first strike, a foot to the side of the knee causing the woman to crumble and yelp out in pain.  In that instance, for just a moment she let her gaze fall to her buff colored daughter who was biting and tugging as hard as she could in true Denahlii and Knight fashion, a brave warrior, even so young.  Pride swelled in her heart before turning her attention back to the kidnapper in time to see the metal of a dagger glisten in the firelight.

Finally the jackal woman was able to kick hard enough that the pup lost her grip and went flying into some cargo, hitting it with a yelp, it happened so fast that all the mother could do was watch in horror which gave the other woman time to stand with a limp with a dagger pointed at her.  Tegan was standing and shaking off the hit, which allowed Kai to breathe again and focus on the black and white jackaldog before her and the sharp weapon.  She would not give the woman a chance to think, like a viper, she both hands reached up, one hitting the back on her hand, one hitting the inside of her wrist which loosened the woman's grip on the dagger and sent it flying across the ground and in the next instance swept the good leg sending the woman on her back, landing hard on the ground with an audible thud.

It was in that moment that the mother made a decision, if the jackaldog surrendered, she would live, if she attempted to attack again or went after her pup, the bitch would pay with her own blood.  Either way, it would be over soon.  Quickly, she glanced around, making sure Tegan was safe and that no other mercenary was coming to the Shadows aid.  The problem with petite opponents is that they can move fast and in that instance, the woman had scrambled to her feet and as Kai turned back towards her, the jackal woman was able to land a punch across her muzzle causing her head to snap to the side.  The Wolfe-Denahlii woman smirked and gently touched the side of her lip that had split open and let out a deep, dark chuckle. 

"You made your decision."

Kai cracked her neck and prepared to fight, turning her palm up her fingers motioned towards her,

"Bring it."

She had spent years studying the body and fighting styles, she had trained for countless hours, and if that secured the victory today and her pups were safe, it would all be worth it. 

The jackaldog didn't waste any time and charge towards her, but every punch and kick was met with a defensive move that blocked any more blows to her body.  Carefully she watched the woman, how she moved and fought, the tiniest muscle twitch that told her what her challenger might do next.  It continued for several minutes and with each forceful swing or kick the other woman made the more tired she became while Kai conserved her energy.  Then her ears perked to the sound of four small puppy feet charging back into the fight, distracting the jackal just enough to turn the tables as Tegan once again latched on to the kidnapper's hock. 

Now it was the officer's turn to end this and take her daughter to safety.  Kai struck fast, land sharp, fast punch to the abdomen and ribs before slamming her foot into the other woman's knee again causing her to drop to her knees.  As she did so, the sable woman chopped her in the throat causing her to cough and collapse to her hands.  Kai's claws then dug into the jackaldog's throat, gripping it tightly. Leaning down so her muzzle was just beside the woman's ear,

"You should have never come here, you should have surrendered, but you stole my children, you are a coward and a disgrace.  May the gods have mercy on your soul."

Continuing to squeeze the throat, Kai swiftly moved behind the woman and removed her dagger from it sheath on her thigh, briefly she looked down at Tegan who was still focused and tugging on the woman's leg.  She was grateful for that, and swiftly she pushed the dagger through the base of the woman's skull, separating the spine.  The lifeless body fell to the floor.  Kai wiped the bloody dagger on the woman before placing it back in it's holster where it belonged. 

Mismatched orbs fell on Tegan once more, who was still tugging at the lifeless body. The mother scooped up her daughter, tears in her eyes and hugged her so tightly.

"Good girl Tegan."

Kai reunited her daughter with the other pups,

"Stay with Armani and listen to her, do what she tells you.  I need to go find your brother."

Oh how she wished should could just hold them and protect them, but she couldn't, not yet, not when one was still missing.  She had to find her gentle giant, it pained her to think of how much pain he must be in.  Turning her back to her safe children, Kai returned to the fight, her eyes frantically searching for Tokhaka and watching in horror as he charged towards his father in battle. She began to run towards him, screaming his name,

"Tok!!!!!!"

・✿.。.:*.:。✿・・✿.。.:*.:。✿・・✿.。.:*.:。✿・・✿.。.:*.:。✿・
  [1567] // Ooc tNPC Selby//
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#9

The Lionheart could breathe a little easier knowing that most of his nieces and nephews were safe with his cousins, and he knew that Armani and Electa would protect them with their lives if it came down to it.  For just a moment azure and marigold hues watched as the battle unfolded, Cavaliers doing their best to fight the good fight, and take back what was theirs, fighting with everything they had and in that moment he was so very proud to call them family. And in that moment he also took a survey of where he would be needed most when his eyes fell on Nilda and Cerberus fighting a pale colored coyote mutt.  Slowly Lucian approached, making calculated movements towards the trio, he kept his distance and readied his bow, glaring as he saw Nilda toss the log hook to the side that had done moderate damage to her leg as the blood poured from the wound and matted in the fur.  A growl rumbled in his throat and as the attacker began to stand, clear of his pack mates, he released the arrow.  Its fletching brushed his cheek and whistled through the air, the sharp arrow head penetrated the coyote with a high pitched yelp.  The marbled man threw the bow over his back and charged forward with his axes in hand.

