[P] [M] How could you cry for me?
Ida/Hydra
#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: alcoholism.

[Image: wolfmoon.gif]  Word of the day  HUMMOCK - 11/16/22

OOC: Takes place in the early morning.



Sleep took Liam as its prisoner this night.

He regretted even allowing his head to grace the fabric surface of his pillow. He could evade the shadows that haunted his past when he was awake, especially with the 'aid' of his poison of choice: alcohol. He did not even bother mixing anything up this time. That was how he knew it was particularly bad that day. He refused to dwell. He would only drink. The beginning of that night was simply a blur in his memory, tracks obscured in the snow with a single sweep.

The early morning gripped him by the throat and squeezed the life out of him. His nightmares spilled into this waking moment and filled his room with flames and burning figures. He would have screamed if he could have moved, but there was a heavy pressure forcing him down. Completely immobile, he had no choice but to watch the people he loved dying. His mother and father's eyes pierced through the smoke and into his very soul.

He desperately wanted to call out to them - mom, dad, please help me - to call out anyone.

His parents' faces vanished into the hellfire, dragged to the depths. Despair took root in Liam down to the very bone. They were gone. Forever.

He saw others suffering as he lay there paralyzed in bed. Battalion, Losse, Jonk, Woodsmoke, their puppies, Sphinx, Torabera, Lorien, many others... All people he cared deeply for. Strangely enough, Kaleidoscope was among them. They stood over the chaos and the dying, an unaffected and resilient silhouette. This vision was starkly different from Ida's initial disposition. They squared their shoulders and walked towards Liam, a hand outstretched. They opened their mouth to say something to him, and while he could not hear it, his body began to unstiffen and become his again. The image of his new friend wavered and shimmered until it scattered.

A new sensation roared to life in Liam's chest. He did not have a name for it, at least not yet. It felt a lot like hope. Not one to squander the gift of light in the dark, he slowly sat up. The fur he used as a blanket pooled in his lap. He would persist in spite of everything. He always did. Not because he had to, but because he had power in choosing to. He refused to give in. He was strong.

There was strength in asking for help.

Liam needed someone to tell him it would be okay. His vision had shown him who he should go to. Without bothering to take the time to wind bandaging around his arms, he shrugged on his coat and nothing else. He shivered as he pulled the dark garment closer to his body. He was not cold from the snow that swirled around him once he was out the door, he was simply shaken. That was all. Just a little stressed.

"It'll be okay, Liam," he whispered to himself, "almost there."

Despite the iciness of winter seeping into his body, he felt better with each step. He was terribly hungover and thoroughly spooked, but that was alright. He would make it. He had faith. He had friends that helped him when he needed it most. He trudged forth stubbornly and refused to give up hope. He slowly crested over a hummock's peak and descended the other end in his short journey. The roof of Kaleidoscope's home progressively branched from the horizon and sprouted until the whole building came into view. Their house brought a smile to his face. He remembered fondly how they had picked their residence. The raccoon family in the tree had ultimately won them over. Ida was nurturing like that, Liam knew.

He knocked lightly on the door, and thought to announce himself shortly after.

"Ida, are you home? It's Liam. I need your help."
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#2
OOC: --

Kaleidoscope had been awake for a while when there came a knock on their door. They were often awake in the hours of the dawn and dusk, and switched between sleeping during the day or during the night. Today, they planned to sleep during midday, but that was quite a few hours away yet. They lifted themself up from where they had been sitting and came to the door to open it, blinking owlishly at Liam. “My help?” They parroted, only just now processing what he had said.

“Oh! You’re—” They stopped, having reached out to Liam’s naked arms before realizing that the wounds there were not at all recent. “Those… are scars?” They asked, quietly. “Sorry, I thought that was what…” Kaleidoscope shook their head. Overall, the male looked disheveled but Kaleidoscope could not find anything physically wrong with him now that they had confirmed the scarring. “What is it? I can always… I’m always here to help.”

