[P] [M] All I have is one request
Egregore Prizmov | The Ruins

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: allusion to past sexual abuse, murder threat. the thread is not overly graphic but still contains darker/mature topics at times so marking for safety.

OOC: Dated Nov 2nd, evening; geez Innokentiy got up to a lot on that day

Their quest to make-up for lost reputation had been well underway and progressing steadily, but Innokentiy still felt ill. They knew it would not be because of any intoxication, as needed time had passed since the Last Supper and they had been avoiding any drink since. A trip to the Cleric would be necessary, they thought, but something else occupied their mind for now.

O’Riley had been notified promptly of the treacherous Serf, but Innokentiy had yet to break the news to their cousins Egregore or Lev. They admit to themself that they feared the reaction of their kin far more than they did any wrath of the Mafiosi. In Innokentiy’s mind, the Mafiosi could be appeased far easier regarding this matter in particular. Their only loss in the Serf’s escape would be a barely able body, whereas they knew Egregore and Lev had seen something more in the coywolf that Innokentiy had tried to see and ultimately failed.

They refused to take all the fault, though. They had done Egregore a service by not forcing him to bring the news to O’Riley, they thought. It hadn’t been them that accepted to take on the creature’s debt and free them to begin with. Stewing in thoughts such as these they returned to their home and busied themself with chores after taking off some of the more cumbersome accents they had put on to visit O’Riley in.

By the time the males walked into the door, Innokentiy’s patience had run thin. “And vherrre have you two been?” Their ears pinned back, Innokentiy’s expression had pulled into a nasty snarl that they did not display. They knew this moodiness was a sign as well as the illness, and they cursed themself for not recognizing early their need for medical attention but saw little use in dwelling on it now. They had enough to worry about, and Egregore didn't need to know that as immediately. “Nevermind zat. I don’t even know vhere to begin.” Sitting as they were, Innokentiy woefully put a hand to their forehead, closing their eyes and groaning. “I should’ve questioned you more about zat — zat Prizmov shard of yourrrs.” Their eyes cut into Egregore at a glare. “Zey attacked me!” Innokentiy threw their hand up, now sitting straight. “Zey’re gone, and I know zey’re never to rrreturn. Just another thing I had to make up forrr vithout any of you helping me.”

i can still make the whole place shimmer
[Image: wolfmoon.gif]  Word of the day  NUGATORY - 11/17/22

OOC: Here we go...
Blood is fronting at first, but Mind assumes front in the middle!

The gaiety of the Last Supper had lifted Egregore and Lev's spirits. Egregore had even performed a duet with his good friend (and servant) Amos. It was a proud moment, despite the unpracticed hand he had strummed the strings with. Lev had taught Egregore how to play that guitar many years ago, and now they were reunited. It brought great joy to Blood to have the bond of his family present in Salsola. It made being part of La Familia a more joyous thing than ever before. The music, costumery and revelry cast life in rosier shades.

Time had passed since the event, giving the two brothers time to sober up. Blood took the opportunity in the following days to spend more time with his brother. Every member of the family that sought him out meant so much to him. They had each followed him across dangerous waters and lands, just to find him. He felt cared for. He wanted to give that back. Thusly, they took a longer jaunt that day through Salsola's territory. Lev had not yet visited the Oakgrove, so Blood took the time to show the flora to his brother. Much to his relief, Lev was impressed and enjoyed himself. They laughed and joked together in the end, the atmosphere becoming merry and lighthearted.

Immediately upon their return home, Innokentiy shattered that joyous feeling with a cold hammer. They snapped at them with verbal attacks and slashed them with sharply narrowed eyes. Lev's face was that of shock and upset, but all Egregore could do was stare with his mouth wide open.

"<Just what the fuck has gotten into you, Innokentiy?>" Lev shouted. "<Did they really attack you unprovoked and desert, or are you lying again? As always? How am I - How am I supposed to believe you? How the fuck am I supposed to just accept that you just chased off my best friend? You damn snake!>"

Lev's entire body shook with rage, fists balled. He wound them up far behind his head. He was poised to strike. The moment became crystalline before Egregore, slowed in amidst all the confusion. His Mind could not comprehend quickly enough the nasty emotions of the situation, but he could understand the potential physical conflict and intercept it. Instinctively, Mind took control. He seized his brother's wrists in an iron-like grip and flung him hard to the floor. Lev reeled from the sudden pain with a yipe, for his entire body had absorbed the shock from the impact. For a moment, he lay there gasping like a fish deprived of water. Egregore had knocked the air out of him.