Even though he had his bladed weapons at the ready, they weren't needed as a bloodied body laid crumbled on the rocky shore before the two Cavaliers.  Cerberus glaive easily sliced through the bitches throat while bloody claw marks were present on the pelt of the lifeless form.  The death came quickly, maybe too quickly for what they had done, but it was over now.  His pale eyes fell on his cousins wound,

"You should get that taken care of, yeah?  I'll take it from here, don't need you to loose a leg from stubbornness Nilda."

Before the Catori woman could answer he readied for more fighting, turning his back on his cousin and looking to aid other Cavaliers as the fighting raged on.
WORD COUNT - 352| OOC PP approved. NPC Ember Floyd
Kindness of His Mother, Fierceness of His Father
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#10
Lyra Damaichu
Breaking all the rules 'cause they were only habits

Hearing the news had been a lead weight dropped into Guinevere's gut. The rage had bloomed, hot an all encompassing, and her voice had lifted to give her assistance without even realizing she'd spoken.

After that announcement, she'd gone home and held her son's close and tight, which of course had given them cause to be worried. After explaining, they'd been as worked up as she was for their little cousins, and they'd wanted to help however they could.

Guin eventually had been assigned to the ambush team in the final stages of planning, the individuals to come charging in as back up once the forward group heading to the Avalon and successfully taken it.

Her daughter was amongst those going to the Avalon, and she couldn't remove the lump of worry as she sat mounted on Cecil, shrouded ghostly eyes staring out into the dark and waiting, waiting, for the signal to be given by the Lune. It all hung on whether the Avalon take over went smoothly.

The signal was given, and like a flood the Phoenix mother felt a swath of pride for her daughter in following through in her mission, and the chilled fury she'd stoked over the kidnapped children as it came to the fore to peel back her lips in a snarl.

Cecil flew at her command, his hooves clattering against the ground and eating the distance at a breathtaking pace. The second hinge was them, the back up; the surprise attack could only hold up and succeed if they showed up in time to provide support to Cedric, Zetsubou, Nilda, and Eros.

The peaceful turned battlefield area came into view, and things were well under way. Calculated ghostly hues sought out her Lune first, judging his placement and his safety, and then she quickly located and identified each of the pups. Cedric was busy with a shield wielder like himself, but as she watched he disengaged from her and turned his back to directly address the instigator of this whole mess; Booker.

Lyra was not a warrior, while she watched Electa and her mother Armani ready both Secui women exuded strength. Lyra held tightly to her knife as she told herself over and over again that she could do this. She just had to help bring those around them down when Cedric called for help.

When the call sounded Lyra watched as everyone moved forward. Those around her seasoned warriors or those who truly had the taste for the fight. While she found her feet glued to the earth. She finally found her momentum as she charged in.

She found herself completely lost as she followed as closely as she could to those who charged in. She watched cousins and friends move to attack and for the first time in a while she felt the echoing of panic tightening in her chest. She felt herself feeling sick as she struggled to prepare herself. Eros was here and if he had a chance to catch a glance at her he’d surely be disappointed.

She hadn’t a moment to engage with an enemy as she nearly stuck close to the Guinevere. The battle worn woman charged forward, Lyra found herself little more than a tail. Holding herself as strong as she could she readied herself between Guinevere and Cedric.

Guinevere didn't pause nor hesitate as her mount forged his way closer; she slowed him enough to not break her ankle upon landing, and then she slid from his saddle and interjected herself between the shield user, Mills, and the vulnerable back of her Lune as he took care of the threat in front of him.

Showing teeth in a savage snarl, she followed through with Cedric's shove that had put Mills off balance and slashed both her weapons one after the other in diagonal directions. The axe hit her shield, but Guin's short sword cut into Mills's bicep and drew a hiss of pain from the mercenary woman.

There was a glint of fire in this woman's eye similar to Guinevere's, and she flashed a feral smile. "Finally, someone who might actually prove to be a challenge," she growled, and reared back to offer retaliation. Guin didn't let her finish whatever she'd been preparing, instead charging forward without warning with a brandish of her weapons.

Mills lifted the shield to take the brunt of it, perhaps expecting Guinevere to simply bash it a few times, or repeat the attack she'd initially done. Rather than do either Guin dropped and skidded just a couple short feet and then spun with one leg out and extended. The resounding crack of flesh on flesh as Guin's leg swept Mill's out front under her could have been deafening, but was swallowed into the rest of the surrounding sounds of combat.

Mills was not down for the count, as she went down, she brought the edge of her shield down onto Guinevere's ankle, blooming a new kind of fire that sparked and crackled sharply across Guin's vision. The only sound she made from the injury though was a low groan, and she stabbed blindly with her sword to catch flesh somewhere, based on the enraged shriek she'd gotten something at least.

Guinevere disengaged then, rolling her body backwards and surging to her feet as a solid wall between the mercenary and the exposed back of her Lune. None would know by looking at her that as she stood her ankle was screaming and lit up in fire.

Lyra found herself only standing there battle ready and lost. She was no more ready to fight than any of these pups they were going to save. She found herself holding back a flinch with each contact of sword, shield, axe or other various weapons on the battlefield. This wasn’t where she belonged; she had been so headstrong to prove her worth. She didn’t belong out here and with each passing second she felt her chest tightening more.