They owed Liam a great debt for helping them—though they tried not to think about it in the same terms as their previous debts. Liam had said nothing like that was done here in New Caledonia, and Kaleidoscope believed him. They hadn’t had any bad experiences so far with anyone. “You can come in, but it’s… uhm. Messy, sorry.” They hadn’t at all attempted to clean up the previously unoccupied residence, so many things lay broken or out of place, and dust and dirt covered everything. This became obvious as they opened the door wider for Liam. 

(263)



I'd say 'I told you so', but, you just gonna cry
You just wanna know those peanut butter vibes

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#3
[Image: wolfmoon.gif]  Word of the day  VAMOOSE - 11/23

OOC: Ida's so nice aw



Kaleidoscope was justifiably taken off guard judging by their baffled expression. Liam figured he appeared bent out of shape. That was at least how he felt: like a rusted and damaged tool. He did not like to see himself like this and he was loathe to allow Kaleidoscope see him this way too. He hesitated on the threshold of their home then, his muscles tensed and fur bushed out from the panic and dread. Why were they so unafraid of him, especially after everything they had been through themself? In the darkness of the night, there was no doubt in his mind that his figure was dark, imposing, and... Monstrous. His hackles tightened, prepared to rise; he shifted his posture to the side, legs prepared to dart him to safety. Only in the event that he should he feel the itch to vamoose, though.

"I'm always here to help."

Liam stopped. Why would he need to run? Ida reassured him, told him that they could help, and even invited him into their home. He inhaled a lungful of the brisk winter air and exhaled it, letting go of a fraction of his stress in the same breath. His shoulders dropped to a more relaxed position. He could stay. That was why he came to his friend. At the very least, they tolerated his presence enough to allow him inside.

"Y-yep, they're scars from when I was very young," he admitted, voice strained.

His tone was considerably dampened from his typical upbeat demeanor. Liam did not have fun being this serious, especially around a friend, but it was unfortunately necessary at times.

"Thank you for inviting me in, Ida," he breathed. He took in the interior of the house once again, an endeared smile thawing his face when he saw the raccoon family's tree. "I like what you've done with the place, though. It has your touch, you've given it life."

He turned his gaze to the nearby couch. It looked all the more inviting when one took into account Liam's shaken state.

"Mind if I sit? I've had a bit of a rough night..."
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#4
OOC: --

“I see,” Ida responded to his admittance, and said no more. They knew how it was to have memories that one would rather not dwell on, and they had to imagine that whatever caused those scars would be unpleasant to remember, to say the least. So for now they just let Liam inside and let him look around. They closed the door behind him and put their hands together in front of themself as he examined their living place. A small smile twitched on their face, one of humor, when Liam said he liked what they had done with it.

In truth, they felt they hadn’t done much at all. There were even some leftover items from the Luperci that lived here previous that Ida had yet to get rid of or put in storage. Well, Kaleidoscope assumed that they were simply left here. Hopefully, the raccoon family had not taken a liking to thievery. “Uhm, thank you.” They did not want to be rude and deny the compliment, though, so they thanked him and nothing more. Then Liam looked longingly to the couch, and Kaleidoscope motioned with their hand.

“Sure, go ahead.”

They had been rather quiet so far, not good for conversation. Ida still remained a rather reactive creature. They worked with what others gave them, and tried not to stir the pot. In New Caledonia, they knew they did not have to be so cautious with others, especially not the man that had helped them to join this Kingdom. So with a breath, they sat next to Liam, close but not uncomfortably close, and turned their body to make eye contact with him—which they had tried to avoid before. Now they attempted this non-feral way of communication, where one met eyes frequently despite one’s status. “Tell me what seems to be troubling you. If you will.” 

(313)



I'd say 'I told you so', but, you just gonna cry
You just wanna know those peanut butter vibes

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#5
Perhaps someone else may have been annoyed in Liam's place when Ida did not initially offer too much in the way of conversation. In spite of this, Liam appreciated it if he were honest with himself. It gave him room to breathe and acted as a crutch for him to regain his verbal footing. On his way here, he had felt his tongue slipping into the word salad that was unfortunately characteristic of these episodes. Now that Kaleidoscope was giving him the space he needed to gather his wits about him once more, he was more stabilized and grounded.