"<Whose side are you on?>" Lev wheezed.

"It's not about sides," Mind said, moving to loom over Lev, "it's my Job to protect La Familia from any threats. You were going to hurt my mate before we even got more information about what happened."

There was a deadly pause. Lev looked up at the dark figure with fear plain on his face and in his scent. This was so unlike his brother, or at least what he thought he knew of him. A shadow was cast over Egregore's face, red eye gleaming menacingly. He stood protectively between his brother and his cousin.

"Who arrre you? I cannot even rrrecognize you anymorrre," Lev sobbed.

Such emotional phrasing was nugatory to Mind.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Egregore snarled. "You're crazy."
OOC: Innokentiy is speaking in Russian

Though their white fur bristled at Lev’s challenging, Innokentiy altogether had no retort for him raising his fists. They stood slack-jawed for a moment until Egregore assumed control of the situation, throwing his own brother to the cold floor. Innokentiy closed their mouth, but they only felt further shock. How had this situation gotten out of control so fast? They had thought they would be able to take the stage, they had expected their cousins to cater to their emotions rather than burst out with their own.

Clearly, they had underestimated how close Lev had gotten with the Serf… and where Lev’s priorities lay as of present. It wasn’t with his own kin.

Innokentiy could have reacted with rage at this revelation, but instead they became frozen still, closing off their face and staring at Lev as he cried on the floor.

Mind called him crazy. Innokentiy inhaled. “Stop.” They put out one hand towards Egregore,  motioning him to calm. They knew without even glancing that Mind would follow the command. He was the soldier in Egregore, after all—the hunter and the assassin. He had been molded only for the mission. They took one careful step forward in the silence, staring at Lev’s eyes boldly now.

“<Lev, listen to me.>”

When they spoke, they no longer had the same emotion of frustration or aggression. “<It isn’t the time to do anything drastic, nor is it time to fight amongst ourselves. Our wedding,>” they inclined their head slightly towards Egregore. “<It is very soon. In-fighting is the last thing we need.>” They took a deep breath to compose themself, before appealing to Lev’s emotions. “<I am sorry for my tone. And I know that this hurts you more than it hurts me. I was never… close with them like you were. But I swear, I would not lie to you about this.>” Not outright, they wouldn’t. Lies of omission, though, were fair game. “<And even if I had…>”

Their body relaxed. “<You know as well as I do that they’re better off this way.>” It carried in what could be considered a whisper. “<There are other packs for them to join, even with the coyotes thanks to their hybrid blood. They will survive, and be better off somewhere where they do not have a Fell reputation. You know this. You do.>”

Innokentiy crouched down near where Lev had fallen, extending a hand to help him up. “<Please. Let’s not fight about this. Not now. If you need space from us, we can arrange that… a trip to the Outpost to clear your mind, perhaps. There is plenty to do there. But please, do not scorn your blood. Don’t scorn me like this. I… I haven’t even told you… that you will have more kin here soon.>” Suddenly, tears welled in their eyes: but this, aside from a slight warble in their voice, was the only indication of their internal state.

“<You could’ve hurt them, just then, Lev. You could’ve hurt my pups.>”

i can still make the whole place shimmer
[Image: wolfmoon.gif]  Word of the day  WORD - DATE


Egregore was a chameleon to Lev. His demeanor could drastically turn on a dime during any situation. It was impossible to predict whether Lev would see the kinder side of him on any given day, or if he would be unceremoniously ignored once more. The only way was to figure it out in the moment. Most tragically, Lev thought he was safe that day, for Blood had just bonded more closely with him. They had just shared many joyous moments together, and it had been so nice. Lev felt accepted for once. Now, Egregore was pushing him away again... And in the most painful way possible. It felt like a betrayal. He could see in his brother's darkened face that none of their memories together mattered. It was the truth, at least in that moment. Mind did not remember or trust Lev as Blood did. Not at all, especially after the stunt he just pulled.