Lowering one hand to press to her chest she tried to regain focus. She held the other knife out as strong as she could still unable to move or be of use. She just stood there as more of a hinder for Guinevere and Cedric than anything.

From the corner of her eye she saw movement and took the chance to glance over. Tokhaka, bless his sweet puppy heart, was limping towards his father, no doubt seeing a parental figure and, for all his short life, that had always meant safety. Except Cedrix was in the middle of a duel with Booker, and he couldn't spare a moment to see what his son was doing.

Seconds later, Guin heard Kai screaming Tok's name, seeing the same thing the Phoenix mother had. "Tokhaka!" she barked, using her strongest Mother voice, the kind that broached no argument. "Go to your mother! Go to Kai!" and knowing her outcry would draw attention to the boy, she lurched forward to reengage with Mills, since the mercenary had now gotten to her feet.

As she did though, ghostly green orbs found those of Lyra, the girl that come along on the ambush team and stuck to Guin's metaphorical side once they'd gotten here, and she jerked her head towards the puppy. "Make sure he gets to Kai!"

Lyra stood there feet cemented to the earth as she followed Guin’s look to the hobbling pup. Oh the poor thing Lyra half thought as she then looked back at Guin. Arguing would be foolish at this point. She turned to race to Takhaka.

OOC: npc Guinevere all permissions given for this thread only. table coded by despi
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#11
꧁From the day of my birth I have been worthy of crownin'꧂
Ooc: NPC: Temnota Hushhowl | tNPC: Kenelm Land

'Guard him for me.'

Care of his brother was set into her hands. Doubtless their egregious disagreement still unsettled the darker brother's thoughts upon her. Ferver gripped itself with tightening fingers upon her throat as the weary miles fell away below their feet. Sleep gathered itself into a corner shared with blessed luxuries. Winter's ice shot through with streaks of bloodied red. Her faith bristled and burned brightly against a pallid backdrop of ever increasing exhaustion.

The gods would find her body bereft of its life's spark before she would lay down her head.

Thoughts divided, through the long night they wound themselves back across the distance traversed and the tiny boats that would brave treacherous waters. A waterfall's churning set her myriad worries alight. Of all the missteps that could be taken and mistakes made. Trust being placed where she would have left their fields fallow.

When they gained company with the meeting place did she sever those threads. She could not think upon him now, a white knight with only the stars and moon to guide him, she must set sight upon the task at hand and give her blood-kin the fullness of her attention, as they rightly deserved.

Tension ratcheted through the group that awaited their given signal, hidden from the mercenaries sights. Final preparations made, and at her knee a four-legged Temnota tensed, hackles rippling down the dark male's spine as the cries of her blood-kin broke the wrathful silence, piercing the night with what she would never forget.

Impatience pushed at her, taking pain to set her fur to spiking, furious bristles. Silence remained her prerogative however, and finding herself drawn to stand by the side of her cousin, the mother that was, took no more than a roll of her bloodshot eye to Kai's taut form. Her support inherent, the two Denahlii, and lupus Hushhowl waited and waited.

The Cavalier's charge may be immortalized in memory to be passed down by bards and old, battle-scarred storytellers, should her own place within it be lauded ever would the Denahlii woman downplay her own involvement.

Keeping apace with the others upon foot, they were rapidly outdistanced by the Cavaliers on horseback though this did not dissuade her from enacting her own vengeance. Against her back the war hammer's solid weight grounded her, keeping in line the cracks and fissures that sought so eagerly to be unleashed. Cold and callous, she took in the parameters of the battle that waged, the lupus man keeping at her side as they'd prior agreed, each protecting the other's back in promise to the one that bound them. What she saw placated the rabid heat boiling within her chest, the Cavaliers tearing through their enemies as a knife through butter.

Superior skill and training winning. The mastermind behind this attack beaten and battered by the furious fists of her nephew. Savage retribution came in a rush, spreading deeply down to finger and toe-tips. What attention she could give, to observe, was swiftly stolen as intensity bore down upon her, to seek her own target and render breath from their body.

Whizzing by her ear, the crossbow bolt missed her by a fraction shearing several of her own hairs from her head. A muffled yelp and the dark Hushohwl staggered, knocking into her leg and thrusting her balance away. Fletching jutted from the flesh of his ribs. From looks, the bolt had sunk deeply into the meat there and Jacelyn had no way of telling without inspection if it had punctured some vital organ.

"Retreat." She ordered, reaching to pull the war hammer from its binds.

<"Neu."> Temnota snapped, wheezing but determined to follow after her. Time there was not to argue with him.

"Behind me, then." Jaws clacked shut, severing the sharpness of her words abruptly.

The coward that held himself apart from engaging directly edged his way about the battle field, loosing other bolts into the snarling, seething mass of luperci. Jacelyn and Temnota followed after him, the latter limping ever more severely.

Some sense tipped him away to the huntress upon his tail, and green met her own glacial gaze and recognition flared. Already had he rendered his bolt into her flesh. Their history, however brief, singled him out for this, and now for what damage had been put upon Temnota. Fury took her away with it, and feet met the ground in increasing stride as an arrow all of her own.