With much relief, he flopped onto the cushions. He squeezed his eyes shut, ran a hand down his face, and took yet another deep breath. Even simply scratching the surface of his emotions was difficult. Getting to the heart of the matter seemed quite the daunting task, being a different matter entirely.

"I don't know where to start," he said, fiddling with his thumbs, "It's a lot. My parents, my brother, the war, my love life, my child, my Guild..."

The sensation of feeling overwhelmed dug its claws into him. Pressure mounted as it always had on him, responsibilities threatening to teeter him over the edge. It was more than he could reasonably take right now, which he knew. Yet, he knew not where to start with lightening his load. He supposed opening up like this to a friend once more was a good start. He hoped it would be the right choice, and not something that would drive the knife deeper in.

"I think I don't like being a Wraith, and maybe a Dragoon too," he admitted, shaking his head. "It was something I did out of necessity when the war happened, but I don't know. It doesn't make me happy, and we're in a time of peace right now. I just don't know how to tell anyone. Except for you, Ida." He chuckled nervously. "Nor do I know what to do."

He was, ultimately, lost in his own head right now.
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#6
OOC: --

Kaleidoscope would consider themself as inexperienced in dealing with the feelings of others. Salsolans did not tend to like sharing their feelings openly, some swore off it entirely and thought that it would only bring trouble. Sensitivity could be seen as a sign of weakness in cultures like that, Ida knew well from living there for so long—and being one of the Luperci thought of as ‘weak’. In spite of this lack of experience, though, they didn’t feel afraid of Liam’s honesty. In fact, they had started to become less and less afraid of… life in general. Even the great fear of crossing over the borders of the Kingdom had begun to ebb and flow. It would return in waves, but every time it did, it came back a little weaker. Ida chose to see it as a good sign rather than a sign of folly.

“I… can briefly recall hearing about the war.” Ida said, surprised that they could at all. “Of course, I wasn’t there… but my… one of my former friends was.” They struggled to even think of how to refer to Egregore now. “If you could call him that…” The coydog gave a brisk, unhappy sigh, tail twitching in distress before they refocused back onto the other Luperci in the room. They did not want to think about their own problems on top of Liam’s. “I’m sure it was… extremely difficult, for you. For this pack.”

They went silent again as Liam confessed that he did not want to be a combatant any longer. “That’s understandable.” They told him, though felt a faint surprise in knowing they were the first one Liam had told. Did he really have no one else to trust besides themself? They felt grateful to be relied upon, but they also felt that maybe they wouldn’t do the same if they were in his fur. “It’s OK to not know what to do. I barely have a clue myself.” Kaleidoscope paused, thinking for a moment. “I know we have different duties—you are a High Lord. But, you don’t have to take on anything extra in the first place. I think just being a High Lord is more than enough as service to the realm. You don’t have to be a combatant too. I’m sure there’s many other skilled warriors in New Caledonia… or at least I’d hope so.” They had no idea how many causalities there had been that had thinned such ranks.

“You could always train up a successor before putting your weapon down.” Kaleidoscope suggested with a raise of their hand, a gesture that almost resembled a shrug.

(453)



I'd say 'I told you so', but, you just gonna cry
You just wanna know those peanut butter vibes

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#7
[Image: wolfmoon.gif]  Word of the day  CORNUCOPIA - 11/24/22

Kaleidoscope was proving to be an excellent listener. Liam felt validated by their words, the warm feeling in his chest spreading. They mentioned someone they knew, something of a former friend... If you could call him that. Liam's ears perked upwards, intrigued.

"Oh, huh. You don't have to talk to me about him if you don't want to, it sounds like something of a sore subject?" He tilted his head to the side with a slight inclination. "Still, that's interesting to know. It would make sense that I know some of the people that you knew before you came to this pack. They came to our aid, I fought by their side in the final battle..."