Innokentiy gave the command to stop. Obediently, Mind listened. Lev was still on the floor and showed no sign of resuming his attempt. Yet. Mind knew not if he was really going to stay down, or if he was simply waiting for a more opportune moment to truly fight. He hovered nearby, tense with concern when Innokentiy approached Lev. They spoke with false candor, but Mind only saw their explanation as nothing but logical. This was the worst time for them to fight as a family. Lev refused to meet Innokentiy's gaze. He only stubbornly evaded making eye contact with them and said nothing in response.

Then they dropped the bomb on him.

Mind's face split into a grin. Innokentiy had packaged and placed that information perfectly. The precision with which they delivered the news could not be better. Regret spread over Lev's face, his eyes wide. There was a pang of disgust deep in Egregore's chest that Mind could not explain.

"<He has her eyes,>" came Soul's internal answer. When Mind wondered just who 'she' was supposed to be, Soul continued the thought: "<Lyuba's. Our mother's.>"

"<Don't - don't touch me,> Lev whispered, trembling. He could feel his mother's hands on his body again now. She may be dead, but her fingers still lingered on his fur with a phantom sensation. He wanted to vomit. She made him feel so small and helpless. He should not have deluded himself into thinking he had any power here, now or ever. "<I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't know you were pregnant. Just - don't hurt me,>" he pleaded. As Lev spoke, he crawled away. His back hit the wall. He froze, still as a grave. He was truly trapped in his own body once more.

"That's right. You could have fucked up big time, Lev. You're lucky I stopped you. Had you harmed my children or my mate..."

He paused. Within the silence, the pressure in the room became suffocating. It would have been more merciful if Egregore choked him with his hands instead of his words.

"I would have had no choice but to kill you."

Lev's stomach dropped. He knew Egregore was dead serious. The man killed people as a profession, his bite was far deadlier than his bark. The murderous gleam in his brother's eye made the threat ever more clear: leave or die. The Outpost was a far more appealing option in the face of the alternative. Full of fear, he nodded. The movement was so jerky and stiff that it looked painful. Swiftly and wordlessly, he moved to his feet and fled. The door shut with a quiet click behind him when he left the parlor for another room of the tower. Egregore let out a long, exasperated sigh.

"Finally. Damn idiot," Mind muttered. "Are you okay, Innokentiy?"
OOC: --

Innokentiy withdrew their hand, offended that Lev had refused their help so vehemently. Regardless, there was something in them that nagged at them to be more compassionate as his form shrunk back with fear. Egregore had spooked him thoroughly, it would seem.

Impassioned apologies fell from his mouth, a waterfall of emotion that made Innokentiy's brow quirk upwards as he backed away. He stopped in the corner of the room. Their eyes slid to Egregore as he spoke once again, this time with a more serious threat to his own brother.

The maternal urges Innokentiy felt were intensified as of late, including within this moment. Seeing Egregore acting as their protector... And the protector of their (potentially) unborn children. It melted their core, yet made them feel stronger.

Still, they wished this was not happening. They wished that the threats had not gotten to such an extreme degree. It irked them as it was certainly far from polite, as they would have liked all arrangements and conversations to be. Before they could say much else to smooth things over, however, Lev silently excused himself. The tension slowly retreated from the surrounding atmosphere, though Mind was still cursing under his breath.

Innokentiy remained silent for a while, as Mind asked if they were alright. “I am… thanks to you.” They told him, then put a hand to their forehead. “What I said just zen… I am not even surrre of it yet. I need to see ze Clerrric. Either vay… vhat about you? Lev… Lev is your brrrother.” With a frown, they rubbed then at their chest, feeling the muscles there had grown rock hard. A knot had formed there that they struggled to undo with an absent-minded massage to the affected area. Mind did not care for Lev as Blood would, but Innokentiy couldn’t help trying to inspire something like that in him. “It must have been shocking… as it vas forrr me.”

i can still make the whole place shimmer

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