Lips peeled from teeth as she closed in and faced down the sights of his crossbow head on. The trigger pulled, Jacelyn ducked but did not slow, and yet another bolt whizzed by her head again missing by a hair's breadth. A second bolt however, found its home in the meat of her shoulder, throwing off her forwards momentum and eliciting a grunt from the Denahlii woman. Pain erupted, tending itself a trail that flowed with her blood, seeping through cloth and leather and down into fur, dripping from her fingers.

Jacelyn hissed, "Cur." The All-Mother was with her on this night though, and the pain only incensed the unbridled rage.

Closing in, her approach unfettered by the projectile quivering within her flesh causing now a panic that she neither slowed nor redirected. His fingers fumbled, grasping at the next bolt and struggling to load it into the mechanism. Adrenaline surged forth, thrusting away all but the efficacy of the hunt.

Her outstretched hand found the rusting metal stirrup, forcing the aim of it upwards into the midnight sky just as his finger found the trigger, and the bolt surged out into the air, useless as its crossbow that the woman ripped from his fingers and flung away into the foliage. Bracing upon her left leg the right came forwards in a whiplash, kicking the male in his stomach and sending him sprawling backwards to the loamy ground.

"Fucking bitch!" Kenlem spat, jumping to his feet and narrowly avoiding the blunt end of her hammer as it came swinging down on the follow through. Jacelyn had no inkling to his thoughts and nor did she care to speculate as he raised his fists, the only weapon he had to him now, and swung at her with a sibilant hiss.

Whether he would have connected or not would never be discovered as the injured lupus threw himself heedlessly into the fray, teeth clasping about the male's calf and ripping with fervor, tearing a scream from the grey wolf that reverberated in both of their ears. Spitting blood, the Hushhowl spoke with an aura of menace she had ne'er heard him speak with before,

<"Ваша смерть станет предупреждением для всех, кто думает, что может украсть детей Найта.">

Those fine hairs at the base of her neck found themselves rising at the malice projected but it was none that she did not feel either.

Still snarling, the downed male spat at her. Disgust filtered through the female's expression. High came the war hammer wielded by two hands and without hesitation was brought down, crushing his skull in a splatter of bloodied bone fragments and gore. The corpse twitched, kicking as those final nerves fired before falling still against the dark grass.

Kenlem would never raise hand nor crossbow against Casa again, nor indeed any other person.

[+1224]

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#12
Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

OOC: Ember League Plot - Dated June 6th just after midnight - cNPC: Booker Dalton - other NPCs: Mentions of League throughout, primarily Ember, Selby, Ackley and Mills - Set just north of Clement's Park on east side of Fundy Crossing - PP of characters approved - AMAZING replies from everyone!
[Image: zE05Z64.png]

The plan for Booker was falling apart. Around him, hired hands feel, trained warriors unable to stop the tidal wave of Casa's revenge. It's Cavaliers righteous and furious in their attacks, leaving no moment for mistake or mercy, minutes of a brutal battle that they'd been training their whole lives for. It was over. It would be over. Even if the mercenaries somehow pushed back, they'd not win against Casa anymore. The pups were alive.

But as Tok ran for his father rather than the safety of his other siblings, the plan started to steadily crumble.

Zetsubou had Booker on the ropes, countering his blows and pushing the man around as if performing some kind of elaborate dance. It would almost seem as if Cedric had the chance to focus on his son. But a glance to Booker saw the man staring wild eyed at the approaching pup, those icy eyes searching for any means of stilling 'winning'. Cedric knew what Booker would do, and so he made a lunge for his child. Booker all but roared, facing the sting of Zetsubou's Tekko weapon as it sliced across his ribs to also make a charge for the boy. Cedric landed first, rolling and kicking up sand and dust as he covered Tok, dropping his sword in order to scoop his son into his arms.

Pain exploded from Cedric's back, Booker's knife finding claim in his right shoulder, unable to sink fatally deep due to scrapping against the Lune's shoulder blade. Cedric lurched around, shoving his shield towards the man, pushing against Booker as the man tried to force his way around Cedric to reach for Tok. The father tucked the boy closer to his chest, teeth exposed and snapping in threat to the crazed man, finally relieved from the pressure as Zetsubou delievered a kick that knocked Booker away.

The new battle began; as Cedric got back to his feet, wincing from the pain in his shoulder that doubled the weight of his shield, his fight turned to one of complete defence as he tried to keep away from Booker's approach. Zetsubou tried his best to keep the man in check, flying with his Tekko, finding each hole in Booker's desperate attacks and punishing him. The man was covered in thin red lines and deeper bleeds, but remained relentless in his desire to get through to the Lune. Cedric tried to get away from the fight completely; leave Booker to his Sworn to deal with, but that only prompted Booker to become even more reckless. He made an attempt to get around Zetsubou again, only this time focusing on the Cavalier long enough to parry his Tekko and kick out at Zetsubou's feet, knocking the man down to one knee. It was a brief window, long enough for Booker to approach Cedric again. One knife had been discarded, leaving a hand free for Booker to make a grab for Tok, only to be knocked back by a shield. A knife came next for the boy, pushing Cedric back even more, making the Lune skid against the rocky terrain.

Cedric was a master when it came to defending himself; he could hold out in a fight for as long as it took for his opponent to tire. But that was when he had both hands, when his shoulder wasn't torn from a wound, and when he wasn't trying to maintain his grip on a large puppy in one of his arms.