He trailed off, voice sad. Many good people were lost during that conflict, and even those that were not necessarily as good still did not deserve to die. In Liam's eyes, it all should have been avoided. He held his palms outward for his own study. He did not like what he had to do with them previously. He grimaced.

"It was really difficult, yeah. The things I've seen - I wish I could forget. Instead they haunt me." He shook his head to clear it of the imagery that scrolled behind his eyes once again.

Kaleidoscope continued to offer more perspective. Liam recalled when he was newer to Caledonian culture, a Commoner. Not necessarily the lowly rank it could sound like, but simply a starting point. It would be overwhelming to start anywhere beyond that. If someone was as thirsty for ambition that it felt too slow, he supposed they could easily marry a noble. From the look of it though, there were not many in the Malcrin that were not already spoken for. Liam could include himself and say he was no longer among the number of the 'upper crust' that were mated, but... It felt like a hollow admittance, something that did not make him feel 'ready to mingle'. He knew he could easily find action, as it were, but that would feel wrong. He wanted a natural progression for such a thing, were it to happen once more. Maybe he was not meant for it. It only consistently blew up in his face.

Then again. He looked more closely at Ida, those soft, colorful and reassuring eyes peering back at him. There was hope yet among this cornucopia of emotional turbulence of his.

"Huh. Maybe you're right. I've taught Losse a thing or two, and have even given him a horse of his own. Maybe he can take up the mantle of a Dragoon, then I could relinquish that co-rank," he mused. Teaching Losse gave Liam pride in himself. Seeing the way his face had lit up upon receiving Belaith brought him joy. "I just feel intimidated by that somehow. Like I haven't earned retiring from it. Which sounds ridiculous when I say it out loud." He slumped further into the back of the couch. "There's a lot that is just difficult to let go of, because I haven't talked about any of it."
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#8
OOC: --

With a frown, Ida brought their hand in close, eventually reaching over their own chest to grasp hold of their own shoulder as they looked away. The fact that it remained a sore subject looked obvious to Liam, they knew. “It’s not that I would mind talking to you about it,” they started, with some effort. “But… Honestly, Liam, it may not be good for you to hear if you have family in Sal… where I came from.” They did not want to make Liam worried for Silas. “I-I know I have to move on… if I start bad-mouthing where I lived before, it is going to come back and bite me. It wouldn’t reflect good on our pack, either, if I did that. I was telling the truth when I said I’m not worth the trouble—that’s because they feel relatively assured that I would not blab about their secrets, I’d wager. If they thought I would, it might have been a different story when you found me that day.”

Liam might not have found them at all, in that case.

With that aside, Ida managed a smile as Liam talked about how he had been training a fellow Caledonian already. “See? That is something.” Their smile gave way to a neutral expression as he began to talk about the worries he had with such a thing: the anxieties that came with it. “We’re creatures at the end of the day—we don’t need to ‘earn’ anything.” They believed this strongly. “I am adjusting to non-feral society now that I am in New Caledonia as a free Luperci. Unlike some that have gotten infected, I’m willing to leave the wilds behind.” Though Ida didn’t know it, Liam had experience with another canine who had chosen to return to the wilds in the end. “But I do think that we can’t forget that our survival is always most important. Not just our survival, but our well-being. That’s something that I’m… that I’m trying to memorize now, myself.”

They relaxed further on the other end of the couch, mirroring Liam. “You should talk about it. With me, or with someone else. It sounds like it helps you.” 

(383)



I'd say 'I told you so', but, you just gonna cry
You just wanna know those peanut butter vibes

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#9
Kaleidoscope's overall posture grew withdrawn with the topic's personal sensitivity. He ultimately understood. Maybe he should not have dug into such a topic in his eagerness to distract from himself. Ida said that it may be for the best to avoid divulging the details. Liam would be hard pressed to disagree with this. Salsola was on good terms with New Caledonia, and it was for the best to keep it this way. He personally did not want to have a bone to pick with the thistle kingdom either, for it would bring another stressor into his relationship with Silas.