Booker was quick enough to finally get a hold of Tok, pulling on the pups scruff, forcing Cedric to tug on his son and hurt him just to keep him from being ripped away again. But in the awful tug of war, Booker's eyes looked across from the puppy he desperately wanted to steal, to Cedric's arm. And with a snarl, the man smacked the hilt of his knife right into Cedric's scar, the damage left by Jamie's sword. The Lune's nerves screamed and his hand let go, immediately moving to try and get Tok back but it was too late. Booker stepped back, snarling as a Tekko sliced across his hip as Zetsubou tried to catch him in time, before lifting the pup just high enough to curl his knife under his neck.

"NO!" Cedric shouted, desperate, furious, terrified. He took a step forward and then stumbled, frozen in motion from the implication of what Booker was ready to do. Booker's icy eyes honed in on that hesitation, and the man let out a wheezy laugh, crazed and relieved to finally be back in control.

"You... that's right. You stay. And you!" He glared to Zetsubou, taking a step back and hoisting Tok up a bit so the boy was better locked in the grip of his arm. "It would take me a second to end this child's life... and I'll do it. I'll cover you in his blood." Cedric swallowed, looking to the terrified face of his son, the dark patches on Tok's already onyx fur from the bleeding wound on his ear. The slight crimson spill from the white fur around his neck, where Booker's knife was digging in and hurting the boy.

"Booker you... need to stop. You won't win this." Cedric spat, glancing around to see most of the Cavaliers had now finished their fights, some of them looking on in shock at this new development. "Even if... you kill my son. All of us... we won't spare you any shred of mercy."

"But would you live with yourself?" Booker replied, raspy from the tiring fight. "Would you live knowing you let your son die?" He let that question hang for a second, before then growling and looking around. He was looking for an exit, Cedric knew that, yet he couldn't make a move with the knife still at Tok's neck. Then, with one final glare, the man turned and began to run. Cedric flinched, ready to follow, but held back, raising a hand to stop others from doing so as well.

"Stop! Cavaliers, stop!" The Lune began, wincing almost in pain as he drew his eyes away from Booker to look around to his pack. "Those injured will remain. Those looking after the puppies will escort them back to Casa. I need volunteers to go to the Avalon and ensure it is reclaimed. And... I need help in following Booker."

The battle was won, in a sense, but no one was at ease. Not whilst a child remained in danger. "He has Tokhaka, with a knife to his neck and I know he will not bluff about killing him. But we are not letting him escape, we will chase him down and corner him, give him no choice but to give up Tok." Given a long enough chase, Booker would be tired too, sloppy and at risk of making mistakes. It was a hope built on desperation, that they might just get Cedric's last son back, but it was all the Lune had left.

The chase began, heartbeats almost as loud as the heavy footfalls hitting the ground as they took off after Booker and Tok.




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#13
The boy didn't know the mistake he made. He only remembered the pulsing pain in his ear, the sharp sting of a cut, the bruising on his chest from the kick. Wanting all of it to go away, a pain unlike the aches Tok experienced every day, and he knew he needed one of his parents to help him. He'd seen his dad and saw hope, but the moment Cedric had swept him into his arms, Tok knew it had been a mistake. But the pup couldn't move, he was big but not strong enough to wriggle out and run away, his dark eyes had only been able to watch in fear as his dad tried to protect him. When his body had been pulled in two different directions, Tok had screamed, when held in the arms of the bad man who was hurting his dad, he had frozen in fear. Something sharp pushed into his neck, it cut a little and stung so the boy didn't even dare look at what it was. The crazy man shouted, he squeezed Tok in his hold to the point where the boy's ribs started to hurt again. If only he were smaller, perhaps he'd be easier to carry. Cedric didn't move and Tok wanted to know why, the boy unable to speak out of fear he'd make things worse. 

When Booker started to run, jostling Tok and making that sharp thing hurt a bit more, the boy started to quietly cry. He wanted it to end, he wanted the fear to go away, Tok wanted to know what was going on and keep away from it. All he could hear were the rushing footsteps of the man carrying him and the heavy panting that shook Booker's chest. The other sounds, the scary sounds of yelping and growling and violence, began to fade away. The rocky coast got further away, what little Tok could see in both the darkness and with his limited field of view, they were heading away from the water. 

Tok didn't know if his dad was coming to get him, he didn't know what Booker wanted with him, but as the boys wounds still ached, he began to cry a little louder. A yelp came from his throat as Booker almost fell, but the man just growled and kept running. Running and running, Tok too scared to speak up or think about where they were. It was too dark, he really didn't know, he could only... ask. 

"Where... where w-w-we goin'?" The boy mumbled, his own voice trembling and weak. Booker didn't reply, so Tok asked again, only to yelp mutely as the man squeezed his chest harder. 

"Quiet! Just shut that mouth and keep quiet! You heavy little bastard!" Booker snarled, stopping only briefly to look behind him before continuing to run. He'd lowered the knife from Tok's neck now, so at least the boy could turn his head a little too. "Tch. They're following me. Fools... they'll get the boy killed."

They ran again, Tok didn't know how long they'd been running for, but his body was starting to really hurt and ache now. His eyes closed, no point in being open, and the boy just cried quietly to himself. 

He could hear the water, the rush of waves, and opened his eyes as Booker came to a stop. Moonlight shimmered across the surface of a deep dark water that was just in front of them, but weirdly distant in a way Tok couldn't understand. Like looking into a void. Glancing down a little to his dangling feet and the ground below, Tok realised they were at another rocky cliff. Only this time a lot closer to the water. Booker had stopped too, panting hard, Tok tilted his head up but only caught the bottom of the man's panicked look. 

Tok's chest hurt some more, he whimpered and wriggled a bit. "Can I-I get down?" He mumbled. Booker didn't hear, so Tok asked again, wriggling a little more. His movement got Booker to respond, flinching as the man roared in anger, then screeching as he was tossed to the ground like a sack of flour. Tok landed with some impact, rolling a couple of times then skidding on rock as he felt his body start to lean more and more down. Young and tiny claws scrambled at dirt and rock to stop Tok from completely falling down the side of the cliff and to that spooky, dark water below. 

"Fuck! FUCK!" Booker screamed. "This whole thing just... pointless! Useless Ember... useless Cavaliers! Why can't I just have my revenge!? My... My love... my son... I just wanted... to let them rest." Tok pushed his back legs down on some rock, able to just balance himself enough that he wasn't slipping any further, but he didn't have a good enough grip to climb back up either. Icy eyes turned down to him, feet stepping closer and making Tok's little panicked breaths spike. "You. Your father... his pack... they've ruined everything. Justice? Revenge? They know nothing of it... but I'll show them." Booker pulled one of his feet back, cold eyes looking to Tok with no hint of mercy. "I'll show them." 

Tokhaka Stryder

I know you're down there
In swaying kelp I'll find you
I feel like a child about to board a ghost train
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#14
Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

OOC: Ember League Plot - Dated June 6th just after midnight - cNPC: Booker Dalton - PP of characters approved
[Image: zE05Z64.png]

Tok's life was in a delicate balance now. Booker was not sane, he was desperate and tired and looking to survive. The Cavaliers couldn't surround him too early or even get close without the risk to Cedric's son. Besides, the Cavaliers weren't exactly at full strength anymore. Cedric had glanced around at those finishing their fights and seen many victories but also numerous injuries. Wounds like his own that still weeped precious blood that, after a chase, would no doubt exhaust them. But despite the hard fights, Cedric still had Cavaliers following him after Booker. Heading away from the rocky coast and across the uneven lands of the crossing. Others were injured but, right now, Cedric couldn't muster the energy to tell them to stay back. 

He needed to focus on tracking Booker, since eyesight had already betrayed them all in the night's darkness. The smell of the man's blood remained fresh enough to keep them on the trail, those closer to the ground guiding the rest in the right direction. But again, the balance was delicate, Cedric couldn't risk them getting too close. The Lune was setting the pace, granting Booker just enough space that the man might not panic and hold his ground and his hostage at risk. 

Frustation build as Cedric's heart kept beating so fast that it hurt. He thought of the battle just gone and realised his own mistakes, things that brought on this terrible turn of events, knowing that if he'd just defended his son better, then the fight would've been over and done by now. Instead, his Cavaliers were forced to run, push themselves to their limits, to save a child's life. 

Truthfully, Cedric wished none of this was real, he wished it to be nothing more than a nightmare he could wake up and be rid of. 

But that would not be, the Lune's turmoil was far from over. As his pack ran across miles, pushing and pushing as their legs hurt and bodies screamed for a rest, panting loudly into the quiet night they finally reached the end. The literal end of the crossing, on the other side facing the rough waves of the sea. Cliffs dropping down into a dangerous pool of tides below. And Booker, standing at the edge, a foot raised as he looked down at something beneath him. A small form, dipped half down the edge of the cliff. 

"Booker! STOP!" Cedric shouted, hardly able to stop to catch his breath. He couldn't breathe anyway, not when he was watching the awful, vengeful man who had tried to steal his children about to kick his son off a cliff. Booker did indeed stop, lowering his foot slowly and glaring to Cedric and the other Cavaliers. 

He smirked. "Why? What's the point? No... NO stay there!" Booker snarled, pointing his knife to the approaching Cavaliers, raising his foot again to threaten to push Tok, then laughed a little. "It's over. My family won't be avenged, I won't ever be at peace."

"You can let go Booker. That was what I wanted for you. Bloodshed won't fix what's already gone." Cedric pleaded, moving closely but stopping as he saw Booker flinch, the man still clenching his knife. 

Booker took a deep breath, but then shook his head, a defeated look to his face. "You won't understand... that pain. It never goes away.... But... I can make you understand."

Cedric lunged forward, everyone ran forwards, the desperate hands of Cavaliers trying to stop what was about to happen. But at the mercy of fate, they could only watch as Booker arced his foot and kicked Tok clean into the air and down to the depths below. The sound of his screaming child haunted him, piercing Cedric's heart as the Lune ran to the edge of the cliff to try and track his son's descent. But into the darkness he fell, to certain death in the cold and cruel sea below.

"GRAB HIM!"
Cedric ordered with a thunderous growl, caring not that his Cavaliers were already overwhelming Booker, unable to tear his eyes away from the void below them.