"I understand, I'm sorry that things were so complicated for you before New Caledonia." Kaleidoscope remained a mysterious enigma to Liam, but not every question needed an answer. Truth be told, it was not his business. "I'm just glad you're safer here. I hope you come to love Caledonia like I have."

He offered them a smile, reassuring and kind. Even if the subjects of their conversation thus far were darker and more serious, there was still a safe and cozy feeling within the walls of Kaleidoscope's home. They told him that his hard work was worth something, leaving him to feel worthy himself in turn. They propped him up in this hour of need.

"You're right, it is something. Thank you," Liam said.

His lips remained quirked upwards now. He felt welcomed in their presence. The weights fell from his shoulders to provide relief. He was unaware he had such emotional burdens until some were lifted.

"I know it can be a difficult adjustment. When I was infected myself and shifted for the first time, it was really difficult... I had other Luperci in my family show me the ropes of this more civilized way, but it was hard. And not everyone sticks with it, especially if it doesn't make them happy."

There was a darker note to his voice near the end there. He still held much love in his heart for Kule, but he was ultimately glad to see Lukin bring them more happiness than he could himself.

"It does, yeah... I feel like I need to confess, in a weird way. To get it all off my chest, maybe. It's darker in my head than it really is, I know it. I just - I don't like to burden people. I feel like I've always had to be the stronger one."
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#10
OOC: --

“Things are still complicated now,” Ida said. “But New Caledonia is… I don’t know if it’s helping me get on my head right,” they laughed. That task seemed to be impossible. “But it’s… I’m able to explore myself.” Even now, in their mind’s eye, they could see a sprawling forest they had built with their own imagination, with tiny pockets of dens. In each den, there lay different canines, all of changing colors and personalities. At times, they could talk to one another. Most days, though, Ida felt like a combination of these… personalities, or, as they had taken to calling them: spirits. It was funny to think they’d once rejected this idea whole-heartedly, but now it brought them comfort to think of their condition as something magical. Whether it was true or not, it made life more enjoyable, so Ida didn’t fight it.

They listened to Liam’s further, not speaking again until he’d said all he wanted to. “Why would that be a burden?” Ida questioned. “I thought about this before, when we first began talking… but I don’t think emotions or openness is a sign of weakness. I think it’s brave. It’s far more cowardly to hide away in your own mind.” They spoke with just a hint of bitterness, but it barely tainted their otherwise kind tone. “I don’t think we’re ever going to live that way again. Uhm, I’m not going to.” They barely realized they had slipped up and used a plural word to describe their ‘singular’ body, but corrected themself. 

(272)



I'd say 'I told you so', but, you just gonna cry
You just wanna know those peanut butter vibes

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#11
Things were still complicated for Kaleidoscope, and Liam really should have known better than to assume otherwise. Life was funny like that. Everyone's lives were always intricately detailed from the inside, regardless of whether your current situation was more vexing or relaxing. Liam was grateful to live somewhere he loved and felt dedicated to. New Caledonia had given him so much, and he worked hard to give back.

"I'm glad you can explore yourself more now, even if life is still complex," he said, ultimately supportive. "Made any new friends yet?"

If New Caledonia helped them more than hurt them, then Liam would be satisfied with that. As long as they wanted to stay here, anyway. There was a strange fear spiking in his chest, a nagging worry and paranoia that they, too, would leave him.

They asked him a question, one that brought him to realize that it was not so burdensome. His tattered ear twitched in thought. Confrontation of his internal double standards was consistently something that gave him a strange sensation. He cared for everyone else and did not expect much of his fellow Caledonians, but was so brutally hard on himself. He was his own worst critic. So it goes. Many others were similar, including Torabera. At least Liam thought so.

"You have a point. It's a different kind of bravery to be vulnerable and open up to someone trustworthy. And, I trust you enough for that, Kaleidoscope. Thanks for being here for me," Liam said. "I don't think I could go back to a more feral lifestyle either, if you meant me too. I'd miss the booze too much." He chuckled. "Is there anything you would miss, if you went back?"
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