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#15
꧁From the day of my birth I have been worthy of crownin'꧂
Ooc: NPC: Temnota Hushhowl |pp of Guinevere approved

Blood and bone shattered, splattering out in an arc that hit her torso and thighs. Gloom, their enemy, pierced by eyes that had long accustomed themselves to its shielding pitch. The battle had erupted into its customary chaos, and though hampered by the bolt within her shoulder, Jacelyn did not hesitate to step forwards, raking her gaze across those that fought onward, between Zetsubou and Cedric working together to bring down Brooker, and Guinevere, who fought on alone.

Green struck out and Jacelyn made a decision that would forever mock her.

Hammer in hand, she pressed into her swing as it was flipped one eighty, stepping up besides Guinevere and slamming the sharp, piercing edge of the war hammer down into the shield of Mills, who fought against the Callow-Knight as a wildcat. Honrin's mate paused only to wrinkle her muzzle in an approximation of a savage smile.

Fighting over possession of the shield became an exercise to pull Mill's attention while Guinevere sought a way through the defense. Pulled free, Jacelyn's hammer brought shards of wood along with it, a jagged line proved to her the damage dealt and, flipped one eighty again, now the blunt edge was ready and willing to taste its use again.

"Duck." She hissed, and Guinevere's head dipped. With a grunt of effort, the striking hammer came down and hit the crack, shattering the shield to useless pieces. Jacelyn would not steal the kill of another however, and paused upon this moment as Guinevere effectively dealt with Mills now that her shield was rendered impotent.

Their victory, though sweet, was shallow as a puddle.

Her clawed hand found Guinevere's shoulder as the older woman jerked as if to move forwards and intercept the unfolding twist to the situation. Blue and green watched with mounting intensity, the former with wrath that felt like fire upon her tongue, with the sense that Guinevere was as the same in the tenseness beneath her fingers.

This throbbing of her heartbeat ran rampant and rushed wildly within her ears.

Cedric's voice rang clear through it and in a scant moment both were by his side, "At your back, Lune." The same she had voiced upon arrival to find Parzival caught in the trap, ferocity filtering itself through the cracks between her teeth. More, others, the Cavaliers dividing themselves to their tasks, a well oiled machine.

Adrenaline sang its perilous song within her veins; whispering that she felt no pain, that she had energy to spare, that she was unbeatable. Unconquerable. Instead of blood she bled a bestial devotion to kith and kin.

To run, after all they had endured thus far was a cruelty she could not allow herself to feel; And the pure fact that adrenaline lied in its sweet strains. Her hammer seemed to gather weight within her grip as the distance was consumed beneath their weary feet. The Lune's bellow of words thrummed through her body, and gathered upon a plane she had yet to understand herself. An agonized expression of hope and fear and pain. It coalesced as a shock-wave that physically moved her.

Time stretched into fragments.

"GRAB HIM."

Jacelyn's hammer fell away from her hand, clattering against the stony ground. Muscles in her legs bunched and gathered.

Guinevere flew by her with a fist that had Brooker's name painted upon it, working together with the others to take the cursed man to the ground. The waters churned below her, stealing a dark child into its black waves. Hesitance never spoke to her, no second thoughts entered the Denahlii's mind not even to connect blaring warnings uttered to her in her youth by her great-grandmother.

Fine. Fine. Should she drown then would her soul be forfeit to the frothing ocean. In some deep place, she considered the exchange worthy of it, worthy of relinquishing her place within the aurora if it brought about a second chance for Cedric and Kai to hold their son again. The rightness of such a choice settled upon her with the weight of a crown, giving her a solidity to clutch to.

To her mind's eye came the pale face that disrupted her dreams and orbited faithfully, her joyful moon, and their time together now threatened to be cut short -- Confident was she that given the same quandary his choice would align with her own.

Without looking back the woman threw herself from the security of shore, and plunged into the seething waters after Tokhaka.

Above her head the chill waves closed and Jacelyn was pulled with the unerring drag of the tide, forced back and forth in the whims of the watery domain. Strength, given to her by emotion, by the breath of a chance, propelled her forth, pulling her head above the surface in a vain attempt to locate the lost boy.

With each upheaval of the waves, the woman spluttered, inhaling the salty water that stung at her eyes but she remained undeterred, the wildling strength given to her would last until it could no longer do so. If she would find her end beneath the water's surface as she searched, then so be it.

[+000]

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#16
Cerberus and Nilda were in heated combat with the coyote before them. She snarled as she tried to defend herself, her main weapon tossed far behind the pair. Nilda snarled back as she gave Cerberus a look and moved to the side. Just as she was about to strike an arrow struck the woman before them. Without a word Cerberus took that moment to strike. The end of his glaive ending her before Nilda struck. Though he didn’t attempt to stop her from getting her one or two licks in.

Lucian came up from behind weapons poised before looking to Nilda. Cerberus felt himself drawn back to her leg as she raised an eyebrow. “Hush both of you, I'm fine.” She spoke irritation clearly in her voice. Cerberus huffed “let me wrap it.” He spoke looking at her. She huffed, rolling her eyes at him and he chuckled. “I got it from here Lucian, thanks for the assist.” He spoke. Nilda gave her cousin a sideways smile and looked back at Cerberus.

The fights around them raged and he could tell Nilda didn’t want to be idle next to him. Her leg was seeping and her fur was darkening with blood. “Go, I won't bandage it now.” He spoke, “later though that wound and you have a date with me.” He spoke. Nilda smiled though now was not the time for jokes the man before her easily made small jokes.

She began to shift from optime to Secui. Her leg protested but four legs were easier to wobble on than two. Her shift complete, she looked at Cerberus again. “Thank you.” She shook out her coat and took off into the fray again.

Cerberus watched the battle looking for anyone who could need help. Their Lune and others fighting, one of the pups lost in the tangle and Lyra standing there doing nothing. He couldn’t tell what was going on. Booker and Cedric tussled, Zetsubou went to strike when everything seemed to stop. Cerberus felt his stomach churn as the man ran. He had the youth in his clutches and nothing could stop him at this moment.

Red eyes looked at Cedric gave the command and dark feet hit the earth hard as he took off. Nilda was caught up to him as she forced herself through the pain. He should tell her to stay back to help the others but he knew anything he said would fall to deaf ears. The cavaliers among them tired from fights barely showed it as they pushed to save the youth.

This was where it all had to end. They had to save Tok. The boy was probably scared. Nilda pushed herself forward and Cerberus found himself struggling to keep up with her. Everything happened around them so fast as Cavaliers rushed Booker though Nilda much like Jacelyn didn’t go for him. Nilda raced to the ledges and attempted to make her way safely down. Maybe he had hit a random ledge that she could get to. “Tok!” She screamed rocks breaking under her foot. The one small ledging she stood on didn’t feel sturdy but much like Jacelyn Nilda didn’t care about herself.

Cerberus however had stopped his body nearly on top of Cedric as he reached out again to be a rock for the man. We will find him, was what Cerberus wanted to say. He wanted to but he couldn’t, even if they did Cerberus feared Jacelyn or Nilda or someone else would bring back a soulless body. From here he could hear Nilda calling out to the boy, her voice cracked with pain. She must have been feeling something especially now that she was a mother. His own mind wanted to be with his son.
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#17

It was playing out before her in slow motion, the sounds of fighting and screams of pain were muted and sounded light years away, and she tried her hardest to move, but she was frozen in place reaching out for her son, begging him to run to her instead of Cedric. But the All Mother and Artoi would not come to her aid on this night as she heard her gentle giant cry out in pain and watched as the blood covered his pelt, causing Kai's heart to begin to shatter and sink to her stomach. The dark furred female wanted to wretch the contents of her stomach and fall to the ground sobbing, but there was no time to be weak or to show weakness, to give the crazed man any pleasure or fuel for what he was doing to her family. So like any Wolfe-Denahlii she stowed away her emotions and pushed forward to the Lune's side.

Before her partner could give the word she was tracking the insane luperci that had taken her son from her, the scent of blood easy to follow.  The mother wouldn't dare get too close and risk Tokhaka's life anymore than it already was, however, she needed to get to her son and quickly before the deranged man took her son's life.  Stopping short mismatched orbs watched from the shadows as she watched the Booker unravel before her eyes just as the Lune and backup arrived at her side. Every word that Booker spoke seethed with vengeance and insanity, but what happened next she couldn't fathom.  Tok, her gentle giant of a son, who had so much love to give was sent to the watery abyss below with a painful yelp and scream as he fell.  The mother let out a feral cry as something snapped inside of her and she fell to one knee but was unable to look away from the edge where she last saw her son.  Guin and others rushed by to pummel the bastard that was responsible for this, and for a brief moment her attention was drawn away from the cliff when she heard the war hammer hit the ground.  Mismatched orbs met the icy hues of blood kin, someone that understood what a water grave meant for Tokhaka, that his soul would never rise to the aurora and be free, where they could one day meet again, but instead destined to be lost forever.  It was only an instant but together it was decided.

The monster responsible for this would not live to see the sun rise another day, Kai rose from her knee, her hand sliding up her thigh and grabbing the dagger from its home.  She walked with purpose towards the bastard, the blade spun in her hand, not once, but twice before it was lodged in the man's throat.  The crazed woman didn't wait to see the man drop to his knees or cough with a sadistic laugh in between, as bloody spittle covered his muzzle and chest, she didn't wait to hear the gurgling sounds of a dying man, instead she left the dagger protruding from his throat as she leapt from the cliffs edge along with Jacelyn, to search for her son.

As the dark pelted woman fell images from her life flashed before her, images of her mother when she was just a pup, her arriving to Casa di Cavalieri when she first met Jacelyn and Caspian, Terkola Jace and Temo, and many other pack members she considered family and finally Cedric with his golden hues and a smile that could light up a room if he would just let more luperci see it, and their pups, all six of them, happy and safe at home.  But then it was quickly erased by the cold and unforgiving waves of the Loch.  Kai plunged deep below the surface and for a moment she just remained still and thought about letting the salty water take her too.  But she refused to give up, she had faith that Tokhaka survived this fall, that he was lost somewhere and she needed to find him and now before it was too late. With all her might she kicked up to the surface and let out a agonizing scream for her lost son.  The waves beat her, sending her back and forth, Kai coughed as she inhaled the salt water, but she wouldn't give up, she would fight as long as her body would let her and beyond because the mother couldn't imagine a world without Tokhaka in it.

・✿.。.:*.:。✿・・✿.。.:*.:。✿・・✿.。.:*.:。✿・・✿.。.:*.:。✿・
  [776] // Ooc NPC Booker//
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